The sound of Sulzers: the 2014 diesel gala, 7th - 9th November
The rolling hills around the South Devon Railway will not be alive with the sound of music this weekend (Friday 7- Sunday 9 November), but with the unmistakeable sound of Sulzer diesel engines instead, when the SDR runs a major Diesel Gala, the final event of the year season before the Christmas season.
The special three-day event will feature the operational fleet of resident diesel locos normally based on the SDR, a number of which are now over 50 years old, plus a special star guest in the form of Sulzer-powered, visiting Class 25 No. D7535.
D7535 is normally based on the nearby Dartmouth Steam Railway and it will be making its first ever appearance away from home territory since arriving at Paignton in February 1986. Sulzer enthusiasts from all over the country are expected to flock to see it running away from home.
The locomotive, which is maintained for its owners by the South Devon Railway based Devon Diesel Society underwent body repairs earlier this year and has been painted into early British Rail blue livery with small yellow panel.
Paignton visitor D7535 will join sister locomotive D7612, which is based on the SDR and owned by South Devon Diesel Traction. The gala will present a rare chance to see two class 25s working together, something that would have happened on a daily basis many years ago. D7612 has also been restored into 1960’s livery.
As the gala presented the very rare chance to see two Class 25’s working together, an additional day was added to the event with both D7535 and D7612 hauling all trains on Friday 7th November.
There will also be a milk train – the 25s once being a regular sight on such workings in the South West when in bygone times milk was transported by rail and not road. In addition to solo workings, some services will operated double-headed.
On the Saturday and Sunday D7535 and D7612 will be joined by a further four locomotives, plus the SDR’s Class 122 railcar Bubblecar W55000.
Also operating during the gala will be Class 33 D6501 and Class 37 6975. Both are owned by SDR based SDDT. No. D6501 has recently been returned to original condition in all over green livery with cream centre band and cab window surrounds. The loco is now externally the same as did when it entered service at Hither Green depot in February 1960. Loco 6975 is the most recent diesel arrival on the line, arriving on the SDR earlier this year. It will operate passenger services on Saturday and Sunday and appears in standard rail blue livery.
The event will also see the unusual site of both the SDR’s operational diesel shunters working a passenger train. Class 09 D3721 will work a round trip over the line on each day. On the Saturday, Class 04 D2246 will be added as pilot locomotive to the Class 09 on the outward working at Staverton whilst, on the Sunday, it will act as pilot loco from Buckfastleigh to Staverton where it will be detached and run light engine to the yard ready to take up engineering duties the following week.
There will be a frequent passenger service operating throughout the weekend with the first loco hauled services being at 09.30 from Buckfastleigh and 10.12 from Totnes.
Throughout the event the DDS will be operating an on train real ale bar, and on both Saturday and Sunday there will also be hot food available on selective services, including hot bacon and sausage rolls in the morning, hot pasties at lunchtime and both curry & rice and chilli & rice on the late trains on the Saturday evening.
It is also hoped to have some of the non-operational diesel locomotives on display, including Class 25 D7541, Class 37 D6737 and Class 50 D402, the largest diesel loco based on the SDR.
Rover tickets will be available on each of the three days allowing visitors to make the best of what is to offer.
D7612 & D7541