A great war event at Apedale
Tracks to the Trenches
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© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2014
This event was announced perhaps two years ago - it seems to have been on the distant horizon for ages, then suddenly it’s upon us - the Moseley Railway Trust’s commemoration, at the Apedale Valley Light Railway, of the part played by narrow gauge railways in the First World War... ...and what a great event this was - who’d have believed that so much equipment, now between 96 and 100 years old, had survived in working order? The star attractions are perhaps the steam locomotives, but the unsung heroes are the Motor-Rails - were there really four “Tin Turtles” present? In steam there are: Hudswell Clarke 1238 of 1916 (the recently-rebuilt “diver”) and sister GP39 (1643 of 1930, a mere youth); the Baldwin no. 778 from Leighton Buzzard (44656 of 1917); Kerr Stuart “Joffre” 3014 of 1916, “Wren” KS 3114 (1918) visiting from the Vale of Rheidol, and (originally on the other side) Henschel “Brigadelok” no 1091, built in
Geoff’s Rail Diaries
12 September 2014
1918. Spending most of their time on the “main line”, they occasionally made brief forays onto the field railway, usually when I wasn’t looking... The aforementioned field railway is a superb recreation of lightly-laid railways - complete with trenches (as it says on the tin, so to speak). There are Motor-Rails chugging around everywhere, both armour-plated and plain - there’s even one at an uncomfortable angle in a bomb-crater! Unfortunately, passing Baguley 760 (of 1918, late of the Abbey Light Railway in Leeds) decided to come out (or rather “off”) in sympathy. Easily remedied with jacks and wooden packing - the rails may be light, but so is the rolling stock. There are, of course, numerous non-railway exhibits - road vehicles and a tank, a bombed-out building - and (I’m not sure they’d wish to be classed as exhibits) the MRT. In all a most impressive setup. I realise that the people at Apedale have been working hard for some time to get this show on the road: they must be congratulated on the end result. It may not be easy to find the Apedale Valley railway, but this event most surely has put it on the map. Link: Apedale Valley Light Railway
Tin Turtles Trench railway Passing the trenches Thorneycroft and Motor-Rail Turtles and Baguley Wren: KS3114 of 1916 The Baldwin The Joffre GP39 The diver and a turtle Baldwin 778 Brigadelok 1091 Brigadelok Off the rails: two for the price of one Oops! Tank and steam lorry Opening ceremony HC1238 and bombed-out building Rerailing WW1 steam Apedale station