KWVR to take a break from Diesel Gala events

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.

Click here, to contact the Railway with your suggestions.

9 comments on “KWVR to take a break from Diesel Gala events

  1. It is a great shame that the gala has to take a break, it was always a must do fixture in my calendar, right back to the 1980’s! I understand the cost argument and the increasing lack of availability of locos that can be brought to the line, but it seems to be a chicken and egg situation, why would a preserved diesel owner get all the certification work and cost to be towed on the mainline if there are fewer and fewer opportunities? Perhaps supplementary events such as mini photocharters that are run so well for the steam gala’s could be added to the diesel event, this could add at least an extra £1k to the revenue total for little extra outlay? A little though would be needed to have appropriately liveried locos and stock together which is fairly essential to attract the photo charter attendees but it is certainly possible. I hope Tim and the excellent team enjoy the break and hopefully the railway will make more opportunities available in the timetable next year for the home fleet. Have a restful 2015, lets hope 2016 sees a return for this popular event.

  2. When we visited last we were amazed that you managed to supply 3 draught real ales , of superb quality, on hand pump. Apparently you did this by racking the beer-well done – a really memorable experience on the railway.

  3. I am disappointed that KWVR have decided to put a stop on diesel galas.
    May offer my thoughts. I am often frustrated at galas for having far too many locos on offer. An example was East Lancs last gala that had 14 locos on offer, this left me with the option of having my desired locos for a single journey or not attending. Given the choice of let’s say turning up for KWVR 2015 gala using home locos only so you can have a few runs being the 20 or 25 or 37 and shunters might not pull in quite as many punters as a big headlining gala but would not cost much to put on. If a loco can be brought in for a season to add to the gala and diesel running days all the better. Then may be look into running a bigger gala every 3 or 4 years.

  4. Sorry to hear that the diesel gala isn’t considered a viable proposition at present as this year’s was, as usual, a fantastic event.

    Good to hear though that more diesel running days are a possibility and I hope that with plenty of advance notice on enthusiast websites, forums etc. they can be proven to be successful. Vintage diesels and real ale seem to be a popular combination…

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