Wednesday, 6 September 2017

September Time

Ray trundles round to do some track tweaking with 'Viceroy'

Hi there, we had a great Open Day last Sunday, when the weather was great and lots of nice people came to see us, thank you, we had a very enjoyable afternoon. We were pleased with the 'wrist stamp' ticketing that we introduced which went down well with our visitors and which made life a lot easier for our Ticket office and Platform ladies..... We ran four trains for most of the afternoon which dwindled down to three later on. Chieftain, Prospero, General, Nelson, Isabel, Remus and Little Olive (where are you Paul ???) were on duty with Remus being a bit off colour after derailing for no apparent reason on the Laurel Sidings mainline point, so David decided to withdraw the loco just in case , but we understand that there is no serious damage. Little Olive also had a bit of a sulk and was taken off in sympathy, but again no damage so that is good news.

Ross brings 'Nelson' past Laurel Sidings with a full train on Open Day
In the extended Clubroom, we are now ready for the flooring to go in and we will then be just about done (maybe????), it's a lovely area now and we are very pleased with the way it has turned out.
   Our revised speed limit signs are nearly all out now following our decision to make the maximum speed 4 mph, after we had a play with our mobile phones to see how fast we were really going, think we told you about that previously?.

Track 'tweaking' in progress
  So the next tasks will be a shelter for the wagons down at Laurel Sidings, and one for the powered grass cutter that has very generously, been donated by one of our members. This will be at the rear side of the carriage shed once one or two trees have been 'dismantled!. Then there is also the Tool Van to complete once we can get at it when the top workshop area is cleared of all the building debris and leftovers !!!! (think a skip will be called for !)
 The S and T Boys are looking at ways of introducing a time delay on some points so the point cannot be thrown until the train has cleared, as sometimes the signalling staff are a bit too quick resetting a route !!!! (only sometimes we hasten to add!)  But seriously they do a great job in there on Open Days as it demands very intense concentration to keep four trains on the move, never mind five, (which we have decided not to do !), and interruptions are not a good thing, which is why we ask that people do not go in there during the afternoon.

Graham busy with remedial work on the control panel in the Signal Box

A 'mixed ' train as our American Friends would say with a passenger train bringing back the work train wagons, just wait til we get the Tool Van finished !
All photos: Brian M
 and....we are looking forward to a visit this Thursday evening by the Great Yarmouth Model Railway Club when we will have a pleasant evening running one or two trains and having a bit of a 'mardle' !!!


Monday, 14 August 2017

This 'n That

We had a great Open Day on 6th August, when the weather was, once again, warm and sunny, and we had lots of nice people visit us, thank you. Everything ran more or less OK, and at one time there were five trains out, although the feeling is that we should leave it at four, as trains are less likely to be held up at signals while trains are unloaded and loaded in the station. 'Remus' and 'Little Olive' came to see us, and we ran 'Hotspur', 'Isabel', 'The Shay', 'Chieftain', 'General', and 'Nelson' during the afternoon. 'Prospero' also proudly appeared in the early afternoon to give Peter his first experience of driving his loco on an Open Day, and it went well, so well done Peter!

'Prospero' and 'Chieftain' in the station area during the August Open Day
'Little' Olive' was a bit naughty, but the Boys eventually managed to make her better and she came out later for another 'play'.. 'Hotspur' was even naughtier and was failed  due to a lack of power, again, and was sent back the the shed in disgrace. We have since, with the help of Brian B and Kevin, (many thanks Guys, and well done to Keith and Ben), discovered that the piston rings are worn and are not really the correct ones for the loco, and so we have decided to 'bite the bullet', and fabricate new ones!. So, this is a major step forward for us as we are not miniature steam loco engineers, but we are beginning to get to grips with the fascinating, and often frustrating world of these wonderful machines ! Exciting !!!!! The materials are ordered, so watch this space for progress reports.

