Summer Picnic at the Avon Valley Railway, Bitton near Bristol

Event Report By Jim Lott
Summer Picnic 9th June 20`9.

The event this year was held at the Avon Valley Railway at Bitton near Bristol. The day started out fine, overcast but not cold. Simon and I arrived in my MG Metro Turbo at around 10:30 and there were already 4 MGs parked in front of the station. Simon and I unloaded the club banner and erected it on the grass beside the station, which would serve as a picnic area for those wishing to do so.

Several more MGs arrived and we had a total of 20 MGs and a Mini Metro by lunchtime. Thanks to Nigel and Jo May, the MG F/TF Register was well represented with a total of 6 cars. We also had three white, MGB GT V8s attending. This is a most unusual sight as there are only a few white MGB GT V8s in existence.

The train line is only 3 miles long running from Bitton Station towards Oldland and then returning to Bitton then onto Avon Riverside before returning to Bitton. At Oldland and Avon Riverside, the locomotive is uncoupled and driven on a passing loop to the other end of the train and recoupled. The whole round trip takes about an hour. The ticket price allows unlimited travel on the train for that day.

The coaches are nicely appointed and steam locomotive used on the day was called “Sapper”. The engine is a 0-6-0 saddle tank loco made in 1944 for the War Department by The Hunslett Engine Co. and was numbered WD 75103. It was re-numbered WD 132, after the end of its military service and that is the number displayed now. “Sapper” is on loan from Road & Rail Steam Services and is privately owned and normally based at the East Lancashire Railway.
I would like to give a huge vote of thanks to Alan Diamond and Dave Heath for organising the Summer Picnic again. I look forward to seeing where we will go next year.

The gallery below shows some photos from the day.