© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2011 Two venues in one day - Toddington, for a ride on the now-extended North Gloucestershire Narrow Gauge Railway, in the company of our old friend "Taffy", and a visit to the Evesham Vale Light Railway, to see two 15" gauge locomotives in action. We had visited both lines previously - but had failed to see steam on the narrow gauge at Toddington. The line only seems to run on Sundays in summer, and last time we had been, a bright yellow Hunslet diesel had been in action. "Chaka's Kraal", the rather nice 0-4-2T, had been in steam the previous few weeks, but was temporarily out of action. Huh! Recently, the railway press had mentioned Taffy's visit, along with some scheduled dates for operation - so off we went. The line had doubled in length since our last visit. Running from the car park, it skirts the western edge of the yard to a depot about 400 yds away. This was the southern terminus previously - today, after a pause to visit the depot and view the locomotives, we continued on down the Didbrook extension, which ends in a run- round loop, with no facilities for passengers to leave the train. The return trip runs straight back to the northern station beside the car park - a pleasant-enough run, and probably quite far enough, given that the coaches all seem to have square wheels.... Link: Toddington Narrow Gauge Railway Taffy at Toddington A trip down the line and a Toddington departure Taffy and driver, Toddington "Isibutu" Bagnall 4-4-0T 2820 of 1945 View through a Lister - 2ft gauge steam Taffy at the depot Hunslet 6647 (it was yellow last time) and California Crossing box Taffy at Toddington Taffy runs round Taffy - ready for departure Dougal "doing OK" St Egwin on the loop St Egwin heads for home Dougal tops the bank Dougal arrives at Twyford station, Evesham Dougal on the turntable, Twyford station
There was still some afternoon left - we headed for Evesham, where, as well as the railway, there are shops and other facilities which would keep the "household authorities" amused for a while... We'd been here a couple of times before too - on both occasions, 5751 "Prince William" had been in action. I have to admit, I find the miniature locomotives based on narrow-gauge practice much more satisfying - I suppose because they are less obviously models. Today I was in luck - there were two such locomotives out on the line. "St. Egwin" was built for the line at the Exmoor Steam Railway's workshops, and is a little unusual in that it has been built as an 0-4-0, with side tanks and a tender. The other active locomotive was "Dougal", built by Severn-Lamb in 1970 for the railway at Longleat. "It could hardly manage three coaches when we got it". It was doing OK today! Link: Evesham Vale Light Railway Evesham Vale Dougal and St Egwin in action on the 15" gauge line St Egwin on the bank