Steam Gala Weekend to mark 100th centenary for historic loco

One of the UK’s best loved heritage attractions - Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway - will celebrate a very special milestone over the May Day Bank Holiday with a spectacular ’Steam Gala’ event.

 River Esk turns one hundred this year, with the celebrations set to include visiting engines, signal box tours and other special ‘behind the scenes’ treats for passengers o>span class="MsoHyperlink">ver the three-day weekend (Saturday 29 April to Monday 1 May).

Purpose-built for Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway in 1923, River Esk has since run thousands of miles up and down one of the oldest and longest narrow-gauge railways in England, sporting its current glossy black livery. The loco was originally designed by famed railway engineer Henry Greenly and was the forerunner of seven engines on the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway. 

Visitors over the May Day Bank Holiday can marvel at a spectacular display of resident steam and diesel engines, including River Esk and the recently restored Katie. Meanwhile, 95 year old Samson from Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway is the visiting locomotive.

A full (yellow) timetable with day and weekend ‘rover’ tickets will be available to allow passengers to hop on and off different trains. There will also be a special centenary exhibition at Ravenglass Railway Museum and even a competition to ‘make a coal cake’. 

With Stuart Harrison’s miniature railway setting up residence in the railway workshop and souvenir treats on offer at both the Turntable Café (Ravenglass) and Fellbites (Dalegarth), it’s shaping up to be an action-packed weekend. 

Stuart Ross, General Manager (Visitor Experience) at the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway, says:

“We’re so excited to mark this milestone birthday for River Esk. It’s tremendous to think of the changes in society this heritage steam engine has seen over the last century, but here she is, in full working order and ready to welcome passengers on board over this special celebratory weekend! 

La’al Ratty has captured the hearts of so many people over the years and this is a chance for families, railway enthusiasts and local history buffs to come together not only to see some River Esk and her fellow locomotives, but to relive the heyday of steam travel for themselves at her birthday gala.”

Tickets can be booked online in advance or purchase on the day at Ravenglass or Dalegarth stations. 

For further information about events and timetables, visit or call 01229 717171. 



Notes to Editors:

For further information, contact: Heather Sewell, / 07795 487003.

Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway is a family-owned business operating one of the oldest and longest narrow-gauge railways in England, on the Western Coast of the Lake District. Affectionately known as La’al Ratty, the railway is surrounded by stunning views and walks and is based in Ravenglass, the only coastal village in the Lake District National Park.