"The Wensleydale Wilton Shunter Spectacular" Charter

Rolling stock:

Locos used

01529, 01544, 08743, 08903, 26007 & 47715

Stock used

14073, 5279, 5364 "Robynne", 1879 & 5316

Route:

Loco(s)

From

To

Notes

Mileage#

01529

Leeming Bar

Leeming Bar Loco Sidings

(01544 DOR)

0.12

01544

Leeming Bar Loco Sidings

Leeming Bar Level Crossing

(01529 DOR)

0.23

01529

Leeming Bar Level Crossing

Leeming Bar Groundframe

(01544 DOR)

0.25

01544

Leeming Bar Groundframe

Leeming Bar

(01529 DOR)

0.15

08743 & 08903

Leeming Bar

Redmire Groundframe (MP 22)

Paired (in tandem)

15.92

08903

Redmire Groundframe (MP 22)

Redmire

0.21

08903

Redmire

Redmire MOD Siding No 1

(08743 DOR)

0.12

08743

Redmire MOD Siding No 1

Redmire

(08903 DOR)

0.12

08903

Redmire

Redmire MOD Siding No 2

(08743 DOR)

0.12

08743

Redmire MOD Siding No 2

Redmire

(08903 DOR)

0.14

08903

Redmire

Redmire Headshunt

(08743 DOR)

0.22

08743

Redmire Headshunt

Redmire

(08903 DOR)

0.21

08743

Redmire

Redmire Groundframe (MP 22)

(08903 DOR)

0.2

08903

Redmire Groundframe (MP 22)

Redmire Headshunt

(08743 DOR)

0.42

08743 & 08903

Redmire Headshunt

Leeming Bar Groundframe

Top 'n' tail (in tandem)

16.22

47715

Leeming Bar Groundframe

Leeming Bar

(08903 DOR)

0.12

26007

Leeming Bar

Finghall

(47715 DOR)

7.35*

47715

Finghall

Leeming Bar

(26007 DOR)

7.35*

*not confirmed by GPS

# The mileages were computed by Paul Illingworth [Member 0007] using a GPS device.

Somethings are never easy but with the right people involved you know you’ll get there in the end and this day out, in delightful Wensleydale, was an excellent example of just that.

We first started to discuss this event back in 2015. In its original form the plan was to visit Wilton International on Teesside for a track bash of their system and haulage behind their 08s. Terry Waldron at Wilton International was extremely helpful and supportive but given the nature of the industrial site it became clear in February this year that safety and legal concerns were likely to prove prohibitive and on March 8th our plans to visit Teesside were finally dropped. However, not to be put off, the very next day Jerry Dickinson (of Wensleydale diesel gala organising fame) was contacted to see if he would be willing to host the bash and a reply was received the very same evening stating that he was. So it was back to Terry to ask if he would be willing to let the 08s move to Wensleydale, he was, so we were on our way with plan B!

During Spring and Summer whilst most people didn’t even know about the event, many hours were spent seeking and ultimately gaining, sign-off from the Boards of Wilton International and the Wensleydale Railway. That hard work was completed not by me, but by those that mattered: Kev, Jerry and Terry.

Once the Wensleydale Summer diesel gala had been successfully completed in mid-July, attention could be turned to the detailed plans. Due to the high costs of moving locomotives by road we needed to come up with a formula which would not only attract track bashers but enough haulage bashers too. So we decided on a diesel gala which would take in the MOD ramps at Redmire. Plans finalised, a ‘save the day’ e-mail for the chosen date of Sunday 25th September was issued on Friday 29th July (from my hotel room in Melbourne, Australia).

Bookings opened on August 18th under the stewardship of Jill Everitt and Reid Freight Services Limited issued the Class 08 movement orders on 25th August with the locos transferring from Teesside to Wensleydale on 8th September. Once on site the locos were inspected, prepared and test run by Harry Needle Railroad Company staff.

By 15th September bookings had passed through the breakeven mark and on 19th September tickets were issued. We were all set.

