Monday, 24 December 2012

Season's Greetings

A snowy ALR in December 2010. Photo: John Pond

All the ALR Gang would like to wish everyone, wherever you are, a Very Happy Christmas and a Healthy and Prosperous New Year, we hope it's a good one !


TTFN..... See you in 2013 ?

Sunday, 9 December 2012

We are ahead !

Just a quick update for you as the Festive Season approaches (quickly!)....we are very busy forging ahead with our third track installation which is about a month in front of schedule at the moment !. The track is made, along with two points, and the construction of the new flat crossing is in progress ! We are adapting existing and making the new signal posts and dollies as required (as well as refurbishing the existing ones), and we have the main cross beams for the new gantry painted up, so it's all going very well !

Looking along the re-aligned Back Straight towards Lake Section

 The new curved section approaching Cobnut Junction with new crossover points ready to install

                                                                                                        Looking back along the new curvy bit ! Right hand line to Lake, and on the left, the new line off  Den heading back to platform.
 and here bee the new flat crossing site !

 Brackers & Ray busy with the new flat crossing construction.

Meanwhile elsewhere in the workshop, the new manual point levers are being made up, and Lucille's new tender is taking shape with the seat and additional coal bunker area behind, being installed, and axles are being turned ready for the two new coaches as and when we get round to their construction!
The Christmas decorations are up in the Clubroom to get us in the Christmas Spirit and it's our Christmas meal on Friday evening, phew ! ready for a rest !!!

                                                    Lucille's new tender seat being fitted (That's Ken !)


Friday, 16 November 2012

November jottings

 New track panels being installed ready for third track provision (Brackers & Ray The Elder!)
As November rolls on and the weather is great on some days and not on others, we have to choose between inside jobs or outside jobs ! Wednesday this week was a good calm, mild but not quite sunny day, so some outside work was progressed. Brackers and Ray (the Elder!) laid some new track panels as part of our '3rd track' scheme turning the existing Back Straight onto its new alignment. Richard started to lop a rather too vigorously growing fir tree adjacent to Woodpecker Lodge, to allow unrestricted access along the path to the platform area and to allow the other trees and bushes in this area to develop.
Inside, Ray (the Younger!) was busy working on the new wheels and axles for our two new coaches. We also re-wheeled the 2 car set bogies, which have been 'refurbished' and painted, and then of course we had to test them with three trips round the circuit behind Nelson!. All was well.

 New coach set 2 wheelsets being fitted  (Dave & Ken)

 Wheelwork ongoing ! (Ray's favourite job!!)

We also did some more work on Lucille's longer wheelbase tender, re assembling the chassis so we could cut the longer brake mechanism metalwork needed, to the right length. The new body is expected later this week from our North Walsham 'works', so it shouldn't be too long before the tender is being completed. We intend to fit the axle driven water pump as part of this work and generally tidy the pipework and hoses from the tender to the loco.... Then we can continue with 'Isabel' !!! 
John and Malcolm started to sand down the timber panels we obtained with the coaches from The Little Melton Railway back in 2002, as they had intended to build a third coach to match, but hadn't got round to it, so these panels give us a good start on our third coach ! We are building two new coaches, (did we tell you that ?), a blue 'Pullman' to match the two we have, and a timber one also to match the ones we have, which will give us plenty of scope for varied coach sets, two sets, three sets, four sets or more !!!!!

Coach side sanding underway

All of our trackside signs have been taken in for the Winter and to do any refurbishment necessary, and the signals will follow shortly. Our little settlement of Gnomes have wandered into the (comparative) warmth of Laurel Sidings shed where they are now happily settled for the winter, bless !!!!

 Tree trimming in progress
All piccys by Brian M


Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Work and play at the ALR

We held our annual Firework Night on Saturday night when a goodly sprinkiling of members, families and friends enjoyed some train rides behind General, Thunderbox, Sargeant and Nelson, before sampling some delicious soup, hot dogs and 'afters' including mulled wine, followed by a great firework display to round off the evening. The weather was kind and an enjoyable time was had by all !

 Nelson on work train duty with DJ loading up the wagon with ballast.

Meanwhile on the work front, the steamers have each been moved from the Laurel Sidings storage shed, up to the Workshop where they will spend the winter, warm and dry. Work is also proceeding well on the 'third track' scheme with the formation ballast layer laid and the manufacture of track panels and points coming along nicely. 

