The Lavender Line
The Lavenders lines 3rd annual steam and transport gala has proven to be the most successful event the railway has ever hosted with a bumper crowd and three steam engines. The Friday before the steam and transport gala the Lavender lines working members set to the task of preparing the site for a busy weekend ahead with locos being prepped, shunting to be done and organising to be had. The catering staff were busy through the week preparing both the Cinders buffet for large crowds and our buffet coach which hosted tea, coffees and cakes. By the evening all three steam engines were in light steam with some of the crews finding themselves familiar with one of the visiting Port of Par twins by taking one of them for a short spin to get use to the unique position and controls of the squat saddle tanks. As the sun went down on Friday evening it was the calm before the storm, very quiet with just the sounds of simmering steam engines to be heard.Saturday morning was an early start for all members; all three engines were in lit by 7.00 with preparations for the day well underway. By 9.00 there was a stream of vintage vehicles entering the neighbouring field as the attractions started to build, traction engines, classic cars, military vehicles, motorbikes and tractors are just some of what was pouring into the field ready for the display. At 9.45 the visiting Port of Par twins Alfred and Judy made there way together into platform 1 where they parked up for a while to allow the early bird visitors a chance to get close to there unique and great looking engines. With both the engines and crews now fed and watered the Twins made their way onto their train as did our resident steam engines Austin 1. Trains ran in an intensive manor with train’s departing every 25 minutes from 10.30 until 2.00. At this point a shunt took place where the locos swapped trains allowing visitors to ride behind the Twins in the coaches as well as the goods set. This change over took place for only a short period of time with a 25 minute service taking over yet again until 5.30. Through the day the platforms were crowded with passengers and visitors all wanting to get a good shot of the visiting engines as they worked hard out of Isfield station. Riles miniature railway also took stage with a two train service consisting of a visiting steam engine and one of the resident electric locos, this went down very popular with visitors and proved to be great addition to a very busy gala.