Jonathan Lee

Worldly Images

Wensleydale Railway Diesel Gala July 2015

An eagerly awaited gala that unfortunately suffered the same fate as most other galas had during 2015; a loco failure prior to the start of the weekend.

The original line-up had involved 33108 which had been pulled from the line-up well in advance due to it not being ready in time but 26007 was en-route in the convoy before it became the latest casualty in the not making it to galas list for 2015! Thankfully a routine stop resulted in the crew finding a hot axle on the loco and it was knocked off the convoy, from Barrow Hill to Leeming Bar, at Doncaster and shoved into the West Yard where it resided over the weekend. GBRf’s 66761 delivered 37057 and 31162 without any further incident on Thursday 16th July.

As a result of 26007’s unfortunate incident the timetable had to be re-written the evening before the gala but it seems it may have been done a little too quickly as hardly any extra work was allocated to the visiting engines with 31162 not getting an extra mile at all. Thankfully, after a reasonably healthy debate on a certain forum those involved at Wensleydale took on the feedback from potential gala goers and 31162 was given an extra trip on the Saturday vice one of the home fleet locos; namely 37674. Prior to that the timetable for Saturday had seen 5 of 8 departures from Redmire being hauled by 37’s and 4 trips in a row at the end of the day! Such are the times that 37’s seem to rule the roost and everything else gets a bum deal generally!

The full line-up for the gala was as follows:

Home fleet – 37674, 47715, DMU 55032

Visitors – 31162, 37057, 56098 & GBRf 66761

During the gala 31162 worked the following:

Friday 17th July

1140 Leeming Bar – Redmire, 1320 Redmire – Leeming Bar, 1435 Leeming Bar – Redmire, 1555 Redmire – Leeming Bar, 1720 Redmire – Northallerton West (on rear from Leeming Bar), 1900 Northallerton West – Leeming Bar

Saturday 18th July

1140 Leeming Bar – Redmire, 1305 Redmire – Leeming Bar, 1420 Leeming Bar – Redmire, 1545 Redmire – Leeming Bar, 1720 Leeming Bar – Redmire, 1915 Redmire – Northallerton West (on rear with 37674 leading), 2042 Northallerton West – Leeming Bar

Sunday 19th July

1140 Leeming Bar – Redmire, 1305 Redmire – Leeming Bar (dead on rear with 66761 leading), 1545 Leeming Bar – Redmire, 1720 Redmire – Leeming Bar


Friday 17th July 2015

While not the most conventional start to a diesel gala it was the easiest way to get to Leeming Bar by public transport and having been delivered to Northallerton by Virgin East Coast’s 91109, the 10 minute walk across town, through a housing estate, saw Wensleydale Railway’s bubble car 55032 just arriving into Northallerton West as we got there. Tickets for the event were sold on board and strangely were in the form of wristbands. £50 for three days of travel was quite reasonable, especially when a day rover was £25.

Freshly released from overhaul, 37057 was sat waiting to depart Leeming Bar with the 1015 to Redmire; this gala would see its very short lived venture into preservation come to an abrupt end as it would be handed over to Colas Rail on the Monday after the event; to be returned to main line work. While 37057 sounded quite good on the load 7 air braked rake there was something missing; fundamentally a volume switch, the synopsis being good but quiet! 37674 coming back in on the 1020 from Redmire did what every good “bent” class 37 does and that was wind up and go but the load 4 vacuum braked set didn’t really tax it much. Unfortunately the unfinished railfreight livery let it down a little, with its numbers missing, but from a distance it looked the part!

At Leeming Bar 31162 dropped onto the rear of the vac braked set and that was it for the rest of the afternoon as the blue machine showed the railway who was boss and performed exactly as I’d become to expect of it; loudly and faultlessly as stormed about the place on the load 4 set. Back at Leeming Bar after its two return trips of the line 31162 was hastily shunted off to the sidings to be left for the following morning; it wouldn’t be the last we’d see of it however!

A nice evening fill-in move to Bedale filled a void of time but just as we settled down to a pint a phone call advised that 56098 had been failed at Redmire and rather than use the thunderbird, 47715, to work the train back 37057 had been run round to top it and as a result 31162 had been pressed back into use to be dropped on the rear of the train at Leeming Bar to top & tail the train to Northallerton West.

Debates went on about how late the 1720 Redmire – Northallerton West would be but just in case the Kraft Ale place by the level crossing at Bedale seemed like a sensible location to be at. The not sensible thing was ordering a round of drinks at the trains departure time, the last of which hadn’t even made it to the table outside before the gates were opened for the train to arrive; those lightweights among us had no choice but to take our full Belgian beer glasses with us. Which I might add were left on the step outside the place the following morning!

