The beast that walketh in darkness

This weekend, the Moseley Railway Trust has been delighted to receive a visitation from the management and staff of the Perrygrove Railway. Sadly, the staff of said railway failed to provide the much-promised homemade cake, but we let them on site anyway. Our visitors were at Apedale to have a running session with Baguley 1695, late of Lilleshall Hall (Shropshire) and then Cadeby. It was not a locomotive noted for ease of starting nor reliability at Cadeby. It was usually dark by the time it was made to operate – hence the title bestowed on it by Teddy Boston. Hand starting could be entertaining as well. One notable occasion saw the starting handle fired from the loco and into a ballistic trajectory. Being dark, all the assembled crowd could do was await the return to earth of this rather heavy item. This is one reason why tow-starting is very much the norm these days. It does have to be said that the loco is nowadays reasonably reliable – only failing twice during the running day. One of these was due to its prodigious thirst for petrol (think along the lines of Formula One racing cars) – the other is perhaps best not mentioned, for fear that homemade cake will be forever off the menu at Perrygrove. Just to add to the air of petrol-ness, Lord Austin was also given an outing – this is the Austin engine Motor Rail. After the second dying of the Baguley, Lord Austin was sent to the rescue – one of the very few moments in recent narrow gauge history when one petrol loco rescues another. The Apedale Valley Light Railway controller was heard to question his sanity in allowing these two paragons of reliability an outing on the main line in between the revenue-earning passenger service. A stressful few minutes saw both the petrol loco safely locked away in sidings, and normal service resumed using the ultra-reliable DIESEL Motor Rail. When you next go down to the railway station, you will not see many petrol-powered railway locomotives. There is a really good reason for this. If you wish to offer any words in defence of petrol powered locomotives, get in touch here.