Five go mad at the Great Central Railway

To break the winter shed time up a day trip was planned recently by five club members, P Narrowly, S Hutson, H Cotgreave, F Cooper and T Leverett. Where better for five deranged steam heads to go but a steam gala at the Great Central Railway, Loughborough.

The G.C.R had eight locos in steam at their Winter Gala and was very well attended by thousands of enthusiasts, rivet counters and normal people (T.V.T.E.C members)(Don’t laugh you weren’t there, we are normal in comparison)

We know steam railways aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, however if you fancy a trip somewhere different then I for one would highly recommend it. As with many preserved railways the small details really make it a great experience. G.C.R has really gone to town setting the scene of a working railway of the 1940’s, gas lighting, period dress, great authentic buildings with fires roaring inside and impressive displays on track too. Steam hauled freight trains touching 60mph ran throughout the day, continuous and stopping passenger services and perhaps the star of the show the T.P.O (Travelling Post Office) flying through collecting post three times a day!

For me, the highlight of the day was the shed area at night, here locos are brought in for fire disposal and maintenance by the shed gang. As someone who never got to see the real thing when the railways were run by steam it was fantastic. Engines arriving being met by the shed master, maintenance noted, fires dropped and steam hissing and leaking adding an atmosphere which to be honest is difficult to describe how great it was.

Much fun was had, some beer was tested and passed T.V.T.E.C standards, so we all came away thinking what steam trip can we go next before the rally season kicks off!

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Dredging by steam

Tristan Leverett reports. A chance conversation with an ‘steam interested’ colleague (that’s code for any excuse to spread the word/bore people about steam) about a trip to Tinkers Park for the RLS spring do 2016. I was explaining with some exuberance about the ploughers ‘Windsor’ & ‘Sandringham’ which now live with the ‘Claud Jessett Trust’. After saying about what hard life they’ve lived, really having two working lives one ploughing and the second with James Lowther and his dredging concern.

Suddenly a lightbulb moment happened for my colleague as he said, “that sounds familiar, I’m sure I went to see some steam engines dredging two lakes at Haslemere in the late 1970’s early 80’s” Followed by those words we love to hear “I think I have some photos somewhere!”

Well here they are, some unseen photos of the engines arriving and at work. In classic style one of the pictures shows ‪15364, “Windsor”‬ hard up against a tree to anchor the engine whilst pulling! Apparently, the tree still holds a scar from this.

With there being two lakes in line there was an earth mover between the lakes emptying the dredge before the second pull through the next lake.

After a conversation with Pete Narraway, he also recalled seeing the engines at work around the same time and said at that time an adapted skip was being used for the dredge! Makes you wonder how heavy this homemade dredge would have been by the end of the pull? At a guess, very bloody heavy! Pete said when he saw them, the pulling engine stalled several times under the strain, even with the button in and the engine well in the blood.

The long working life of these engines is a credit to John Fowler, I think many of us can remember seeing them in poor cosmetic condition over the years, now I think they will enjoy their retirement at Tinkers Park. I for one look forward to seeing them out again in the future, hopefully together again working, though perhaps without the skip!

All images copyright of Tim Hook.

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TVTEC January Meeting

The TVTEC January meeting will be a talk from Joby Carter of the Famous Carter’s Steam Fair. Joby will be talking about Fairground rides, signwriting and all sorts of other fair related antics of the life of travelling showmen.


See you at Englefield social club from 7.30pm on Monday 9th Jan

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Get your TVTEC 2017 Calendar

TVTEC 2017 calendars are now on sale. At £5 each it is an ideal present or something to brighten up your workshop wall.

Calendars are available at tonight’s Christmas meeting  – hurry while stocks last!


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TVTEC Christmas Meeting

The Christmas meeting will take place on Monday 12th December at Englefield Social Club from 7.30pm. Food buffet will be served, photographs and books on display, short films shown on the projector, and a Raffle. See you there!

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The Thames Valley Traction Engine Club are holding a photo competition. The winning photo will be included in the 2017 TVTEC calendar. Please bring any photo’s you’d like to submit along to the October club meeting on Monday 10th October or alternatively email them to The winner will be announced at the club dinner in November.

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Thames Valley Traction Engine Club Dinner

The TVTEC Dinner will be at the Mill at Aldermaston on Saturday 12th November.

Tickets are £26 per person. Please buy your tickets at one of the club meetings or contact the secretary Carole Davis

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