Sunday, 22 December 2013

It's (nearly) Christmas Time

Everyone is busy getting ready for Christmas and so 'tis a little quiet on the railway at the moment. Nevertheless, some jobs continue, we are preparing the base for the pit cover which we hope to make good progress with in the New Year, and there has been much activity in the signal box recently, with steamed up windows, as the soldering iron has been working overtime on the many joints that are required to commission the new control panel, which is very impressive and which we will show you once it is complete. You will be impressed, we were when it was 'shown' to us for comments and approval some weeks ago. In its present form we do not see the need for a 'lever frame', as Brackers is using electrical switches, on a track schematic which is easy to follow and which, hopefully, will encourage more of our members to be trained up as signallers! Well done Guys !!!!!
General is having his handbrake mechanism amended using rods rather than wire cabling in an attempt to prevent 'heavy handed' breakages when applying the handbrake! We will see?

We enjoyed a lovely meal at a local 'Hostelry' (Brick Kilns Pub & Restaurant at Little Plumstead near Norwich) on Friday evening when our members, wives, families and friends had a very enjoyable time in a very pleasant and happy atmosphere. Lovely food, good company, excellent!

So it just remains for us to wish you all a Very Happy Christmas and our best wishes for a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year. We hope to see you in 2014!

The Happy ALR Boys on Saturday 21st Dec



Monday, 25 November 2013

Well done!

We were delighted to hear that East View Farm Holiday Cottages won the best Self Catering Category Award at the Annual 'EDP Visit Norfolk Tourism' event ceremony in Norwich last week.  Jane, as you can imagine, was more than delighted with this prestigious award, which is just recognition for the hard work that she (and John!) have put into the properties recently. 
What a place to stay, the cottages even have a narrow gauge railway in the back garden ??????
For further information, and availability see '' , and who knows, we may even have the pleasure of giving you a ride round our lovely railway whilst you are staying !!!!!

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Maintenance time again !

A lovely Autumn view

Hello there
Now that our 'operating season' is over, efforts are being concentrated on all those essential jobs that need to be done to ensure we are ready for another great season in 2014. (dates alongside!). Our final running session for this year was held on Saturday November 2nd, when we enjoyed a tasty fish and chip supper, ( preceeded by soup, and followed by gateaux, lovely!). Trains were out before and after the food, with General, Thunderbox and Nelson obliging!, and we all really enjoyed riding round in the dark, (some of us do that all the time anyway !!!!!). There was a lovely, happy atmosphere with some 33 members, families and friends enjoying the convivial surroundings..
On a sad note we had a short firework display during the evening in memory of Mark, who passed away recently after a long illness. Mark was a regular attendee at our events, taking many photos, and supporting his wife, Lisa, and his family who all help out on Open Days, and who were all with us during the evening. 
Nelson takes Lucille around the circuit to test the water pump, before going into winter storage in the top shed. 
So, the signs and signals, telephones and CCTV cameras are all stored inside, as is our 'Gnome' population (they don't like the cold!), coach and loco maintenance is underway, and we have several other jobs to do during the next few months which will keep us busy, weather permitting, like a new cover for the pit, improvements to the signalling operation with a new panel being constructed which eventually, may have a 'proper' miniature lever frame !!!! Isabel's wheels are being re profiled, and we intend to line out the 'ticket office' to make it cosier for our Ladies on Open Days.
Hotspur's new boiler is well on the way and should be with us in the not too distant future. 
Isabel's wheels off for reprofiling
Hotspur's bits being painted
We are also experimenting with the fitting of speedometers to our locos so we actually know how fast we are travelling! We are also on the lookout for a replacement lathe as our venerable South Bend one is creaking a bit these days!!!!! Lots going on !!!!!
Keep smiling !
and here is our new distant signal which will be placed on the Back Straight gantry next Spring.
All photos: Brian M

Thursday, 10 October 2013

All done!

Hi, well, we had a lovely last public Open Day for 2013 last Sunday, with lots of nice people visiting, enjoying the warm sunshine and riding the trains. All just about went well with just one or two little 'whoopsies' with some locos later on, but we managed to keep it all going! Particularly well done to Barry, who had 'volunteered' to be PIC for the day, (we try to vary this duty amongst those who will give it a go!)) and although full of trepidation beforehand, did a good job!
So, thank you for all for coming, hope to see you next year!.
Lucille, Isabel, The General, The Shay, Thunderbox and Nelson all did their bit, and we are now into the 'tweak and maintain' routine, with work already being done on The General and Nelson. We are cracking on with the gardening and painting while the weather holds, but already we are experiencing much lower temperatures and some heavy rain (this morning....Thursday), and we shall soon be altering the clocks, then it will feel as though winter is coming! Booooooo .....
An enjoyable and tasty meal was enjoyed by our members at a local Hostelry last week, and we are looking forward to our Fish & Chip evening in November.
Not much more to tell at the moment so until next time.....
P.S. sorry no piccys, but yours truly was awol (at the footie!)....
so I took some yesterday for you instead !
 New speed and whistle signs on Home Straight gantry

