Over many years the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway has held a number of very successful diesel gala events, which have gathered preserved and main line diesel locomotives from far and wide, providing diesel locomotive enthusiasts the chance to travel behind a wide variety of different locomotives. We have seen the rise of mainline operator Direct Rail Services, with many of their locomotives visiting us from their early days, had a loco naming and had preserved locos from as far away as Bo’ness in Scotland to Totnes in Devon and various points in between. Our volunteers have had as much fun as our visitors, and made many good friends within the preservation movement.
After a great deal of soul searching, sadly, for now, the time has come to call it a day for these events.
Featured image: Robin Lush
A number of factors have contributed to this decision. The ability to source suitable visiting locomotives from other preserved railways is becoming increasingly difficult and, added to this, ever increasing transport costs make such an event less viable. It is simply no longer possible to collect a large number of locos from one location, or, increasingly, even from one geographical area, without incurring large costs. With many other similar events staged across the country, fans of diesel locomotives are also proving harder to attract to the Railway. Many of the modern locomotive types, and even some types of preserved loco, which would prove attractive to visitors, cannot operate on the KWVR due to weight restrictions.
Event Organiser, Tim Moody, who has been a volunteer involved with organising the events for over 10 years, said “I have enjoyed organising these events, seeing the Railway thronging with visitors and volunteer staff all having a good time. In recent years the event has been harder to organise and even harder to satisfy the growing demands of the enthusiasts while also making money for the Railway, especially with more and more events taking place elsewhere. It has also taken up more and more of my personal time. After another difficult year for planning, and with poor financial returns, I have suggested to the Railway’s management, who are all volunteers too, that it isn’t sufficiently viable nor sensible to carry on with this event at the moment, bearing in mind the workload on volunteers both in planning, preparing and operating the event and the returns it generates, which this year were poor.”
“We know that the diesel locomotives based on the Railway provide interest and variety for our visitors, and we are currently looking at options to increase the use of our own resident diesel locomotives on normal services during 2015, and how best we can make these running days attractive. We plan to improve publicity for these running days, giving visitors the chance to plan ahead and make the best use of their time. We hope that enthusiasts, and others, will support this increased use of the diesel locomotives, and welcome any constructive comments on how we can do this.”
The Railway would like to put on record it’s appreciation of the time, and not inconsiderable effort, that Tim has dedicated to making these events a success and to all the volunteers who gave up their time to ensure that everyone who attended these days left the Railway with a great deal of satisfaction.
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