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South Devon Railway - Winter Diesel Gala Day
"Gronk Aid 2010"
Saturday 6th November
09 010 D3721
09 010 arriving on the SDR recentlyPhoto © Neil Cannon 2010

Working Timetable

There will be a final chance to sample haulage behind the South Devon Railway's (SDR) heritage diesel fleet on Saturday 6th November. Following the gala, most of the diesel fleet will be stored for the winter period.

Train services start at 09.20 with an early morning trip for the popular single railcar W55000, aka the Bubblecar. The first locomotive hauled service then departs at 10.00 with further hauled services running at 45-minute intervals throughout the day until 16.00. W55000 then completes the day with a final trip along the line departing at 16.45.

Three locomotives belonging to South Devon Diesel Traction, in Class 20's 8110 and 20118, and Class 33 33002, will be in use together with the SDR's own pioneer Class 122 railcar No. W55000.

The locomotive roster has been arranged so that followers of English Electric powered Class 20's can travel on all services worked by 8110 and 20118. Likewise, enthusiasts who enjoy Sulzer traction will be able to travel on all services worked by 33002.

The end of season diesel gala, affectionately referred to as "Gronk Aid" and now in its seventh year, has been run to help generate funds for the restoration of the South Devon Railway Trust's Class 09 diesel shunter No. D3666. This locomotive was purchased many years ago, and although seen by many visitors as a nearly complete machine, several important key components were missing which prevented it from returning to working order.

Recently, the SDR has been able to purchase another member of the class, No. D3721 (09 010) and this is in far superior condition to D3666. It will be returned to service over the coming winter ready for 2011. The missing parts required to return the locomotive to operation will be taken from D3666 and this locomotive will then probably be sold. During the diesel gala on 6th November both locomotives will be on show alongside each other for what could be the last appearance together. D3721 is expected to return to active service in April 2011.

Also at Buckfastleigh, several of the SDR's other small diesel shunting locomotives based on the line will also be on show.

The Devon Diesel Society's (DDS) Class 04 diesel mechanical shunter, No. D2246 will be on display, along with the railway's own Fowler shunter MFP No.4. This locomotive was repainted by the DDS earlier this year and now carries green Ministry of Fuel and Power (MFP) livery similar to that it carried when working at Flax Bourton near Bristol.

The final diesel expected to be on display will the SDR's "Yorkshire" diesel electric shunter, No. 2745. This locomotive has just received a major engine overhaul in the SDR's main works, and members of the DDS are busy working hard to complete its repaint in time for the gala.

The D.D.S will again be running the popular on-train bar featuring a range of bottle conditioned ales. There will also be a range of other items on sale to help generate funds towards the restoration of Class 50 No. D402. Due to ongoing engineering work at Buckfastleigh the Class 50 is not expected to be on show during the gala, however members staffing the bar will be only too pleased to answer questions and provide updates of this major restoration.

Normal fares will apply and these count as day rover tickets and will allow visitors to enjoy multiple trips along the line.

Back at Buckfastleigh, between 10.45 and 16.15 there will be the very rare chance to try your hand at driving one of the small shunting locomotives. For just £5.00, visitors will be able to drive D2246, and/or 2745 within the confines of the station. Places will be offered on a first come first served basis, and will operate in between the main train services. If requested, it may be possible to also provide the extremely rare chance to drive MFP No.4.

Proceeds from the event are again being directed towards the restoration of the South Devon Railway Trust's Class 09 D3721. Work is expected to start on the loco in due course thanks to the funds raised from previous Gronk Aid events and proceeds generated from the popular diesel driver experience courses.

At Buckfastleigh the refreshment rooms will be offering a range of hot food and drinks, whilst Expressway Models will be open for the sale of model railway items and general gifts.


Working Timetables for downloading and local printing.

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© South Devon Railway Trust 2010