The Autumn Steam Gala is usually an event worth attending, though for personal choice on the theme last year I gave it a miss. This year, top billing was for A4 Dominion of New Zealand to attend, and its absence was definately felt on the moors. The Western region Manor, driven superbly today by Driver Newman, added some interest, but it fell largely to the unsung heroes of the NYMR to work the duties that would see the crowds gaze and stare in their direction deliberately for a change.
The colour of these heros was normally black - a sign if ever one was needed, of the work these dependable leviathans would have done all those years ago. New to the line for some is the 9F, 92214 now named 'Cock of the North' and its appearance and familiarity with the line will grow as it becomes a residence of the future. But this gala saw two stalwarts of the lines past. Two Black 5s that are of a class not sinominous with the Esk Valley line, or to Pickering, but have become so thanks to their role in working the line for years as a part of preservation. These were 44767 George Stephenson and 45428 Eric Tracey. It was brilliant to see these two return to the line and work, alongside others such as the Super-D.
For me, the star that stole the show was NELPGs Q6. This engine seemed to just be dependable, and got to work with hauling the trains that it has been doing for years since its return to steam. Alongside the Black 5s and standards, this NER machine proved that the regions heritage still counts and still works amongst others that have become adopted NYMR regulars. While, some may have wanted the sleek grace of the A4, or been charmed by the magesty of the Western regions example visiting the line as a first for the class, I doubt few didnt notice that the aged but valiant 63395, of 51A was engine that was noticed more for still doing its role as normal and rather than trying to be the headline, it became theirs by choice. Now thats an example of a S&D themed gala proper - not like last year!
© The Black Hat