A week of 'Southern Services' on the timetable for the GWSR
By David Wood
There's a celebration of all things 'Southern' on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway (GWSR) this week.
Home resident SR rebuilt Merchant Navy Class 4-6-2 locomotive No. 35006 'Peninsular & Oriental S. N. Co'. will be joined by visiting SR 'U' Class 2-6-0 Mogul locomotive No. 31806, courtesy of the Swanage Railway and JMB Locomotive Services, for three days of 'Southern Mid-Week Services' between Tuesday 16th and Thursday 18th May.
'U' class engines such as 31806 were no strangers to the area, visiting Cheltenham back when steam still ruled the rails. The SR reached Cheltenham via the former Midland & South Western Junction Railway (MSWJR) from Andover via Swindon, Cirencester and Andoversford.
At Cheltenham, the SR trains originally used the former Midland station at Cheltenham Spa but latterly Cheltenham St. James, the SR locomotives being serviced at Cheltenham Malvern Road depot.
The GWSR has received its fair share of Southern Region visitors over the years including: SR Merchant Navy class pacific 35005 'Canadian Pacific'; West Country Class 4-6-2 locomotives Nos 34007 'Wadebridge', 34092 'City of Wells' and, 34028 'Eddystone'; A1X 'Terrier' class 0-6-0T no. 62 'Martello'; SR Lord Nelson Class 4-6-0 locomotive No. 850 'Lord Nelson' and SR V (Schools) Class 4-4-0 Nos. 926 'Repton' and 925 'Cheltenham'.
The visit of SR 'U' Class 2-6-0 Mogul locomotive No. 31806 adds to an ever-increasing tally.
Following the visiting 'U' Class's participation in the Cotswold Festival of Steam (CFoS) between the 12th & 14th May, the three-day event gives visitors a further opportunity to travel behind the locomotive along with 35006, before the 'U-Boat' returns to its home base at the Swanage Railway. If you're a Southern Region aficionado then this is an event not to be missed!
Tickets for the 'Southern Mid-Week Services' are available to purchase online at the GWSR website.
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