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.
1091 has been fitted with a new air brake actuator following an air brake failure on the very last train of the gala Sunday. On that occasion, the loco was towed back from Didbrook by the Hunslet diesel. Both 1091 and Justine are being made ready for winter storage.
'Chaka' is still away for the new inner firebox to be fitted on which, it is rumoured, work is actually underway, albeit very slowly and sporadically. The Hunslet diesel now has replacement brake blocks all round with the assistance of Les Driver, to whom we are very grateful. His expertise made this job a lot quicker than it would have been otherwise. With the end of the running season, the Tewkesbury gang are proceeding with tasks on the Wembley carriage, new body panelling is being fitted and more repair work executed on the uprights and cross pieces where necessary. A lot of repair and replacement of various electrical wiring was carried out by the S & T in the run up to the gala and, gratifyingly, it all worked well on that weekend.
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.