Nick Simpson, MPD Manager, gives us an update on what the Shed Team of Staff and Volunteers get up to before the running of the Annual Steam Gala 2021:

As summer nights draw shorter and we roll into September the Motive Power Department and the railways focus turns to the Annual Steam Gala.

Due to visit us is No. 60163 Tornado, 8F No. 48305 and No. 2999 Lady of Legend, these accompanied by our home fleet should see a good event with plenty to see and interest for all with engines from the big 4, British Rail and industrial locos from home and abroad.


Preparation for the event ranges from washing out all engines that have worked hard over the summer timetable in time for the gala Thursday, their repairs as needed and full steam tests, retrieving locos that have been hired out to other railways by road haulage to help with their traction needs such as No. 29 at Didcot Railway Centre and No. 8 Lucie to Embsay and Bolton Abbey Railway. We also have transported guest engines to Newbridge, this also involves road transport delivering to the P-way yard, connecting the engines to tenders where needed, acceptance exams, working through to shed, cleaning, repairs and prep for traffic.   


Other jobs to ready the shed include, keeping the service running, locomotive allocation to the gala diagrams, a supplementary fitting roster that includes a 4 am start time and 11pm finish, shed staff meeting prior to the event, sending and receiving paperwork between us and the owning bodies, ordering increased amount of coal to cover traction needs, shunting the shed so that a larger volume of machines can be handled and to make the most of the pit space available, shunting plans for the weekend, pit cleaning, disposal of ash, servicing the JCB, taking audits of oil supplies and planning for the arrival of No. 60163 Tornado via rail connection down the Esk Valley branch. Even ordering more cleaning materials needs to be accounted for due to the amount of engines we have running for the public over the weekend.

Its an exciting time to be on shed and each year we rally to the challenge to deliver the best turned out engines possible on the services, repair anything and everything needed and try to have a minute to enjoy the atmosphere of how a busy depots of old must have been.


Many gallons of Yorkshire Tea are also required to keep the wheels rotating! We hope you enjoy the event.

Nick Simpson, Motive Power Department Manager.

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