Watercress Line

Rail enthusiasts swinging ‘60s event marks end of southern steam with world first

Rail steam enthusiasts can go back to the swinging ‘60s at the Mid-Hants Railway Watercress Line to commemorate 50 years since the end of southern steam with a world first.

The Summer Gala in July will see an extravaganza of fun for all the family that marks the first time eight Bulleid steam locomotives have appeared on a railway together anywhere in the world since 1967, whilst the occasion will also be a commemoration of the last mainline steam hauled passenger service.

The event, taking place over the weekends of July 1-2 and 7-9, will offer a fantastic line up of locos and freight trains that will recreate as many of the locos that were running in the last days of steam 50 years ago. Those wishing to fully embrace those halcyon days are being encouraged to dress up in ‘60s clothes to celebrate the era, while there will also be a traditional real ale bar.

There will be iconic steam engines on display and a recreation of the Channel Islands' Tomato Special Freight trains that ran on the last day of steam in 1967 and a Merchant Navy Class loco making its first operational visit to another railway since the preservation era. 

Other historic locos will see 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. Also running will be a permanent-way train which will include a steam crane and flat wagons with track panels.

Families and rail enthusiasts will be treated to a host of special steam trains including having eight Bulleid steam locomotives on the railway at one time. Both weekends promise to be guaranteed fun for all the family - and those wishing to fully embrace the occasion are encouraged to dig out their ‘60s gear.

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