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December 2013

The big news this month is that the NGR has purchased another diesel loco. It is a 101 horsepower Simplex 4-wheel diesel hydraulic built in 1985, which is currently on the Talyllyn Railway. It is in working order and some members ran a loaded test train with it from Pendre to Brynglas at the end of October. The purchase went very smoothly for which we would like to thank the Talylynn. Of course it is 2'3'' gauge at present, so will need regauging before coming to Toddington hopefully during the early part of 2014. The work will be carried out at Alan Keef, where a survey will also be done of any other work required. Acquisition of this loco will mean that our faithful 60hp Hunslet will be able to take life a bit easier! It has been such an essential part of our operation that major problems would occur if it had a prolonged period out of traffic.

Meantime work proceeds on the Wembley carriage. All the frames are now in place and most of the shaped centre supports are fitted. A start will soon be made on the seat boards. The ply is also ready to be trimmed for the backrests.

An extra running date has been inserted before Christmas. This will be Sunday 22 December and will be diesel operated. Please come along and support us.

Sena no. 15 stands outside the shed at California Crossing photo: S Mourton

A very enjoyable weekend of running for Nigel Heath's Sena loco took place in November for invited guests who had helped Nigel over the years with restoration of the loco. The steam locos have been 'winterised', with pipes and gauges etc disconnected to hopefully avoid any cold weather damage. Diesel locos have been topped up with anti-freeze.

Details of our 2014 running dates will be put on this website in January.


October 2013

Our Brigadelok 1091 will be participating in an exciting event next year. As part of the arrangements, we will host a visiting steam loco at Toddington, STANHOPE, dates to be announced in due course.

Here is the press release issued by the organisers, Moseley Railway Trust: Moseley Railway Trust announces second visiting steam locomotive for Tracks to the Trenches.
The Moseley Railway Trust is delighted to announce that agreement has been reached for a second visiting steam locomotive for the September 2014 Tracks to the Trenches event. The North Gloucestershire Railway, based at Toddington, have agreed that their 1918-built Henschel Brigadelok locomotive will visit the MRT’s Apedale Valley Light Railway for the Tracks to the Trenches gala, to be held on September 12, 13 and 14 of 2014.

Almost 2500 of the Brigadelok locomotives were built. These served the German military light railways – known as Heeresfeldbahn – on all the fronts of the war. Despite being built for military service, they subsequently demonstrated their usefulness for many post-war operators. An innovative feature is the Klein-Lindner radial axles, which allow the locomotives to traverse tight radius curves despite the 080 wheel arrangement. The locomotive which will come to Apedale is Henschel 15968. After the end of the First World War, the locomotive worked at the Naklo sugar factory in Poland, hauling trains of sugar beet in from the fields to the factory for processing. In 1985, the loco moved from Poland to the UK, where it was restored to its current immaculate condition, carrying Heeresfeldbahn grey livery and the number 1091.

Phil Robinson, MRT Chairman said - We are extremely grateful to the North Gloucestershire Railway for loaning us this locomotive. When taken with the Baldwin loco which will visit from Leighton Buzzard, and the Moseley Railway Trust’s own Joffre and Hudswell Clarke steam locomotives, we now have engines representing all the main combatants in the First World War. Our event is all about commemorating all those who participated in this conflict, regardless of nationality, and we believe that representing the German forces is key to this.

The Kerr Stuart locomotive Stanhope, normally resident at Apedale, will be making a reciprocal visit to the North Gloucestershire Railway during 2014.


July 2013

Loco 1091 was used on 16 June, Classic Vehicles day, and for the Thomas days on 22 and 23 June. On the latter date, it was joined by Sena 15. 1091 is now fitted with an ex-Denver & Rio Grande Western chime whistle, last heard on Cadbury No.1 when it was at Toddington in the early years of the standard gauge.

Justine was in charge for the Bus Rally on 14 July. Other Sundays have been worked by our Hunslet diesel. Sena 15 is undergoing further work, focussed on the braking system.

Justine runs round her train in Toddington narrow gauge platform photo: S Mourton

Off site, a new foundation ring has now been manufactured for Hunslet 0-4-2T Chaka. It is hoped that some bogies will be made available on loan for the Wembley carriage. Though they are not the World War One D type, they are suitable for the carriage and will enable it to be moved around a lot easier than at present, with the body currently mounted on two ex-Dowty Meco flat wagons. An impressive amount of research is being done into the history of the carriages like ours which worked at the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley on the RoadRails system, with quite a number of people with various interests contributing to what is intended to be a published article in due course.

Talking of carriages, some of our working members visited the Bodmin & Wenford Railway in Cornwall last month and were invited to view the ex-GWR Saloon 80973 formerly owned by the DRPS. Progress to restore the carriage for use on the Bodmin line is very impressive and it is hoped to attend in October when the carriage is due to make its inaugural run. We have also been able to supply a lot about the history of the carriage and put the Bodmin railway in contact with Ken Vincent, the founder of the DRPS and the man largely responsible for saving the carriage for preservation.


June 2013

The Cotswold Steam Gala which ran for four days over the Bank Holiday weekend was a great success, even the weather behaved itself. The highlight was the first public steaming of Brigadelok 0-8-0T Sena Sugar Estates 15, Henschel 14968 of 1917. Many, many hours of work was rewarded when SSE 15 hauled its first passenger train doubleheaded with our other Brigadelok, 1091, Henschel 15968 of 1918.This happened on Saturday afternoon, 25 May, and continued for the rest of the service that day and throughout Sunday and Monday. This is a first for the UK, having two Brigadeloks working together.

Not to be forgotten, 'Justine' our Jung 0-4-0WT, also worked trains throughout the weekend. Trains were very busy, but we were able to successfully handle the crowds. We want to thank all our volunteers who turned out to help over the four days and the time leading up to the event.

The two Brigadeloks pass California Crossing with the noon train on the Gala weekend.
The first doubleheaded Brigadeloks in the UK. photo: T Bowles


March 2013

With Easter here, both 'Justine' and 1091 have passed boiler inspections; the latter is scheduled to be used for trains on Easter Sunday and Monday. See timetable for further details.

Sena Sugar Co 15 has been painted in green livery with red lining and looks very smart. Pipework is now being fitted. It had a successful visual boiler inspection on 27 March and work will now proceed to get the loco ready for a steam test.

Undercoat has been applied to the Wembley carriage which is another item looking very tidy in green with white panels. The work done so far is a real credit to those who have transformed it from the wreck that arrived only two years ago.

On 24 March newer working members had a training day to try their hand at driving the diesel and train guarding.