        John & Dave spreading ballast along the Back Straight.
                                                                                                         Brackers & Ken on point making duties in the workshop.
                                                                                                                                            All photos: Brian M

The new signal gantry timbers have been planed up to shape and are being painted. We have obtained a set of very smart new wheels for coach set 2 from The Enginers Emporium, and the lathe is busy preparing the newly obtained axle blanks for the wheels to be fitted. The chassis and bogie frames for our two new coaches have been fabricated by our friends at North Walsham (Lake & Nicholls) and will be delivered shortly. So, plenty to do !


Monday, 29 October 2012

Autumn is here !

 Isn't Autumn a lovely time of year !!!!!! Here are a few views taken around the railway during the last week that we hope you like !


We have been quite busy too, but more of that later !


Friday, 19 October 2012

Last 2012 Open Day photos

Hello, just having a quiet moment (Ha Ha !) , so here are a few more photos of our Busy October Open Day trains !

 The Tobys with a full load approaching Laurel Sidings being expertly driven by Dudley.

The Cavalcade prepares !

                                                                             Busy, busy, ready to go !

 The Cavalcade around the Lake with Sargeant, Lucille, Thunderbox, General, Nelson, 
The Shay, Hotspur and The Tobys !

                       Here cometh the Trams, still going strong!

The End !
All photos : John Pond

Bye for now !

Friday, 12 October 2012

October Grande Finale !

 Open day queue eagerly awaiting a ride behind Hotspur with General approaching

Wow ! what a day we had on Sunday, our last Open Day for this year! Thank you all for coming, we were delighted that it was such a lovely day and everyone had so much fun ! We had all the stock out (apart from Isabel, who was very lonely in the shed! ) to try to keep the queues down, so all nine locos (The ALR 7 and the 2 Tobys, thanks again to John & Dudley for bringing them along) were out and about during the afternoon and were kept busy. The Grande Finale was a Grand Procession of everything right round the circuit, which was carried out with much merriment and laughter, it was quite a sight ! All stopped around the lake whilst JP got some once again many thanks to old Friends and new for coming to see us, we hope to see you all again next year when you will see some alterations and improvements to the railway.

Some of these have already has commenced with the third track installation scheme along the Back/Home straight with the edge boards in place for the new track alignment, and additional cabling is underway to the area in readiness for the new signal, points and CCTV installations (yep !!! you will need your nicest smiles and best side to the cameras next year!).

 New cabling work at the widened station entry trackbed
 Bush & tree trimming for the wider track bed
The timber has arrived for the new sleepers and signal gantry, and is being 'creosoted' as I write ! Coach maintenance has commenced with the two 3 car sets and the two 'Blues', Doris and Mavis completed. New wheels are required for the two car set, as the existing wheels were found to be well worn and starting to show signs of cracking (cast iron).

 Coach maintenance in progress 

Plans are afoot (is that a word?), to build two new coaches over the winter to help with the queues on Open Days, you will be pleased to hear!. One to match the existing wooden bodied ones (as the ex Little Melton sets) and a 'Blue' one to match the other two blues.(we need suggestions for a suitable name ?), and plans are in progress to build a longer wheelbase chassis for Lucille so she doesn't fall off so much (whatever do you put in her water you Guys?).
So, plenty for us to do and we'll keep you up to date with progress as the weeks roll by.

Oh, and our resident gnome contingent was increased over the weekend as one of their old mates from deepest Suffolk came to stay, thank you Folks, pleased you had such a good time! 

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

A clarification

Hi Everyone
We would just like to clarify that the ALR's Firework Night event is not open to the General Public but is a private event for Club members and their invited guests only.     Sorry !

Thank you

Monday, 1 October 2012

We move on, again!

We had a Member's meeting the other Saturday to talk about and agree one or two things, and we usually do ! One of those is quite exciting as we are to going to install a third track along the Home Straight coming back into the station so we will have three 'seperate' routes here, one from the lake, the other from Den section, and the line going out towards the Lake. This will take some of the pressure off the signalmen in allocating routes into the station, and preventing queues, but with crossovers installed so we still have complete flexibility as to where we can route trains, especially if we have a failure or breakdown along here, which does seem to be a popular spot for the 'Ashmanhaugh Gremlins' to strike ! So, materials are being ordered and work will start in earnest after our Firework Night on November 3rd. We are really looking forward to this improvement as with three tracks along here and another signal gantry, this will be quite impressive, especially as three trains could be seen here all at the same time!!!! There are also one or two other plans that we have which we will reveal in due course. (there's talk of installing CCTV cameras!!) 
We are going to be busy over the Winter !!!!!!