Upon arrival at Leeming Bar 31162 was hastily shunted out of the sidings, having had 1Z99 displayed in its headcode box, and was dropped onto the rear of the train and even assisted in rear to Northallerton West; the train actually delivering everyone there right time. On the return trip to Leeming Bar 31162 showed its worth, on load 7 with a dead 37057/56098 on the rear. It was well worth being present for and certainly the thrash of the day from the little 31; which was doing a good impression of not pulling the skin off a rice pudding but certainly making  bloody racket about it, which is what it’s all about.

The only other train of the day to arrive back also arrived back into Leeming Bar with a failed engine inside one that worked; this time the thunderbird 47715 had developed a fault which had resulted in 37674 being run round at Redmire to work the last train of the day, the 1850 Redmire – Leeming Bar back. Of course we discussed the possibilities and permutations that may arise after the possible demise of yet two more locos at the gala that evening; and went to be late on hoping that we’d get yet more work for 31162 the following day as a result.

Photos Friday 17th July:


Saturday 18th July 2015

After a decent breakfast at the White Rose Hotel, just round the corner from Leeming Bar station, where our room had a birds eye view of 31162 and GBRf’s 66761, we were eager to find out what was happening with the first departures of the day; the 0910 to Northallerton West planned to feature 56098 and the 0835 Northallerton West to Redmire featuring 47715. Both had been repaired late the previous night and were fully fit for traffic that morning turning the morning into a bit of a waiting game really as 31162 wasn’t booked out until the 1140 Leeming Bar – Redmire.

We did do the spoon avoidance move though that entailed 56098 to Northallerton West for 37057 to Finghall Lane and 37057 back to Leeming Bar to position ourselves in a compartment on the vacuum braked set; where we basically resided for the next 9 hours of the day as 31162 then did two round trips of the line on its own and then a top & tail run with 37674; the tractor being on the Leeming Bar end of the set and the train running through to Northallerton West.

The last trip back to Northallerton West had 31162 giving some assistance on the rear and unfortunately saw the vac set run out of real ales as we watched the last pint be pulled from the on-board hand pumps! Just when the bottled beer seemed like a good idea all the remaining stock was shipped off the train at Constable Burton crossing loop and onto the Ale train; which had ironically ran out of beer completely after a 150+ turnout from the local community outnumbered the estimated 30 or so the railway were anticipating! Unfortunately, due to the beer passing time-loss as Constable Burton the train arrived into Northallerton West a good 20 minutes late , which just didn’t allow enough time for those travelling home by train to do the return trip with 31162 to Leeming Bar with 37674 bringing up the rear of the load 4 set. While still a decent run back it was nothing like the previous evening when rice pudding skins weren’t being pulled very well…….

Back at Leeming Bar our well executed pre-ordering of pizzas worked a treat and they were collected from the pizza shop over the road while the set we’d just got off was shunted out of the way to allow the ale train to arrive; which we used as a dining train to Northallerton West and back while 56098 and 37057 top & tailed us there and back; a good day was had by all, everything did as it should, nothing failed and most of all nobody complained about the fact that the 37’s hadn’t dominate the day as they’d previously been rostered to. And ultimately I guess there wasn’t really much of a point anyway as both 37218 & 37603 were out on the Cumbrian Coast keeping most 37 bashers occupied and for probably a lot less money!

Photos Saturday 18th July:


Sunday 19th July 2015

Sunday morning started with a bit of a bonus really as thunderbird 47715 was casually left behind at Leeming Bar instead of being conveyed to Redmire to be detached and remain there for the day; to return on the last train of the gala. That not only meant that 56098 worked the first trip to Redmire on its own but also that if the 47 stayed at Leeming Bar then 31162 would run round off its last trip out and work back on its own instead of being dragged back by 47715!

Having done 56098 out and back to Leeming Bar, only really to claim some seat for when 31162 dropped onto the stock, it was 31162’s first allocated outing on the load 7 air brake set; other than its trip to Northallerton West on the Friday night. With GBRf’s 66761 dead on the rear it made for an entertaining journey on effectively load 10 on an uphill journey. Of course the 66 on the way back was far from entertaining and a means to get us back to Leeming Bar for dinner; which was at the White Rose Hotel where a very reasonable carvery was being served at just £6.95.

As is always the case at the end of a weekend diesel gala numbers dwindled by the time the last return trip to Redmire came about and thankfully 47715 was screwed down on shed leaving 31162 to do the last return trip of the gala on its own, unfortunately only on the load 4 vacuum brake set; still it was a fitting end to a good weekend by the time it arrived back into Leeming Bar. The convoy to return all the engines was already half set up with just 31162 to join it; unfortunately it wasn’t going to stay at the railway for a while longer despite actually being asked to…..

Photos Sunday 19th July:

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