This Gala weekend was held on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th September 2021, and provided:
- a first chance to see the newly-overhauled HL 3860 "No. 6", in service for the first time in 45+ years; and
- a last chance to see NER 1310 before it retires from service.
The event featured a variety of operating patterns, with both passenger trains and goods trains, some of which carried passengers in the brake van. All the locomotives were drawn from our own fleet, and as well as "No. 6" and 1310 they included:
- HC D1373 "MD&HB No. 45" (which was replacing HC D577 "Mary", since unfortunately this had developed a problem with its brakes); and
- HC D631 "Carroll".
The event also featured a large O gauge model railway, based on the Slough Estates railway system, which was operating on our mezzanine floor, thanks to Jaye Isherwood and colleagues. This layout featured a model of Slough Estates No. 3, for comparison with the real thing.
Saturday and Sunday Services
On both days a special timetable was operated, providing a fairly intensive service (since this was our first gala for two years we were trying not to make it too hectic!). Trains ran over both our main passenger line and the little-used Balm Road branch. As described above, two train sets were in operation: one a passenger train and the other a goods train, where for some journeys passengers were able to travel in the guard's brake van.
There was a variety of patterns of operation, including some trains that had a locomotive at each end, and some that were double-headed. The first train departed at about 10:30 am and the last one arrived at about 4:30 pm.
The key feature of the timetable was two passenger-carrying goods trains at the beginning and the end of each day (departing from Moor Road at roughly 10:40 and 16:00 respectively).
Special fares applied for each day, namely £10.00p for an adult and £1.00p for a child: there were no family tickets for this event. Also, most of the various travel concessions that are offered for our normal train services did not apply for this event: the only exception was that the normal concessions for registered carers still applied.
Our usual range of refreshments was available on each day, including hot and cold drinks and sweets and a range of sandwiches.
Whilst every effort was made to provide the advertised services, The Middleton Railway Trust Ltd. reserved the right to amend or cancel any service without prior notice and accepted no liability whatsoever for any inconvenience, loss or disappointment caused, including travel expenses.
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