© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2011 In the summer of 1979, I visited the narrow gauge locomotive collection at Gloddfa Ganol. Standing around outside the museum, quietly rusting, were four very similar locomotives, which clearly had not been steamed for many years... ...perhaps not since the late 1940s. They were all Kerr Stuart “Joffre” class 0-6-0Ts, built during the first world war for service overseas, repatriated in 1974 from the French quarry where the last five survivors had lain all those years. I duly photographed the four (a fifth had gone to the West Lancs Light Railway), thinking at the time that it was unlikely that I would see any of them working - they looked like lost causes. Things have moved on in the world of steam railways since 1979. We’re building new locos now - and if we can do that, a well-rusted Joffre can be restored to working order. I very nearly saw 2451 of 1915 in action at Woody Bay a couple of years ago (see ...but no luck at Lynton); today would be the debut of no. 3014 of 1916 - some 65 years on from its last public steaming... Apparently, the “public steaming” aspect of Joffre’s appearance on the Apedale Light Railway was a close run thing. “Things were not looking good at all on Thursday”, according to the MRT website. Perhaps that’s partly why the gala was billed as “Made in Staffordshire”... With fellow Staffs. locos Stanhope (KS “Tattoo” 2395 of 1917), Isabel (Bagnall 1491 of 1897 from Amerton) and Statfold (HE 3903 of 2005, built at Statfold), there would be a good turnout even if Joffre didn’t quite make it. As on previous occasions, there were plenty of other interesting things to see. As well as the resident diesel, petrol and battery-electric locos, there was another visitor in the shape of Roy Etherington’s compressed air locomotive “Sid”. Sid (formerly “Issinsid”) usually lives at Statfold, and has been a regular performer, albeit on very short runs in the sidings. It wasn’t a good idea to get too far from the compressed air line... Today, however, Sid sported an extra wagon, containing a diesel-powered compressor. I guess the ensemble should be considered as a self- contained locomotive, though I’m at a loss to describe the wheel arrangement. Since my last visit, a year ago, the former Silverdale station building (re-erected using materials from the old station) has been completed, and the first steps have been taken towards construction of the “industrial demonstration railway”. In short, there’s a lot going on here (not forgetting the splendid oatcakes in the Heritage Centre cafeteria) - the Apedale Valley Railway is well worth a visit Links: Moseley Railway Trust West Lancs. Loco. Trust - the Joffre locomotive Before (Gloddfa Ganol, 1979) Stanhope on the freight Isabel on the freight The new industrial railway Battery electrics Shropshire locos (Lilleshall and Llanforda) Statfold passes on the freight Stanhope on the passenger Joffre posing Statfold on the freight Joffre and Silverdale Station Sid Joffre creeps up on Stanhope After (Apedale, 2011) A smoky departure Isabel lays down a smokescreen Isabel at Silverdale