Saturday, 28 September 2013

Severn Valley Steam!

Autumn Steam Gala at the Severn Valley Railway – weekend 20-22 September

We took the opportunity for an extended stay at the campsite just by the Hampton Loade Station, arriving on Thursday and stopping through until Monday.

Looking down from the train at our campsite and van

Going to a steam gala gives the opportunity to see at close quarters the visiting locos from other parts of the country as well as having a full running timetable – in this case, including night time running!

I spent the Friday walking along part of the running line where you get a 'ground-eye' view of the power of a steam loco, even though it's doing less than 30mph.

The range of locos was impressive with some special guests for the Gala.

Met 1 – the 1898 Victorian Metropolitan Railway Class E 0-4-4 is the only survivor of seven built and worked from Baker Street, London

The Duchess of Sutherland (which we had seen at Crewe the week before) had problems with the vacuum braking system sticking on

Pulling out of Bridgnorth with a full set of coaches

A visit to the engineering workshops to see some (very) heavy engineering in progress

A new wheel set ready to fitted

A wheel bearing inset, the grooves ready to take the white metal bearing surface

Kinlet Hall sporting it's boiler boards

The freight train clanking through
Hampton Loade Station at night
On the Sunday, Chris and I travelled on the vintage Metropolitan Carriage No.353. This has been fully restored to it's first class condition for the 150 year celebrations of the London Underground! Certainly very luxurious, although with authentic vintage suspension!

Lady in First Class
We also managed to get a place (a bit of a long story which includes running up the platform!) in the Great Western Railway Observation Saloon. Again, this is a luxurious coach, built for the railway owners to view their line in the privacy of their own coach.
We opted for a cream tea with only six other railway enthusiasts – a private coach for the length of the line!

This train was pulled by the 1934 Maunsell Southern Railway V Class School's Cheltenham. This was built for SR as a shorter, though powerful 3-cylinder 4-4-0 class to manage shorter turntables and tighter bends found on some of the southern lines. It was withdrawn by 1962 and is now owned by the National Railway Museum residing at the Mid-Hants Railway.


We had a great extended weekend with good weather and an interesting steamy hobby!

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Out and About!

Last week has been quite eventful!

After the awesome Welsh walk, I played with our Rode Hall Silver Band in the Audlem parish church – St.James'. Chris and a few boaters from the marina came to listen. It went down very well.

On a rather wet Sunday, we drove into Crewe and visited the Heritage Centre – really a railway centre. There had been news that the A4 Union of South Africa was there giving brake van rides. We were not to be disappointed as the Gresley A4 was just back from the Cumbrian Mountain Express mainline excursion.

Complete with smokey double chimney

It seems that the mainline steam locos are using the Crewe Centre as a layover, for maintenance and interim running repairs.

There were no fewer than five locos there – including Britannia needing some work done.

With the 'not to be moved' sign

The Duchess of Sutherland was in – again, fresh from the Scarborough Flyer run

The Duchess is going over to the Severn Valley Railway for their Autumn Gala this weekend

On Tuesday, Colin (from the Marina) and I walked over the Long Mynd. It was wet and misty, though this did not deter from the enjoyment of this wonderful walking area.

I am doing the recce for a future Audlem Ramblers walk.

Colin admiring the view

Descending the valley – rather wet!

On Wednesday, the Tour of Britain Cycle Race came through Market Drayton – very exciting waiting in anticipation for the racing convoy to come through.

Police outriders clear the route

The Race Commissioner's car precedes the riders

The 11 man breakaway come through

The Sky Team lead the peleton

All over in minutes – still the TV highlights of the race through Wales was excellent!















Monday, 16 September 2013

Walking in Wales – The Glyders Horseshoe

Audlem Ramblers – Saturday 14th September 2013

I wouldn't have attempted this by myself and therefore appreciated the opportunity to be 'led' by Will, a strong and experienced walker in the Snowdonia terrain.

We had a weather 'window' on the day and the three of us with Tony driving sped over to the visitors car park at Llyn Ogwen. This was a totally new area to me and what a delight I had in store.

Overall, I think we covered about 9+km (6 miles) though climbed – and descended – a majestic 1020m (3280 feet).

Setting off with the mist on the tops – heading for the gap

Glyder Fach in cloud

Yes, we climb up to the left, through the rock and scree
Tony climbing up
Looking back, down the valley
Audlem Ramblers
On top of Wales! The cantilever rock
Looking across to Snowdon
Wonderful views!
Heading down – over the edge?! 
A final view, back up to the horseshoe route – to Y Garn

We walked the three tops of Glyder Fach, Glyder Fawr and Y Garn, all over 3000ft, with Glyder Fawr at an awesome 1001m (3284ft).

Just wonderful! Although I am rather stiff this morning!