About the Author
Honorary Secretary of the Preservation Society
A number of people in the Preservation Society and Railway Company have spent several months planning the Oktoberfest event this autumn. It was originally envisaged as a celebration of the launch of the Society’s No.8457 Whillan Beck by bringing at least two of her sister Krauss engines from the continent and also inviting a number of engines with German heritage from other UK railways. We anticipated 12 working steam locomotives employed on an intensive week-long gala timetable, with themed food, drink, music and entertainment in support.
Unfortunately in recent weeks the vision has been eroded by a series of developments largely out of Society and Company hands that collectively have significantly reduced the attractiveness of the event and compromised the benefit being accrued from the sizeable financial investments required. Four of the planned locomotives have been lost, including one of those from the continent, and there are increasing concerns that the volume of work still required on No.8457 Whillan Beck may have precluded its ability to pull trains after its formal launch and throughout the Oktoberfest period.
In view of the above, the Society and Company have reluctantly taken the decision to postpone the Oktoberfest event until next year.
In terms of the launch of No.8457 Whillan Beck that was planned for 21st October, this will also be postponed. It was looking increasingly likely that further work and acceptance would be required after Oktoberfest and risks remained about its completion, particularly if unexpected issues cropped up during testing. Therefore, given the postponement of Oktoberfest and the reduced need for locomotives on the railway during the winter, the opportunity will be taken to make sure adequate time is available to complete the work to Whillan Beck rather than attempting to rush the acceptance and handover. Old Hall Engineering are continuing to work well, and the delays are primarily due to unforeseen external factors.
The Society and Company would like to record their sincere thanks to everyone who has worked so hard to support the planning of this event up to this point. Further details will be published as soon as possible about new dates for an event in 2018.
We are sorry for the disappointment this will cause, particularly for those who have made arrangements to be in Ravenglass in October.