Sunday, 6 October 2019

Today's Open Day cancelled

Hi Everyone
Just to let everyone know that we have had to cancel today's Open Day due to the extremely inclement weather...... 


Monday, 30 September 2019

Happy Alan back on Lucille again!

Hello again
Well just one more Open Day to go, this Sunday October 6th, when we hope to have as many trains as possible running to keep us on our toes, with hopefully a nice sunny afternoon for us all to enjoy! We hope to see you there?
No major work going on at the moment, just the normal tasks that need to be done to keep everything shipshape, gardening continues, track maintenance continues with our hardy Gang of Randy, Ray and Barry out and about with the work train tweaking as necessary, we have been trying to find out why 'Chieftain' runs out of power, with investigations ongoing on  how the batteries are charged, or is it a wiring problem..etc etc, the Boys will sort it out !
We've been having some good impromptu, (is that how you spell it ?).... training sessions now so that members can have a go at different tasks and enjoy all the variety, and fun ! of running our railway.
Finally, regrettably we have had to increase the price of our Rover tickets which will now be £5, with the Singles remaining at £2, still good value we believe.....see you soon

Dual arrival at the station on a busy July Open Day


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.

Add caption

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)


Thursday, 20 June 2019

Extra Open Day

Hi there, just a quick reminder, in case you have forgotten ????, we have an extra Open Day this coming Sunday, June 23rd, weather permitting of course, and it's looking good !, to celebrate 'Thunderbox's' 30th Birthday, and also to remember the Little Melton Light Railway which would have also been around for 30 years this year. Trains running as usual on our Public Open days, from 2 til 5 pm, and we plan to have all the ex Little Melton stock on view and hopefully in use, including 'Thunderbox', now resplendent in its 'refurbished' mode and looking very smart. Hope to see you then.
Usual fares apply, i.e. £2.00 single ride and £4 for Day Rover, (sorry no dogs allowed nor is the consumption of alcohol allowed on the premises.)

Monday, 10 June 2019

June update

Loco line up on June 2nd

Hi there, we had a good Open Day on 2nd June when our visitors enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere, riding behind 'Hotspur' , 'Chieftain', 'Little Olive', 'Remus' and 'General', and we are pleased to report that everything ran very well, and the weather behaved too! Good to see our visiting locos again and thanks to Paul, Chris and David for coming over to help out, we know they love coming to see us !

Andy, Jack and Bob King admiring  the Showman's engine.
We also had a welcome visit by the Potter's lovely scale model Showmans engine which was in steam during the afternoon and on display for everyone to see, Thanks to Andy and Jack for bringing it over under its own steam too!

The Class 08 on Shunting duties
Our Juniors, had a good day helping the Yardmaster in placing locos and coaches where required using Peter's Class 08 shunter,  very appropriate ! Our new carriage leanto is in use housing two three car sets giving us more space in the storage shed, where we are reviewing what goes where. The 'work' train with Atlas is now resident on track 4.  
So, we are now continuing with all those jobs that need to be done throughout the year, the vegetation is growing like mad, as usual, and it's good to see the 'shortened' trees already bushing up.We have been very busy working away on 'Thunderbox' to ensure the loco is ready for its 30th Birthday occasion on Sunday 23rd June when we will be celebrating the loco's Birthday and also remembering the Little Melton Light Railway, which would have been celebrating its 30th year. A new hydrostatic drive has been obtained and fitted to the loco and all is being checked and tweaked as necessary to ensure the loco is able to make an appearance on 23rd. 
We have started to look at providing a separate Guards vehicle on each train and will come up with a suitable plan using Ken's existing Guards vehicle as a test bed. We feel it needs springing and should be a bit longer to accommodate the Guards in more comfort, with possibly a slightly higher seat to allow a better view along the train. Once a suitable design is agreed we plan to have the chassis manufactured off site in a batch, so we can complete the vehicles, possibly over the coming Winter, as finances allow. Each vehicle will be finished to match its carriage set.
So, finally, don't forget our extra Open Day on Sunday June 23rd when we hope to have a good afternoon running trains, including, all being well. 'Thunderbox' for the first time in over 2 years, along with several of our other locos. Trains will run from 2 til 5 pm weather permitting, and our usual refreshments will be available, but please remember that dogs are not allowed onsite nor is the consumption of alcohol permitted, thanks....

and we were delighted on Saturday, to see Alan back on 'Lucille' after his recent op, Well done Al!, 


