But 'low key' opening overshadowed by locomotive failure.

After two years work, and £150,000 expenditure, the first public trains ran to our new station Avon Riverside on Sunday 25th April 2004 - a week before expected - but the 'low key' celebrations were somewhat overshadowed when the rostered steam loco, RSH No. 7151, failed mid-afternoon with injector problems.

As reported in 'Avon Riverside Progress - 38', opening of Avon Riverside (originally planned for Easter) had to be postponed
whilst we waited for the Office of the Rail Regulator to process the Railway Act Licence Exemption.  This was not expected to be completed until the end of April, therefore running of trains to Avon Riverside was postponed until the May Day Bank Holiday.  As it happened, a Fax was received confirming the Railway Act Licence Exemption on Thursday 23 April, so it was decided to run to our new station on the following Sunday.

All went well, with trains running to time, until the RSH experienced injector problems just before leaving Oldland Common with the 15.05 departure.  Despite frantic efforts at Bitton to aleviate the problem it was all in vain and 7151 had to be taken off the train.  The 15.15 departure to Avon Riverside was cancelled whilst newly restored diesel 'Kingswood' was called upon to haul the 16.00 to Oldland.  By the time it had returned to Bitton the problem with the RSH had been solved and so the 16.30 to Avon Riverside was steam hauled - albeit fourteen minutes late.

Now that we have the Railway Act Licence Exemption all trains will now run to Avon Riverside in the future, starting with the three days of running over the May Day Bank Holiday - this will also include the connecting River Avon scenic boat trips that were not running on Sunday 25 April due to the short notice of being able to operate to our new station.  It is hoped to organise a special 'Members Day' shortly (possibly Sunday May 16th) to allow all members to experience our new station and operations, with a full official opening with invited guests to follow later, probably in June - more details as soon as I know them.

Tony Wray.

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This page last updated by Tony Wray on 26/4/2004.