Let me start by saying this. This past weekend was long, tiring and at times painful. But it was also one of the best weekends I can remember!
A week before the weekend even started things started looking gloomy. One of the special guests of the Nene Valley Gala I was attending, 71000 'Duke of Gloucester', cancelled due to problems. This left a huge gap that needed to be urgently filled. Whilst there had been rumours for a couple of weeks that this might happen, until this point there was always a bit of hope.
Whilst in this industry problems like this inevitably do happen from time to time, never have I seen such speed in sorting it out. Within hours of the original announcement of the cancellation, a replacement had been found. The covering engine wasn't exactly a slouch either. Replacing the one of the biggest and most powerful steam engines this country ever produced was none other than the sister engine of the steam record holder. 4464 'Bittern'!
Fastforward to Saturday morning at 4am. This was when my extremely loud alarm went off. If I was to get to Wansford sheds before the engines started moving I had to be about early. Leaving the house shortly before 5am I made it to the NVR just after 7. When I arrived the Sun has just come up and was leaving a lovely shades across the yard. Whilst the contruction of the new pit (see previous blog entry) had hampered the engine lineup somewhat there were still some good opportunities while the engines were still.
As Wansford grew busier I decided to move on. Shortly after the first departure I started the long hike to Ferry Meadows. Using the path alongside the line I managed to get some great shots as the trains kept up a busy schedule.
Due to a busy Summer doing other things this was my first visit to a line since the back end of July. I wanted to make the most of this event and so stayed in the area overnight. It has to be said, when this decision was made it was long before any weather forcasts were published, and its fair to say Sunday was a complete contrast to Saturday. Where the latter was sunny and at times very hot, Sunday started cold, gloomy and a little bit damp. As the day went on it only got worse.
Nevertheless, before the main rains came some decent photography was to be had.
The Nene Valley Railway as a whole has made some rapid progress over the last couple of years. As some of my previous entries have told you, things are about to get a whole lot busier. I'm eager to see what they can pull out of the bag for next years events!
For the rest of my shots from the weekend please go to: Nene Valley Railway Autumn Gala
My thanks to all the staff and volunteers at the Nene Valley for a truly memorable weekend.