© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2012 The drive to Toddington takes us down the M5 as far as Ashchurch, where the Dowty RPS was formed in October 1962. The site of the works, on the curve connecting the main line to the branch to Upton-on- Severn and beyond, is no longer recognisable, though trains still stop at Ashchurch (for Tewkesbury) station, and the MOD depot to the west of the main line is still rail-served, by the stub of the former line to Evesham, Redditch and, ultimately, Barnt Green. In the 1960s it was all standard gauge; I remember my first sight of 6201 “Princess Elizabeth” in store there in 1968. Today the descendants of Dowty reside a few miles further east, operating the “Toddington Narrow Gauge Railway“. The 50th anniversary would provide a reason (if one was needed) for a gathering and a steam up. We’d better go and have a look... Galas often mean visiting locos - this was no exception. We’ve seen Jack Lane and Peter Pan in action many times - but we hadn’t seen resident no. 1091 - the hefty Henschel-built 0-8-0T (15968 of 1918) - working on our previous visits, so if there seem to be several photos of no. 1091, that’s why. Another visitor is physically very similar to 1091, despite the very different livery - no. 15 (Henschel 14968 of 1917), which was used on sugar estates in Mozambique after its war service. No. 15 stood on display, needing a boiler certificate before it can be used. The railway has a number of diesel- and petrol-engined locomotives. Several were started up, and chugged up and down the yard for our amusement, the greatest of which came from the efforts with “Ivan”, a 1948-built Hibberd (3317). Bump-started by Ruston no. 5, Ivan would rev freely, showing quite a turn of speed when let loose - but didn’t seem to be able to keep going... This little railway is great fun - well worth a visit! Doesn’t take long... Link: Toddington Narrow Gauge Railway Peter Pan and Jack Lane depart from Toddington Toddington arrival - 1091 1091 arrives at Toddington Peter Pan (Kerr Stuart 4256 of 1922) and Jack Lane (Hunslet 3904 of 2006) 1091 runs round at Didbrook... ...ditto at Toddington Peter and Jack - in the smoke under the trees No 15 (and Justine) Justine (Arn. Jung 939 of 1906) and no. 15 Lister 34523 of 1949 Ivan and the Ruston (354028 of 1953) - bump-start! Ruston no. 5 Jack Lane and Peter Pan arrive at California Crossing 1091 - token exchange 1091 - signal's off and away we go Peter Pan and Jack Lane at Didbrook