The Moseley Railway Trust is delighted to report on the success of the 2011 Gala. Visitor numbers exceeded those for the 2010 Grand Opening Weekend – more than a thousand people visited the 2’0” gauge Apedale Valley Light Railway during the weekend.
It appears that the unexpectedly good weather, combined with the Made in Staffordshire theme captured the public imagination. The Made in Staffordshire theme was reflected by the use of four Staffordshire built steam locomotives – two Apedale resident Kerr Stuarts, a Bagnall and a Hunslet built at Statfold. The Bagnall was
Isabel, visiting from the Amerton Farm railway, courtesy of the Staffordshire Narrow Gauge Railway Society. The Hunslet Engine company brought Statfold, a recently built locomotive to the Quarry Hunslet design. Last, but by no means least, Roy Etherington enthralled the crowds with the UK’s only compressed-air powered locomotive, named Sid. The MRT wishes to thank the owners and the crews of the visiting locomotives for their assistance and support.
Despite a few minor problems on the Saturday morning, the train service on the AVLR ran very well. Phil Robinson, the MRT’s Chairman said:- We were particularly pleased by the performance of the Kerr Stuart Joffre locomotive. This was the first time the locomotive had been steamed in public, and the first time it has hauled trains in the UK since leaving
Stoke-on-Trent in 1916. The Engineering Department have burnt much midnight oil on this project – they only finished testing the loco on the Friday before the Gala. With its distinctive spark arrestor chimney, the Joffre looked and sounded in fine fettle.
The profits raised from the Gala will be put towards the MRT’s next major project, which is to commence constructing the foundations on the museum of industrial narrow gauge railways.
The Apedale Valley Light Railway will operate every Saturday until the end of October, normally using diesel locomotives. However, on Saturday & Sunday 8th & 9th October, steam traction will be used. Subject to any problems, it is planned to steam both of the Kerr Stuart locomotives Stanhope and the Joffre. This will give the rare opportunity to see two Kerr Stuart locomotives in operation together, just a handful of miles from where they were built. It is expected that this will be last public steaming for the Joffre in 2011.
The AVLR will be operating steam-hauled Santa Specials on 10 & 11 December, and 17 & 18 December. Pre-booking is strongly recommended for these trains, and full details can be found here.