We are delighted to announce that our Branch Line Gala Weekend will be returning to the Bluebell Railway in 2023!

 The event will be from Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd April 2023 so save the dates!




We are also delighted to announce our first visitor to the Branch Line Gala Weekend is Lancashire & Yorkshire “Pug” No. 19  (subject to locomotive availability).

Built in 1910 at the Lancashire & Yorkshire works at Horwich, No. 19 was one of 60 diminutive Class 21 0-4-0 locomotives designed by John Aspinall.  Nicknamed as “Pugs” as a result of their size in comparison to other engines, this class of locomotive weighs just 21 tons! With their size and short wheel base, they were ideal for work around docksides and yards where tight curves were present.

No. 19 has had a very varied career both during L&Y and LMS days (being renumbered No. 11243), as well as time spent in the industrial sector, where the engine was sold to in 1931 . During this time, the engine would be found located in Southern England, working both at Southampton Docks and London (working for the United Glass Bottle Manufacturers) during its industrial career.

Passing into preservation in 1967, No 19 was one of only two of the class to have survived the cutter’s torch, alongside No. 51218 which is based at the KWVR. Since the locomotive has been based at the KWVR, Steamport in Southport and the Ribble Steam Railway (the engine’s current long term home) as a static exhibit. No. 19 has only recently returned to traffic in 2022, hauling its first ever passenger train on June 8th, during the L&Y and L&NWR gala celebrations on the East Lancashire Railway.

We cannot wait to have No. 19 visit our railway for the Branch Line Gala Weekend in 2023!

Our thanks must extend to the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Trust and The East Lancashire Railway for allowing The Bluebell Railway to have the locomotive join us for the Branch Line Gala Weekend.

We’ll bring you more updates on the gala weekend, tickets and timetables when they can be released. A further guest engine will be announced joining N0 19 and those of the Bluebell fleet taking part in due course. 

You can find out the very latest for this gala and other events through our Bluebell Railway NewsLetter. Click on the button below to sign up and be the first to get the latest announcements when they are released!

Photos kindly supplied by Liam Barnes & Adam Ashford