Friday, 29 May 2009

Great Eastern Railway Society visit

The General & Thunderbox prepare to take out another trainful of happy visitors.
Photo: John Pond

Our friends from the GER Society came to see us on Thursday evening (28th May), enjoying a lovely, warm, sunny evening riding round our extended circuit, and enjoying a chat over a cuppa and a biccy. There was an excellent turnout of some 30 plus members, which kept Hotspur, Lucille, The General and Thunderbox happy!

'tis Hemsby Week Again

Our youngest member passes the 'older ones'
Photo: John Pond

Eight of us popped across to Hemsby on Wednesday to ride some trains and renew acquaintances at this very friendly railway. Some 33 locos were visiting we were told, and we were more than impressed with these wonderful replicas of standard gauge locos and stock. The railway was very busy with a constant procession of trains with everyone having a great time, despite the bitterly cold breeze!

An impressive GWR train on the circuit
Photo: John Pond

Monday, 25 May 2009

Busy, busy !

We are into our busy time now with lots of gardening to do as well as the 'railway' stuff, so Saturday saw a good turn out of members involved in a wide variety if tasks.....
there was strimming...

there was grass cuttting.....

There was 'mardling' *

and there wheels being formed out of steel blanks on the lathe....

and there was....some tweaking of the Shay to make it servicable for the next Open Day (hopefully!), such as repositioning the fuel tank to give gravity feed to the engine, we need two couplings, a lanyard to make the bell work, and a whistle that will sound like the chimes these locos had !!!!! then we need to run the loco round the 'triangle' so it's facing the right way to enable you to admire all that wonderful rod motion going up and down!....

and there coat of exterior paint going on the workshop (just one wall to do now and it's finished !!!!!!! )

and there was.....signal box windows being cleaned (but don't let his Missus know !!!)

and there was....further 'walking' trials with Coach 40 that is still a bit twitchy and wants to fall off the rails whenever it can, but the Engineering Boys will sort that out in due course ?

and there was tidying of the ballast on the new 'back straight'

.......and just look at wonderful array of wild flowers that are appearing along Lake cutting. John & Jane planted lots and lots last Autumn and what a picture they are..

All photos: Brian M

P.S. * Just in case you haven't heard this expression, in these parts 'mardling' means 'chewing the cud', 'having a natter', 'gossiping' , Kalling (Yorkshire one that!) etc , etc, but don't get me wrong, we don't mind as long as the job gets done, eventually ! Well done Lads, the ballast looks a treat!


Wednesday, 20 May 2009

ALRC Locomotive No 2: The Shay

This magnificent award winning locomotive is a one third scale model of a narrow gauge [two foot] Shay and was built by Edwin Peck of Norwich. Shays were designed primarily for use in the North American logging industry. The prototype of this particular model was built by the locomotive works in 1915/6 for CW North, not for logging, but for use in hauling materials used in road building.

Edwin started building the loco in 1991 and devoted ten years to this project, a project that must have been a real labour of love. Working in what is basically a garden shed and with the minimum of machines, most of the loco was hand made, he even made the patterns for all the gears by hand including the complex bevel gears, out of MDF. He then had them cast in a local foundry. The work he did must have impressed others because Edwin was awarded a very well deserved bronze medal at the 2000 Norwich Model Engineering Exhibition, and that was before the loco was finished!

Edwin was invited to bring his Shay to the Ashmanhaugh Light Railway's first anniversary Open Day on 31 July 2004, where it was driven by his grandson. After a break of almost five years the locomotive returned to the Railway taking up permanent residence on 29 April 2009. The Shay is now owned by two of the ALR's members.

The bare technical details are run of the mill stuff; it is powered by a 5hp Honda engine driving an Eaton 6/7 hydrostatic unit. However what it does clearly illustrate is the way in which a very convincing steam outline locomotive can be produced without a workshop full of machinery and the need for boiler testing. Production costs are lower and insurance cheaper. Seeing this loco running with all its highly visible outside working parts it is only when it gets close that one realises that it is powered by an internal combustion engine and not by steam. This illusion is helped by the engine exhaust smoke and gases passing out through the chimney.

GD/BM April 2009

ALR 2009 May Boy's Weekend Away

The 'Gang' posing at Bishops Lideard on the West Somerset before the trip back to Minehead behind GWR 2-8-0 No 3850
Photo: Andrew Padfield

Five of the ALR Gang, enjoyed this year's superb weekend away in Devon and Somerset. On Thursday we visited the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway to admire their progress at Woody Bay station., enjoying a trip up the line behind ex WD loco 'Exe' in rather 'damp' weather, and were then given the 'Grand Tour' of the facilities by their enthusiastic staff. An exciting project which has a long way to go, but they are determined they will get there eventually!

'Exe' being replenished at Woody Bay ready for another trip along the L & B.
Photo: Brian M

Then from our base at Williton on the West Somerset Railway we popped across to the Royal Naval Air Station at Yeovilton where we spent all of Friday in the amazing Museum there. Fascinating displays with which we were all very impressed, with the ''Aircraft Carrier Experience ' being the highlight. Excellent!

