Sunday 22 May 2016

Diesels everywhere. Seriously everywhere.

They're bloody everywhere

Now here is the story as we know it. A Heritage Railway has a spare weekend so throws on a few diesels for that eclectic mix known as Diesel Bashers. Few extra people turn up on a normally quiet weekend, hang out of windows, flail (which is an actual thing) and have a grand old time.

Then they get back to normal. 

Something odd has happened

The Severn Valley had shunted their normal Diesel Gala later in the year, occupying the teatime slot of the year. Reserved for people watching The Chase while eating their fish fingers and chips. Its not quite prime time but for everyone who has a cushy job, its a good time of day.

It seems this shunt worked a treat for diesels and their fans. They flocked and filled trains on the first day of the Gala. Standing room only for what was arguably one of the best collection of diesels in one place at one time.

The sparkling new Diesel Depot was opened to much fanfare, it is an incredible achievement and facility that has set a new benchmark for looking after what was once the dirty word on a Steam Railway.

So what is the future?

There has always seemed a tinge of worry/sweaty palmed blind panic over scheduling diesels into Heritage Railway timetables. No longer were these the replacement for those well paid for kettles. They have rebranded themselves better than Craig David getting away from Kes and wetting the bed.

Welcome to the Heritage Diesel

If the Queen is left high and dry by a steam locomotive, the fanfare shifts to a 'Heritage Diesel' taking its place. There was a sigh but people went to watch it fly by their schools and newspapers still covered the story.

The Severn Valley hold what has been lauded as one of the best ever Galas, not referencing the fact that not one steam locomotive was on duty. The North Yorkshire Moors ran another well received Gala that was 'mixed traction' and complaints by hardcore fans were silenced.

Have we now turned a corner with throbbing sulzer engines rather than one of Gresley's or Stanier's finest?

It does seem those beautiful rakes of Teak Coaches or GWR originals can have a new heritage icon on the front of them and not only do the punters not mind, but prefer it.

Will Railways be rushing to spend £'0000s on repairing those Black 5s or simply hire in a Class 66? 
Time will tell.

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