‘Biggest ever’ Kerr, Stuart gala

A MAJOR new diesel gala is to be held at the Apedale Valley Light Railway this year.

The Diesel Delights weekend of October 7-8 will see many of operator the Moseley Railway Trust’s collection of internal combustion locomotives in action.

Several will haul passenger trains – in some cases, these will be the first-ever passenger workings for locomotives more than 50 years old!

The locomotives that took part in the Kerr, Stuart gala. MRT

Looking further ahead, in 2018 the trust will hold the third of the award-winning Tracks to the Trenches events, themed around the First World War.

The trust wants to hear from potential exhibitors of WW1-appropriate items, particularly road vehicles.

The trust held this year’s annual gala on May 13-14, on the theme of the centenary of the Kerr, Stuart 0-4-2ST No. 2395 of 12917 Stanhope, which was built a few miles from Apedale.

Three visiting engines attended, two built by Kerr, Stuart, and the third built to one of the company’s designs. They were Sirdar 0-4-0T No. 1158 of 1917 Diana from the Bala Lake Railway, Wren 0-4-0STs No. 3128 of 1918 from the Statfold Barn Railway and new-build No. 3905 of 2008 Jennie from the Amerton Railway.

With the home-based fleet of Stanhope and 1916-built Kerr, Stuart Joffre 0-6-0T No. 3014 of 1916, it is believed that this was the largest gathering of Stoke-built locomotives in preservation.

The gala attracted more than 1000 visitors.

The centenary of Stanhope was marked with various cakes, while its owner, Dr John Rowlands, made a speech describing the story of how the locomotive survived into preservation. Stanhope’s story has now been told a new book by Phil Robinson and published by the trust.

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