The 'Brains Trust' discussing 'Hotspur's' problem!
Several of us enjoyed a really good afternoon at the Parklands Railway at Hemsby on August 1st when the Club members, courtesy of the site owners, ran lots of interesting trains during the afternoon, during which a superb BBQ was also available, and well patronised !!!! 
We have fitted the posh external fascia to the Clubroom extension (plan E worked!), and we are starting on the revised kitchen layout so we can lay the vinyl floor. Some wall cupboards have been fitted in the workshop for the S & T Boys to store their precious components in (it is alleged!).

Smart new fascia on the Clubroom extension
We recently took a train load of members around the circuits to see how fast 5 mph really is, with the help of speedometer apps on our mobile phones! We have decided that 4 mph is fast enough for our track, with 2 mph restrictions at various points, so additional signs are being fabricated (posh word for made!), and will be in place soon. We have also introduced a basic Induction sheet for visiting drivers to read and sign to ensure they are aware of the way our railway operates. We tried this with our visiting Friends on our recent Open Day, and they were happy with the arrangement.

Finally, would visitors kindly note some changes to our ticketing arrangements on Open Days, when from 3rd September 2017, Single tickets will be £2, Rovers £4, and there will be no Family Rovers issued from this date. Children of 2 years and under can travel free.   Thank you

Friday, 28 July 2017

July Jottings

'Birthday Boy' takes some of his guests for a spin with 'Chieftain'.
Photo; Graham Reeve
Hi there, just one or two jottings to keep you up to of our members celebrated a 'significant' Birthday last week, so on Saturday, we had a bit of a Fun Day, with a few trains out, followed by a Fish and Chip Supper that was most enjoyable. Some 30 Souls were present to enjoy the convivial surroundings in our newly extended Clubroom, and later after the 'Land and Seas' , enjoyed a tipple and some delicious gateaux...loverley...

Peter is getting to grips with 'Prospero' now and had a few trips around the circuit, including a coach carrying some of the visitors staying in the Holiday Cottages who enjoyed the ride....(Must have been his experience aboard '60009' on the Mid Norfolk recently?????)

Bit different to 'Prospero' eh  Peter?
We had a brilliant Fun Day with four visiting locos on Saturday 15th July, when we had our three, (and I must get things right now once and for all, one Suffolk and two Norfolk visitors (not three Suffolk! sorry Chaps) who often help out on Open Days!!! who once again brought along their 'Sweet Williams' and 'Romulus' for a relaxing 'play day', and we had Bruce and Brian over from the Chelmsford Club with Bruce's fine Stafford, 'Kitty'. So, as you can imagine, we had a great day with several of our members being allowed to drive the visiting locos which went down extremely well and brought lots and lots of beaming smiles as the trains trundelled around!.

A fine line up of visiting locos !
I know we keep saying this, but work on the Clubroom extension really is nearly complete, but it's always the fiddly bits and pieces that take the time! We expect the flooring to go down soon, after the August Open Day, then we can finalise the kitchen and fit the skirtings......and wait until you see the fancy external fascia we are working on.....very smart !!!! 
..and the 'gardening', well, everything is shouting with glee and competing to see which one can grow the quickest and highest, which means...??? Yes, you've guessed it....... more and more time spent on trimming it all...
One of our next tasks is to construct the canopy on the end of the Loco shed to give some protection to the crews steaming up the locos when the weather is 'inclement', together with a possible extra siding under so two locos can take shelter, (but we haven't told the 'track gang' yet !!!,) and we have all the bits necessary to construct a shelter to house the open wagons, now that the sheds are nearly full again, so there's always a job or three to be done.

We are looking forward to popping across to Hemsby next week to enjoy their, now, annual Parklands Railway BBQ, which will be good, as we can catch up with friends old and new, just hope the weather stays kind !
Well, think that'll do for now, hope to see you soon, keep smiling



Thursday, 6 July 2017

July Open Day ? Excellent !

