The Ribble Steam Railway, based on Preston’s Riversway Docklands, is holding its Winter Steam Gala this weekend, 16th – 17th February.
This year there will be two engines visiting for the event, and four engines will be in steam together on both days, hauling passenger and goods trains on the dock and riverside line. The railway’s two popular locomotives, Walkden (built in 1944) and John Howe (built in 1908) will be joined by two small tank engines from other railways. Agecroft No. 1, which is usually based at the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry, is the twin of the Ribble’s own Agecroft No. 2, and although the latter engine is not currently in working order the opportunity is being taken to line them up alongside each other for the first time in many years on Saturday evening. Ferrybridge No. 3 is very similar to the Ribble’s John Howe, having been built by the same company, albeit nearly half a century later in 1954, and has travelled all the way from the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway in Wirksworth, Derbyshire to take part.
The gala has something for everyone, with non-stop action from 10:15am until 4pm on both days, and many trains double-headed. From 5:30pm until 7:30pm on the Saturday evening, there will be a photo shoot featuring a lineup of all the engines, including Agecroft No. 2, giving photographers the unique opportunity to experience the atmosphere of a steam engine shed at night – something different for all the enthusiasts out there! Places are limited, and tickets priced at £10 each can be purchased from the booking office during the day on Saturday. The railway will be running a 1950’s railbus giving rides on Half-term Wednesday – see www.ribblesteam.org.uk for full details
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