Sunday, 15 August 2010

New locomotives and Steam in Miniature Weekend at Bressingham

Last year's winner hoping to take
the prize again
Today's visit coincided with Bressingham's 21st Steam in Miniature Weekend. This would be the second time round for me, so I knew roughly what to expect, except this time I would be writing a blog entry as well.

In fact we bought our family season ticket at last year's event and given the number of visits we managed in a year (at least sixteen, possibly as many as twenty) I have to rate it as excellent value.

All change on the Nursery Line

Before the parade at began at 14:30 we had plenty of time to enjoy a couple of train rides and grab some lunch. Whilst waiting for the Waveney Valley train to depart (our first ride of the day) I was rather surprised to hear a very different whistle and see a new locomotive passing the workshops and approaching the crossing behind us. At first I thought it was Bevan, but something was not quite right - I knew Bevan had different coloured coachwork and also pulled a small tender. I had to wait until Diamond Crossing where the fifteen inch and two foot lines cross over to get a proper look at Statfold, a Hunslet quarry class locomotive No. 3903 built in 2005. I had already noticed a large yellow tram parked outside the workshops so knew something had happened.

I had an inkling that Bronllwyd was being replaced with two new locomotives - one steam and one diesel, but I didn't think it was to be so soon. So after more than forty years' service at Bressingham, Alan Bloom's beloved Bronllwyd has retired from Bressingham and gone to live with a private buyer.

New locomotive Statfold replaces

New diesel tram as well for the
Nursery Line

With the imminent introduction of Bevan on the Nursery Line, there will now be three locomotives available which will give much greater operating flexibility.

I will miss Bronllwyd, her open footplate allowed you to enjoy the view both from it and from the carriages behind. I guess that the drivers will welcome Statfold's enclosed cab when it's pouring with rain though!

Steam in Miniature

This year there were twenty three entries ranging in size from 2.5 inch scale up to half-size. As well as traction engines there were also a couple of steam powered lorries.

All of the family getting involved

At 14:30 the competitors lead by last year's winner filed into the parade area where they were announced and took their place in the line-up.

23 whistles make a lot of noise!
Once all of the competitors had assembled, there was a mighty cacophony as all twenty three engines sounded their whistles in unison. Once the Best in Show winner had been announced and the trophy presented, visitors were invited in to take photographs.

A larger selection of my photographs from the day is available on Bressingham's SmugMug gallery.

All sizes from large... small

The winner is...

Duty Manager Christine presents the
trophy for Best in Show
The winner of Best in Show this year was Keith Foskett with his six inch scale Little Samson. This is based on the Little Samson built by Savages of Kings Lynn in the early 1900s. Estimates vary, but it is thought that "around nine" engines of this type were ever built by Savages.

Keith's model took four years to build, so it is truly a labour of love as well as a work of art.

This year's winner - Keith Foskett with his six inch scale Little Samson

Seeing triple

Three Little Samson engines in 3, 4 and 6 inch scale

As the competitors left the parade area, three stayed behind - all Little Samsons in different scales - so that their owners could get some photographs of them all together. Despite bumping into each other at various other events, this was the first time that all three had been together.

Other models

In the Conference Room there were some smaller sized models on display as well as several track layouts complete with running trains.

Model traction engine

Model roller

Number one son was totally fascinated by this as it ran round the track

Fun for kids

Battery powered Land Rover
One of the larger non-steam models was a battery powered mini Land Rover, and it didn't take very long for a certain little boy to find it and locate himself in the driver's seat.

Fortunately for the people in the vicinity of the Gallopers that afternoon, daddy had to help drive as he's a bit too young at the moment. With me steering a course around the people, little one's right foot was firmly planted on the go faster pedal. After two circuits of the Gallopers we had managed to drain the remainder of the battery and it had to go back for a recharge. What great fun (for us both) and thank you to whoever brought it along. I'm sure you made many a youngster happy today.

Last ride

Look at the showroom shine! A driver's
pride and joy
With the day drawing to a close, all that remained was a last train ride, back on the Waveney Valley Line where we had started. There we found today's driver David busily polishing Rosenkavalier's gleaming green paintwork one last time, despite knowing it would still get covered in soot and ash by the time he put it away (probably requiring one last wipe).

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