Ray taking the goods wagons round to the 'Boondocks'
Photo: Ross McKenzie
Thank you to all our lovely visitors who came along last Sunday to enable us all to have a most enjoyable Open Day, The weather was brilliant, we had lots of happy people, all our locos ran well, and nothing fell off the track, so we were happy Boys and Girls! We had two visiting steam locos to help out too, as Phil (of Blackgates Engineering fame) was staying in one of the holiday cottages ( and had brought along his Sweet Pea, 'Jacquie O', and enjoyed several trips around the circuit on Wednesday when we set him up, and then most of Sunday afternoon saw the loco doing a fine job hauling our passengers. Lovely loco.  

Phil brings a train past the signalbox onto 'Den' section during the Open Day
Photo: Brian M
David and Tony came over with 'Remus' to help out again, and had a good afternoon, why wouldn't they?, so our thanks to them for helping out....We had Isabel, Chieftain, General, The Shay and Nelson on duty during the afternoon, and Viceroy stood with a work train on the loop in the 'Boondocks'.....we had a fly past too .....from a swarm of bees, but fortunately they didn't stay, maybe they are not into trains ????

Steve having a steam 'teach in' from Keith
Photo: Brian M
and.....the Clubroom extension is nearly done, we have fixed the ceiling joint cover strips and cut and painted the skirting ready to fit, so we will be attacking the kitchen area over the next two or three weeks then our 'expert' flooring gang can come in and fit the vinyl flooring, at which time we should be just about done, dare we say?, and oh yes, we are going to fit roller blinds to the windows too....

Peter is getting used to 'Prospero'..... bit by bit, and the Boys are now fitting an electric water pump on the tender to help keep the boiler filled up....track maintenance continues along with a big effort to relay and re ballast the track in the tunnel area which was totally flooded last week after the heavy downpour we had, well done Boys...and the bushes and shrubs are continually being trimmed as they are growing like there's no tomorrow, so plenty do do to keep us out of mischief (what us???) see you soon


Dave having a drive on 'Nelson'
Photo: Ross McKenzie

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Even Better June !

So where have some of us been for the weekend ????

Not too difficult to spot for those Narrow Gauge enthusiasts amongst you???? We would like to express our thanks for the warm welcome we received at all these Great Little Railways, we even had a very enjoyable and scenic ride on 'Arriva Trains Wales' along the coast from Porthmadoc to Fairbourne, lovely trip, friendly staff, and economical too! 
There was one other railway that we visited on the way home, the Echills Wood Railway, impressive as always,  but no photos available, sorry,  mainly 'cos we didn't take any, too busy talking and looking!!!!. We were impressed with the coach bogies that the Guys have made as we are looking at possible improvements to ours, so thanks to Jeff and Co for their welcome , once again..... 

Meanwhile, back at the 'Ranch' we have taken delivery of 6 tonnes of granite ballast (shared a 12 tonne load with our 'Parklands' friends) to replenish our track in parts where some tweaking is needed. More second fix work (door trims/skirting etc) being done on our Clubroom extension, gardening continues as always, to keep the site looking neat and tidy, and we have our July Open Day next Sunday 2nd July, so maybe we'll see you then ?


P.S., just in case you didn't spot the railways we visited, they were the Welshpool & Llanfair,.Llanberis..Fairbourne,... Talyllyn..and  Ffestiniog... marvelous !

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Enjoyable June!

Time flies by and we have been quite busy.........we had a visit from some of our friends from the Nottingham Club last Wednesday when they brought over three locos for a run round our track before travelling across to the Parklands Railway at Hemsby for a couple of days. Roy Hollingworth and Barrie came over with his brilliant Class 40 and Mk1 coaches...there was Pete's 'Sweet Rocket' (7 1/4 version of a metre maid 0-6-2)...and Nigel's Class 08, Great to see them all enjoying our facilities.

Roy's Class 40 ready to go
Photo: Richard Neale
A good time was had by all and Tony and Liz kindly provided some tasty refreshments for our visitors for them to enjoy in the surroundings of our newly extended Clubroom ! 
We are still busy with 'stuff', the Clubroom extension now has its ceiling fitted and the fluorescent lights are installed, so we are nearly there.The gardening needs lots of attention as everything is growing like mad, and the track seems to have taken to wandering here and there, so we need to spend some more time 'tweaking'. 