Event day, Sunday 25th September, started overcast. On arrival at Leeming Bar it was pleasing to see the mobile breakfast van doing good business and the BLS well-oiled stewarding machine, assisted by PLEG, in full swing. A quick status update revealed that 01529 seemed to be having one or two early morning issues like me(!) and 37674 had been failed. 47715 had been allocated to cover 37674’s late afternoon turn and this wasn’t a significant issue for us as 37674 wasn’t advertised on the booking form. With regard to the stars of the show (08743+08903); 08903 was having compressor problems so it was decided by Jerry that it would be prudent to run them in tandem on the uphill run to Redmire. Running locos in tandem is an emotional issue as there have been numerous occasions in the past when the rear loco hasn’t provided power and thus can’t be counted for haulage, the latest occasion being 09002 when paired with 09009 on the otherwise excellent GBRf15 railtour. Therefore much reassuring of the passengers was required to state we were aware of what problems tandem running can create and that the crews would ensure that both locos would definitely power on the run up to Redmire.

The issues with 01529 were quickly resolved by the crew and the charter departed 12 minutes late at 10:42 with 01529 and 01544 in Top and Tail mode to cover the Leeming Bar run round loop. The choice of these two particular 01s was deliberate as they had no known passenger workings.

The loop was duly covered and 10 minutes later we were back in the platform at Leeming Bar to re-engine from the 01s to 08743+08903. During this 20 minute break a number of the passengers who had parked on the road leading to Leeming Bar station were instructed by the police to move their cars!

Departing 14 minutes late with 213 passengers on-board we headed towards Redmire. Everyone was in good spirits and the buffet and bar were nice and busy as we made our way through Wensleydale.

It is remarkable that these two locomotives, that had been in store for many years, were now powering this charter on their first loaded run, but by Leyburn 08903’s middle axle bearing was getting a bit hot under the collar and it was time to take a break. Thus everyone was allowed to detrain for an impromptu 15 minute break whilst things cooled down a little.

By the time we arrived at Redmire, some 2 hours after leaving Leeming Bar, the sun was out and it was a beautiful Autumn day. And now the fun started…

The issue was that the charter was booked to visit every inch of track at Redmire but a rake of passenger coaches and freight wagons was also stored there. Therefore an amount of shunting was required using the 08s to clear the stabled stock out of the way to allow access for the charter. Whilst this was taking place there were so many people stood on the grassy mounds photographing the charter, the general public must have thought a steam special from Garsdale was about to pass through!

1 hour and 40 minutes after arriving, all the track had been covered viz Redmire end of line, both loading ramps and the run-round loop. The stored stock was shunted back in the sidings and we were ready to head back to Leeming Bar, this time with the 08s in Top and Tail mode with 08743 leading and 08903 assisting at the rear.

By this stage we were 1 hour 15 minutes late which was of concern to some of those relying on public transport and in particular the 15:40 bus from Leeming Bar back to Northallerton. Happily that same bus calls at Leyburn at 15:20 so we advised passengers who required that service to bail there where we arrived at 15:13. Once we were sure those passengers had made the bus we departed and continued on our way towards Leeming Bar.

The great atmosphere on-board continued for the return trip and Constable Burton loop was covered along the way in the non-preferred direction. On arrival at Leeming Bar West one of the quickest loco changes I have known in the UK took place where 08743 was removed in favour of 47715, but arrival back in the platform was still some 1 hour 45 minutes late! At this point around half the passengers took their leave having covered the rare track and ridden behind the rare locos.

08903 was removed and replaced by 26007 which set scene nicely for a thrashtastic run. Departing still 1 hour 45 minutes late, the decision was taken to reverse at Finghall rather than going all the way to Leyburn in order to try and claw back some time. The run behind the Class 26 was superb and although sadly curtailed, it did mean that we arrived back at Leeming Bar at 17:58 1 hour 13 minutes late, thus saving a good 30 minutes. This brought to a conclusion another excellent BLS/PLEG event which covered the entire advertised track, produced all the advertised locomotives and raised £1,250 for each of Wilton International’s two nominated charities; Zoe’s Place and The Junction Foundation.

The 08s were returned to Teesside on 29th September and back into store, with our grateful thanks.

This event was successful only because of: The passengers who bought a ticket, Terry Waldron at Wilton International, Jerry Dickinson and all the staff and volunteers at the Wensleydale Railway, Harry Needle Railroad Company, Reid Freight Services Limited, Kev Adlam and Jill Everitt of the BLS and all the BLS and PLEG stewards.

Below is a stock list (provided by Gary Lonsdale [Member 0706]) showing rolling stock items observed.

word Wensleydale Railway Stock List