THE South Devon Railway and the South Devon Diesel Traction Group held a John Frood Memorial Running Day on February 25.
John was a long-term serving member of the South Devon Diesel Traction Group and was usually to be seen acting as second man to the diesel locomotives on gala days. He had already achieved a lifetime ambition of becoming a driver and had passed out on the DMU and the Class 09 shunter and was under instruction for the driving of the line’s Class 25 and Class 33.
The original plan was to run the service with Class 33 D6501, one of John’s favourite locomotives, but when it became unavailable due to repairs not being completed in time, Class 25 D7612 was used as substitute.
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GWR 0-6-0PT No. 6412 was used to provide heating for the train.
The service on the day comprised four return trips from Buckfastleigh. On the second trip, the 11.40am from Buckfastleigh , the auto coach behind the steam locomotive was reserved for family members and invited guests. This train stopped at Waterside where those who felt able to were permitted to alight before the train continued on to Totnes Riverside.
At Waterside, a location beside the track is a private garden of remembrance used for several years by those who wish to scatter the ashes of their loved ones who had been associated with the railway. A ceremony when John’s ashes were laid to rest and the returning 12.30pm Totnes Riverside to Buckfastleigh stopped again at Waterside to allow those people to rejoin the train.
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