Half a century – narrow gauge in north Gloucs.

Taking the M5 south, we turn off for Toddington at Ashchurch – passing the site of the works where the Dowty RPS was formed in October 1962. The site, on the curve connecting the main line to the branch to Upton-on-Severn and beyond, is no longer recognisable, though trains still stop at Ashchurch (for Tewkesbury) station, and the MOD depot to the west of the main line is still rail-served, by the stub of the former line to Evesham, Redditch and, ultimately, Barnt Green.

The preservation effort in the 1960s was standard gauge – I remember my first sight of 6201 “Princess Elizabeth” in store there in 1968 – today’s efforts are a few miles further east, to a much smaller gauge (2′ 0″), and operational under a different guise – “The Toddington Narrow Gauge Railway“. Nevertheless, a 50th anniversary would provide a reason (or excuse?) for a gathering and a steam up. We had to go…

Haven’t had time yet to put together the “Rail Diaries” page – soon, perhaps; in the meantime, a sample – it’s Henschel 0-8-0T no. 1091 of 1918, rather a fine old machine.

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