Wednesday, 29 June 2011

An American Influence !

The impressive Santa Fe F7 A & B units unloaded and ready to roll!

We had a great weekend for on Saturday we had a visit from a super Santa Fe F7 A & B unit locomotive brought along by fellow 71/4" Gauge Society member Ivan Hewlett and his family. Ivan arrived late morning as arranged, and the combo was easily unloaded from Ivan's trailer, and 'fired' up. After a trundle round the Triangle to get the loco facing in the right direction, and a brief chat on how we run the railway, Ivan set off and did one or two circuits with a big smile on his face!
Father & Son trundling back along the Home Straight after turning at the Triangle.

The loco was very impressive and the sound of that horn was excellent, made my day! We picked up the two car set on the way past Laurel Sidings and then I was then given the chance to drive the loco round the circuit which left me with an even bigger smile on my face, a very impressive loco it is, with a very professional control panel. Ivan's son then had a go with Dad in the first carriage and by then the Grandparents had arrived so they had a trip round too!

William takes a driving turn with Dad and happy Grandparents on the cushions!

As we had a Birthday Party in the afternoon we confirmed with Ivan that he was happy to participate, which he was, and so the loco along with Hotspur, General, The Shay, Sergeant and Thunderbox all had their turn in giving our Party visitors rides around the circuit for the whole afternoon. The F7 had to retire unfortunately with a transmission problem, which we hope is easily remedied, but all in all a good time was had by all !!!!! Even the weather behaved!

Another Happy Birthday Party train departs.
All photos : Brian M


P.S. Don't forget that our next Open Day (Sunday 3rd July) is a bit of a special one as it is a Charity Event in aid of the local Leonard Cheshire Disability Home in East Carleton near Norwich. So please come along if you can to give support to this very worthwhile local Charity. We will be running trains from 2 til 5 weather permitting, with teas, cakes, and competitions for all the family! See you there?
......and, we may have another surprise loco taking part !

Friday, 24 June 2011

Flying Pigs AGM

We received these two photos of the proceedings last Saturday, thanks Rosemary! (and for the mention in the Eastern Daily Press today!!!)

A happy Alan with Hotspur

Brackers about to depart with another trainload of Flying Pig members !
Photos: Micheal Thorpe & Rosemary Cooper


Monday, 20 June 2011

Getting There!

The 'call on' signal having some final tweaks in the workshop (18th June2011)

We are getting nearer to having the last of our signals installed and as you can see, the 'calling on' signal is just about ready to install at the exit of the 'layby' siding where trains wait to be called into the station when needed. Not sure what all the 'technical bits are that make it work, but as long as it does!!!!!!

The 'business' bits!

Saturday was another busy and enjoyable day. We were delighted to welcome the 'Flying Pigs' members to our railway for their inaugural Annual General Meeting. All went well and we are sure we will hear more from this Group (of which the ALRC is a member) now that they have formalised their activities. The Group caters for 'O' gauge modellers and above.
Hotspur, General and Thunderbox were out and about during the day, dodging the showers, and later, in the afternoon we had some excited children riding round for a Birthday Party, when the Shay also made an appearance.


Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Seven to Devon!

Seven Happy Chappies at Buckfastleigh Station

Last weekend saw us enjoying our annual 'ALR Boys Away' weekend when this year we headed for Devon. Our 'Social' Secretary had come up with an excellent itinerary and on the way down on Thursday, we stopped off to spend time at the Devon Railway Centre at Bickleigh, a former station on the Exe Valley line which closed in 1963. Set in a lovely woodland area there is a variety of attractions there for the whole family and it proved to be a pleasant break for us (and our driver!).
A model village scene at the Devon Railway Centre

Then onwards to Brixham, our base for the weekend where we were well looked after by Judith & Kevin Cartwright at their ideally situated B & B establishment overlooking Brixham Harbour ( This fine old sea captain's house is full of train models (lots of GWR for some reason?), paintings and photographs, so plenty to see and chat about there! Highly recommended!!!!
View from the 'Sea Tang' at Brixham

Friday saw us heading off to the Dartmouth Steam Railway and River Boat Company via the Brixham to Dartmouth Ferry on the old WW2 'Fairmile' vessel. After disembarking at Dartmouth, we had a quick look round this busy old historical town, and then took the ferry across to the P & DR station to await the train to Paignton. The black 'Torquay Manor No 7800' duly arrived (and eventually ran round!), hauling us up this picturesque line to Paignton where we strolled through the town to catch the ferry back to Brixham.

Bally gets friendly with his mate Isombard at Dartmouth station !

