As mentioned on
page 1, given the overall area of England, Scotland and Wales, we in
the UK are well served by working Heritage railways, both, standard gauge
and narrow gauge, which operate steam locomotives (as well as preserved
diesel locomotives). There are very few points in the UK which are more
than 50 miles from a Heritage railway. The far north of Scotland possibly
is, though, that distance will not increase by much, before a Heritage
railway is found.
of them operate at main line speeds, nevertheless, they remain a wonderful
way to get a nostalgic blast of the steam past. Especially when some of
the larger railways hold their steam galas, and they feature visiting
guest locomotives as well as their own.
standard gauge Heritage railway, the West Somerset Railway, often has as
many as 12 locomotives in steam during their galas; with all 12 being in
steam and working, on the busier days.
Of course, the
down side to steam galas is the number of people there... in photography
terms, not always helpful. But, as mentioned on the previous page, a
working knowledge of the railway does help. It just depends on whether you
want to ride on the trains, or take photos. I always buy a rover ticket,
which allows travel all day. Just in case. Though, usually, I tend to go
for a place or station where I know there is a lot of action, and I can
get a good vantage position.
And, a visit to
the shed, if allowed, is always worthwhile. To see how projects are coming
along, or what has changed since the previous visit.
But, gala or
not, there is always plenty to do and see at most, if not all Heritage
A scene at
Minehead on the West Somerset Railway, during the steam gala on 1 October
2009. Some of the 10 locomotives in steam await their turn.
at Bishops Lydiard on the West Somerset Railway, during the steam gala on
13 March 2008. 0-4-2 tank 1450 is sandwiched between two auto coaches,
forming a push-pull auto train, which can be driven from either coach,
depending on which direction the train is going... Of course, at least a
fireman had to be on the steam locomotive to keep fueling the fire. These
trains (from the 1920s) were essentially the forerunners of today's modern
trains, which drive from either end. See the following three thumbnails
for further auto train photos.
Royal Scot class 4-6-0 6100 "Royal Scot" stands at Minehead Station, on
the West Somerset Railway, on 28 March 2009, during the steam gala. Royal
Scot is famous for visiting the US in 1933.
view from the train, as it enters Grosmont Station on the North Yorkshire
Moors Railway, on 4 October 2009, during the steam gala, with seven
locomotives in steam.
Sheffield Park on the Bluebell Railway, on 19 October 2007, during the
view from the footbridge at Bewdley Station on the Severn Valley Railway
on 23 July 2006; Stanier Black five 4-6-0 45110 pulls up in the station.
view from the footbridge at Bewdley Station on the Severn Valley Railway,
during the steam gala on 6 March 2009. Using full zoom, through the smoke
and heat haze of two steam locomotives, Britannia class Pacific 70013
"Oliver Cromwell" comes into view.
at Toddington on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway on 25 May 2008,
during the steam gala. A cold, wet, windy day... six of the seven
locomotives in steam are visible in this photo.
Standard class 9F 2-10-0 92203 Black Prince about to enter Toddington
Station on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway, during their end of
year steam gala, when they had six engines in steam, on 29 December 2009.
A very cold, wet, windy, grey day made for challenging photography!