© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2011 The Golden Valley Light Railway has been seen on these pages before - most recently in August 2005, when GVLR website editor Paul Sharpe proudly showed us round the new running shed then under construction. The shed is now complete - and on 07/07/07 the railway held its "Triple event" - the annual steam gala, a celebration of the line's 21st anniversary, and the formal opening of the completed running shed. And we had an invite - so, having organised some good weather after weeks of downpours, we headed for Butterley. An unprecedented five locomotives would be in steam - resident "Pearl 2" would be accompanied by new Hunslet "Jack Lane", vertical boilered "Taffy", Kerr Stuart "Peter Pan" and "Irish Mail" from the West Lancs - an auspicious gathering for an auspicious event. "Jack Lane" would be leading the honours - shed project manager Pat Draper and Amber Valley MP Judy Mallaber joined owner Graham Lee on the footplate for the first run into the shed, breaking the first ribbon. The second ribbon (it's a three-road shed) would be broken by Taffy, joined on the footplate by Joan Twells, wife of the former M.R. Trust President, the late Mr John Twells, and Master Ewan Snow. This was a recreation of the "Double Dig" sod cutting ceremony from April 2003, when John Twells and Ewan Snow, then respectively the oldest and youngest GVLR supporters, turned over "first sods". Resident "Pearl 2" did the honours on road three - the magnificent new facility was now open for business! Such ceremonies are hungry work - a very fine buffet being provided for guests in the nearby fork truck museum. Time for some fun now - starting with a ride down the line, behind Jack Lane and Pearl 2. The line drops all the way to the Newlands Inn - the inevitable result being a steady climb all the way back... - and with Mr Lee still at the regulator of his loco, we were treated to a very fine run (I think Pearl 2 was only there for the ride...). The expression "the sparks flew" is literally true - being in the open coach, we collected our share of hot embers, and were extracting bits of ash from our hair for most of the rest of the day. Wonderful! We spent the rest of our time around the shed yard, watching the activities of the five "little trains" (my wife is quite bemused by these narrow gauge locomotives with Rowland Emmett chimneys and big brass "eyes" - and she's quite taken by the little round knob in the middle of Peter Pan's face, in place of the usual clock hands - "He looks like a toy"). A moment of minor drama was provided by Pearl 2 - her trailing pony wheels managed to derail themselves as she reversed off the main line into the sidings. Fortunately, her driver realised straight away what was happening, and stopped immediately, so that with a little steam in forward gear, a wedge or two, and a bit of a shove from behind, she was back on the rails. The entertainment so far had all been provided free of charge - however, the GVLR people have an excellent second-hand book shop in the station building, and I was able to make a reasonably substantial contribution there - and came away with some good reading for the weeks ahead. And so it was time to set off homewards. We had had a tremendous time - very many thanks again to Paul and Pat for the invite. There are many narrow gauge railways in England today, ranging from major lines such as the Leighton Buzzard, to some real "Heath Robinson" setups (which are invariably great fun...). The Golden Valley is not one of the longest - but the magnificent new shed clearly puts them into the Premier League amongst minor lines - perhaps there will soon be one or two more steam locos to keep Pearl 2 company... Link: Golden Valley Light Railway The new shed Assorted "little trains"... Count the chimneys! Ready, steady... Graham Lee, Pat Draper and Judy Mallaber Ribbon no. 1 Ribbon no. 2 Ribbon no. 3 ...and the shed is officially open GVLR 21st birthday cakes Jack Lane runs round the train, Newlands Inn Ready to depart for the "white knuckle ride" After the trip - congratulations to the driver! Jack Lane and a visiting Albion lorry Inside the shed - a fine flameproofed Ruston Listers in the shed The single-cylinder engine in Deutz 10249 of 1932 Peter and Jack Unusual freight... Pearl 2 and Taffy A worrying moment One last shove and we're back on the rails Taffy in the sidings Peter Pan in the sidings Passenger departure - Peter Pan and Pearl 2 Old and new - the box and the shed Passenger arrival - Peter Pan and Pearl 2