It’s been a bit manic down the Valley in the last few days!! Two of the stars of the Tracks to the Trenches event this weekend have joined us – the Baldwin from Leighton Buzzard and the Hesketh Bank Joffre.
Apparently our local coal merchant heard that we now had two Joffre-class locos on site and was seen reaching for the holiday brochure.
The horse people have been with us, rehearsing for the horse haulage demonstration using our newly-manufactured swingletree.
Finally, we had a slightly unexpected visit by what seemed to be the entire loco fleet of a Scotrtish peatworks; one loco was unloaded and the rest disappeared as quickly as they arrived!
So, 4 hours to go the the big event opening – see you there?
The Tracks to the Trenches event is shaping up well, despite the recent flurry of activity with rail exhibits we have not forgotten other forms of transport and Logistics!
We are very pleased to confirm the attendance of a 1915 horse hauled “General Service” (GS) Wagon and horses from the Royal Logisitics Corps museum on active display. This wagon was built by the well-known railway firm of Metropolitan Carriage and wagon. These road-going wagons were the equivalent of the narrow gauge railway wagons.
We have very recently been able to add a War Department Foden Steam lorry (kindly provided by Mike Wilkinson, Alan Atkinson and Graham Townsend) to our line-up. This will again create a fine sight driving around the event.
We are also very pleased to welcome back the 16th Lancers display troop to our event (Saturday and Sunday only). They will again be displaying horsemanship in our event arena.
Finally, watch out for various displays of pack horses (utilising the new Carey’s water carriers!) around the site and horse haulage of our onw First World War Railway wagons!
The Moseley Railway Trust has received a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant of £10,000, it was announced today. This money will be used to develop the Trust’s interpretation of the role of the horse with both civilian industrial railways and in delivering supplies to the front lines during the First World War.
During the 1914-1918 conflict, both sides used horses not only for direct combat (cavalry regiments and the like) but also as a means of moving the huge weights of supplies which a fighting army needs to sustain itself. Light Railways were laid as a means of increasing the amount which a horse could haul, and also to spread the weight of wagons in the infamous mud of Flanders Fields and elsewhere. Frequently, supplies would be hauled by steam or petrol-powered locomotives to a point near the front lines, and then horses were often used for the last mile to the front – the so-called Trench Tramways. Using the Heritage Lottery Fund grant, the Moseley Railway Trust will replicate these operations and demonstrate them to visitors.
Thanks to National Lottery players, the Trust will now be able to fulfil two key objectives. Firstly, it will enhance the displays which will be available to the public at the forthcoming Tracks to the Trenches 2016 event at the Trust’s Apedale Valley Light Railway site. During this event, part of Staffordshire is transformed into the Western Front in 1916 – including a replica trench for visitors to experience. The event will include displays of working horses, mules and horse-drawn vehicles. This event takes place on May 13, 14 and 15 2016, and further details can be obtained from this website.
Secondly, the grant will allow permanent improvements to the facilities and exhibits at Apedale. These will be constructed by volunteers at the Apedale Valley Light Railway, and will include an extension to the existing demonstration railway and an interpretative panel. These will further enhance the Industrial Railway Trail which was initially funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2014. A Trench Tramway wagon will also be constructed – these vehicles were hauled by horses on the very lightly-built railways which spanned the vital last yards to reach the troops fighting at the front.
Commenting on the award, Phil Robinson, Moseley Railway Trust Chairman said “We are once again delighted that the HLF have rewarded the efforts which our dedicated team of volunteers have made. Working with the HLF, this grant will not only transform the Tracks to the Trenches event in May 2016, but also allow permanent improvements to the visitor facilities at Apedale. We are very grateful to HLF for their continued support”.
Vanessa Harbar, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund West Midlands, said: “The impact of the First World War was far reaching, touching and shaping every corner of the UK and beyond. The Heritage Lottery Fund has already invested more than £70million in projects – large and small – that are marking this Centenary. Our small grants programme is enabling even more communities like those involved in The Power of the Horse to explore the continuing legacy of this conflict and help people in particular to broaden their understanding of how it has shaped our modern world.”