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Steam Rally season is upon us!

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Bunty traction engineSteam Engine Festival season is well underway so we thought we’d talk to our resident Steam Rally expert Alex Collis, Chairman of the Bressingham Volunteers Society.

Alex started helping out at Bressingham when he was only 14, starting work on the traction engines at the age of 15, moving up to the rail locomotives a few years later.

June is a very popular month for Steam engine festivals - Why?

Steam festivals and rallies actually run from mid may all the way to mid September.  There is one at least one every 2 weeks during that period, if not every weekend.

Festivals and rallies are completely weather dependent - they can be the nicest place to be or the worst depending on the weather!

If it’s really lovely sunshine you can easily spend a very pleasant day wandering around a steam rally.

Does Bressingham get involved in any steam festivals or rallies?

Yes, we do.  Myself and some of the other guys involved with road engine side of things are main organisers of this type of activity.

Last year we went to the Grand Henham steam rally, which is both one of the biggest and last to be held in the season.

We took everything we could to that by low loader - our traction engine “Bunty”, a steamroller, portable steam engine and our living van which we stayed in for 5 nights which is more than enough!

Lovely as it is, after 4 nights in the living van you start to miss being able to switch light on.

This year Bunty, our traction engine, was back on the road after its regular maintenance.  I road-tested it a few weeks ago with John (another volunteer) and it didn’t fall apart so she’s going to the Little Ellingham Steam rally and the Euston Country Fair over the summer.

I think it’s really important that Bressingham gets involved with this sort of thing.  A few years ago, because of other commitments, we slightly lost touch with the Heritage world but we’re steadily clawing our way back!

Are Steam Rallies just for Dad’s or the whole family?

No - they’re brilliant!

Henham, for example, is massive and it’s not just steam engines, there’s a really diverse range of things there to see so the whole family should find something to keep them happy.

They have Falconry displays, heavy horses - a whole range of heritage attractions!

Steam engine or Steam Roller?

I like driving the rail locomotives, but I started on the traction engines and steamrollers so I tend to find myself back on them.

So I’d have to say steamroller!

Are there any local places or events you think we should know about?

If you’ve particularly enjoyed any places or events in Norfolk or Suffolk let us know.

We always like hearing about other local attractions!

If there is get in touch and let us know – you can also do it on Facebook or Twitter.


By Alastair Baker at 11 Jun 2015, 18:30 PM