Sunday 12th August 2018 – Diesel haulage event at St Ghislain

I am pleased to advertise a modest diesel haulage event at the PFT/TSP’s facility at St Ghislain on the morning of Sunday 12th August 2018.  This has been arranged to coincide with the much-anticipated “Festival” at the Chemin de Fer du Bocq occurring over the same weekend.

The event will consist of all operational diesel locomotives giving rides in an M1 coach for short distances within the confines of the depot site.  As of this week, the man on the site advises that these consist of ex-SNCB locomotives 7005, 7358, 8428 and ex-CFL 806.  All attempts will be made to also use ex-SNCB 7349 and/or 8320, but this will not be able to be confirmed until the morning itself.

Meeting Point & Times

We will meet at St Ghislain SNCB station promptly at 09:10, immediately after the arrival of the 09:02 arrival from Charleroi (ICT6704) which is booked for class 18 haulage – although if you could get there earlier, I would recommend doing so.  A PFT/TSP representative will take us to the train, a distance of approximately 100 metres’ walk.  Each of the available locomotives will then haul the carriage in turn within the depot site.  We will endeavour to return to the station by 13:30.  It will not be possible to join or leave the event between these times as there will be no access to the depot site other than on the train with the rest of the group.

Fares

Fares for the event at St Ghislain – which do not cover any travel to/from it – will be €25 for adults (€15 for under 16s) payable in cash on the day.  I would very much appreciate the correct fare being tendered please.  All proceeds will go directly to the PFT/TSP to help their preservation projects, and none to me.

Even if you have already registered your interest, please send me details of the names of all members of your party, specifying if any are already members of the PFT/TSP, by 1st August.  These details will be kept safely and privately with myself shared only with the PFT/TSP for the purpose of enrolling every individual as a temporary member for insurance purposes.  As a result, it’s an event that will require compulsory pre-booking with me, although the money will be collected on the day.  My intention is to retain your information on my personal secure database, which is not shared with anybody, to keep you informed of similar further events I organise – if you wish your details to be deleted after this event, please advise me by email and I will do so.

You will need to bring a yellow (NOT orange) high visibility vest to take part in the event.  Brand new ones are available for less than £2.00 on eBay.  Please get in touch with me if you encounter any issues procuring one.

Caveats & Notes

The availability of any of these locos is subject to the usual caveats that you would apply to machines that are up to 64 years old!  We can be sure that our Belgian friends will pull out all the stops to do their best for us.

Although I have tried my best to plan the event to permit connections into and out of main line services e.g. from Namur and Brussels – both of which allow loco haulage for some of the journey – I cannot be held in any way responsible for delays or cancellations of these.  In anticipation of questions, the event has been timed so early for a number of reasons; but most importantly because the PFT/TSP volunteers facilitating our visit are working at the Bocq railway gala later that day.  Of course, this is also convenient for UK-based enthusiasts who need to return home afterwards.

Refreshments will not be available on site so please ensure that you bring your own – but please take all rubbish with you.  I like to foster a relaxed and friendly atmosphere at my events and therefore I do not intend to draw up lists of ‘rules’ or impose any restrictions on behaviour; I trust attendees to exercise common sense and obey any instructions from our hosts.

If you do have any further questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch.  I look forward to a sociable day!

My sincere thanks to Simon de Ridder and Simon Moore for their help in obtaining the opportunity to do this.

Future European Traction Events

The success of this event and positive publicity/funds generated for our hosts will pave the way for similar events in the future, and I have several irons in the fire for 2019.  Please do feel free to have a chat with me if there is anything in particular you would be interested in.

Firstly, however, please may I also take this opportunity to bring to your attention the next in my calendar of rare haulage events – a visit to the Chemin de Fer Touristique du Rhin, near Colmar, in France on Sunday 9th September 2018 to ride behind 1946-built ex-SNCF Baldwin diesel-electric A1AA1A 62029.  Aside from ad-hoc short-distance shunt releases, no other opportunities to ride behind this class of loco are anticipated for the foreseeable future.  Additionally, subject to its repairs being completed in time, ex-SNCF Decauville shunter Y2402 may also haul our coaches for a short distance.  This event can easily be combined with numerous events elsewhere over the same weekend; most notably the much-anticipated gala event at Blonay-Chamby and the use of BLS Ae6/8 electric loco 205 on an additional service train in Switzerland.  It would be great if you could join us.

Jonathan Wilcox

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