5th Jul 2017
The Watercress Line will continue its nastalgic Summer Gala this weekend to commemorate 50 years since the end of Southern Steam by recreating a classic engine to wow the crowds.
Families and steam enthusiasts were treated to a world-first last weekend at the extravaganza, which marked the first time eight Bulleid steam locomotives appeared on a railway together anywhere in the world since 1967.
Crowds will again be entertained this Friday, Saturday and Sunday when The Watercress Line will change the identity of its locomotive Wadebridge to appear as her long-lost sister engine - Bideford, which was scrapped 50 years ago. One of the last running engines in service before the end of Southern Steam, it will include marking saying, “Don’t let me die!” and “Not to be used after 9/7/67”.
Iconic trains will be recreated from the late 1960s including the Bournemouth Belle and Southampton to Waterloo Boat Trains. Some of these trains will be hauled by Peninsular and Oriental (a Merchant Navy Class loco that has never visited another railway).
Other historic locos will include the famous Battle of Britain Class engines - a roving memorial to RAF Fighter Command and the fighter pilots who fought during the Battle of Britain.
The event will showcase a fantastic line-up of locos and freight trains that will recreate as many of the trains that were running in the last days of steam. On the 10th July 1967, the Southern Region switched over to electric traction between Waterloo and Bournemouth and then steam was gone.