Narrow gauge trains ran on five days in April and, to date, two days in May. Steam was provided on four days by Henschel 0-8-0T 1091, which was the only steam loco operating at Toddington, as the standard gauge service used a single diesel railcar or 2-car DMU. Passenger figures on the narrow gauge compared more than favourably with last year, which is encouraging considering the lack of standard gauge steam at our end of the GWR. 1091 will be steamed for the next narrow gauge operating dates which are Sunday 29 and Monday 30 May. After that Jung 0-4-0WT 'Justine' will be running on steam days, normally one Sunday a month in June and July, with the Hunslet diesel in use on other operating days.
The Hibberd petrol loco has now been started up after quite a bit of attention and will be moved from its current position at the back of the shed to test out its running capabilities.
We seem to be acquiring items of local railway interest this year. After the GRCW carriage, we have been given two ex - Midland Railway farm crossing gates, which, although of some vintage, are relatively intact and in restorable condition. They came from Nick Gilder's farm at Aston-on- Carrant on the line from Ashchurch to Evesham and we are very grateful to Nick for the donation and transportation of these gates. It is intended to use one of them across our unloading spur to replace the metal gate currently there.
Another item just arrived is a lamp hut measuring 8 x 6 feet which is in excellent condition and was built in Birmingham for the Midland Railway. We thank Margaret Lewis very much for donating this item, while invaluable assistance in extracting and moving the hut from Tewkesbury to Toddington was provided by farmer Chris Stagg, to whom we also extend our thanks. The hut was acquired many years ago by Margaret's grandfather, a ganger based at Ashchurch, who moved it to his railway cottage in Newtown, Tewkesbury. We are not sure exactly where it was situated on the railway, but possibly in Tewkesbury. The hut has been placed close to the ex- Midland Railway California Crossing box and will once again be used as a workshop, already having a workbench and electric power points.
Photo P. A. Witts
Unloading the lamp hut on 11/5/2011. It is a standard Midland Railway design though extended by an extra two feet. It is in excellent condition an has obviously well looked after.
Photo P. A. Witts
The hut in position. Luckily there was space for a location close to the signalbox but without effecting the line of sight of the signalman. The signalbox, CALIFORNIA CROSSING, was originally at Gloucester just south of the former Midland railway station and was situated near the junction of the branch line into the docks.