WW2 planes and steam at Toddington station on 8th and 20th August!
50-year-olds travel free on 8th August
A lone Spitfire of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will make low altitude passes over the GWR’s Toddington station on Saturday 8th August.
And on Thursday 20th August, the drone of Rolls-Royce Merlin engines powering a Spitfire, Hurricane and Lancaster bomber will evoke powerful memories of the brave airmen who fought for Britain’s freedom during the Battle of Britain.*
These special occasions have been arranged with artist and wildlife conservationist David Shepherd, to mark the 50th birthday of his locomotive, Black Prince, which is resident on the GWR. He will be present at the railway on both days and Black Prince will be in steam.
The Spitfire flypast is scheduled for 15.15 on 8th August and visitors are invited to travel to Toddington by the 14.00 train from Cheltenham Racecourse, which will be hauled by Black Prince with David Shepherd on board. And, if you celebrate your 50th birthday this year and can show booking office staff that you were born in 1959, you can travel free provided you are accompanied by a fare-paying passenger. The station is in the grounds of Cheltenham Racecourse and there is plenty of free car parking. Parking at Toddington will be subject to a voluntary contribution to the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation.
On Thursday 20th August, the flight of all three aircraft is expected at approximately 14.00 On that day, TMC (The Model Centre), in conjunction with Dapol Model Railways, is launching an ‘N’-gauge limited-edition model of David Shepherd’s locomotive. Only 150 are being made available and will be on sale in the GWR’s shop. The model, full of remarkable detail for its small size, will be demonstrated running along the footplate of the full-sized engine. Proceeds from sale of the models goes to the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation.
Says Malcolm Temple, volunteer commercial director of the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway: “We have a warm relationship with David Shepherd and his magnificent locomotive, Black Prince, which is a long-term resident on our railway”.
“David, who has been described as ‘Britain’s greatest living artist’, is working closely with the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight to raise funds for the Forgotten Heroes appeal which aims to recognise for the first time, the sacrifice of over 55,000 aircrew of Bomber Command who died during the Second World War”.
“In fact, the flypast of these historic aircraft is a powerful reminder of the many who lost their lives to secure the freedom Great Britain, and indeed Europe, that we enjoy today and we’re proud to be associated with this special appeal.”
David Shepherd has painted a special picture of elephants – for which he is particularly well known – with Mount Kilimanjaro in the background and the original is being raffled in aid of the Forgotten Heroes appeal. Tickets are just £10 each and details of how to buy one (or more) are on the GWR’s new website, www.gwsr.com.
David Shepherd says that he owes his success as a painter to the RAF who commissioned him as a young artist, to paint wildlife pictures in Africa. He has since painted thousands of pictures especially of aircraft, wildlife and locomotives during the dying days of steam. He is the author of several books and is founder of the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, which undertakes valuable conservation work to protect endangered species especially in Africa and Asia.
David Shepherd’s locomotive Black Prince was built in 1959 at Swindon works. It is the 17th to last steam locomotive to be built for British Railways – the last is sister engine Evening Star, completed in 1960 and which can be seen at the STEAM museum in Swindon. David bought the locomotive in 1968 straight out of British Railway’s service, following a successful sale of paintings in the USA. It has been a resident at Toddington on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway for over a decade and is a regular performer on the Toddington-Winchcombe-Cheltenham heritage railway.
* Please note: the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight aircraft are very precious and fly-pasts are subject to weather conditions. Timings may change at a late stage. Check www.gwsr.com for latest information. The GWR cannot be held responsible for any late changes in schedule or non-appearance of aircraft.
Full details and train timetables are on www.gwsr.com
Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway plc
The Railway Station,
Telephone: 01242 621405
Source: Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway plc