The Fedecrail Flyer
Fedecrail is the European Federation for Museum and Tourist Railways. They formed in 1994 with the aim of promoting sharing of knowledge, good working practices and advocating for the heritage railway sector across all of Europe. We were originally a member through the UK Heritage Railway Association, who were formerly members. As we have been a very active part of Fedecrail, it was decided that we should rejoin as an individual railway so we could continue to enjoy all the benefits that it brings.
On the 27th July we received a visit from a group from the Museu del Ferrocarril a Móra la Nova in Catalonia, Spain. They came and visited us as the first stop on an epic 10-day-long tour of the various heritage railways and railway museums of the UK. Naturally as our first (known) visitors from another Fedecrail member since we re-joined, we rolled out the red carpet for them.
Their arrival was in good time. Despite a late departure from Barcelona, their plane landed in Luton on time at 12.15 and after passing swiftly through customs arrived at Leighton Buzzard at approximately 13.30 for Lunch provided by Neville at The Train Shed Café. This was followed by a tour of Pages Park engine shed, including getting up close and personal with PC Allen, our very own engine who worked in northern Spain (and is somewhat of a celebrity engine among the Spanish Heritage Railway community). After the shed tour they had a ride on the 14.30 train, which was specially decorated with a headboard and Fedecrail flags. They then had a guided tour of Stonehenge works, with a talk about the history of the line by Vice President Tony Tomkins. On return the group was presented with a clean copy of the headboard banner designed by our marketing manager, Colin Bowles.
The group departed for Norwich after what was certainly an enjoyable start to their trip.
The museum at Móra la Nova is located approximately half way between Barcelona and Zaragoza on the old mainline between Barcelona and Madrid. When the line was built Locomotives and crews had to be changed regularly, and Móra la Nova was one of the places it was done. The society started from humble beginnings and are now working on several exciting projects including launching a new heritage tourist train service along the mainline between Barcelona and Zaragoza. Initially electric hauled, the plan is to eventually haul the historic train using some enormous Iberian gauge steam locomotives along the very mountainous route.