Dean Forest Railway gearing up for 50th anniversary celebration

The Dean Forest Railway Society (DFRS) will celebrate the delayed 50th anniversary of the first public train being operated.

The original celebration was marked for 2020, but the pandemic hindered plans.

On October 23/24, short brake van rides will feature during the railway’s anniversary gala.

The timetable includes three steam locomotives working each day; 2-6-2 ‘Small Prairie’ 5541, 0-6-0 Austerity ‘Swiftsure’, whilst Peckett locomotive ‘Rocket’ will visit Parkend from the Telford Steam Railway to run brake van rides as a tribute to the journeys offered behind ‘Uskmouth No. 1’ exactly 50 years previously.

On the diesel side, the DMU and Class 14 D9521 will be working the trains. Concentrating upon the railway’s Parkend birthplace, there will be a display of museum artefacts specially chosen for display and the unveiling of a 50th anniversary plaque.

‘Driver for a Fiver’ will be on offer as an attraction at Norchard, the railway’s main centre with shed access to view progress in restoring ‘Uskmouth’ as well as pannier tanks 9681 and 9682; Hunslet 0-4-0 shunter D6688 ‘Salty’; Hunslet 0-6-0 saddle tank ‘Gunby’; and Mk1 TSO coach 4862.

There will also be the official launch of the anniversary book written by DFRS chairman Dr Alastair Clarke.

It is intended as the definitive pictorial history of the Dean Forest Railway, from our society’s birth at Parkend in 1970, through the development of the Norchard site from scratch, all the way to the present day. Our line now runs four and a quarter miles from Lydney Junction to Parkend and all Gala train rides will be for our normal Rover ticket price.”

‘Five Decades in the Forest’ comprises 164 pages of images, including many that have never been published, and is printed on high quality art paper.

All proceeds from the book will contribute to the continuing maintenance and development of the Dean Forest Railway and it can be ordered through the DFR society’s website at dfrsociety.org.uk/shop

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