Bikes of all ages, shapes and sizes gathered at Pages Park on Sunday to recall the pre-telephone days, when contact between the different sand quarries around Leighton Buzzard was by motorcycle courier.
In what was Leighton Buzzard Railway’s last big event of 2013, both steam and diesel trains were in action, the diesels being originals to the line, built in nearby Bedford to haul sand trains.
There was also more nostalgia from local band Eastfield Rock, with their repertoire of songs about railways.
At 1pm, there was a short ceremony involving diesel locomotive 43 , which was named ‘Trotter’ – which was the nickname of Bob Turney, its driver for many years, who died last November at the age of 79.
The party, led by his widow Sylvia, took a ride along the line which her husband knew so well, hauled by his regular locomotive and its twin No. 44.
Bob started work on the narrow-gauge railway in 1948, holding up the traffic with his red flag.
On return from National Service, Bob became a driver of the armour-plated locomotives – First World War surplus – which were still in service.
No. 43 was built in 1954, by Motor Rail Ltd in Bedford, and Bob became its regular driver a few years later.
It was bought for preservation after the end of sand traffic through Billington Road sidings in 1969, and in nearly 60 years of service has never left Leighton Buzzard.
There is an interview with Bob Turney in the book Dobbers & Loco Drivers in the Sand, which is on sale in the railway shop at Pages Park.