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Posts Tagged ‘Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway’

To commemorate 100 years of the Merchant Navy, and in remembrance of all those from various countries throughout the world that served in the Merchant Navy and who lost their lives during wars, conflicts and campaigns, Merchant Navy  Locomotive 35006 ‘Peninsular & Oriental SN Co’ will be running on the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway on Merchant Navy Day – Tuesday 3rd September 2019.

35006 in the sunshine at Toddington

Locomotove No.6,  which was built in 1941 for the Southern Railway and formally named after the shipping company P&O in 1942 – with the unveiling of a grand nameplate on the side of the locomotive,  is based at Toddington station on the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway which runs between Cheltenham Race Course and Broadway in the Cotswolds.

35006 has the signal off at Cheltenham Racecourse (ready to run around rather than head further south)

No.6  will be suitably decorated for the day with a specially commissioned ‘Merchant Navy’ headboard and flying the Red Ensign flags for the occasion. It is intended to have a brief remembrance service at 9.30 am for members of the Merchant Navy Association, at Toddington station, before pulling the 10am departure for Cheltenham.

Following many years of lobbying to bring about official recognition of the sacrifices made by merchant seafarers in the two world wars and since, Merchant Navy Day became an official day of remembrance on 3 September 2000.

Since 2000, Merchant Navy Day on 3rd September has honoured the brave men and women who kept our ‘island nation’ afloat during both World Wars, and celebrated our dependence on modern day merchant seafarers who are responsible for 95% of the UK’s imports.

The Merchancy Navy Asscociation aims to ensure the recognition of the Merchant Navy Veterans and the critical and strategic role of the Merchant Navy in times of war and conflict.
Why 3rd September? –  This date marks the sinking of the Merchant Navy ship – S.S. Athenia in WWII – the very first casualty of the war – torpedoed by a German U-Boat, with the loss of 128 lives, within 10 hours of the declaration of war on 3 September 1939, by Neville Chamberlain and the outbreak of  World War II.
Anyone who wants to come along and see and photograph the train is welcome to turn up at Toddington – entry is free. Anyone wanting to travel, this is a normal service train,  just buy a ticket and jump on board, all are welcome

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Yesterday evening, 13th July, saw the annual members day event with a dedicated special train purely for members and shareholders of the 35006 Society. It was a chance to ride behind 35006 Peninsular & Oriental S. N. Co on a private train after No.6 had been in service on the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway  during the day.

35006 backs on to the Members train

Relections from the cab #1

I was also fortunate as Shareholder to have the chance of a ride in the cab, see video below, for the part of the trip.

She certainly looked splendid and powerful in the evening light with the wonderful patina of having worked service trains during the day. Once coaled and coupled to the members train she ran non stop to Cheltenham racecourse station. Having run around she took the train tender first, again back past Toddington to the wonderfully recreated, Broadway station.

Reflections from the cab #2

I was lucky enough to ride in the cab between Toddington and Braodway. The evening ended as the sun set returning to Toddington. The 14 miles end to end gives a nice 28 mile round trip, and a couple of nice gradients thrown into the mix,  with some great views across the Cotswolds.

I was able to take a few pictures from the cab, getting a few reflections in the glass and tender sides (as we were running tender first for that part of the journey) hence the title pun of this post.

Stanway Viaduct from the cab of No.6

It also gave the chance to experience the views from the impressive Stanway Viaduct, just to the North of Toddington, this viaduct is approximately 210 yards long, crosses the valley at its highest point at just over 50 feet and each of the 15 spans are 36 feet. It is on a gentle 1 in 150 gradient heading north and on a gentle 80 chain curve.

The reputation for Bulleids to make steam was certainly evident with a low fire of good quality welsh steam coal, steam pressure was easily maintained, as it never dropped below 235 psi for the duration of my cab ride, despite the relatively full train, of members and shareholders, made up of eight BR Mark One coaches.

Coad, fire and water make steam pressure 235psi on the dial

The safety valves were just feathering for most of the trip despite the fireman keeping topping up the boiler to its near full limit.  The ride was very smooth, albeit at an average of around 25mph showing on the speedometer, on the still pretty new excellent permanent way to Broadway

It was certainly a great evening, including the cab ride as well, enjoying a picnic on board with my Mum and Dad. No.6 looked great as always and was running superbly and a credit to the 35006 Locomotive Society and the running staff of the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway

It was also great to be able to get up close to 35006 and hopefully some of the pictures illustrating this post shows the impressiveness of her and also the impressive level of restoration and continued maintenance that has gone into this complex piece of engineering Bulleid Brilliance (with a little bit of Jarvis thrown in, I will concede).

No.6 runs round at Cheltenham Racecourse

The setting sun seen through the cab of No6 at Broardway

See my page here on how you can help keep, in any small way, No.6 up and running. 

 

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