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Full steam ahead for rail festival
NOSTALGIC sights, sounds and smells will set the scene for families and railway fans this year at the Swindon Railway Festival.
The annual event will take place at Steam on September 15 and 16 from 10am until 5pm.
Pop music legend and celebrity modeller Pete Waterman will be chatting to visitors throughout the weekend, as will the popular teams from Hornby, Bachmann and Dapol.
Enthusiasts of all ages will have the chance to climb aboard famous locomotives, operate mechanical signals in the Signal Box and meet the Steam volunteers who once worked on the great locos.
GWR enthusiasts and historians will be in for an extra treat as the festival unveils a new and unseen collection of GWR artefacts, named The Harry Collection.
This new exhibition will launch as the festival opens and will run until September 30.
Coun Garry Perkins , cabinet member for regeneration and culture, said: “We’re really excited about this year’s festival as the museum has a jam-packed programme of activities and there is plenty to see and do for all the family.
“As well as regulars like Hatch Heritage and Steam Engineers, with their superb display of live steam traction engines, there will be workshops and demonstrations and some of the finest model railway layouts in the country.
“The model railways are a real ‘must see’, as the intricate detail and the absolute passion and dedication involved in constructing the layouts, is amazing.”
Elaine Arthurs, Steam Collections Officer, described the Harry Collection as the largest group of artefacts ever donated to the museum.
“This is a fantastic, once in a lifetime donation and we are thrilled to be showing the Harry Collection to the public for the first time at the Swindon Railway Festival,” she said.
“We named it The Harry Collection as a tribute to Mr and Mrs Harry from Wroughton , who donated the collection to Steam as a bequest when Mrs Harry died in September 2011.
“Mr Harry, who died in August 2005, was a serious Great Western collector over many years and clearly had an eye for the best quality material. “He started off his early career at Swindon Works before moving to the banking world and his passion for his collection is evident as these items have been kept in pristine condition.”
Tickets for the festival cost £8.50 for adults, £5.50 for children and concessions and under-threes go free. Family tickets are also available – £20 for two adults and one child, £24 for two adults and two children and £27 for two adults and three children.
For more information log on to www.swindon.gov.uk/steam or call 01793 466637.