Amberley Museum marks train’s centenary with Rail Gala

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Over the weekend of July 14 and 15, Amberley Museum hosted its annual Rail Gala, proudly displaying their locomotives and industrial rail collection.

As part of this day they celebrated the 100th birthday of ‘Peter’ their Bagnall steam locomotive.

Peter came to the museum back in 1982 after a lengthy restoration project led by Doug Bentley and members of the Amberley rail group, Peter became operational at the museum in 1994. To this day Peter has been a hugely popular attraction for young and old alike, pulling the Santa Express at Christmas, giving mums and dads a once in a lifetime opportunity to drive a steam engine on Mothering Sunday and Father’s Day; as well as running at many of their major events. They celebrated his birthday with a locomotive cavalcade on both days, finishing with three cheers for Peter, the cutting of his birthday cake and a toast.

The time has now come when Peter is in need of boiler repairs and a full service, with costs expecting to reach up to £40,000. The museum has started their Peter restoration fundraising campaign, and already gratefully received donations from Cliffe Hill Quarry and the Narrow Gauge Society. The campaign has been launched within the museum and on their JustGiving page: www.justgiving.com/amberleymuseum

On the Saturday the museum also took part in a transfer of work plates for the Peckett locos 1315, and 1316 Scaldwell. It was discovered that the plates were being held in the wrong collections as they were previously acquired with a larger acquisition. Scaldwell was transferred from Amberley Museum to the Southwold collection last summer, but the plates to go with the loco were on displayed on loan at Chasewater railway, from part of the Industrial Railway Society’s collection. The plate at Amberley, believed to belong to Scaldwell, was in fact for the Lamport loco (which unfortunately was scrapped many years ago). Having taken over a year to locate all the plates, they were officially exchanged on the Saturday afternoon with the help of Industrial Railway Society, Chasewater Railway, Southwold Railway and Amberley Museum. Later in the season they will have more narrow gauge action on the railway, with their Petrol Locos event on Sunday August 19. There will also be a celebration for the 100 years of their petrol powered “Protect” Simplex No.1381, which was one of a hundred of similar locomotives built for use in the World War I trenches. Although the 1381 remained in the UK unused and eventually passed into industrial use before becoming part of the Brockham collection, which later moved to Amberley Museum.