Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Last Day of 2008 at the ALR

There were a few of us at the railway today busy with a variety of jobs. The trackwork and second new point in the loco shed area were being fitted, which will make movements into and out of this area much more flexible, enabling us to change train locos quicker on Open Days.

More work was being done on the bodywork to wagon 40 which will enable this vehicle to be converted into a coach as required, with covered in seating !!!!! ......and there is a rumour that the construction of an electrically powered Tram is being considered to pull it ! mmmmmm ?

A seat unit in the workshop for Wagon 40.
All photos: Brian M

Titan was being tweaked by our CME and is just about ready for service it seems, and we set out and agreed the paving areas to and around the signal box so this can be done during the next few weeks......

and finally

Mince Pie Specials

A good time was had by some 35 members, families and friends who visited the Railway on Sunday last (28th December) to enjoy mince pies, mulled wine and train rides. Hotspur, General and Thunderbox were out and about in the very cold, but fine weather, but everyone joined in to help and it was a good day!

All photos: George Aldridge

Monday, 22 December 2008

Merry Christmas !

We would like to pass on to all our visitors, friends and families, our very best wishes for a very Merry Christmas and a Prosperous and Happy New Year.
Thank you for coming to see us in 2008 and we hope to see you in 2009 !

Monday, 8 December 2008

More Track !

Yes, we are at it again, now that we have the sleepers and now that 30 tonnes of ballast has arrived, (phew and don't we know it, more muscles discovered!!), we can start our Stage 3B addition. This is basically 400 feet of track starting just after our 'green' tunnel section and running along the back of the site to 'Birchwood Junction', where it will allow trains to access our new Lake section. The proposed line was set out last Friday by the track boys and those of us who were there on Saturday, (10 or 11 methinks) had a wander along and approved the route layout, which is mostly straight and will for some of the way run alongside part of the Den section track , before curving round to meet the track at Birchwood Junction. Very impressive it will be and as one of the Gang said, "it will be the icing on the cake", so to speak.
So the track manufacturing process is underway in the workshop, and if all goes well the new section should be in place for our 2009 Open Day season at some stage! Can't wait, it will be a great drive with a slight uphill gradient, and will give our visitors a much longer, and hopefully more interesting ride. We had a 'training day' the other weekend and were comfortably running 3 trains around the circuit without signals, quite easily, so we reckon the circuit could accommodate 5 trains if we wished to run that many ???????
Time will tell !

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Ashmanhaugh Autumn

Photo: John Pond

We have been very impressed with the lovely Autumn colours that our trees & bushes have shown us this year, and to think there were none at all 5 years ago! A selection of views are included which we hope you will enjoy.

Photo: John Pond

We are now into some of our winter jobs with signs and signals being brought in and attended to as neccesary, some work being done to the existing track and pointwork before we start on Stage 3b! (approx 400', from Bamboo Junction just after the 'tunnel', to Triangle Junction where The Lake section branches off. A plan for you to ponder is in progress!). Rail lengths are being prepared, more ballast has been ordered, we are trying out our cream & green painting scheme on the front of the workshop/loco shed building, and some work is being done to Hotspur's whistle to stop the steam leak. We have erected a fence up to the signal box and plan to lay a footpath alongside to the box and then round the side to the foot crossing so we don't all keep marching along the shed roads ballast!

Thursday, 6 November 2008

ALR Bonfire Night Celebrations

Lucille & Hotspur ready for the 'off''.. Photo: John Pond

We thought it would be good to get together with our members, families and friends, at the railway, to enjoy some food, see some fireworks and take a few train rides, and that is what we did ! The weather could have been better, but nevertheless we had a good night, enjoying hot soup, hot dogs and jacket potatoes, followed by a super display of fireworks.
Then Hotspur, Lucille, Thunderbox and The General took us for some trips around the track, including the Lake section. All very atmospheric it was with the dark, the smoke, and the signal lamps glowing in the gloom, excellent. Well done everbody !!!!!!

Thunderbox well lit! Photo: John Pond.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Aylsham Model Railway Exhibition

Photo: J Pond

The ALR took a stand to this extremely sucessful event held in Aylsham Town Hall last Sunday (Oct 19th). There were nearly 800 visitors to the show so we were kept pretty busy talking to many very nice people about our railway, and hopefully we shall see lots of you at our Open Days next year, the dates for which you can now insert in your diaries! (see adjacent panel).

The show was organised by the Broadland Model Railway Club, several of whose members are also ALR members, and we understand that the event is to be repeated next year.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

North, East, South & West !

The latest addition to our railway for you to spot when you next visit us, and to help us gauge where smoke will blow to, (private joke !!!) is a lovely weather vane made by Dave which was placed in position earlier this month on top of our Clubroom. Very impressive, but Dave is not taking orders unless the price is very, very right!!!!!!

