Severn Valley becomes Welsh Valleys!

Despite fears of bad weather and two hiccups, the Severn Valley Railway’s tank engine-dominated, three-day spring steam gala in mid-March brought in the crowds, reports Robin Jones and Gareth Evans.

Dubbed a ‘Great Western tank fest’, 10 locomotives steamed for the Welsh-themed Severn Valley Railway March 15-17 spring steam gala, guests including LNWR Webb 0-6-2T Coal Tank No. 1054, which worked on the Western Region from Abergavenny shed in the 1950s.

The Keighley & Worth Valley-based locomotive was failed on the Friday (March 15) with leaking tubes and was towed back to Bridgnorth on the rear of a service train, where it was repaired in time for the following day’s operations.

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There had been initial concern it could not be fixed until Sunday, and the failure led to a small number of cancelled services, but late running was kept to a minimum.

Visiting from its current home at the Swindon & Cricklade Railway, Telford & Horsehay Steam Trust-owned No. 5619 adds to the distinct Welsh theme, having operated in South Wales for most of its life. The 0-6-2T is seen at Oldbury Wells on Friday, March 15. JOHN TITLOW

The other guests included a GWR trio in pannier No. 6430 from Llangollen, Large Prairie No. 4144 from Didcot and 0-6-2T No. 5619, which is owned by the Telford Steam Railway. All three also have strong links with the South Wales Valleys.

Also in action were home-based Port Talbot Railway/GWR 0-6-0ST No. 813; Hawksworth 0-6-0PT No. 1501; GWR heavy freight 2-8-0 No. 2857; 0-6-0PT No. 7714, which worked for the NCB at Penallta Colliery; GWR 4-6-0 No. 7802 Bradley Manor; and recently-outshopped BR Standard 4MT 4-6-0 No. 75069, making its gala debut following its February 16 return to steam following overhaul.

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Read more and view more images in Issue 253 of HR – on sale April 12!

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Sam Hewitt