Severn Valley Railway Diesel Gala 19th to 21st May 2016
The Severn Valley Railway (SVR) had basically one of the grandest diesel galas in years planned for the 19th to 21st May 2016; which included 6 main line visiting locos and a whole host of other preserved visitors from all around the country, which would ultimately include 20 different locos in total. However due to a bit of a falling out between the owners of 40013 and the SVR the loco was withdrawn from the line-up; after it had arrived at the railway. this also led to 26007 not being conveyed to the gala from Barrow Hill. The resourceful SVR quickly replaced the two drop-outs with 31452 from DCR and 55002 to keep the numbers up; with the line-up being as follows:
Main Line Locos
31452 (DCR), 37716 (DRS), 66763 (GBRf), 68025 (DRS) & 73951/73952 (Network Rail)
08015, 09002, 20059/20188, 20142/20205, 31162, 46045, 50008, 50035, 50049, D1015, 55002 & 55019
With the SVR having no vacuum braked stock LUL kindly provided the railway with the 4TC set that works on the Metropolitan Line and it generally stayed on the Bewdley shuttles, as did all the air only locos as a result with only the Class 73’s being let loose on the whole length of the line with a translator loco inside for the vacuum.
I didn’t attend on the Thursday of the gala but due to a problem with 20205, which actually turned out to be nothing at all, it missed its booked trip and was substituted vice 31162 in the afternoon and 31162 had an early bath as a result. Otherwise everything went about as swimmingly as it could for a diesel gala; Friday was a different story though with almost everything going swimmingly. 73951 became the only casualty of the gala when it managed to only make it a few hundred yards out of the station at Bewdley on the 1244 Bewdley – Kidderminster; before shutting down and having to be de-multi’d from 73952 and pushed forward to Kidderminster. It had managed to blow and electrical card and that was the end of it’s involvement in the gala! Things ran a bit late for the rest of the day but the last run back from Bridgnorth to Kidderminster with 31162 on the 2130 Bridgnorth – Kidderminster was nothing short of excellent; 31162, despite being very long in the tooth since overhaul, proved that 31’s are a force to be reckoned with when it comes to making noise!
On Saturday it was a bit like the morning after the night before syndrome and my biggest complaint about the whole gala was just how different the timetable and loco diagrams were on each day of the gala. Unfortunately to get some of the main line engines in it did mean missing some of the trips on 31’s; of course you take your chances, you suffer the consequence and ultimately the consequence was going home 90 minutes early at the end of the day as 37716’s train was booked to cross 31162 returning from Bridgnorth at Hampton Loade. 31162 was booked non-stop through Hampton Loade, which is a complete and utter waste of time at a diesel gala and despite politely asking if 31162 would be able to stop at Hampton Loade, and being told no, it ended up stopping and actually waiting for 37716 to arrive! I was nearly home by the time 31162 arrived back into Kidderminster though so wasn’t really complaining and would be returning to the SVR to have a blast on ‘162 on Thursday 26th May when it worked the diesel turn anyway.
All in all the gala seemed to be very successful and despite initial concerns by some groups, and punters alike, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and the SVR even seemed to be doing things a little differently to normal and actually holding connections at Kidderminster! There were a couple that weren’t held but these were literally full and standing on departure so it was probably the right thing to do under the circumstances anyway. The two days I spent at the gala were good days and being a 31 man I didn’t have to spend it on wedged trains all day so it was all the better. I was looking forward to returning for the diesel turn later in the week.
Photos from the Diesel Gala
Thursday 26th May – 31162 running day
Due to 31162 not making the trip to Didcot Railway Centre, with other locos from the SVR after the gala, it was given a second running day there; the first being the day before the gala started. There wasn’t a massive turnout for 31162 but there were people there I didn’t expect and it just shows that when 47 bashers turn up to have a day with a 31, just how well rated 31162 is!
There were no issues all day, it was a very sociable one and 31162 was well driven all day. It really does just keep performing and making all the right noises; very loudly as well!
31162 worked the following during the day:
1145 Kidderminster – Bridgnorth, 1343 Bridgnorth – Highley, 1426 Highley – Bridgnorth, 1542 Bridgnorth – Kidderminster
Photos from 26th May