Steam locos excel on first operating weekend of 2022 season.
The first weekend in April saw the first running days of the season on the S&D at Midsomer Norton and we were pleased see a good number of visitors on both days despite cold but very sunny weather. There were signs of spring with flowers beginning to blossom in the station area and beside the line so all in all a good weekend to welcome people back to the railway. Saturday saw resident steam locomotive Joyce hauling a three coach train with our 03 diesel shunter bringing up the rear for part of the day (see separate story below on that!). On Sunday visiting steam loco Austin 1 took a turn and we were sent some excellent pictures of the train near the railhead at the Chilcompton end of the line one of which is the main image here.
Joyce to the rescue!
Sentinel 7109 Joyce proved herself on the first operating day when the diesel shunter providing assistance broke down around lunch time leaving the steam engine (designed for shunting wagons on the level) to haul the train up the steep S&D gradient for the afternoon trips without a push from the rear. All the passengers were relieved that their train ride could be continued although the length of the train was reduced by one coach. Visitor Liz is pictured here accompanied by some young mechanics keen to assist in fixing the diesel. The fault was eventually diagnosed and fixed and the 03 was operational again on Sunday.
Company Director Matt Cornborough is confident that there is always a way to fix things at the station. He said:
“Given the age of our rolling stock it is not surprising when there are minor engineering glitches but there is always a way. Thankfully last Saturday saw Joyce show her true mettle and we soon had the Diesel shunter going again.
The next open weekend is the Easter weekend when both steam locomotives will again be hauling three coach trains – and watch out for a new comer - a DMU!".
Click here to see details of upcoming Special Events including Easter and to buy tickets online.