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Treat for rail buffs
RAIL enthusiasts will gather in Swindon this weekend to celebrate the wonderful world of railways past and present.
The Swindon Railway Festival, now in its 12th year, will take place at the Steam museum and will bring together the country’s finest model railway layouts, demonstrators and traders.
On Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 5pm live steam traction engines from Hatch Heritage and Steam Engineers Ltd – as featured recently on the popular BBC Hairy Bikers’ Restoration Road Trip, will be on show outside the museum.
Inside, there will be displays from model rail giant Hornby, plus 20 of the country’s biggest GWR and BR (W) model railway layouts, some of which will be on displayfor the first time.
A festival spokesman said: “Children will get the chance to operate one of the special guest layouts – the Thomas The Tank Engine model railway and celebrity modeller and pop music legend Pete Waterman will again be in residence to inspire modellers.
“As the festival takes place among Steam’s permanent exhibits, you can have fun climbing aboard the famous locomotives Caerphilly Castle and Lode Star, imagine you’re an engine driver with our train simulator or test your skills as a signalman in our interactive signal box and gain a special certificate for your success.
“In addition, the museum will be showcasing exclusive Steam limited edition items, including the new 00 Gauge Hornby model of the famous Swindon-built steam locomotive, GWR Star Class No 4003 Lode Star.
“Collectors of GWR and Swindon memorabilia will enjoy the plethora of trade stalls offering a range of goods, from railway art and specialist books, to model railway items galore. “There’s also the chance to meet or re-acquaint yourself with the great teams from preserved railways and railway groups from across the country.”
There will also be a photographic exhibition in Caerphilly Hall to mark the 50 years since publication of the Beeching Report. The display will take a look at some of the many western eegion stations that subsequently closed.
The GWR country barbecue will provide outdoor lunch for festival-goers in a marquee, together with a real ale bar, courtesy of Box Steam Brewery.
Tickets are £10 for adults, £8.50 for seniors and £7.50 for children. Family offers are also available. Visit the website at www.steam-museum.org.uk.