Steam Boiler tests

Our two steam locos, Hotspur and Lucille, both had their boiler inspections and steam tests carried out on Wednesday this week, which were sucessful, giving them boiler certificates for a further 15 months.....

Friday, 10 October 2008

The Lake Section

We have finally completed our 3rd Stage, the Lake section, and have been running trains over the circuit during the past week. We are very pleased with the extension which will give us and our visitors a much longer and more interesting ride, giving us a choice of routes. There is still work to do, but this will be carried out during the coming months so that we can put the section into use next year during our Open Days. We hope to see you then !

View across the Lake as Hotspur begins the 'climb' back to Lake crossing
Photo: J Pond 11th October 2008

A delighted Mr W enjoys a drive, seen here negotiating
the flat crossing with some of the 'Gang' in attendance!
Photo: J Pond 11th October 2008

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

September work on the ALRC

As we progress into Autumn and the days start to get shorter, there are still plenty of jobs to do on the railway. Hotspur's blower was not working last week when we had a running session, so our engineering boys (Ray, Barry & Geoff), are fabricating some replacement pipework as the existing run was found to be blocked. The pruning of our bushes and trees continues and the grass is still growing ! Geoff is spending time working on his loco, Titan, which we hope will be running soon, and we are making some fencing panels to tidy up the area around the signal box where we plan to install a paving slab footpath so that we don't keep walking across the ballast here, and, as it was a bit wet this morning, we were tidying up our workshop storage cupboard so all our manuals and catalogues can be stored tidily.....

End of the line (s) !

The latest little project undertaken one afternoon when Dave & Ray were looking for another job to do, (?) was to fabricate a couple of rather smart but very effective buffer stops from bits of old rail and timber. Well done Chaps, very resourceful !!!!!

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Track rearrangements

Photo: BM

This week saw the completion of the improvements to our loco shed access trackwork. The work entailed the installation of two new points and alteration of the trackwork at the shed end of the platform, enabling much quicker loco changes to be made. We can now access shed roads 2 & 3 straight from the platfom, and shed track 1 from the middle road in the (Ashmanhaugh) station. This will help to keep loco changover delays to a minimum on Open Days.
We tested this new arrangement during our running day today when several of our members got more experience in driving , guarding and signalling.

Monday, 8 September 2008

7th September Open Day cancelled

The wet weather once again forced us to cancel Sunday's Open Day, unfortunately, but the ground was just too waterlogged to cope with the car traffic on our parking area.
Sorry if you made a fruitless journey, let's hope we can run the last Open Day this year, scheduled for 5th October!

Sunday, 31 August 2008

New vehicle in progress

We have a flat bed wagon (No 40-privately owned) which the owner, (our Chairman) wants to make into a convertible vehicle, so work has started to fabricate a body which will produce a covered in coach , or a plain open coach, or a flat bed wagon ! Watch this space........

Our photo shows John & Dave cutting out the plywood floor on 27th August.

Photo: BM

Friday, 29 August 2008

Lucille's Black Box

One of our steam locos, Lucille, received some welcome attention recently whilst one of her owners was away on holiday. A tool box has been made and fitted to the rear of her tender which will help keep everything tidy and provide more valuable storage for all those 'bits & pieces' that steam locos seem to need! The box also includes an integral water pipe so that she can be topped up quickly without the need to remove the box. Our co-owner was well pleased on his return from holiday!
Photos: BM

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Foot crossing warning bell Mark 2

Our Junior member, Ashley, has put together an audible warning system (AWS? heard that before somewhere!), at our foot crossing which we hope helps to warn visitors crossing the track at this point of an approaching train. The bell, which is connected to a 6 volt battery until we can finalise the supply from the signal box, is activated by the train making the circuit as it approaches and has been put together by Ashley using a Quality Street sweet tin, a door bell and a car indicator flasher ! Those of you who have visited us will probably have heard the bell that was rigged up but we feel that the Mark 2 version installed by Ashley is an improvement and not so offending to our ticket sales staff's ears, who have to endure it all afternoon on Open Days!!!..

The photo shows a proud Ashley with the bell in position.

Posher Platform

Our latest little scheme has been to install lamps (working ones! electrically powered) on our platform which we think look rather nice, and they impressed last evening when they were turned on together with the signals! We also now have a telephone on the platform to make communications easier (with the signalbox, the workshop, the ticket office or even the carriage shed)....

Sunday, 3 August 2008

3rd August Open Day 2008

Today's Open Day was a good one, as the weather stayed kind for us, and we did not have the rain that was forecast. So we, and our visitors enjoyed the afternoon which culminated in a grand double headed final train with Lucille & Hotspur in charge. As the train pulled into the platform at Ashmanhaugh, its arrival was greeted with cheers and a round of applause from passengers and onlookers alike.....marvelous!!!!!!!
P.S. We were, as those of you who visited us may have noticed, very busy yesterday fitting the signs that our members have bought, at various locations around the station area. (courtesy of The Original Metal Sign Company, very impressive, we like, hope you do too ?)

