It’s full steam ahead for a gala weekend at a miniature railway in South Tyneside.
Lakeshore Railroad, based at South Marine Park, in South Shields, is to welcome its first-ever visiting locomotives this weekend.
It is part of a gala event taking place on Saturday and Sunday, where the home fleet will be joined by visitors from around the country.
The event is to celebrate 45 years of the miniature railway, which is one of South Shields’ best-loved attractions.
Already at the park is ‘Nelly’, a steam engine which has been loaned for the summer by a private railway in Berkshire.
Also visiting this weekend will be ‘James Boyd’, another steam train, this time from the Downs Light Railway at the Downs School, near Malvern, in Worcestershire.
This will be a rare, perhaps one-off, opportunity to see different engines on the Marine Park trackMike Henderson
Diesel locomotive ‘Patrick’, which is owned by the Henshaw family, who publish Miniature Railway magazine, will arrive on Sunday to take part in the final day of the event.
Lakeshore Railroad is the only public, steam working 9.5in gauge railway in the UK, and opened in 1972.
The railway’s owner, Mike Henderson, said: “We’ve tried this once or twice before, but this time it has come together and we have got some engines visiting us.
“It’s going to be full-on for the whole weekend.
“We’re hoping for weather like we’ve just had, but possibly not quite as hot when we’re driving steam engines.
“We’ve had a lot of interest, and it looks set to be a great weekend.
“We’re going to enjoy ourselves, and we’ve already had a lot of interest from passengers who have been down.
“We’ll finish things off with a long train on Sunday with all the engines.”
Running for just under a third of a mile round the boating lake, the tracks of the railway meander through the trees and over the level crossings before arriving back at the station.
The gala weekend will begin with a re-enactment of the opening train at 10.30am on Saturday, before the steam engines take turns on passenger service and demonstration freight trains.
Mr Henderson added: “This will be a rare, perhaps one-off, opportunity to see different engines on the Marine Park track and we hope it will appeal to the many happy passengers who regularly support the train, as well as many visitors from the enthusiast community.”