Thousands at West Somerset’s Bath & Beyond gala

THE stars of the West Somerset Railway’s autumn gala may have had to be re-cast in the weeks leading up to it, but the October 5-8 event still attracted just shy of 4,000 travelling passengers over the four days.

A minor contractual issue had resulted in the Bluebell Railway withdrawing the availability of Riddles ‘5MT’ 4-6-0 No. 73082 Camelot at a late hour (The RM Oct). The Dartmouth Steam Railway offered its ‘4MT’ 4-6-0 No. 75014 Braveheart as a replacement.

A rare Hawksworth double-header as visiting ‘15XX’ 0-6-0PT No. 1501 leads ‘Modified Hall’ No. 6960 Raveningham Hall on the approach to Williton with the 15. 05 Bishop Lydeard-Minehead service on October 7. PHIL JONES.

The loco met the gala organisers’ Bath & Beyond theme as several members of the Riddles class were common sights at Bath’s Green Park station.

The second guest was originally expected to come in the form of Bulleid ‘West Country’ No. 34046 Braunton, but the Light Pacific was unable to attend owing to ongoing repairs.

Consequently, the Severn Valley Railway’s (SVR) ‘57XX’ 0-6-0PT No. 7714 was drafted in to cover the absent Bulleid, but the loco suffered a brake fault while at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway gala (see separate story), and the SVR wanted it to return to Bridgnorth for repairs.

Read more in the November issue of The RM – on sale now!

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