Thursday, 5 September 2019

September update

Hello again, we had a very enjoyable September Open Day when we had time to chat to our visitors as it was not too busy (too hot, too cold, coming back from holiday, getting ready to go back to school, too many other attractions an the same day ? Who knows? ) But thank you for coming we were pleased to see you!
We had the usual good selection of locos on duty (Hotspur, Remus, Little Olive, General, Chieftain, The Shay, Nelson), and they all behaved apart from Chieftain which got the sulks and lost power, and the Shay seemed to be struggling until it was discovered that the coach brakes had been left on!!!!! Not a good idea.
Jobs continue with gardening and trimming ongoing, trackwork tweaks are keeping the Boys busy, the S and T Boys are still working at signal and track detection improvements, with the help of some very cheap components from our Chinese friends, how do they make 'em so cheaply?, and plans are  afoot to change signal 1 to colour light mode. There are always plenty of those 'little' jobs that can be done now the pressure is off on the big ones.We will be looking ahead soon, to list what needs to be done during the Winter once our October Open Day is done.
We had a bit of a Fun Day on Saturday 24th finishing off with running in the dark, which is always good fun ! This was to help our Treasurer to celebrate his xxth birthday, and fish and chips were enjoyed at tea time to help things along. an enjoyable day for everyone, with a bit of a carnival atmosphere with flags, music and disco lights and all sorts (but no photos unfortunately!)


P.S. Algernon is still fishing !

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

August Fun

Algernon fishing
We would like you to introduce a new ALR character, this is Algernon, we call him Algae !!!! (get it?), and he appeared one morning wondering if he could fish in the lake, well, he's been sat there for two or three weeks now, and as far as we know not even a nibble ! We don't want to spoil his fun, but fish in the lake?, there are non Mate......  hey ho.....

We have had a Fun Time this August, with a good Open day on the 4th with kind weather and lots of happy folks enjoying the railway. All went more or less well, despite some problems with the signals and track circuiting caused by the storms, which the S and T Boys are wading through and all seems just about OK now !.All the locos ran well apart from David's 'Remus' which developed a problem with an axle wheel moving on the axle, so the loco had to be withdrawn so David could remedy the problem back home, which we hope he has managed to do. Our usual locos were out and about, 'General' was going well for too long and ran out of power, 'Chieftain', 'Hotspur' and 'The Shay' all ran well.

Dismantling work in progress
Wet days are uncommon at the ALR so when we get one, as we did last Wednesday, all hands got involved in lots of jobs that needed doing but that were not quite essential ! So the workshop was a bit crowded, but the 'crack' was interesting, old CCTV stuff was dismantled to gain bits and pieces that could be utilised elsewhere, The Shay had its cab roof sanded down ready for a gloss coat down in the Laurel Sidings storage shed, there was some stuff going on in the loco shed with Isabel, 'Prospero' was having an extension fitted to the injector overflow pipe so the driver can see whether the injector had 'taken up' or not if water was issuing forth, and there was some work going on to make 'Thunderbox's' throttle smoother in operation, so a good day.

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Then last Saturday, our August 'Fun Day' we had a visit from a Class 66 belonging to Simon and his Dad James, Mum came along too,so it was a family day out and very enjoyable. The '66' was very impressive with lots of fine detail and the loco ran very well all day with some of the ALR Boys having a drive too, thanks Simon!.We use these days to enjoy our railway and it gives us a chance to practise new skills and at one time we had 5 trains out, as yours truly realised, it's all go in the signal box then, but help was at hand with JP and then Keith each helping out. So we got some more training done and had a thoroughly good day !

The Class 66 leaves the station

Just unloaded

A trio of locos resting at lunchtime

'Thunderbox' was out too


Friday, 2 August 2019

Month Eight already !

Happy Boys at Hemsby !

Hello Folks
We can't believe that it's August already and we are halfway through our Open Days for this year. We are looking forward to our next one, this coming Sunday, August 4th, when. as usual we will be running trains from 2 til 5 pm, so maybe we will see you then ? We expect to have three , if not four steam locos in action, plus our usual selection from General, Chieftain, Thunderbox and The Shay being available. We have booked nice weather!!!!!

The recent thunderstorms created quite a bit of damage to our signalling 'electrics' and the phones but Graham and Ricardo are working very hard to ensure we have a working system in place for Sunday...