Thursday, 23 May 2019

Thunderbox at 30 Day

Hi, we are pleased to announce that we are having an extra Open Day on Sunday 23rd June, to celebrate 'Thunderbox' at 30, and also to remember the Little Melton Light Railway which would also be celebrating its 30th anniversary this year had it still been operational. We owe a lot to the LMLR as we got the best possible start to building the ALR as we were able to buy a lot of track, 3 sets of coaches, 'Thunderbox' and 'General' from the owner. We were also able eventually, to purchase 'Hotspur' from Norman Duffield, a staunch member of the LMLR and also in the early days, a member of the ALR.
So we will have trains, mostly steam hauled, running from 2 til 5 pm, with 'Thunderbox' making an appearance after the loco's refurbishment which is nearly complete, and is looking really smart due to the devoted efforts of our team led mainly by Pierre.Well done Chaps !
We will be open, as usual on Public Open Days, from 2 til 5 pm, and we look forward to seeing you then. Light refreshments and ice creams will be available but would you note that the consumption of alcohol is not permitted on the premises.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Good Open Day start to 2019

Hello there, just a quick update for you......we had a good start to our 2019 Open Day running on may 5th, with a good turnout of visitors on what was a very cold, but thankfully, dry afternoon. Thank you for coming to see us!

Preparing 'Holkham' for an Open Day run
We had a variety of locos out with 'Hotspur' and 'Isabel' running faultlessly all afternoon. Well done Keith and Pierre. They were helped by 'Little Olive' and 'Holkham ', with Paul and Chris driving these popular locos. We also ran 'General', and  'Chieftain',. The Shay was failed on Sunday morning after problems with the throttle, and 'Prospero' was having a rest whilst Peter carried out 'Yard Boss' duties.

Final run for our hardworking staff enjoying the ride with 'Isabel'  after a good afternoon !
We are pleased to report that 'Hotspur', 'Isabel', and 'Prospero' all passed their Steam inspections and tests on Saturday 4th May, and 'Lucille' has had a bit of attention and has been sucessfully steamed so she can be tested by Brian B in the near future.

'Lucille' being steamed up to check all is  OK for steam testing
Work on the new carriage storage lean to (two tracks - 60 feet) is well advanced and just needs its doors to be made..  

John and John fixing the final roof panels on 11th May

Platform in the Spring sunshine
All photos: Brian M


Tuesday, 23 April 2019

All Systems Go ?

Springtime at Ashmanhaugh

Hello there. We hope you had an enjoyable Easter break in the lovely sunshine, is Summer here already ? Hope so. With our first 2019 Public Open Day approaching fast (Sunday May 5th 2 til 5 pm), we are busy getting everything ready, so track is being tweaked with more 'H' Section joint members being fitted, and track being checked, with sleepers and ballast replaced as necessary. All the signals are in place and working, as is the track circuiting, and the CCTV cameras are also in position and working. 
Signals being fitted back on the station gantry (Graham and Ricardo)
Much painting of fencing and gates is being done with rotten palings being replaced as necessary. The 'Beware of Trains' signs have been repainted and re lettered.

Posh refurbished gate signs
The coaches have had a good check and service in the pit shed, a good sweep out and the seat swabs put back in place. 
Coaches being serviced in the pit shed (Keith, John and Pierre) 
The steam locos are currently being checked and serviced with injectors being cleaned and new sight glasses to be fitted. 'Hotspur' and 'Prospero' have been steamed up and are ready for action. 

'Prospero' being checked by Peter and our newest young member Isaac
Lucille, Isabel are next in the queue, as is the 'Shay' which needs to go over the pit to have all its 'underneath ' bits and pieces checked and everything oiled and lubricated. We have fitted a new loudspeaker which is giving a much better 'whistle' sound (???), just like the real ones !
We are also pressing on with the construction of the new carriage storage leanto at the side of the existing one, now that the metal roof and wall cladding panels have arrived, with the timber frame almost complete. When finished this will give us room to store another two sets of three coaches, which should keep us quiet for a while (now when did I hear that before?).

Checking that the new roof panels fit ! (they do!)
Timber frame nearly complete 20th April

So we hope everything will be ready for Sunday May 5th, and look forward to seeing old friends (and new ?) during the afternoon. We are expecting two visiting locos from our 'Honorary' members South of Norwich, so we should have a good afternoon. 
Tickets as last year, £2.00 Single (white ticket, all classes) gives one ride round our circuits (approx 9 mins), and £4.00 Rover (hand stamp, all classes) for as many rides as you can fit in ! See you then !