Here's the Official Press Relese for the Gala -The Annual “Great Gala Weekend” will take place at the Kent & East Sussex Railway between 5 and 7 May 2012.
This year the railway will welcome some outstanding visiting locomotives including GWR 42XX No.4247 and GNR N2 No.1744. No 4247 was built in Swindon in 1916 at a cost of £2,918. This powerful locomotive weighs 66 tons 12cwt empty, increasing to 81 tons when full. The principle role of the class was working the 1000+ ton coal trains up through the Welsh valleys. 4247 spent some of her life in “the Valleys” but also spent a number of years doing a similar job in Cornwall, on the china clay runs, a task with similar needs as the coal work, the line through the infamous Pinnock Tunnel was one such route conquered by these engines. In 1964, aged 48 years, after 759,392 miles, she was sent to Barry for scrapping. In 1985 the 4247 Preservation Society (now 4247 Limited) bought the engine and the 16 year £300,000 restoration began. Her inaugural preservation run took place on 9th September 2001 on the West Somerset Railway and she now resides at the Bodmin and Wenford Railway. Sister locomotive number 4253 arrived on the Kent & East Sussex Railway 2011 in “ex Scrap yard” condition and a long term restoration process has commenced.
Visitors can also see the punchy Ex-GNR Class N2 0-6-2T No 1744 (LNER No. 1744, BR 69523) which was built in the 1920’s by the North British Locomotive Co. in Glasgow and designed by Nigel Gresley. No 1744 was allocated to Kings Cross shed. The locomotive weight is 70.25–71.45 long tons (71.38–72.60 t). The N2s were designed for suburban passenger operations, and worked most of the duties out of King's Cross and Moorgate, often hauling one or two quad-art sets of articulated suburban coaches. These ran to places such as New Barnet and Gordon Hill on the Hertford loop.
The Kent & East Sussex Railway’s own steam stock will also be working during the gala including two locomotives aged over 100: – Terrier Class locos No. 3 “Bodiam” and 32678. A number of the line’s lovingly-restored train of Victorian carriages will be amongst those in action for this special event.
Passenger trains will run along the 10½ miles of restored line from Tenterden Town Station to Northiam and Bodiam throughout the event with a regular service from 10.30am until 4.30pm on all three days plus “early bird” specials around 9.30am.
The Carriage & Wagon shed at Tenterden will be open allowing visitors to take a fascinating look behind the scenes and see the painstaking work that goes to restore and maintain the line’s fleet of historic coaches.
At Wittersham Road there will demonstrations of the activities of the Permanent Way department, who maintain the railways track, including craning of materials and a display of the “on track” machines which are increasing mechanising the track maintenance process.
Away from the tracks, railway stalls offer a glimpse into the world of railway preservation and historic buses show public transport from days gone by.
Gala prices – adult £17.50, Senior £15, Child £12.50, family £50, member £10. Two day tickets: adults £30, senior £25, child £20, member £20. Three day tickets: adult £35, senior £30, child £25, member £25.
For more information or to book tickets telephone 01580 765155 or visit the website www.kesr.org.uk