Late exhibit entries are coming in now for Tracks to the Trenches. We are delighted to announce two real celebrity machines will be making a first-time visit to Apedale.
They are the Ffestiniog Railway’s 40HP Simplex (once known as Mary Ann) and Moelwyn – the UK’s only surviving example of one of the Baldwin tractors which were very popular with American and Canadian forces during WW1. Being FR locos, their wheel standards are alsightly incompatible with the railway a…t Apedale – so they MAY be static display or very limited operation – testing will decide.
There’s still just a few days to buy advance tickets. The deal is pretty good – you get to skip the queue, and get the guidebook thrown in. The guidebook is £4, and is really nice – so you get £13 worth of ticket and book for £9, and quick entry. A bargain if ever there was one. We’ve also still got a few Access All Areas passes left. Closing date for advance ticket sales is 1st May, so stop messing around and go to the Tickets page with your credit card in hand!!
Just in time to be tested before the Tracks to the Trenches event, our Joffre locomotive has finally made its tentative first steps back into traffic!
If you recall, this engine was one of seventy delivered to the French Commission for their Artillery Railways to a specification similar to their existing Decauville design. These were sent out in 1915 and 1916 to take up their duties supplying ammunition and supplies to the front lines using a network of light railways.
To find out more about the role railways played in the conflict, tune in to Michael Portillo’s mini-series currently screening on BBC 2 “Railways of the Great War“, which is on at 18:30 each evening until Thursday this week. We are hoping to appear in the Wednesday episode, but we’ve not seen it yet so don’t know whether the Joffre’s “good side” will feature, but we certainly expect our Simplex locos to make an appearance, together with guest driver.
As to the Kerr Stuart (No 3014 of 1916), several months of work have seen the newly cast cylinder firstly stress-relieved and then machined to the original drawings, a task involving many weeks of painstaking work, any error in which would see the new casting written-off. It was eventually delivered to Apedale on Tuesday last week, during our annual volunteer working week. Several more days of work followed and the locomotive was ready to test on Sunday. We are delighted to report that everything worked perfectly, which will allow the loco to return to the roster shortly.
So, after having been enthused by the telly programme to learn more, don’t forget to visit us see this engine and others in action at the Tracks to the Trenches event on September 12th – 14th. Have we mentioned that before? You can book tickets here.
The Moseley Railway Trust is delighted to announce a preservation first at the Tracks to the Trenches Gala. For the first time, a re-union of each of the four different types of War Department Light Railway “Motor Rail” locomotives will take place.
These pioneering little locomotives made a huge contribution to the Allied war effort during World War One. They were used to move supplies and men from marshalling yards right up to the front line.
The smallest of these was the 20HP tractor – on which the driver was fully exposed to both the elements and the effects of enemy fire. Surviving accounts tell of hair-raising exploits including trains disappearing into newly-created shell holes. There will be at least three, maybe more, 20HP tractors in operation at Tracks to the Trenches – one of these will be visiting Apedale from the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway.
The other three types were all 40HP, powered by a Dorman four-cylinder petrol engine. The three types were:-
The Open version. This had steel ends, and a simple roof supported on four poles. The Open version will be represented by loco No.1381, which will visit Tracks to the Trenches courtesy of the Amberley Museum and Heritage Centre in West Sussex.
The Protected version, which added steel doors and a much more substantial roof to the design. Apedale resident No.1369 will fly the flag for the Protected. This loco was restored a few years ago on the “Salvage Squad” TV programme, and recently spend a period on display in the Dutch railway museum in Utrecht.
Finally, the Armoured locos, which were intended for the most hazardous duties, and afforded the driver a reasonable degree of protection from small arms fire and the like. Loco 461 is a unique survivor of this design, which resembles a small tank on rails. This locomotive visits the event courtesy of the Greensand Railway Museum Trust and the Leighton Buzzard Light Railway.
Phil Robinson, MRT Chairman, said “This meeting of the Motor Rails will be a preservation first, and something which the event organising team and the various locomotive owners have worked very hard to arrange. This is yet another reason why Tracks To The Trenches should be firmly written into every railway enthusiast’s diary!”
On-line ticketing is now available for the event – tickets bought on-line avoid the gate queues and qualify for a free copy of the event guide. Tickets can also be bought for a night-time photoshoot on Friday 12th September, and for the very limited number of “Access All Areas” passes, giving unparalleled out-of-hours and behind the scenes access, ideal for the keen photographer.
The Moseley Railway Trust is delighted to announce that agreement has been reached for a second visiting steam locomotive for the September 2014 Tracks to the Trenches event. The North Gloucestershire Railway, based at Toddington, have agreed that their 1918-built Henschel Brigadelok locomotive will visit the MRT’s Apedale Valley Light Railway for the Tracks to the Trenches gala, to be held on September 12, 13 and 14 of 2014.
Almost 2500 of the Brigadelok locomotives were built. These served the German military light railways – known as Heeresfeldbahn – on all the fronts of the war. Despite being built for military service, they subsequently demonstrated their usefulness for many post-war operators. An innovative feature is the Klein-Lindner radial axles, which allow the locomotives to traverse tight radius curves despite the 080 wheel arrangement.
The locomotive which will come to Apedale is Henschel 15968. After the end of the First World War, the locomotive worked at the Naklo sugar factory in Poland, hauling trains of sugar beet in from the fields to the factory for processing. In 1985, the loco moved from Poland to the UK, where it was restored to its current immaculate condition, carrying Heeresfeldbahn grey livery and the number 1091.
Phil Robinson, MRT Chairman said – We are extremely grateful to the North Gloucestershire Railway for loaning us this locomotive. When taken with the Baldwin loco which will visit from Leighton Buzzard, and the Moseley Railway Trust’s own Joffre and Hudswell Clarke steam locomotives, we now have engines representing all the main combatants in the First World War. Our event is all about commemorating all those who participated in this conflict, regardless of nationality, and we believe that representing the German forces is key to this.
The Kerr Stuart locomotive Stanhope, normally resident at Apedale, will be making a reciprocal visit to the North Gloucestershire Railway during 2014.