The Lavender Line
Sunday 6th April marked a very special day for the Lavender line. This was the start of a steam season in over 5 years where the railway has two steam locomotives in service and to celebrate this unique occasion we hosted a double steaming day with ‘Yvonne’ and our very own steam engine ‘Austin 1’ to provide a day of parallel departures and double headers.
With the weather not looking to hopeful on the days leading up to the event there was a worry the rain may put visitors off, but come Sunday the rain faded away by mid morning and it managed to stay dry throughout the day, there was even a glimmer of sunshine at midday! At 10.00 both engines made there way off shed and hooked up to their stock for the day, ‘Austin 1’ had the Semi Royal Saloon with the 108 trailer coach whilst ‘Yvonne’ hauled the railway Toad brake van. As ‘Yvonne’ made her way into platform 1 there was crowds of visitors awaiting her, all enjoying her quirky ways and unique looks. Throughout the day there were a number of parallel departures with the two trains including crossovers as ‘Yvonne’ departed and ‘Austin’ arrived. The 1.00 and 1.30 service was hauled by ‘Yvonne’ from platform 1 which gave the vertical boiler tank a chance to stretch her legs for two full length runs. After the runs it was back to normal with ‘Yvonne’ carrying on with shuttle runs to the bridge and back whilst ‘Austin 1’ carried on with the main service train to Worth halt.
The biggest treat of the day came at 4.30 when the last train of the day was double headed with the two engines, ‘Yvonne’ lead the way as pilot loco as the two engines left the station back to back. This was a great chance to see how ‘Yvonne’ would perform with a heavy load, once out the station ‘Austin’ shut off her power and left everything to ‘Yvonne’ to see what she’s made of! The result was outstanding, ‘Yvonne’ stormed up through the cutting with a volcanic sound hauling not just the two coach train but ‘Austin 1’ as well!
The entire day was a complete success with very positive feedback from visitors. ‘Yvonne’ will be in steam all throughout the year as well as working alongside ‘Austin’ on the steam days. ‘Yvonne’s next steam day will be on Good Friday as she hauls the days service train. She will also be in steam on Easter Monday alongside ‘Austin 1’ again then both bank holiday weekends in May where she will be taking part in our bank holiday weekend top and tail madness weekend! Keep an eye out on our latest news for more info on ‘Yvonne’ and her next steam dates.