On the weekend of 5th and 6th August 2017, Peak Rail ran its popular '1940s Weekend'. On the Sunday, I was the driver of the steam locomotive 'Jennifer' operating the 6-coach passenger train between Rowsley and Matlock Town, top and tailing with diesel-electric 'Penyghent'.
My arrival at Rowsley was later than normal, as we had no 'Driving Experience' course prior to the first service train. The Picnic Area and the woods are normally deserted as I make my way to the shed but, on a '1940s Weekend', the area becomes a series of tented military encampments for the re-enactors. Many of the re-enactors were getting ready or taking breakfast in their camps.
Peak Rail 1940s Weekend 2017: Breakfast in Camp.
I signed-on at the shed and there was some discussion with Dave Pendleton, the fireman, about our pairing on the '1940s Weekend' the previous year when our motive power became a complete failure early in the day. That day is described here. We hoped that history wouldn't repeat itself and it didn't. 'Jennifer' was simmering on the outside pit so I set to oiling-round and carrying out the daily exam.
Peak Rail 1940s Weekend 2017: 'Jennifer' simmering on the pit at Rowsley.
Nice and early, we made our way 'off shed' and across to the north end of our train. Waterman Railway Heritage Trust locomotive 5224 (a Great Western Railway 2-8-0T of the 5205 class, built by Collett in 1923) was on display on the turntable. Turntables always seem to fascinate visitors - it's a pity ours doesn't get more use. There's an article about turntables here.
Peak Rail 1940s Weekend 2017: 5224 (awaiting restoration) on the turntable.
The first departure was delayed, waiting for one of the coach parties booked on the train which was delayed in a traffic hold-up somewhere.
Our train was certainly full when we left, about ten minutes late. I was wearing my 'tin helmet', which alternated with the normal 'grease-top' throughout the day. Of course, we were 'tail end charlie' on the way to Matlock, with 'Penyghent' doing all the work. At Darley Dale, a Remembrance Service had been held.
Peak Rail 1940s Weekend 2017: A Remembrance Service was held at Darley Dale.
There was a lot of activity on the platform at Matlock Town but, eventually, we received the 'Right Away' and, with a whistle, I set off for Rowsley. I'd discovered previously how readily 'Jennifer' copes with the train when hauling northwards (and the 'surging', although not eliminated, is much attenuated), as I described in the post here, so I was able to enjoy our trip back to Rowsley. Then I had a chance to have a quick look around the stalls near the station. I was surprised to discover the prices genuine second-hand period clothing, sought by re-enactors, now commands.
Peak Rail 1940s Weekend 2017: A stall selling period clothing.
The large marquee is always popular, featuring refreshments, a licensed bar and a variety of live period entertainment. I called in when Sue and Steve Mace were dancing to the music of the Ashby Little Big Band.
Peak Rail 1940s Weekend 2017: The Marquee with Sue and Steve Mace dancing to the music of the Ashby Little Big Band.
The highlight of the day was the Mock Battle with pyrotechnics which took place in front of the wooded area facing Rowsley Station platform, with a commentary by Paul Harper. Of course, this happens only once the train has departed for Matlock so, if you're on the footplate, you miss the action. The picture below, taken as we left Rowsley, shows the large crowd eagerly awaiting the start of the mock battle.
Peak Rail 1940s Weekend 2017: View from 'Jennifer' as we depart for Matlock, hauled by 'Penyghent', prior to the start of the Mock Battle.
I think everyone had an enjoyable day: I certainly did. At the end of traffic, we followed 'Penyghent' onto shed and, after disposing on the outside pit, stabled 'Jennifer' inside on number 1 road, adjacent to 'Penyghent' on number 2.
Peak Rail 1940s Weekend 2017: End of Shift - 'Jennifer' stabled on number 1 road, next to 'Penyghent' on number 2.
I've participated in the 1940s Weekend at Peak Rail on a number of previous occasions.
Peak Rail 1940s Weekend, 2016 (article with link to pictures).
Peak Rail 1940s Weekend, 2015 (article with link to pictures).
2014 event (pictures only).
2013 event (article with link to pictures).
2012 event (article with link to pictures).
2009 event (article with link to pictures).
2008 event (article with link to pictures).
2007 event (pictures only).
2006 event (pictures only).
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Related photograph albums
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Peak Rail 1940s Weekend 2017.
All my Peak Rail albums.