Diesel Gala Report and Diesel fleet news.
The annual Diesel Gala on the South Devon Railway took
place on the 9th / 10th June Visiting attraction this year was the Class
A1A group's Class 31 diesel 31 108 which arrived by road a few days before.
An intensive timetable was operated using all the SDR's mainline fleet
- 20 110, 20 118, 37 312, D7612 and the '31' on most of the services. The
04 D2246 was back in service as well after most of a year off with a leaky
fluid coupling in the drive system which has been fixed, and having its
springs overhauled and refitted. Apart from yard pilot the shunter also
gave gala participants some rare haulage by working two trips to and from
Totnes over the weekend. The Class 127 diesel railcar was also in action
on both days.
South Devon Diesel Traction group were delighted to be
able to put their Class 33, 33 002 'Sea King' on display outside the shed
for the first time. Considerable bodywork repairs have been carried out.
Work continues on the engine overhaul.
On Saturday evening the service continued until just
after 10.00pm with the real ale bar proving popular plus chilli and rice
being served from the kitchen car. Although the attendance was a little
down on last year, reduced expenses meant that the gala was profitable.
All trains ran to time over the weekend and no problems were had with any
of the locomotives. Saturdays service was an all diesel affair, but on
Sunday 5526 did two round trips with the auto coaches to please the steam
By coincidence 31 108 was originally D5526 when built.
As it will be staying at Buckfastleigh for the next few months, and maybe
in to next year, the SDR is hoping to stage a day when both 5526's run
the service. The 31 will certainly be staying long enough to take part
in the 'Gronk Aid' gala in November. Class 25 D7612 will be leaving the
SDR shortly for the Summer on hire to the Spa Valley Railway.
C107 Copper for Locomotive fireboxes
The South Devon Railway has just completed the supply
of the latest batch of new copper plates for various locomotive's fireboxes.
Locomotives to benefit will include, 75014 for the PDR, a Black 5 based
at Mid Hants, 70000 Britannia, a certain A3 and an engine being restored
by the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland. It is no longer possible
to buy finished copper sheets from a single British Manufacturer as the
production capacity no longer exists. Production does now unfortunately
require input from various manufacturer's abroad to produce the end result.
Devonshire Pullman' popularity increasing
The South Devon Railway introduced a limited programme
of dining trains last year on its 'Devonshire Pullman' train. Three superb
carriages and top chef, Stuart Hodsell, make the recipe for a first rate
evening out. The vehicles in use are the lines two former Great Western
Super Saloon carriages 'King
George' and 'Duchess
of York' together with Special
The May and June evenings were sold out well in advance
as is the July date. There are still spaces available on the evenings of
September 21st and October 19th. Each train features a different menu -
details are on
the web site under Dining Trains. But with a busy schedule of evening
charter trains and gala events the number of 'Devonshire Pullman' dates
will always be limited.
© South Devon Railway