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Posts Tagged ‘Mid Hants Railway’

This Month sees restored Bulleid pacific 35006 Peninsular & Oriental S. N. Co. return to regular steam on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway (GWSR) following the completion of her restoration and return to service last year.  So far this year she has already run during March for a series of Private Charter trains in conjunction with the Cheltenham Races Festival, but now allocated dates for her running on the GWRS during May have been released.

35006 in the sunshine at the Gloucester and Warwickshire Railway

The steaming dates commence this weekend 13th/14th May followed by the weekend of the 20th/21st and then Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 23rd to 25th may leading up to the GWRS’s Cotswold Festival of Steam  over the weekend of Saturday 27th, Sunday 28th and Monday 29th May.

A cabside view of 35006

Her first visit to another line has also been announced, as 35006 will be appearing at the Mid Hants Railway Summer gala being held over two weekends in July to celebrate 50 years since the end of Southern steam with a distinctly Bulleid flavour. Over the weekends of 1st / 2nd and 7th, 8th and 9th July she will join Battle of Britain classes 34053 ‘Sir Keith Park’ ,  34081 ’92 Squadron’ and 34052 ‘Lord Dowding’ in service with some of the lines resident fleet of BR standard locomotives.

Of course these dates are all subject to the usual caveats of the availability of the loco and other factors on the line itself, so it is best to check before you visit the line. For the very latest information on loco rostering check the GWSR website here

As a shareholder it is always good to see her doing what she does best, being in steam, hauling passenger trains and doing Bulleid proud!

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It is fifty years to the day when Dr Richard Beeching’s report “The Reshaping of British Railways” was officially published on the 27th March 1963. Beeching was at the time Chairman of the British Railways Board. The report identified 2,363 stations and 5,000 miles of railway line for closure, 55% of stations and 30% of route miles, with an objective of stemming the large losses being incurred during a period of increasing competition from road transport (that also had the support from the then Minister of Transport Ernest Marples whom it appears had connections to the road construction industry and had also appointed Dr Beeching in the first place).

The Reshaping of British Railways report published on 27th March 1963

The Reshaping of British Railways report published on 27th March 1963

Many of the ex Southern Lines especially in the South West of England, already coined the ‘Withered Arm’ were closed as a result of the report.  A few protests resulted in the saving of some stations and lines, but the majority were closed as planned and Beeching’s name is to this day associated with the mass closure or ‘axe’ of railways and the loss of many local services in the period that followed.

One such line that was included in the report for closure was the Tamar Valley line, however due to the poor road links in the area some of the line was reprieved and survives to this day between Plymouth, Bere Alston and Gunnislake. In fact there is currently a growing movement and support for the line to be reopened north of Bere Alston back to the south end of Tavistock.

In addition to the main report there were a number of maps included within Part 2 of the report  that diagrammatically showed data such as : Density of passenger traffic, Distribution of passenger receipts, Density of Freight Traffic, etc. and of course the main outcome of the report the map of Proposed Withdrawal of Passenger Services. I have reproduced part of a couple of these maps in this post showing the Southern Region area.

Map 3 of the report shows the Distribution of Passenger Traffic Station Receipts

Map 3 of the report shows the Distribution of Passenger Traffic Station Receipts (click for larger version)

Map9

Map 9 of the report shows the Proposed Withdrawal of Passenger Services (click for larger version)

Map 9 Proposed Withdrawal of Passenger Services shows the almost total eradication of the ex Southern Railway lines in the South West as already mentioned above, and a number of other lines in the South of England identified for closure. Happily some of these lines have now since reopened as preserved railways such as: the East Grinstead to Lewis line, now the Bluebell Railway recently successfully extended to reach back to East Grinstead from Sheffield Park.  Also the Alton to Winchester line that between Alton and Alresford now forms the Mid Hants Watercress line.

Although the Unions at the time released their own version of the report titled “The Mis-shaping of British Railways” a number of facts (although in some cases the basis of collection of some of these facts have been questioned) within the report appear compelling and it is perhaps not surprising that the conclusions reached were so wide ranging.
The report with respect to freight on the railways proposed the move to quicker, higher capacity trains, serving the main routes, transporting greater loads to hubs. Not with the then traditional wagons but trains loaded with containers. Does that seem familiar today?
Whilst Beeching is a much maligned name  for the passenger line closure section of the  report it is easy perhaps forget that this report dramatically modernised freight on the rail network promoting containerisation and long-distance freight haulage.

Who knows if the current growth and success of the railway network as it stands today would have been possible if some of the harsh decisions as a result of “The Reshaping of British Railways” were not taken…

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Following on from my post Schools class 925 ‘Cheltenham Steams again I am please to report that The National Railway Museums SR Maunsell designed 4-4-0 Schools class No. 925 ‘Cheltenham’ has now emerged into the sunshine at Eastleigh Works fully painted in Bulleid post war malachite livery. A picture of her can be found here on the Mid Hants Railway website.

She will shortly be heading off to the  NRM’s Railfest event at York next month before entering service on the Mid Hants Railway.

Congratulations to all involved at  The National Railway Museum, Mid Hants Railway and Eastleigh Works,  in her overhaul she certainly looks the part.

I can  now confirm, rather than just the previous hint I gave in my previous post on Cheltenham,  that the NRM’s N15 Class 4-6-0 No. 777  ’Sir Lamiel’ is being also repainted into malachite, the pair should look mighty fine together.

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The National Railway Museums SR Maunsell designed 4-4-0 Schools class No. 925 ‘Cheltenham’ is nearing the final stages of its overhaul by a team from the Mid Hants Railway talking place at one of the Southern Railways spiritual homes Eastleigh Works.  She steamed and moved under her own power again earlier this week.

Once final painting and fettling takes place this coming week she will be heading off to the  NRM’s Railfest event at York in June before entering service on the Mid Hants Railway.

It’s great to one of Maunsell’s finest heading back to full operational service, hopefully later this year should also see Maunsell Locomotive Society’s S15 4-6-0 No, 847 and Q class 0-6-0 No. 541 both undergoing overhaul on the Bluebell Railway also joining the ranks of Maunsell locomotives in steam. There is also a chance that the NRM’s N15 Class 4-6-0 No. 777  ‘Sir Lamiel’ may also make an appearance in Post War Bulleid Livery, which hopefully will be a correct rendition unlike the mix of liveries currently being worn by their Lord Nelson 4-6-0  No. 850!

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