​​​​incorporating The British Fairground Society 



The Leeds and District Traction Engine Club, have run four driving experience days over the past 5 years.  These have been held on the edge of Otley by kind permission of organisers of The Otley Vintage Transport Extravaganza Organisers, and have been organised in conjunction with the Steam Apprentice Club to provide Club members and Steam Apprentices the opportunity to get hands on experience.


In the April edition of LRS, following a similar announcement at the AGM, I set out the Club’s proposal to run the Driving Day experience for club members and Steam Apprentices.  Having had to call-off the 2016 due to lack of support, the success of this year’s event was very much in the hands of members offering their support.  As mentioned in the original proposal, one of the Club’s aims is ‘keeping the spirit of the preservation movement alive’ and I am very pleased to report that that support was forthcoming, and the spirit of the movement was alive and well in Otley on the 8th, 9th and 10th September.

We originally had offers of support from eight engines, but due to circumstances this was reduced to four full-sized engines, comprising, Derek Rayner’s Aveling & Porter roller, WHITE ROSE, Andrew Biglands’ Fowler traction engine, David Mitchell’s Fowler tractor, Crimson Rambler and Mark Ellis’ Allchin, Lady Olivia.  These we’re supplemented by the Steam Apprentice Club’s miniature, Lady Sylvia and Michael Walters’ Garrett Steam lorry.  Richard Dobson also brought along his Scammell Highwayman for the day.  Given the size of the field, the weather conditions and the number of apprentices, this number of engines proved to be ideal.

This year there were three SAC apprentices and five young club members, and as with previous years, apprentices were shown how to take an engine from cold and bring it to life. Much polishing was in evidence prior to the lunch break and many dirty hands and faces could be seen. Lunch was provided by the Club, and organised by Joy Rimmington with sandwiches supplemented by home-made cakes and plentiful supply of tea and coffee provided by Teresa Doran.

 Sadly, whilst it did stay dry for most of the day, with the occasional shower, the ground became very wet and engines were not able to move as planned.  In the afternoon, Mark Ellis provided the apprentices and some members the experience of driving and steering his Allchin, whilst Michael Walters provided short road-trips in the Garrett.  Lady Sylvia was not as constrained by the ground conditions, and proved to be a real hit with a lot of the youngsters. 

We had intended to make this years’ event a focal point for club members to gather on the Saturday evening, have a drink, a bite to eat and a bit of natter.  To this end, BBQ facilities were provided by Dean Parcell, and made use of by a good number of us which was supplemented by with some beer from Wharfedale brewery.  Some appropriate music provided by Malcolm Begin in the club marque, lit using power from Geoff Mott’s generator, until we ran out of fuel and the music had to go acoustic.  If you missed it this year, hopefully this may have whet your appetite to come along another year.

It is appropriate at this stage for some thank-you ’s, so, in no particular order, I would like to thank all the engine owners and their crews, my fellow committee members for assisting with the organisation before and on the day, club members and parents who loaned equipment and helped set-up, Nigel Francis and OVTE for the use of the land and lastly for all those who came and made the enjoyable event that it was.

 We have received very positive feedback from apprentices, parents and the SAC and we are already being asked if we will be running again in 2018.  Here’s to next year!

 2015 gallery page.