Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway 2016 Diesel Gala

Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway 2016 Diesel Gala

We had the pleasure of attending the recent diesel gala at the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway.

Our stall was located inside the diesel shed at Toddington which created a great atmosphere for the event surrounded by locos under restoration and all the associated engineering equipment.

In the shed was D1693 (47105) undergoing a thorough restoration by its owners the Brush Type 4 Fund. The class 47 loco was used extensively on all sorts of freight and express passenger duties all over the UK network and a small number are still in use today. Over 500 of these locos were built and several are preserved or under restoration on preserved railways around the UK.

The groups other Class 47 loco, 47367, was in use during the diesel gala and is painted in Railfreight grey Freightliner colours as carried in the 90s.

Class 47 47105 Under Restoration

Rare Class 20 

Next to this was a very rare class 20 loco. This loco, currently numbered 2001, was part of the CFD fleet which worked in connection with the construction of a high speed rail link in France. In British Rail service the loco was numbered 20035. 20035 went to France in around 1992 but was never very reliable in service for its French operator. It spent a long time out of service following mechanical breakdowns and eventually returned to the UK in 2005. It is in a very poor condition and is being used as a source of spares for the other class 20 loco on the railway D8137 (20137) and the owners other class 20 (20228) based at Barry. Once component recovery is completed the shell will most likely be scrapped.

Ex CFD operated Class 20 numbered 2001 which was 20035 for British Rail undergoing component recovery prior to being scrapped

Growler Groups Stunning Restoration of 37248

One of the highlights of the diesel gala was the use of English electric Class 37 D6948 (37248) which is looking absolutely immaculate following a thorough rebuild and looks as good as the day it entered service in 1964.

This loco is owned by the Growler Group which is based on the railway with its stablemate 37215.

37215 has been restored into BR Blue colours as it would have looked in the 1970s and 1980s whilst D6948 carries its original BR Green colours in which it was delivered to British Rail.

The Growler Group had their publicity stand in the diesel shed with us and several other stall holders. Ted took the opportunity to join the Growler Group as he was very impressed with their locos.

Below are two short videos of their Class 37s. The first shows the stunning quality of 37248s restoration into as built condition. The second shows 37215 departing Toddington with a train.

Class 37 37248

Class 37 37215

Ted Gets to Grips With a Class 47

Following Teds recent flights in the C-47 Skytrain and B-17 Flying Fortress Sally B, Ted jumped at the chance to get to grips with a main line diesel loco. Class 47 D1693 (47105) was open to inspect so Ted dived at the chance to sit in the driver’s seat of this 95 mph main line mixed traffic loco.

Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway History

The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway runs through the stunningly beautiful Cotswold countryside. The heritage railway was originally part of the Great Western Railway’s main line from Birmingham to Cheltenham, via Stratford-upon-Avon. Work started in 1900 and was completed by 1906.

The line was closed to Passenger traffic in March 1960. The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway was formed in 1981 with the intention to re-open the line from Stratford Race Course to Cheltenham Racecourse. The line was originally double tracked throughout but now consists of a single line with passing loops at stations.

The railways operating base was established at Toddington. The railway restored 1/4 of a mile in 1984 and the first trains operated in the same year. There is now just over 12 miles of track from Laverton to Cheltenham Race Course with an almost complete northern extension to Broadway.

The railway predominantly runs steam hauled trains with regular turns for its diesel loco fleet.

Preserved Locomotives Based on the GWSR

The GWSR has a wide range of locomotives and their associated owning and support groups based on the railway. Below is a listing of steam and diesel locos based at the time of the 2016 diesel gala. I have included links to their owning groups. Please take time to have a look at the groups pages as you will find much of interest about the respective groups locomotives. Each of these groups are to be applauded for the excellent restorations of their locos which are a tribute to their hard work.

Steam locos based on the GWSR

Diesel locos based on the GWSR

The gala featured most of the home diesel loco fleet plus class 33 D6575 (33057) visiting from the West Somerset Railway.

Crowds seemed healthy enough, with trains seemingly well loaded with happy punters, so hopefully the railway will make sufficient profit to ensure many more of these great events can be run.

Locos Taking Part in the GWSR Diesel Gala

Railway Photography Tips – Abstract Pictures

Railway Galas quite often provide us with quiet periods after each train has departed. Apart from allowing us to take a breath from selling and answering questions about my art style, I like to hunt out abstract picture opportunities.

There are photo opportunities everywhere and many times I like to look for abstract scenes that would look good in black and white or subjected to various colour treatments.

Railways are full of picture opportunities. Of course everyone wants to get the standard shots of the ‘big’ attractions, but for the following week, social media is awash with similar pictures of locos all looking sort of well …. similar. ‘Record shots’ are everywhere, don’t fall into becoming a ‘record shot’ photographer.

Push yourself to break the mould and look for different opportunities. Low angle, ground level, high vantage points, close-up and abstract picture opportunities are all around you. Challenge the inner photographer in you and find something different. Many pictures might well turn out pants, but some will be a little bit special. Many more efforts will let you know you are on to something different and next time you will know to get a little higher, a little lower, a bit closer or indeed further away.

Do something different. Your eye will develop and you will create your own style. Become a railway photographer rather than someone who takes pictures of trains.

Below is a selection of picture scenes I hunted out.

I hope you have enjoyed the photos and my overview of the diesel gala, please feel free to leave any comments below

All the best for now


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