Boys aboard the Devon Belle Pullman Saloon ready to depart Dartmouth (eventually! where is that loco?)

Saturday was a great day. We drove up to the South Devon Railway's terminus at Buckfastleigh where we were given a very warm welcome by the staff and vounteers there, and treated to a tour round the facilities by a very enthusiastic Andy Matthews, Duty officer for the day as it was their 50's & 60's weekend (thanks Andy, much appreciated!). This is a lovely authentic working railway true to the GWR heritage but also catering for the more modern diesel era enthusiasts. South Devon Railway Engineering Ltd are based there as are R K Pridham Engineering Ltd, recently acquired by SDRE Ltd and relocated there. So most jobs can be dealt with and there are ambitious plans to develop the site further.

Class 25 D7612 picking up the token as the train departs Buckfastleigh Station on the SDR

We also spent time on the 71/4" gauge railway there where Gary showed us round before we took a ride round the circuit. It was good to see some junior members helping at the station.

We were also lucky enough to be shown round the signal box at Buckfastleigh to see how the railway was controlled, fascinating.
Then we took a trip down the line to Totnes and back, during which time we won a cake in the raffle (and ate it !), and enjoyed a good 'crack' with the Buffet car staff! What a great and friendly railway this is!

So, with time to spare, what shall we do now Chaps? Well, we headed off to the Trago Mills complex near Newton Abbot where we had heard there was a miniature railway. Blimey, there is!!!!! A most impressive 10 1/4" gauge, 2 mile long, three station railway running through the complex of shops and entertainments. The loco on duty was Number 24, a Sandy & Rangely Lakes 2-6-2, (excellent!) which threaded its train through this massive 'playground'. We were lucky here again, and after obtaining the OK, our driver dropped us off at the workshops where we spent a fascinating and enlightening hour or so in the company of the railway's Chief Engineer. It turns out that a lot of the equipment here came from the Suffolk Wildlife Park! Small world eh?

The Bickington Railway's No 24 crosses the road at the Newton Abbott Trago Mills complex

The weather up to now had been quite kind to us, but it wouldn't be an ALR Boys Weekend Away if it didn't rain, and did it rain on Sunday, never stopped all day! We planned to pop into Pecorama at Beer on the way back home and so we did. It was very wet and wild (steady!) up there and the 71/4" line wasn't running unfortunately, but after having a good look round the shops and the model railway displays we popped into the station on the way up to the car park to have a quick look. We got chatting to the staff there and they were kind enough to take us down to the workshops and sheds area so we could have a look round. Their locos and coaches are very impressive, esecially Claudine, 2-4-4 T No 9, and Otter 2-4-2 No 1, what a pleasure it must be to drive these lovely, large locos around this fully (automatically) signalled layout, and get paid for it!
So, after a quick cuppa we returned to the vehicle and headed back home through the wet full of inspiration and good ideas! Another very enjoyable weekend, where next year Chaps?


Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Here and there

Those little jobs keep on coming and you may see the results of our labours when you next visit the railway? We have been putting up some more signs which were kindly donated by a benefactor involved in stripping obsolete signage, legitimately we should add, as part of an 'updating' exercise, from mainline railway stations in the southern part of our country, some of which we felt we could put to use straight away! Here's one, what do you think? See if you can spot any more when you next visit !

You may also notice that we have fitted a smart new, 'corporate' vinyl sign to our Clubroom entrance door!

Our veteran (1933) South Bend lathe has been in use again, this time Ray is delighted to be turning some axles for 'Sergeant' instead of wheels (which he is very good at!)

We are currently making and installing the last of our signals which, when completed, will enable us to use a variety of routes, making the ride more interesting for our visitors (and us!). The majority of the maintenance work to our track has now been completed and so Ray is wondering what to do next! Just joking Ray!
Richard, with some help from others occasionally, is working wonders with the 'horticultural' stuff, as, despite the, still, very dry weather, the bushes are growing like mad!

Some of the ALR Gang admire the Midland compound

..and today, (Wednesday) a group of us popped across to Hemsby to enjoy their railway in wonderful sunny weather, so we could admire and ride behind the variety of locos performing. Always an enjoyable experience where a warm welcome is guaranteed.
Later, back at Ashmanhaugh, we were able to show Alan Priest and his colleagues from the Home Counties and Bath, around the circuit, using General. A good day!

The Deltic ready to go
All photos: Brian M

....and, don't forget our latest Open Day is this coming Sunday, 5th June when we look forward to welcoming you, see you then ? Trains will be running from 2 til 5 pm weather permitting!