Direct Rail Services’ (DRS) open day saw more than 3,500 people gather for a family fun day, while raising thousands of pounds for deserving causes.
Returning after a long absence due to the pandemic, Nuclear Transport Solutions’ (NTS) rail division, DRS, once again opened its gates to families and enthusiasts from across the country at their open day in Crewe.
This year’s event took place on Saturday 16 July at DRS’s Gresty Bridge rail depot. With gates not opening until 10am, a queue began to form from 8 o’clock as fans, eager to get access to their favourite locomotives, waited patiently outside.
The day saw around 3,500 people attend and raised over £39,000 for our sponsorship and donations fund, an absolutely outstanding figure which will go a long way to help deserving causes across the UK.
There was plenty to keep the whole family entertained with the opportunity to sit in a real locomotive cab, get up close to working engines, witness a heritage locomotive start, nameplate auction, kids’ face painting, and much more.
There were also two very important locomotive namings at the event. The first saw “Max Joule” unveiled on Class 66 locomotive 66422, a tribute to one of DRS’s founders and its Managing Director until his tragic death in 1999.
The nameplate was unveiled by NTS Chair Wanda Goldwag, DRS Rail Director and NTS Deputy CEO Chris Connelly, and Nuclear Decommissioning Authority CEO David Peattie, who all paid tribute to Max’s lasting legacy and to honour the man who laid the foundations of the company we see today.
The second naming was very emotional for all involved as “Driver Paul Scrivens” was unveiled on locomotive 66424. Paul had been a driver at DRS for over 20 years, he was well known and well liked by all who knew him until his very sad death last year.
His colleague and friend Tim Howlett gave a personal account of Paul before Paul’s sister Emma revealed the new plate, which will see his name continue on the railways he loved so much. It was an emotional moment but a fitting tribute to one of the railway’s finest drivers and friend to all.
Wanda Goldwag, NTS Chair, said: “It’s the first time I’ve been to such an event and I have to say it was absolutely fantastic. The atmosphere was filled with excitement and it was just marvellous to see so many budding young Train Drivers and Engineers fascinated by all the engines and equipment on display.
“The fact it is all done for deserving causes makes it even more worthwhile and I’m looking forward to seeing all the great work this money can do for the communities in which we operate.
“It was a huge honour to be involved with both locomotive namings and I’ll be looking out for the engines running across our rail network for years to come.
“I want to say a huge ‘thank you’ to everyone who came along and all of our staff volunteers for making the event such a special day.”