Hotspur looking good on our 10th Anniversary Day in May

Photos: Mark Revell

We have been working on Nelson to replace the broken rear axle which involves fitting a shorter one, and whilst we are at it we are doing the same to the front one too. New sight glasses and protectors are being obtained for Hotspur, and work continues on Isabel. We are also contemplating building another tender chassis for Lucille to make it more stable as we have had one or two derailments recently, due we believe to the very short tender wheebase of 15 ".
Once our last Open Day (THIS SUNDAY 7th OCTOBER !!!)  is over with, we start to get into the winter maintenance on the stock and locos, and as the 'list' doesn't get any shorter, there is plenty for us all to do.......


Hope to see you on Sunday !

Thursday, 20 September 2012

September Snippets

With just one Open Day to go on Sunday October 7th, this season is rapidly disappearing over the horizon, but we still have one or two Birthday Parties booked, before we close down after our Firework Night for our maintenance works to be done over the winter period. 

 A happy Malcolm ready to go ! Photo: Brian M

Yesterday saw us welcome Malcolm, and later his family, to the ALR for a Driver Experience Session. Malcolm did very well with Lucille all afternoon, not always the easiest loco to keep going, and thoroughly enjoyed his time on the railway, as did his family, who later on, were treated to several trips round the circuit with Malcolm driving.
We also had a visit the other week from Tony Knowles, an 'old' friend from the Nottingham Club, who was staying in one of the Holiday Cottages for the week. Good to see him again, think he quite enjoyed himself !

Isabel was steamed up yesterday too, following the work that has been carried out recently, and all was well, with no major problems coming to light.(just one or two small ones! Ray now knows what still needs to be looked at), and the sound of her whistle was music to our ears as she competed with the BVR's whistles as their steam locos approached Belaugh Crossing just over the fields!

 The Boys enjoy a jocular moment (we're good at them!) whilst Isabel is being steamed up outside the workshop. 
Photo: Brian M

It was also good to see Roger, one of our members whose health has prevented him from coming to the railway for a while. He had a cuppa and a chat with the Gang, and then enjoyed a ride round the track behind Lucille, an engine that he knows intimately!
Gardening work progresses, as always, with some serious bush and tree trimming underway to keep the vegetation under control and sight lines 'open' !

Malcolm brings Lucille over the bridge with Roger and Alan enjoying the trip      
Think that's all for now !


Tuesday, 4 September 2012

September Fun !

Yes, tis September already and we're still having lots of fun ! 

 The loco being prepped by Michael and Ben on the workshop sidings
Photo: Brian M

 All ready to go ! Photo: M Coote

On Saturday we had another Birthday Party and a visit from a Shri Lankan M7 diesel, courtesy of Michael Coote from the Kings Lynn Club. Michael and Ben came along to have a run (or two) round our circuit, and once the usual pre start 'cuppa' and 'mardle' had been carried out, this lovely loco was unloaded, started up and an initial exploratory trundle of the circuit made by Michael and Ben. Some of you will have seen this impressive loco as Michael (another Society member) has taken it to various tracks around the country. We were very impressed with its performance and very realistic sound !

 Michael brings the loco along the back straight on his initial run. 
Photo: Brian M

So, thanks to Michael, we had to have a go too !

and I did, Happiness is ? Photo: M Coote

By then the Birthday Party folks were arriving and so we fitted up the M7 with a suitable coupler that enabled the loco to help out with the Party, which all added to the variety, and made for another enjoyable day.

 Ben brings the train round with the Birthday Party children
 awaiting excitedly ! Photo: Brian M


                                                                            The Birthday Party trains are away! Photo: Brian M

Sunday saw another busy and sucessful Open Day, (thank you all for coming!), with lovely weather seeing General, Thunderbox, The Shay, Lucille, Toby (thanks again John!), and Sergeant all doing their bit. Hotspur was stopped on Saturday, priming badly (or exceedingly well!) and so was unavailable (Wednesday job!).

 Toby ready for another trip with John B driving. Photo: John Pond

 View from inside the signal box. Photo: John Pond

So, just one more Open Day to go this year on Sunday October 7th, and then it's down to some serious tweaking over the winter, and we will have one or two serious and one or two not so serious tweaks to tell you about in due course !