Shunting the shed yard will be made easier with the laying of a short extension of track on the headshunt, enabling more vehicles to be stored there, rather than outside the shed. This work has necessitated the resiting of the Engine Shed Junction ground frame on which work is progressing. Track maintenance over the winter will be concentrated on the Toddington narrow gauge station area.
The Motor Rail is receiving repairs to its roof as well as the new paint on the bodywork.
The 2013 timetable for the narrow gauge is now displayed on this site. There will be a big increase in the number of operating days, to 38, of which 21 are scheduled to be steam. With the GWR running through from Cheltenham again in 2013, Thomas days will be back and a four day gala in May will see plenty of steam activity on the narrow gauge as well as the standard gauge. It is hoped by everyone that visitor numbers will see a big improvement on the 2012 season; although special days saw a decent attendance, ordinary Sundays could have done with more passengers.
As previously mentioned, Nigel Heath's Brigadelok is now in residence and work will continue to finish reassembly with a view to getting it in steam. The boiler already had a successful hydraulic test before coming to Toddington.
50th Anniversary and Gala report 6/7 October
Helped by excellent weather on both days, the anniversary celebrations on the Saturday and public open day on the Sunday were both very well attended leading to the weekend being a great success. Both days had four locos in steam for our visitors to savour.
Amongst the 60 or 70 invited guests on Saturday, we were pleased to welcome our own shareholders and supporters with quite a number from the old days at Ashchurch. The Princess Elizabeth Loco Society was also particularly well represented and there was plenty of reminiscing. As promised, Mrs Penelope Bossom from the Overbury Estate presented a commemorative plaque for our Wembley carriage and we also had one of the original Gloucester Railway Carriage & Wagon Co plates to go with it. A splendid buffet was catered for by our local pub, 'The Pheasant', at lunchtime. Trains hauled by 'Peter Pan' and 'Jack Lane' were provided later in the afternoon for guests to enjoy a ride on our railway. It was a good start to the weekend.
Sunday was very busy right from the first train due away from Toddington at 11am. 'Peter Pan' and 'Jack Lane' doubleheaded the three-coach set, while 1091 hauled the two coach train. The services ran every twenty minutes with the crossing point being at California and there was good demand throughout the day, right until the last train at 4pm. The 16mm layouts in the shed at California created a great deal of interest with a steady stream of visitors. Generally the operation went pretty well. Unfortunately 'Justine' , despite wearing a new party frock ( repaint of boiler etc) , got stomach ache from too much party cake (clogged up tubes from the new delivery of coal) and remained in the shed yard. Nigel Heath's Brigadelok looked great in its Sena Sugar Estates livery, but needs more work before it can be steamed and will be staying with us.
To conclude this brief report, the NGR Board wishes to thank all who worked hard in preparing for the weekend and everyone who attended on both days, particularly the helpers who turned out in force to make the event very memorable and a fitting celebration for fifty years of railway preservation. Thanks to Graham Morris for bringing 'Peter Pan' which was so much a feature at Ashchurch and the early days at Toddington. Thanks to all at Statfold Barn for generously providing 'Jack Lane' for the weekend and to the Statfold crew on Sunday who really entered into the spirit. And thank you to Nigel Heath and his colleagues who pulled out all the stops to get their engine ready to attend the gala. Also gratitude to our member Gary Stevens for coming all the way from the Isle of Wight with his excellent 16mm layout and the 16mm group from Gloucester for providing these attractions. It has given us ideas for future galas…It is intended to post some photos from both days on this website. Finally to say that we have received some complimentary messages from various people who thoroughly enjoyed the weekend.