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Summer's Here !

The General awaits in Laurel Sidings ready for Guard training runs

Wow, yesterday was HOT !!! but we managed to fit some jobs in during the morning, such as cabling in readiness for phone & lamps installation on the platform, re-gapping closed up rail joints along the Tunnel section, paint stripping the Clubroom window in readiness for re painting, measuring up for some more low level fencing in the signal box area, and our CME was busy working on his loco, Titan, now that he has a bit more time! During the afternoon we had a running session for training and competency purposes which involved 'Lucille' and 'The General'. Lucille is fully 'fit' now and ran well with both injectors working faultlessly.

We also have a plan to fit 'The General' with a Dallee Electronic diesel engine sound unit courtesy of our Friends at Brandbright. Good excuse for a trip out!!!! Watch this space for developments, should bring this super little loco to life ?

Lucille with very happy driver
All photos : BM

Friday, 18 July 2008

Visit to Neatishead Radar Museum
A good gathering of souls from the ALR & the Norfolk Railway Society visited this fascinating museum on Thursday evening and were given a tour of the site by the very knowledgeable and enthusiastic volunteers there. The museum is an excellent facility that has, deservedly, won many awards and demonstrates very clearly what did & what still does 'go on behind the scenes' to protect our country and those of our allies from attack by unfriendly forces. If you haven't been it is well worth a visit!

Friday, 11 July 2008

Bure Valley Friends visit the ALR

15 'Friends of the Bure Valley Railway' visited the ALR last evening and a thoroughly good time was had by all. Hotspur, Lucille, The General and Thunderbox did the honours again, running faultlessly during the evening. Even the weather was kind!

Sunday, 6 July 2008

6th July (damp) Open Day
The weather was not kind to us today, as after a nice start to the day, the promised rainclouds found us and deposited their contents upon us from time to time. So we were pleased to welcome quite a good number of visitors, who travelled behind Hotspur, Lucille, The General and Thunderbox during the afternoon. Oh to be in England now that Summer is here !!!!!!!!
Thank you for coming to see us!
Lake section progress update
We now have all the track sections laid out with about 33% fishplated and bolted up. Work is in progress forming the flat crossing (Lake crossing), in situ, as the photo shows. We hope to publish a full track plan soon so you can see the full ALR track layout.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

ALR S & T stuff

We thought you might be interested in our S & T boxes that you may have seen around our track. We have recently been busy installing a new power box and telephone box adjacent to Triangle Junction in readiness for the time, not too far away now, when we can start to use our new Lake section.

The power boxes house all the cabling necessary to power our points, signals and telephone system. The cables are all run in underground ducts from the signal box to the local power box from which are then run the individual cables for each point motor, signal mechanisms and telephone handsets. Our new Lake section will need starter and home signals to control trains entering and leaving the section, plus train activated automatic signals to protect the flat crossing so only one train has authority to negotiate the crossing! There is a plan to have some sort of track circuiting so the signalman knows where the train(s) on this section are, as it is out of sight of the signal box. More details later!

Telephone box at Triangle Junction

Power box at Ashmanhaugh station

Saturday, 21 June 2008

The Lake section progresses

More progress today with more track sections and ballast laid. We can make a start on the flat crossing now.....we are getting there!
View to Eastgate sidings

View to Birchwood Junction

Lake crossing..captions please !

First ALR Birthday Party session

We held our first 'Birthday Party' afternoon for 15 excited children (and their Mums & Dads) this afternoon, from 3 til 5 pm, which went extremely well and was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone. Our visitors had many train rides during which they attempted to spot all the rabbits, birds, butterflies, snails and worms that had been placed along the route by the lucky birthday boy's Mum, then enjoyed a yummy tea, followed by some games and more train rides... Lucille was back in action, helped out by The General and Thunderbox.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Holiday Time Update

As several of us are or will be going on holiday this month, progress on the various jobs will no doubt be a little slower, but, nevertheless there is plenty going on. We had a 20 tonne delivery of ballast recently, so after a good shift last Saturday the first 2" (50mm) is laid about halfway round Stage Three (now to be called 'The Lake' section), and progress is being made on laying the track sections. Gardening is a never ending task at this time of year, necessary to keep our track grass and weed free, but also to keep the site looking smart, which we take a pride in doing, and although it may not be considered one of the 'glamour' jobs on the Railway, it's very satisfying to see the result when it has been done as we did today!

Our coach set No 1 has today been fitted with logo plates, (see heading photo),fabricated out of timber and paint by our ever resourceful CME, and I think you will agree the result is extremely smart!

More work is being done on Lucille to get her back into full working order, hopefully for the weekend when we may have a Birthday Party session to enjoy?

Grass cutting equipment in action
Grasscutting equipment having a rest!

Stage 3 tracklaying Gang (today!)

View towards Eastgate Sidings with first ballast layer down

All photos BM.