Malc and me were on our usual mounts (T80 and C90), but Ivan's SS50 is still being mended. His Honda Vision has yet to be repaired from its failure last week, so he was on the third little bike in his stable, the Puch. This meant progress was a tad slow, but hey, at least the C90 will have returned well over 100mpg at those speeds!
All the pictures taken at Rudyard today are by Ivan.
This 'Atlantic' (4-4-2) lacks the adhesion to pull a passenger train, but is an attractive engine that is brought out for special occasions such as this steam gala
'Victoria' is a 2-6-2. This view shows the 'sheds' end of the station at Rudyard. The locomotive's cylinder drain cocks are open (hence the plumes of steam in front of the engine) to clear any water from the cylinders. Water is incompressible so would cause mechanical damage otherwise.
The sheds at Rudyard comprise painted and fitted-out shipping containers
A ground frame controls the points in the area of the sheds. At the other end of the station is a signal box which controls the layout there and the running line and passing loops. The line runs alongside Rudyard Lake, on the trackbed of the former Churnet Valley Railway which closed in the 1960s. Of course I volunteer on the Churnet Valley Railway as signalman, but that's several miles south of Rudyard also on the route of the original railway.
Like 'Victoria', 'Merlin' is a product of the Exmoor Steam Railway in Devon. This organisation no longer runs a public railway, but concentrates instead on the production of small steam locomotives like these ten inch gauge ones at Rudyard.
'Merlin' as yet unpainted in 1998 at the Exmoor factory
A picture from 2007 showing a passenger train on the Rudyard line headed by two Exmoor engines, 'King Arthur' and 'Pendragon', piloted by a model of a Leek & Manifold Light Railway locomotive. The Leek & Manifold was a narrow gauge line from Waterhouses near Leek, up the Hamps and Manifold valleys to Hulme End, in the Derbyshire Peak District. That trackbed is now a footpath and cycleway.
Not much room for the crew in these little engines!
There were some diesels at the event even though it was a steam gala. I have to admit I don't find them very interesting or charismatic compared to live steam, but some people seem to like them!
The weather was dry, warm, and sunny and we had a great afternoon sitting overlooking the shed area watching the locomotives come and go while chatting to the drivers and other railway folk. I even met a chap there I've not seen for decades, a former Barton pilot and fellow Chipmunk Group member, Jeff.
We had routed to Rudyard though Chelford, the A34, Marton, Bosely, and Rushton Spencer. The return was via the delightful lanes over Biddulph Edge and Biddulph Common with stupendous views across Cheshire and Peak District, down into Congleton, and home from there through Hulme Walfield and past Jodrell Bank.
We called in at the Stag for a pint, and Ivan discovered that his Puch had a puncture in its rear tyre. With the help of his bicycle pump he was able to limp home, but now all three bikes in his fleet are poorly! I think he'll be spending tomorrow in the garage.