Andy Hardy, the traffic manager at Middleton Railway, has written this guest post about a special anniversary and the biggest event in the railway’s history in June.
This year, on June 24th the Middleton Railway will be celebrating an important anniversary. On that day 200 years ago, the first commercially successful steam locomotives designed and built by John Blenkinsop and Matthew Murray started work hauling coal from the colliery into Leeds.Since then, steam locomotives have played an important part in the history of the Middleton Railway. To celebrate this important anniversary the Middleton Railway is pleased to announce two further visiting locomotives for its “200 Years of Steam Gala” on the 23rd and 24th June, making it the biggest event in the railway’s history.To accompany the already announced visit of Steam Elephant from Beamish, the railway has secured the oldest working standard gauge locomotive to run on the world’s oldest working steam railway. Furness No.20, built in 1863 by Sharp Stewart & Co will be the first tender locomotive to visit the railway in preservation, and will join the railways fleet of home-based engines running an intensive service of passenger and freight trains.The organisers are also pleased to announce that the Vintage Carriage Trusts locomotive Bellerophon will also be visiting the event. This locomotive built in 1874 will allow the Middleton Railway to operate 5 locomotives over one hundred years old, along with a replica locomotive, celebrating a design of nearly 200 years of age.
Other locomotives in traffic will include all the available home fleet, featuring the first gala appearance of the NER H Class 1310, along with our two resident Manning Wardles, Matthew Murray and Sir Berkeley.
Our Engine House museum will also be filled with steam, with three amazing live steam layouts in operation. We hope that 200 live steam model locomotives will be run over the weekend to celebrate the 200 years since steam operation began.
As is normal with our galas, we plan to have a display of traction engines and other steam vehicles on display in our carpark long with other related transport stands and displays.
For those who like ale, the Leeds Brewery Company will be providing refreshments on site. Look out for our own special beer “Middleton Pioneer”.
For more information and latest news, see the events website at: www.middleton2012.com
Please feel free to ask any questions or make any suggestions.
Hope to see you there.