Visitor’s Rally

Over the 31st August – 2nd September weekend the Society hosted its annual rally for visiting locomotives.

In spite of the published dates the rally seems to get underway earlier each year. This year several of our own members were already set up with their caravans by the Wednesday. On Thursday morning the first of our visitors arrived and after settling in began to unload their engines on the steaming bays. In the evening we enjoyed a social get together with a coffee in the Clubhouse.

Friday saw more visitors arriving and unloading a good variety of locomotives. Steam was raised, batteries charged and tanks fuelled so that track running commenced. During the day the new urn remained in constant use supplying copious quantities of tea and coffee for all. Around 6pm all eyes turned towards the road awaiting the arrival of the fish and chips which were pre-ordered on the booking form. These duly arrived and were despatched in short order. Once the remains of this meal were removed everyone settled down for a presentation by Peter Woods. This was followed by more social chat and discussion.

Saturday dawned bright and clear and once again locomotives were prepared for running. More visitors arrived and the steaming bays were soon full and smoke and steam gushed into the Haynes air. A fine variety of stock was soon travelling the tracks of Summerfields and Springfield from rakes of coaches to demonstration goods.  Due to a mistake in press advertising some public turned up expecting the railway to be open. Not everyone wanted this but all passengers were accommodated and received their rides. By late afternoon the Clubhouse had been transformed into a restaurant and the bar opened which was well patronised. Our caterers arrived and it was time for everyone to enjoy the food they had ordered which arrived hot and on time. Once everything was cleared away a night run was proposed and a train was made ready. The two ladies from the caterers were the first to board as one of them had been before and insisted that it was one of the perks of the job. A packed train departed and soon the rear red light disappeared over the bridge towards Hammer Hill. The social atmosphere continued throughout the evening as people enjoyed a chat over a beer or coffee.

With public running officially on Sunday it was great that, once again, the weather co-operated with no rain in the forecast. Most trains were operated by our visitors, which was much appreciated by our regular customers. Thanks to all who made the day successful and memorable.

BMES would like to thank all who made the rally a success – our visitors, our organisers, our members and we look forward to doing it all again in 2014.