The Lavender Line
Over the weekends of 1st and 2nd, 8th and 9th October the Lavender line held its first gala event in almost 6 years. Saturday 1st October saw the gala kick off with a unique two train service running from both platforms 1 and 2.
With blue skies and rising temperatures crowds started to form as early as 9.00! But there was one very special feature drawing the crowds. ‘Rocket’ proved to become undoubtedly the star of the show with visitors flocking from far and wide to enjoy this unique and pioneering locomotive in the south east. By 10.00 ‘rocket’ was on platform 2 providing rides, after a series of tests the day before it was proven that she could happily run the full length of the line, including starting on the gradient!
By midday everything was in full swing, there were ‘Rocket’ rides on platform 2 and brake van rides on platform 1 with our very own Ruston diesel ‘Valiant’. At 2.00 our resident steam ‘Austin 1’ was pushed in the car park ready for an inspection and preparation demo for lighting up, this gave visitors the opportunity to get up close with ‘Austin 1’ and discover what it takes to bring her to life.
Sunday 2nd was to become the highlight of the weekend, with both ‘Rocket’ and ‘Austin 1’ in steam this proved to be a rare event where a two train service would operate. ‘Austin 1’ took over brake van duties from ‘Valiant’ giving the opportunity to enjoy parallel departures of both steam engines!
The field was full of vintage vehicles from all ages, traction engines, steam rollers, vintage cars, bikes, military vehicles, scammel scarabs, a steam lorry and even a threshing machine were just some of the vintage vehicles lined up representing different ages of transport. Vehicles were coming and going throughout the weekend giving the event that ‘alive’ feeling which brought the gala to life.
The second weekend saw a very different picture in the weather, but nevertheless the crowds still arrived to enjoy the slights and sounds of ‘Rocket’ and her two unique carriages, one of which was stand up only!
Overall both weekends proved to be a complete success, with this in mind we have decided to repeat this event for next year with our 2nd transport gala, this is planned to be Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th October 2012. It is hoped we can arrange a visiting engine for this event alongside our resident steam engine with a selection of visiting vintage vehicles to make our 2nd transport gala another exciting event.
Keep and eye on our special events page in 2012 for this gala and many more new and exciting events which are being planned for next year.
We would like to say a big thankyou to the NRM for the loan of ‘Rocket’ and its carriages, all the participants who brought their vehicles to the event and all the staff at the Lavender line who all played their part in ensuring both weekends went smoothly.
Watch our special events page for new and exciting events in 2012!