Saturday, 14 September 2013

Apedale Railway Steam Gala

This industrial heritage centre with its two-foot gauge railway near Newcastle Under Lyme in Staffordshire is one I have been looking forward to visiting for a while. Their Steam Gala provided the perfect excuse to fire up the little bikes again and head south.

Malcolm was on his T80 Townmate, me on my C90, but Ivan's usual mount, his SS50, is hors de combat, in pieces in his garage having its gearbox rebuilt so he rode his Honda Vision two-stroke scooter. The route was past Jodrell Bank, along the lanes to pass west of Congleton onto the A34 near Little Moreton Hall, then down the A34 to Chesterton and Apedale Valley.

Unfortunately the Vision lacked vision and expired around Clonterbrook, in the lovely lanes between Jodrell bank and Congleton. It was probably a failing vacuum fuel tap restricting fuel flow as it was still rideable if taken slowly. So he and Malc returned home to get Ivan alternative transport, while I carried on alone. When I arrived I was waved past the 'park and ride' car park, right down to the Apedale heritage centre. There I saw a row of classic motorbikes so parked the C90 on the end of the row. I was approached by a chap with a clip board who asked me "are you booked in?".


"That's OK. Just write some details about you and your bike here".

I did, and he gave me an exhibitor's pass!

A little later, Malc arrived back on his Townmate with Ivan trailing in his Merlin car. Although the car is considerably faster than the little bikes, the little bikes don't get held up by traffic so usually reach their destination before a car can.

As ever, please click on any picture for a larger image.

The C90 becomes an exhibit at Apedale, and is photographed by an admirer 

My pass entitled me to free train rides, so I decided to partake. Here passing the loco sheds.

The resident steam locomotive 'Stanhope' runs around its train on the loop at the end of the quite short Apedale running line, ready to haul its train back

Visiting locomotive 'Jack Lane' from the Statfold Barn Railway positions ready for its next train. 

Loco crew attach the air hoses for the brakes before Jack Lane departs on the next train 

Stanhope has a cab; I wonder how the crew of Jack Lane will cope with tomorrow's forecast downpours and high winds? 

Black Dog Molly of Stoke on Trent provided appropriate music and Morris Dancing 

Jack Lane has arrived at Apedale station with its train 

Malc chats to a diesel driver in the 'back field', where shunting of industrial hoppers was taking place 

 Another view of the industrial shunting operation

Two hoppers are propelled by one of the many industrial diesel locos at Apedale 

Jack Lane is a lovely little Hunslet locomotive built just eight years ago in 2005 

Black Dog Molly perform a traditional old dance

I led on the way home, followed by Malc, with Ivan in the Merlin bringing up the rear. I soon forged ahead past queuing traffic (Malc stayed with Ivan in case he didn't know the way) and despite the C90's mediocre top speed I had to wait some minutes at Brownlow on the A34 (where we turned off for Withington and home) before the other two caught me up.

A pint or two at the Stag's Head at Great Warford brought a super day out to an enjoyable end.


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