A few of us had a ride out to The Parklands Railway at Hemsby yesterday, where there was in 'invitation' afternoon taking place. It was a very pleasant afternoon with several different locos out and about and a very good turnout of visitors, so there was much 'mardling' going on. Well done to all at Parklands for providing a really enjoyable afternoon.

                               Here is a selection of photos taken during the afternoon

All photos:Brian M

Thursday, 18 July 2019

July jottings

Randy brings 'Thunderbox' gently through the station during the July Open Day afternoon

Hi everyone 
We are in the midst of the 'holiday' season and so one or two of us, and more, have been in other parts recently, but our July Open Day went well, it was not too busy so there was a relaxed atmosphere with 'Thunderbox', 'Chieftain', 'Remus', 'Little Olive' and 'Hotspur' on duty. We had one or two signalling problems during the afternoon, but our crews coped well with 'line of sight' working at times, so all was well and the problems have been, mostly, resolved.since. 
'Thunderbox' is working well with just minor 'tweaks' being carried out, mostly to do with the throttle settings, but, overall we are pleased with the loco's performance. It's good to see the loco out and about again as it is very popular with our visitors.
We have also been carrying out work to 'Sergeant' with a new battery installation and some modifications carried out to the electrical bits and pieces, which have been sucessful, (of course!), as the loco has been tested and performs well again. So with luck the loco may be seen out and about again on Open Days. There has been talk of a double header with 'Viceroy'!  

'Sergeant on test wit the Pullmans

We were also amazed that one of our friendly Robins made a nest on the shelf just inside the carriage storage shed down at Laurel Sidings where they successfully raised and fledged some chicks. The birds were often seen flying in and out of the shed when we are about and they must have spotted a missing wall vent grille just above their nest site which enabled them to get in and out when we were not on site.
Mr (or Mrs ?) Robin on the nest in the carriage shed

On the trackwork front, Randy, Ray and Barry have now completed the installation of the 'sliding rail expansion joints' which seem to be doing their job and allowing the rail to move without distortion , so well done Chaps, another first for the ALR!
So, that just about brings us up to date, we are looking forward to visiting our friends at the Parklands Railway on 1st August for their annual bash, let's hope the weather stays kind, should be good.

The three steam locos doing their job very well in the capable hands of Dave, Chris and Pierre!
(all photos Stuart Moore)


Friday, 28 June 2019

Thunderbox is 30 !

Peter with Thunderbox's 30th Birthday Cake before the fun began (very tasty! )
Hi, we had a great afternoon on 23rd, celebrating 'Thunderbox's 30th Year and remembering the Little Melton Light Railway which also would have been around for 30 years this year. We had a nice turnout of friendly people who enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere, taking rides behind 'Thunderbox' which ran admirably, 'Hotspur', ditto, 'Remus', reliable as always, 'Chieftain', 'General' and The 'Shay'. 

Remus comes through the station with Dave in charge

Ray comes through the station with 'Chieftain' and the 'Pullmans'

'Thunderbox' was suitably attired with banners and 30th Birthday bunting and looked immaculate. The loco is a credit to all who had a hand in bringing this characterful engine back to life and ran perfectly all afternoon. It was particularly pleasing the welcome Michael Brett, a close relative of Bob Brett, the founder and owner of the Little Melton Light Railway. Michael was sure that Bob would be very pleased to see the LMLR tradition continuing at the ALR. 

Michael Brett enjoying a ride on the 'staff' train
We were also pleased to see Michael Fish, a one time volunteer on the LMLR, who is the driving force behind the LMLR website, (, and who brought along a video of the line that our Boys are going to transfer onto DVD format, so we can experience the LMLR as it was, at our leisure.

There was an interesting display of 'ancient' internal combustion engines, 

Andy and Thomas brought along their Showman's engine again, (they live 5 miles away, just an hour's drive!)

Andy attending to their Showman's engine
and Bob King came along with his powered bike with rear wheel 25cc powered 'CycleMaster'  bike dating back to 1957 ! complete with tax disc from those days !!!!!!

Bob's 'Cyclemaster'

So a very enjoyable afternoon for us all and our visitors....thank you for coming......

Our Junior Guards on duty
(all photos Brian M)