© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2011 I had my first ride on the Golden Valley Railway - and the Midland Railway at Butterley - a little over ten years ago. On that occasion, the 2' gauge line was quite short - just down to the far end of the extensive Swanwick site. The locomotive on that occasion was the yellow Motor Rail, "Campbell Brickworks No.1", 60S364 of 1968. I seem to recall the trip was rather hairy... Four years ago, I visited the line again (see Dull plains - Golden Valley) - the 2' gauge line had been greatly extended to its present length of nearly 1 mile, down the trackbed of the Butterley Works plateway to the Newlands Inn. Once more, we took a ride - hauled by the yellow Motor Rail again - and made a mental note to revisit when steam was operating on the line - hence our visit today. We'd met "Pearl 2" before too - at the Amerton Railway. The locomotive was built in 1997 to an original design of messrs. Bagnall - an unusual feature being the inverted saddle tank upon which the boiler sits, giving the locomotive a slightly odd box-like appearance from the front. Pearl 2 was resident at Amerton for around 5 years, before owner / builder Allen Civil decided to relocate her to the Golden Valley line. We parked the car at Butterley, and took the train to Swanwick Junction - an interesting journey that requires a trip to Hammersmith, reversal, back through Butterley and Swanwick junction non-stop, reversal again at Riddings (the other end of the line), then back up to Swanwick where one can at last detrain. We could have waited for the next steam service - about 40 minutes - but a nicely restored 3-car DMU stood idling in the platform, due to leave imminently - so off we went. The run to Hammersmith and back, across the Butterley Reservoir causeway, is pleasantly scenic. The run down to Riddings, it must be said, would be hugely improved by some judicious felling of lineside trees and shrubs... The DMU didn't sound quite right - it didn't stagger away from stops in the usual way. I later realised it was one of the somewhat non-standard units equipped with hydraulic transmission for the St. Pancras - Bedford route - class 127. We arrived at the narrow gauge line nicely in time for the 1pm departure - which got us to the Newlands Inn in similar timely fashion for lunch - probably the best value pub meal I've had for some time. And apart from a quick sprint back to the station to snap the freight, our meal just nicely filled the hour before the next passenger departure. Gala visitors must have been clearly identifiable  by the railway staff, who went out of their way to show them "the works", so to speak - pride of place being given to the magnificent new running shed nearing completion, but also enabling closer inspection of the various items of (mostly) rolling stock dotted around the site. The collection of narrow gauge stock is now quite considerable, having recently been augmented by stock from the former Museum of Army Transport at Beverley. Two of the latter's locomotives saw action on the freight working (the locomotives and stock of which changed with almost bewildering frequency.) - a fine Motor Rail "Tubby" at one end, and Ruston "Lyddia" at the other. As the train passed through the yard, my wife commented that Lyddia reminded her of those little cars that get towed around by monster camper vans... I could see what she meant. The time to depart approached - we took a look around the standard-gauge museum before following the lineside path back to Butterley where, after a quick drink, we departed for home after an excellent and entertaining afternoon. Links: Golden Valley Light Railway Midland Railway Centre Golden Valley Gala Pearl 2 on the passenger service - plus diesel-hauled demo freights, with Motor Rail, Ruston (x2) and Lister locos...
Cl 127 DMU at Butterley "Na'alie" - Hunslet Barclay LD9351 of 1989 - on the freight... ... and "Ellison" SMH 101T020 of 1980 - at the other end Pearl 2 at Newlands Inn Na'alie and Ellison on the freight at Newlands Inn After lunch - Pearl 2 at Newlands Inn "Lyddia" RH191656 of 1938 Motor Rail "Tubby" Orenstein and Koppel 7529 of 1914 - future steam power for the GVLR The army locos on the freight A very neat little Lister at Swanwick Freight arrival at Swanwick "Berry Hill" RH222068 of 1943 Campbell Brickworks No 1 Unusual ng trackwork - and another loco lurks in the shed Pearl 2 heads back up the line ""Berry Hill" - an interesting comparison with the standard gauge... Midland Rly 2-4-0 no. 158a, built 1866 A fine rake of vintage coaches EM2 27000 "Electra" Original Derby Lightweight "bubble car" M79900 Cl 127 DMU arrives at Butterley Butterley - a timeless scene