Saturday was our day on the West Somerset, starting on the first train out of Minehead behind GWR 2-8-0 No 3850 with our Day Rover tickets. A quick look round Bishops Lydeard station before jumping back on the train to Washford, the home of the Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway Trust, where we had another quick look round before hopping on board the Class 117 DMU back to Bishops Lydeard. A look in the museum & model railway before joining the train for the trip back to Minehead, again behind No. 3850. We were very impressed with this total railway and the friendliness and knowledge of its staff & volunteers, helped us to really enjoy our day on this excellent railway!

GWR No 3850 ready to depart Bishops Lydeard

Photo: Brian M

S&DJR No 88 meets the DMU at Stogumber
Photo: Brian M

Sunday saw us making our way home, with a welcome break for our driver at the Great Cockrow Railway. Our Gang has been here before but two of us had not, and this super 71/4" gauge railway exceeded our expectations! We were shown round by Kim and were more than impressed with the set up . The signal box at Everglades is something to behold, it's not like the real thing , it IS the real thing, blimey, can we have one like that please? If you haven't been here, make sure you do as their operation is slick, it's very friendly, the signalling is very impressive, mirroring prototype practise, and the mainline theme is carried off perfectly by the lovely scale locos that whisk the trains round on the nearly 20 minute trip around the circuit.!
As always we came away with plenty of ideas! Thanks Chaps !!!!!

Loco preparation area- Great Cockrow Railway
Photo: Brian M

Passing through Everglades -Great Cockrow Railway
Photo: Brian M

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Sucessful May Open Day

Hotspur coming off the 'Home Straight'

We were delighted with the attendance at our first 2009 Open Day last Sunday when, helped no doubt by our 'appearance' on Radio Norfolk's Treasure Quest programme, there were queues for most of the afternoon with our visitors waiting to ride behind our trains over the newly extended circuit of nearly half a mile. Hotspur, Lucille, The General, Thunderbox and Titan all made appearances as we ran a three train service over the full circuit. The weather was kind to us and it did not rain thankfully, and we saw some welcome sunshine again.
The day was also a bit special as we asked Norman Duffield (ex Little Melton Railway & an Honorary Life Member of the ALR), to come along and formally open the new extension. We were delighted when he and his wife Margaret accepted, and after being presented with a momento of the occasion from our Chairman, Norman then drove 'The General' through a ribbon to take the first public train around the full circuit!
So thank you to everyone who came to visit, we hope you enjoyed your stay with us, apologies for some delays due to 'one or two' derailments,! We think we have resolved the main reason for this (we learn from our experiences!), and as we get more practise at running our railway, then the operation will get slicker (we hope!).

Norman receiving the Momento from John

Norman takes the train through the tape!

...and cruises round the lake !
Photos: George Aldridge

Monday, 4 May 2009

ALR's Treasure Quest with Radio Norfolk

Radio Norfolk's Becky arriving on site to find the Clue !

Sunday 3rd May was an exciting day for our railway, as Radio Norfolk had asked us if we would be willing to help with their 'Treasure Quest' programme that goes out from 9 til 12 on Sunday mornings. Of course we said yes !, and so we had the radio on in the workshop whilst we were preparing for the Open Day so we could follow Radio Norfolk's Becky & Ian in the Radio car as they tried, with the help of their listeners, to solve the four clues and find the 'Treasure' in the form of an envelope at each location, that gave them the next cryptic clue! We were the last one and excitement mounted as they gradually found their way to the the railway.
Becky then had to find the envelope which we had secreted behind the driver's seat in 'Hotspur'. She found it with minutes to spare, fortunately, so sucess again, thanks to Radio Norfolk's listeners and we had chance to give our Open Day a 'plug' on air, which we were very grateful for.

Clue found !

On air !

Becky tries out 'Thunderbox' !

All photos: George Aldridge

Friday, 1 May 2009

What a Week !

Well, we haven't had a minute this week, lots going on to prepare for our first 2009 Open Day on Sunday, signs going up, grass being cut, track edges being trimmed, locos & stock having final checks & tweaks carried out, track adjustments here and there, weeds being removed from track beds, (some lovely tiny violas were growing on the Lake section ballast which we carefully replanted (the violas that is!) in the grass alongside!), catering stuff to check and top up, will the local newspaper listing's include us ?, roster being finalised, have we got enough leaflets ? oh and we need some more coal ! It's always the same and no doubt always will be !
Let's keep our fingers crossed for fine weather at the weekend, forecast is OK so far !!!!!!!

Hello, what's this then ?

Photos: Brian M

Ok, just a little preview of a new loco for the ALR, seen here settling in with his new Friends in the ALR loco shed on Wednesday (29th April).....
we are sure some of you will have worked it out by now, but more details later !