Busy station area unloading a train
Photo: John Pond
Our June Open Day was good, and started off with a visit from our local 'Radio Norfolk' as part of their Treasure Quest ' programme on Sunday mornings. They came to us for their second clue, which was eventually located by Sophie, in the Squit Mine entrance. So, a nice little plug on the radio for our Open Day. 

Sophie's found the clue at the Squit Mine
Photo courtesy of Radio Norfolk
The weather was kind and we had lots of visitors who enjoyed the atmosphere, as always, David and Tony brought up David's much travelled Romulus, 'Remus'  again, and  we coaxed out 'The General', ' Nelson', ' The Shay',  'Chieftain', 'Isabel' and 'Hotspur', (but only briefly)...

The Shay coming off Lake section
Photo: John Pond
We didn't all manage to get over to Hemsby unfortunately, but we hear they had a good week, and the weather was kind for them!
Peter's new Feldbahn is finding its way around the track a bit more, as Peter becomes more accustomed to dealing with the vagaries of a steam locomotive!  .....and we have another 'Fun Day' this coming Saturday when we have four more locos this space !

Happiness is ????
Mr Ball (Yard Boss) and Yours Truly (Shay Engineeer)


Monday, 15 May 2017

Excellent Week !

Well, we had a very good first Open Day for 2017, when lots of you nice people came to see us, or our trains ???? We carried the most passengers ever on an Open day and at one stage, we had six, yes, six, trains out. (Well done signalmen!, and drivers, and guards and platform staff) So well done to all our 'staff' who ensured that everything worked well, but 'boo hoo' to the weather, which although it stayed fine, was jolly freezing (being polite!). 
Our ALR quiz, introduced for the first time by our Ladies, seemed to go down well, and once again Paul and Chris brought 'Little Olive' up from Suffolk for a run round or two, or more,  which she seemed to enjoy.We also had our two steam locos, 'Isabel' and 'Hotspur' out, reinforced by 'General, 'Chieftain', 'Nelson', 'The Shay' and 'Sergeant' during the afternoon.Our newest steam loco, 'Prospero' was on display for our visitors to admire, and 'Viceroy' was parked out in the 'boondocks' siding with the wagons.
Last Wednesday evening saw us welcoming our Friends from the Norfolk and District Model Engineers (Eaton Park), on their annual visit for a relaxing evening of chat, cuppas and riding trains behind 'General' and 'Nelson'. A very pleasant evening.......
Our Clubroom extension was in use and received several complimentary comments, proving to be a great additional space, be very nice when it's finished !!!!


Friday, 28 April 2017

April update

A  view of the extended Clubroom
Hello everyone, we had a great day out at Spalding last Saturday (22nd April) when we visited the Model Engineering Exhibition, being very impressed with the exhibits on view, and spent some happy time talking to friends, old and new. In the afternoon we were royally treated to a tour of the Spalding Horticultural Society's very colourful and impressive gardens located at the rear of the Springfields Shopping Centre. Inga and Chris made us feel more than welcome, providing us with tea and cakes which we enjoyed. twice, lounging on deckchairs in the lovely sunshine.We were taken for a trip round their delightful Springfields Miniature Railway, traversing gently through the trees surrounded by a maze of multi coloured tulips, daffodils and bluebells. (3500 bulbs are planted each year we were told !) A great day out!  Many thanks to the SHS for their very kind hospitality....
A view through the trees at the SLR

All very busy here at the ALR, all is going well as our first 2017 Open Day approaches....our new Clubroom extension is well advanced but will not be finally complete by 7th May. but usable, so please bear with us, if you do come, we hope you will be impressed and will appreciate the extra space it now gives us. We still have the ceiling to fit, the kitchen to re-organise, the decorations and floor finishes to do, along with several other twiddly bits........we just need an 8 or 9 day week!!!!!
The rolling stock is ready to go, more or less, apart from 'Thunderbox' which is having a rest until we can assess the work needed to get this characterful loco back into efficient working order. Our friends from Suffolk are bringing along a couple of locos on 7th May so we will have a variety of locos out and about again to ride behind. Our ticket prices remain the same as last year, being £1,50 for a single ride, £4 for an afternoon Rover, and £12 for a Family ticket for 2 Adults and 2 Children, So, weather permitting we will be running trains from 2 til 5 pm, with light refreshments and ice creams available, parking is free, but dogs are not allowed on site, sorry. Maybe we will see you then ???? 
Lots of events going on in this area from April 30th to 21st May in this year's Broads Outdoor Festival, have a look at '' , loads to see and do !


