Full steam ahead at Wetheringsett railway museum

Two veteran engines take to the tracks
Two veteran engines take to the tracks
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Hundreds of people visited the Mid Suffolk Light Railway in Wetheringsett last weekend to see two of the country’s rarest locomotives in action.

A mix of families and enthusiasts arrived at the railway museum in Brockford on Sunday and Monday for the Bank Holiday Bash event to watch the two Y7 class veterans in action, as well being entertained by popular Suffolk singer, Annie, and some Morris dancers.

Ian Meigh with John Carter East Suffolk Morris Men

Ian Meigh with John Carter East Suffolk Morris Men

The 1923 Y7 class number 985 engine was joined by the 1891 Y7 class number 1310, which were both built to a North Eastern Railway design.

The two engines travelled the heritage railway’s one quarter mile track each day, which marked a ‘real coup’ for the museum, known locally as Middy, and its visitors.

“Of all steam engines, considering these were two humble little shunters, they have survived the longest, through a combination of their construction, and luck,” said John Reeve, Mid Suffolk Light Railway’s marketing manager.

“They were both small dock shunters originally, with the 1310 working later in the coal industry and the 985 working as a shunter at Stratford Works.

Guard Jason Kermeen, porter Mike Smith, fireman Zac Bond
 in the 1310, and station master John Stark

Guard Jason Kermeen, porter Mike Smith, fireman Zac Bond in the 1310, and station master John Stark

“It is the first time we have had two engines built by mainline companies running at the museum since the line closed in 1952, and a real coup.”

The 985 engine, which is privately owned, has been based at the museum the past 18 months.

The 1310 was a visitor from Middleton Railway in Leeds.

Last weekend’s event marked the end of Middy’s summer season of ‘steam days’ when visitors can see the locomotives in action.

Charlie Howard, aged 9, with Zac Bond and engine driver Paul Ebsworth

Charlie Howard, aged 9, with Zac Bond and engine driver Paul Ebsworth

The 1310 will be staying a little longer, however, ready for the museum’s Grand Steam Gala on September 9 and 10 which is the most important fund-raising event for railway museum with its three resident engines.

It will also feature steam rollers, a five inch gauge steam railway giving passenger rides and a showman’s engine powering a real ale bar

For more information, visit www.mslr.org.uk.