Old Comrades Re-united

Old Comrades re-unite at Tracks to the Trenches 2018 event at Apedale

The Moseley Railway Trust is pleased to confirm that agreement has been reached with the Greensand Railway Museum Trust and the Leighton Buzzard Railway for two historic locomotives to ap

pear at the Tracks to the Trenches 2018 event. The agreement covers a steam loco and a petrol-engined loco.

The steam locomotive is the 1917-bult Baldwin number 778. This loco served on the Western Front during the First World War, and ultimately ended its working career in a sugar mill in India (after many adventures!). It came to the UK in 1985, and after a laborious restoration, was returned to steam in 2007. It normally works passenger trains at Leighton Buzzard, but has also visited many other railways. It was a star attraction at the previous Tracks to the Trenches events, and it is confidently expected that 2018 will be a hat-trick of successful visits to Apedale.

The visit of the Baldwin steam loco is sponsored by Railway Magazine and Heritage Railway magazine. The Moseley Railway Trust is delighted to confirm that these titles are the official Media Partners for Tracks to the Trenches.

The petrol loco was also built in 1917, by Motor Rail of Bedford. It was allocated number 2182 by the military. It is the only known survivor of the Armoured-type 40hp petrol locos, built to haul supplies to the front line where steam locos would have been too visible and vulnerable. This loco is currently being restored to as-new condition by the G reensand Railway Museum Trust – it’s touch and go as to whether it will be finished in time.

The War Office Locomotive Trust’s Hunslet (military number 303) will also be at the event; further details for this loco will be released in due course. However, recent research by historians associated with the Leighton Buzzard Railway and the Greensand Railway Museum Trust has confirmed that Baldwin number 778 and Hunslet 303 worked side-by-side during the First World War. Under the control of the 14th Engineers of the US Army, both locos operated near Boisleux-au-Mont, which is a village about five miles south of Arras in Northern France. Tracks to the Trenches will be the first time these two old war (iron) horses have been reunited with both locos in steam.

Tracks to Trenches 2018 will take place on Friday 13, Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 July 2018. It will be held at the Moseley Railway Trust’s Apedale Valley Light Railway at Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire. It is the third in a series of events held to mark the First World War centenary, and highlight how narrow gauge railways supported the fighting men of all nations.

Phil Robinson, the Moseley Railway Trust Chairman said “We would like to express our sincere thanks to the Greensand Railway Museum Trust, the Leighton Buzzard Railway and Mortons Media – publishers of Heritage Railway and Railway Magazine for teaming up to make these visits happen”.

Details of the Tracks to the Trenches 2018 event are available at www.ww1-event.org. Advance tickets are now on sale.

As always, the Trust would be pleased to hear from organisations interested in sponsorship opportunities at this high-profile event, and also from potential exhibitors of items relevant to the 1914-1918 period.

More details of the Trust and the Apedale Valley Light Railway can be found on Facebook or on the website www.mrt.org.uk.