With the widespread use of multiple units on the national network the sight of a diesel locomotive hauling a rake of passenger carriages on the national mainline has become rare. However, the distinctive sight and sound of the post-steam era on Britain's railways is frequently recreated at diesel galas.

Many preserved railway lines hold a diesel gala on an annual basis using a range of heritage locomotives from their home fleet together with visiting guest locomotives from other lines. Galas sometimes have a theme centred on either the type of traction e.g. diesel hydraulic locomotives or a specific manufacturer e.g. locomotives produced by English Electric.

Depot open days used to be a common feature of the traction scene. In their heyday during the 1980s and 1990s large depots such as Crewe would command attendance figures measured in the thousands. Locomotives on display would include a selection for whom the depot was their base together with a selection of visiting guest locomotives from depots further afield to increase visitor numbers.

With the decline in locomotive numbers and the ever increasing costs of insurance such open days are now a thing of the past and have almost disappeared from the railway calendar in their traditional form. Modern depots with something to celebrate now tend to hold invitation-only events which are often run to raise money for charities with links to the workforce.

2017 Severn Valley Open Day

2017 Severn Valley Open Day

2017 Bluebell Railway Gala

2017 Bluebell Railway Gala

2016 Severn Valley Railway Gala

2016 Severn Valley Railway Gala

2016 Swanage Railway Gala

2016 Swanage Railway Gala

2016 Mid-Norfolk Railway Gala

2016 Mid-Norfolk Railway Gala

2015 Severn Valley Railway Gala

2015 Severn Valley Railway Gala

2015 Didcot Railway Centre Gala

2015 Didcot Railway Centre Gala

2015 Swanage Railway Gala

2015 Swanage Railway Gala

2015 Bluebell Railway Gala

2015 Bluebell Railway Gala

2015 Nene Valley Railway Gala

2015 Nene Valley Railway Gala

2014 Severn Valley Railway Gala

2014 Severn Valley Railway Gala

2014 Swanage Railway Gala

2014 Swanage Railway Gala

2014 Great Central Railway Gala

2014 Great Central Railway Gala

2014 East Lancashire Railway Theme Day

2014 East Lancashire Railway Theme Day

2013 Severn Valley Railway Gala

2013 Severn Valley Railway Gala

2013 East Lancashire Railway Gala

2013 East Lancashire Railway Gala

2013 Great Central Railway (Nottingham) Gala

2013 Great Central Railway (Nottingham) Gala

2013 Didcot Railway Centre Gala

2013 Didcot Railway Centre Gala

2013 Mid-Norfolk Railway Gala

2013 Mid-Norfolk Railway Gala

2012 East Lancashire Railway Theme Day

2012 East Lancashire Railway Theme Day

2012 Severn Valley Railway Gala

2012 Severn Valley Railway Gala

2012 Nene Valley Railway Gala

2012 Nene Valley Railway Gala

2012 Severn Valley Railway Mini Gala

2012 Severn Valley Railway Mini Gala

2012 Keighley & Worth Valley Railway Gala

2012 Keighley & Worth Valley Railway Gala

2012 Great Central Railway (Nottingham) Gala

2012 Great Central Railway (Nottingham) Gala

2011 Deltic 50

2011 Deltic 50

2011 Severn Valley Railway Gala

2011 Severn Valley Railway Gala

2011 East Lancashire Railway Gala

2011 East Lancashire Railway Gala

2011 East Lancashire Railway Deltics 50 Years Gala

2011 East Lancashire Railway Deltics 50 Years Gala

2010 Nene Valley Railway Gala

2010 Nene Valley Railway Gala

2010 Great Central Railway Gala

2010 Great Central Railway Gala

2010 Keighley & Worth Valley Railway Gala

2010 Keighley & Worth Valley Railway Gala

2010 East Lancashire Railway Gala

2010 East Lancashire Railway Gala

2009 Severn Valley Railway Gala

2009 Severn Valley Railway Gala

2009 Nene Valley Railway Gala

2009 Nene Valley Railway Gala

2009 Great Central Railway Gala

2009 Great Central Railway Gala

2009 Long Marston Open Day

2009 Long Marston Open Day

2009 Eastleigh Open Day

2009 Eastleigh Open Day

2008 Midland Railway Butterley Gala

2008 Midland Railway Butterley Gala

2008 Severn Valley Railway Gala

2008 Severn Valley Railway Gala

2007 North Yorkshire Moors Railway Valley Aid Gala

2007 North Yorkshire Moors Railway Valley Aid Gala

2007 Severn Valley Railway Gala

2007 Severn Valley Railway Gala

2007 North Yorkshire Moors Railway Gala

2007 North Yorkshire Moors Railway Gala

2006 Bodmin & Wenford Railway Gala

2006 Bodmin & Wenford Railway Gala

2006 Midland Railway Butterley Gala

2006 Midland Railway Butterley Gala

2006 North Yorkshire Moors Railway Gala

2006 North Yorkshire Moors Railway Gala

2005 Severn Valley Railway Gala

2005 Severn Valley Railway Gala

2005 Midland Railway Butterley Gala

2005 Midland Railway Butterley Gala