The railway goes bigger than ever with a record number of locos, including the 9F, an engine that’s not run in over 50 years. As ever, it’s not all plain sailing….

It’s the annual steam gala and this year, in a bid to generate as much cash as possible, the railway decides to put on a show with a record 15 locos coming from all over the country for the weekend steam spectacular. The line-up of star-studded locos includes the iconic Union of South Africa. This engine, a sister to the Mallard, the fastest steam loco ever built, is due to be retired so this will be one of the last opportunities to see it. 

But loco boss Piglet is hoping that it’s a home-stable, not one of the visiting stars that will prove to be the real star of the show. The 9F is the last remaining example of one of the most powerful class of engines ever built in Britain. The monster engine is capable of hauling a colossal 900 tonnes. More than that, the 9F has never run since it was sent to the scrapyard over 50 years ago. Other people have tried to restore the engine but failed and now Piglet has staked his, and the railway’s, reputation on getting it running again for the gala. 

But as usual things don’t go to plan! It looks like a last-minute brake problem means it can’t run. But Piglet is nothing if not determined. He fixes the problem and when three gala engines break down the 9F can take centre stage. Heavy rain at the end of the gala can’t dampen everyone’s enthusiasm for seeing this monster engine running again. It helps make it the most successful steam gala the railway has ever had. 

Elsewhere Carriage & Wagon boss, Kieran if off to Wales to in search of a solution to a pongy problem! 

With a combination of donations and grants the Charity has raised over 90% of the funds to deliver its YMJ project. The heritage railway still needs to raise an additional £800k over the next three years and is appealing for further support to achieve that target. 

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