Heritage Diesel Gala returns to The Watercress Line

A weekend of heritage diesel traction is planned at The Watercress Line next month with the return of the popular Diesel Gala.

The special three day event, from Friday 15th July to Sunday 17th July, will feature a heritage diesel traction service operating over their steeply graded line.

Visiting diesel engines and The Watercress Line’s home-fleet will showcase the varied types of diesel locomotives produced from the 1960’s until the present day.

Among the gala’s visiting fleet will be Class 419 Motor Luggage Vans (MLV) number S68001 (9001) and 9002 and Class 416 2EPB (2 Electro Pneumatic Brake) number 5759, all courtesy of the EPB Preservation Group. A Class 66 freight locomotive will also be visiting at the gala, courtesy of Freightliner Limited.

There will be six of The Watercress Line’s home-fleet locomotives operating, including Class 08 08288 “Phoenix” and Class 47 47579 “James Nightall GC”.

Visitors to the Diesel Gala will also be able to enjoy rides on the miniature railway at Ropley on Saturday 16th July; a Goods Shed exhibition at Medstead and Four Marks Station; Society stands and displays at Ropley; a new museum featuring artefacts from the Somerset and Dorset Railway Trust; and the Beer Junction will be open serving real ale, wine and soft drinks.

The gala weekend will also see the return of the Barn Owl event at Ropley, with a chance to enjoy real ale and other refreshments on board passing trains on Friday and Saturday evenings. https://watercressline.co.uk/barn-owl/

The Watercress Line’s Acting Managing Director Alison Houghton said: “The three day Diesel Gala is a fantastic opportunity for anyone interested in diesel traction to get up close and ride behind some of these impressive locomotives. 

“There will be plenty to see at the railway during the event – something for everybody to enjoy. This event has previously been popular, so please book ahead on the Watercress Line website.” 

For more information and to book tickets, visit https://watercressline.co.uk/diesel-gala/

Photo credit: Watercress Line / Freightliner

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