Dean Forest Railway is hosting a special events weekend to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first publicly operated train.
In 2020, the Dean Forest Railway Society had planned to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the formation of the original Preservation Society, but, as the pandemic prevented it, the DFR will instead celebrate the 50th anniversary in 2021 of the first public train in operation. .
Short brake van rides were first offered at Parkend on October 23, 1971 and will be featured again in 2021, on Saturday October 23 and Sunday October 24, at the 50th anniversary gala of the railway!
An intensive schedule will include three steam locomotives working each day which will be 2-6-2 ‘Small Prairie’ 5541, 0-6-0 Austerity ‘Swiftsure’, while the Peckett ‘Rocket’ locomotive will visit Parkend of the Telford Steam Railway at Run Brake Van Rides in homage to the journeys offered behind “Uskmouth No. 1” exactly 50 years ago.
On the diesel side, the DMU and the Class 14 D9521 will operate the trains. Focusing on the birthplace of the Parkend Railway, there will be an exhibit of museum artifacts specially chosen for the exhibit and the unveiling of a 50th anniversary plaque.
“Driver for a Fiver” will be offered as an attraction at Norchard, the main railway hub with access to the hangar to see the progress of the restoration of “Uskmouth” as well as saddlebag tanks 9681 and 9682; Hunslet 0-4-0 locotractor D6688 ‘salty’; Hunslet 0-6-0 ‘Gunby’ saddle tank; and the Mk1 TSO 4862 coach.
As part of the gala, the Society will organize a members’ social evening on Saturday 23 October in Norchard starting at 5:00 p.m. with the presentation of long-service badges followed by dinner, a bar serving local beer and cider. – and the official launch of the anniversary book.
As DFRS President Dr Alastair Clarke says, “I appreciated (if that’s the right word) an extra year to write ‘Five Decades in the Forest’. the birth of our company in Parkend in 1970, through the development of the Norchard site from scratch, until today.
“Our line now runs four and a quarter miles from Lydney Junction to Parkend and all Gala train trips will be priced at our regular Rover ticket.”
“Five Decades in the Forest” includes 164 pages of images, many of which have never been published, and is printed on high quality fine art paper. All proceeds from the book will contribute to the continued maintenance and development of the Dean Forest Railway and can be ordered from the DFR Company website at dfrsociety.org.uk/shop