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!
We are pleased to announce that the ever popular “Tracks to the Trenches” Driver experience course dates for 2016 have been released.
This unique “day in the life” (of a WW1 light railway driver) course is a perfect present for special occasions. Delivered in a special presentation gift box, the voucher has a validity of 18 months, with the actual course date to be selected and booked directly by the recipient. With Christmas just around the corner, is this a perfect present for those difficult people who already have everything!?
Please see http://www.ww1-event.org/driver-experience-course for more details – which includes a rather convenient on-line purchase facility!
Posted in Apedale Valley Light Railway News, Driver Experience Course
Tagged 20hp, apedale, course, day, diesel, driver, driver experience, experience, footplate, footplate experience, gift, Hudswell, involvement, joffre, on-line, petrol, present, railway, Simplex, staffordshire, steam, tracks to the trenches, wdlr
Perhaps one of the most photographed locomotives at “Tracks to the trenches 2014” was an out-of-use, little 20hp Bent-Frame tractor that was located in a shell hole near the main field area. This certainly attracted much comment and was a surprice (previously unadvertised) feature.
Forward area light railways and tramways were often operated under the cover of darkness. Being so close to the front, they were always easy targets for the enemy, and were often damaged through shelling. According to contemporary reports, although the tracks were regularly inspected, it was not uncommon for locomotives and trains to often become de-railed through recent enemy action. When this happened, the priority was to remove any ammunition and get the railway operating again. Locomotives could be left for days/weeks until there was an opportunity for recovery (again – mainly at night!).
These little 20hp tractors were sometimes known as “Wizz-Bangs” (also the name for in-bound enemy shells) – due to their high speed/acceleration and their regular tendancy to back-fire. They were a particular favourite with the railway/tramway operating companies.
Our cameo scene represented a locomotive that had been driven into a previously unseen shell hole at night. Whilst awaiting recovery, the railway had been diverted around it and the wagons long since removed.
The aim of this little scene was to provide a poignant reminder of the risks that the Light Railway and Tramway companies were taking every day, in their continual battle to keep the men in the trenches and the guns supplied.
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.
As the publicity machine grinds into action, we were pleasantly surprised to find reference to our event on a Scandinavian railway forum!
In addition to details about the event, one of the users had managed to find a YouTube video of the Salvage Squad (UK TV Programme) restoration of the Moseley Railway Trust’s First World War 40hp “Protected” Simplex – it’s difficult to believe that this was ~10 years ago now!!
As it is a related subject and we hope that this locomotive will take a starring roll, we thought it appropriate to paste the link here, for others to appreciate a thorough restoration of a historic locomotive.