Ready for a trip around the SLR
Photos: Brian M

Monday, 3 April 2017

A new arrival !

'Prospero' has arrived !
Hi there.....well we had an exciting day last week when a new loco arrived at the ALR, courtesy of Peter, one of our members, and Mike from Station Road Steam, who delivered the loco..As you can see from the photos, the loco is a 0-4-0 Feldbahn, to be named 'Prospero', and is the eleventh loco based at the ALR, blimey, who'd have thought it ?
So the Boys are constructing the tender which is almost ready, and Peter has taken the body to be spray painted (proper job!) by David (cheers !) to match the lovely yellow of the loco. Peter is now being initiated into the vagaries of managing a steam loco!

Ready to roll onto ALR metals
Club members admire the new loco with Mike handing over documentation
All photos: Brian M
The Clubroom extension is coming along nicely with the floor now laid, ready for the wall insulation and wall boarding to be fixed, so we are hoping that it will be usable by our first Open Day on May 7th (fingers crossed????) 
'Lucille' and 'Isabel' have had their certificates renewed and are ready to go, (thanks to Brian B for his time).
Track tweaking continues, gardening work also continues, the bridge has been cleaned down with handrail and decking restained, so is looking smart, and the 'mighty mulcher' is booked to tidy up tree bits and pieces around the site to tidy it all up.......signals and signs are out, and cameras refitted, so we are getting there........
We have a trip booked to Spalding on 22nd to visit the Engineering Exhibition there and also to see our Friends at the Springfields Light Railway which we are looking forward to visiting....


Happiness is !
Photo: Peter Harvey and others!

Friday, 17 March 2017

Spring Is Here !

Hello again, we are still here and very busy, so apologies if you haven't seen any posts recently.....lots going on as the weather has been very, very kind to us.

The Johns busy on the Clubroom extension (note the blue sky!)
Our new Clubroom extension is taking shape extremely well and we are very pleased with the progress. It's going to be a great space for us.The new station signal gantry cross beam is now in position and the Boys have been reconnecting and testing signals, and the cameras are all out.

Graham and Ricardo sorting the signals out (note the blue sky!)
 The track and gardening 'Gangs' have been busy tidying and clearing after 'Doris's visit, and the track is being checked and tweaked as necessary, so it will be in good state when we start to test and 'practise' in April, all being well.

Track tweaking by Ray and Barry
Work progresses on the steam locos with 'Isabel' and 'Hotspur' being worked on, Lucille was steamed up last week and is good to go. Brian B (thanks in advance Brian !) is coming over later this month to do the inspections and steam tests required for Certification to be renewed on 'Isabel' and 'Lucille' with 'Hotspur' ok until the Winter. The chassis and steel framing for our new Tool Van has arrived and is temporarily stored in the workshop until we have time to work on it !

'Hotspur' being worked on in the sunshine 
The engineering boys have been working on another chassis which we will tell you about next time !!! our secret surprise will then be revealed!!!!! 
Our buildings are receiving a 'smarten up' coat of stain to keep them in good trim, and the external boarding that has been fixed so far on the Clubroom extension is being treated with the 'corporate' cream.
We are taking our Display stand to Bawdeswell Model Railway Exhibition (at the kind invitation of the 32 A Model Railway Club, cheers Al!) on Saturday, where we will no doubt be meeting friends old and new, as we did at Dereham the other week. We like a chat (and the occasional bacon butty?) 

