Posted 4th April 2019

Big Birthday Gala For The Little Steam Railway

The biggest train gala of the year celebrates 478 years of birthdays at award-winning Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway in the heart of the Western Lake District from Saturday 4- Monday 6 May. With a fantastic series of special events visitors will have the chance to experience the full fleet of dinky trains, go on a short tour of the Murthwaite Crushing Plant, celebrate the centenary of Katie leaving the Railway and get on the footplate with Driver for a Fiver.

Highlights of the gala events include;

  • Four engines celebrate big birthdays; River Irt (125yrs), Whillan Beck (90yrs), Perkins (90yrs), Shelagh of Eskdale (50yrs)
  • A rare chance to travel on a train hauled by Katie, the Ravenglass Railway Museum's engine. Commemorating 100 years since she left the railway Katie will take a special two coach train to Murthwaite for a guided tour of the stone crushing plant, a site usually inaccessible to the public on Saturday 4 and haul two trains to Dalegarth Sunday 5.
  • The Bug from the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway returns after 25 years since its last visit at the ‘guest of honour’
  • On the evening of Saturday 4 May there will be a photographic opportunity to snap the various locomotives around the shed and station at Ravenglass. This is free to attend for everyone
  • Many of the trains will be ‘double-headed’ with an engine front and back. On Saturday afternoon at 15.50 the train will hauled by The Bug and Whillan Beck, both built by Krauss of Munich in Germany. This is first time they have ever met, despite both being built in the same place in the 1920s!
  • Extra special three engine trains will run on on Sunday 5 May at 15:50 with River Mite, River Esk & Whillan Beck and Monday 6 May at 15:50 The Bug, River Irt & Northern Rock • Driver for A Fiver – the chance to hop on the footplate and experience the thrill of driving a steam engine with an experienced train driver on Monday 6 May.

There will be six steam locomotives in operation from the home fleet (River Irt, River Esk, River Mite, Northern Rock, Whillan Beck and Katie), plus one visiting locomotive (The Bug) and two diesels (Douglas Ferreira and Lady Wakefield) and Cyril will be in action as the shunting locomotive. The two diesel locomotives celebrating significant birthdays; Perkins and Shelagh of Eskdale, are undergoing restoration so will not take part in the proceedings.

Certain specific trains will only run on particular days, as outlined below. There will be a 16mm gauge model railway on display in the Railway Museum at Ravenglass Station, and museum locos Synolda and Little Giant will be on display at the workshop entrance.

This series of events will give visitors of all ages as well has train enthusiasts plenty to get excited about and photo opportunities a plenty. Come and celebrate the timeless magic of steam and locomotion in one of the stunning landscapes in Britain.

Martin Cookman, General Manager says, ‘This is the most exciting event in the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway calendar a real treat for all ages and rail enthusiasts alike. We are delighted to have the prestigious visiting engine The Bug on loan from Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway and excited about Katie going out on her grand tour around England.’

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