OUR 50th YEAR The North Gloucestershire Railway has its origins in the Dowty Railway Preservation Society (DRPS) that was formed in October 1962 at the Dowty factory that was situated at Ashchurch, near Tewkesbury. on the Birmingham to Bristol main line. Initially standard gauge locomotives and rolling stock were collected . The site was also home to other societies and locomotives including GWR 4-6-0 No. 7808 Coockham Manor and LMSR 4-6-2 No. 46201 Princess Elizabeth. The DRPS acquired a steam loco from Cadburys at Bournville and a narrow gauge line was also laid. The larger locomotives gradually moved away and in 1983 the DRPS itself moved to its present home at Toddington., the home of the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway. The Cadbury loco inaugurated steam passenger trains on the latter and the DRPS greatly extended the existing narrow gauge railway at Toddington. The DRPS then decided to concentrate on narrow gauge and sold off the standard gauge items and also severed its links with the Dowty group factories and thus the North Gloucestershire Railway Co. Ltd was formed. On Sunday 7th October, therefore, we are holding a special open day to celebrate our fifty continuous years in railway preservation
A lot of effort is being put into the Gala and at the time of writing, our three guest steam locos are due to arrive in the next few days. As already stated, these are 'PETER PAN', 'JACK LANE' and the third steam loco will be another Brigadelok 0-8-0T, a sister to our 1091. This is Nigel Heath's engine, built by Henschel, works number 14968. It was imported into the UK from Mozambique where it worked on the extensive Sena Sugar Estates system. The loco has needed a very extensive overhaul and we are pleased that its first public appearance will be at our gala, though not in steam. During Saturday evening's photoshoot it is intended to pose 14968 alongside 1091 (coincidentally Henschel works no. 15968).
On Sunday 7th October, there will be doubleheading of trains with various combinations of locos. The passenger service will start at 11am and run through to 4pm, with two train sets and departures from Toddington narrow gauge station every twenty minutes. Be sure to get off at California and visit the displays in and around the loco shed. All for £5 adult; £2 child 5 – 15; under 5's free. Please note as it is a gala, there will be no concessionary fares.
The frame of the Gloucester carriage has been fitted with new floorboards, with locating slots cut in for the body. Consequently the body was moved back onto the frame and fitted well, with relatively minor adjustments. The bodywork will now be the focus of the woodworking team's efforts.
The Hunslet diesel was started up recently and has been used for shunting, though still requires more work to get it operating satisfactorily. The Ruston which was the reserve diesel loco has not been running as it should and is part dismantled for attention. Our older Ruston had an oil change and has been started up.
Both Justine and 1091 are ready for the boiler inspector's visit in the middle of March. They were successfully test steamed in late February. Off site, work is proceeding on the boiler of our third resident steam loco, Chaka, and the new firebox has now been ordered. All being well, the firebox will be completed in the summer.
Work has been carried out to replace the air brake fittings on the carriages and working locos and also renew air pipes where necessary.
Trackwork in the shed yard was completed during February, with road two fully resleepered.
The Permanent Way hut has been repainted internally, as well as receiving a concrete base. This will enable the floor to be put back and benches assembled, so it can be used as a Signal & Telegraph workshop .
Attention is being given to arrangements for our 50th anniversary commemorations, with publicity and invitations starting to be sent out. Saturday 6th October will be for invited guests only, our own shareholders and supporters, plus representatives of other organisations which have been associated with the Dowty RPS and North Gloucestershire Railway over the years. It is anticipated there will be two or maybe three visiting steam locos, plus other attractions. Sunday 7th October will be a public running day.
This year we are celebrating our 50th year in railway preservation. In consequence we are holding a special open day on Sunday 7th October that will include all our operable steam locomotives plus visiting engines on an extended passenger service. Fuller details will be announced in due course. We will also be running trains on every Sunday from April 8th until September 16th.Luckily some recent increases in our working members have allowed us to do this.Due to retirements far more work on the rolling stock and infrastructure is also taking place and many projects are currently in hand.
Restoration of the Gloucester carriage is proceeding well. Both oak bufferbeams have been attached to the frame and new floorboards have arrived for fitting in due course. Attention is now being given to the bodywork, with rotten panels being removed at one end.
High winds in December damaged a couple of rooflights in the main shed building, but we were able to get a contractor in before Christmas to obtain and fit new panels. This may have saved further damage occurring during the holiday period when there was more bad weather.
Access to our site will be restricted for most of January and February with our entrance road closed while a new building for the standard gauge is erected on the site of the now demolished DRPS shed.
More work has been done on the Hunslet diesel with the discovery of wear on part of the control mechanism which will be built up with weld. The wear could be the cause of the loco’s drive not always disengaging when it should.
Shed road number one and the point in the yard have been completely resleepered with work proceeding on road two. A concrete base is to be made for the Permanent Way hut we acquired last year, after which it will find use as an S&T workshop.