So, as you can see, not much chance of us getting bored/????


P.S. oh and Dave has 'lost' his drone, last seen heading gleefully over towards Wroxham Barns, at a great rate of knots, so if you see one laid about, do let us know !

Monday, 20 February 2017

February Greetings

Happy Boys celebrating the installation of the structural posts for the new extension on February 8th 2017 !
How time is already flying this year, and lots to do ! The big news we guess, is that we received Planning Permission in January for our Clubroom extension, and so we are in full  'building' mode! As you read this the roof trusses are on and we have the roof cladding bearers in position ready to fix the roof cladding sheeting (to match the existing) which are being delivered on Wednesday (JIT stuff here you know!). We are aiming, if all goes well, to have the extension virtually complete by our first Open Day on May 7th. We hope you will be impressed ????. So far so good, the weather has been very kind to us, and as usual our members rise to the challenge, well done Boys!

Roof trusses in position

Work on other fronts proceeds with a new tender being built for...oops, you're not supposed to know about this yet so, watch this space, when in a few weeks we should have some exciting news ???? 

Dave and Ken check the chassis rolling tender, looking good ! (others were involved !!!)
We have the timbers all ready to construct a wagon shelter down at Laurel Sidings to give us a bit more shed storage space, and we are waiting for the chassis to be delivered for our new tool van. Work continues with checking and fettling our signals, and we have even started to give our buildings a coat of green stain whilst the weather has been so mild, to keep them looking good.

Graham attends to a signal
All photos: Brian M
We are attending the East Dereham Model Railway Exhibition on Saturday to renew acquaintances and spread the ALR word to the unknowing! Should be a good day....


P.S. JIT means 'Just in Time', a method used by industry to save stock space and cost, ensuring efficient production line techniques!!! wow, but you probably know that already ?

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Sad News

We have had some sad news recently, as one of our long standing members, Alan Heath, has, sadly, passed away. Alan had been a member of the Club since June 2003, and was a member of the Club's Management Committee for several years.. He was a regular signalman, spending many hours in the box, and had helped to train several of our members in the delights of being a signalman over the years. He will be missed, and our thoughts go out to his wife Jill, and his family at this sad time.

  R. I. P.   Al

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Hello Again......

Well here we are, into the New Year, so may we wish you all a Very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous one? Already we are very busy with lots of jobs, one or two exciting items in prospect too, so we are hoping for a good year on the ALR. Our Open Day dates (see across) are, as usual, to be held on the first Sunday of the months of May through to October, when trains will be running from 2 til 5 pm, We are pleased to confirm that our ticket prices remain the same as last year, being Single £1.50, Day Rover £4.00, and Family Rover (2 Adults 2 Children) £12.00. We hope to welcome you to our railway one one of those days....

So, jobwise, we are checking all the signal 'electronics' and operation, replacing the spectacle bulbs with LED s, which will be brighter and last longer, the coach maintenance is coming along well, and we are doing one or two jobs to the steam locos, including fitting a mechanical lubricator to Isabel, and fitting a second gauge glass to Hotspur.

The mechanical lubricator being fitted to Isabel
We are building a wagon shelter down at Laurel Sidings to accommodate our wagons as we need some more shed space for a new 'arrival' later this month, watch this space! We are also building a Tool Van in which we can keep all our trackwork tools and bits and pieces, together with our new portable generator which will be very useful in carrying out a variety of tasks, out on the railway. The chassis is being fabricated for us by our steelwork fabrication company in North Walsham, and should be with us later this month, all being well. (they are very busy which is good to hear!) This will enable us to go out with a 'proper' works train when doing jobs out and about on the railway, and will be another interesting train that could be run on Open Days ?
Some of us are heading down to the London Model Engineering Exhibition at the Ally Pally at the weekend, so that will be a good day out, and we have one or two items that we need, (and there will no doubt be one or two items obtained that we don't really need !!!!!! but can't not have ??????)


P.S.. Oh and can the persons who are nicking our silver birch trees, kindly let us have our signal posts back, pleeeeeze????  Ta