 New sight board on Birchwood Junction signal

New camera giving view of Triangle/Birchwood Junction area
All photos: Brian M

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Lovely Norfolk Autumn

We are enjoying some beautiful Autumn weather at the moment, and long may it last! We have our last Public Open Day on Sunday 6th October, so it would be really nice if we had a lovely sunny day to see out this year's Open Days !!!!! Hope you will be able to make it ?, we should have most of our stock out, all being well, so it should be a good afternoon....
There are several jobs going on at the moment, to keep us out of mischief (as if !), we are clearing the loco pit area in readiness to construct a cover over it so we can work in the dry....


Where's it going then Chaps???Oh here...righto then, let's get cracking !!!!! 

.........we have 'erected' a small canopy over the work shop doorways to try to prevent the rain dripping down our necks in between the canopy and the workshop wall......

.....Hotspur's chassis has been thoroughly cleaned down and is now being repainted so it will be all nice and smart.....

Barry at work on the chassis.....
....we are installing a couple more track signs (speed limit and whistle) at the entry to the station from the 'home straight' tracks to remind (some) drivers to slow down in the station area.... we have started the ongoing redecoration work with a nice coat of green on the Clubhouse windows......'General' now sports a posh new headlamp, so drivers can see where they are going in the dark!........some severe bush pruning is taking place to make maintenance a bit easier next year ??????.......we pruned the roses, and picked loads of mushrooms just before the grass was cut !!! loverly !!!!! oh, and there is always tweaking of the track to be done of course !
We decided not to have our November Fireworks Night this year so instead we are having a Club running evening with a Fish and Chip Supper, which will make a nice change (Private event for Club members and guests only....sorry!)
...and our Chairman retired from all that 'work ' stuff this week so he is looking forward to having lots of spare time do lots of other things.........ha ha !
Think that just about brings us up to date, and we know that time is marching on when we have a date for our Club Christmas Meal, and we are planning our 2014 Boys Weekend Away, which next year will be see us heading to West Yorkshire, where I am sure we will have a great time !!!!! 






Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Sunny September Fun


Once again the weather was more than kind for our September Open Day. So, we (!), and our very happy visitors enjoyed a lovely sunny afternoon which was highlighted by our first Ashmanhaugh Double Header Final Train Of The Day hauled by Lucille and Isabel! Fantastic!!!!
So, Isabel made it at last and ran impeccably all afternoon with Keith at the controls, as did Lucille, with Alan back at the controls after a longish break! Well done both!
 'General', 'Thunderbox', 'The Shay', and 'Sergeant' all did a stint and ran well....what more can we say, thanks for coming everyone, see you next month ....maybe ????
Photos of the Double Header around the circuit, all by John Pond on September 1st 2013

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Summertime....continued.. great !

The General sets out on its 'backwards' journey! (read on !)
Well, there goes another sunny week and nearly another sunny  month ....almost. We have been pottering about doing this 'n that, intended to have a fun running day last Sat but would you believe we had a rainy day, yes that wet stuff which although not in the torrential league, was damp enough to convince us by just before lunch that we should do something else ! But what? Well after much deliberation and 'discussion' over several cups of tea & coffee, some of us decided to alter the main workshop door so it would open fully when the canopy was in position, so a plan was hatched, sort of.... and we got stuck in, "oh, we'll have this done by lunchtime", yeah right....the guys in the workshop thought they had got the easy job, don't know what they were up to, something to do with Hotspur's chassis they said......"anyway we can go home when we like but you lot on the door job can't go home til you've got it back on and all secured !!", they said. Well to cut a long story shorter,  the door was reduced in width, a new wider jamb fitted so the door would clear the canopy pole, the ply backing cut down and all the bits and pieces refitted,  and we were off just before 5, a job well done......all we have to do now is to work out what size flashing we want over the canopy so as to stop drips running own our necks when it's wet,another Saturday job?
The General passing the signal box - wrong way round !
And .... today saw another first.....yes, for the first time ever,(we think?'),  and possibly not to be repeated in a while, we ran a train the wrong way round the circuit, enjoyed by us and also with a friendly and happy family from Yorkshire, on board, who were staying in one of the holiday cottages, lovely. General was in charge and seemed to know where he was going which is more than yours truly did trying to take some photos of the event!!
The General coming off the bridge over the 'puddle '!
All photos: Brian M
We are all ready for our penultimate Open Day for this year on Sunday don't forget, 2 til 5.....with just about everything ready for action, including, dare we say a first Open Day appearance for Isabel, but we'll see, said that last month and she got the sulks on Sunday morning !
Fingers crossed for a nice day with everything working, including us !!! See you then?





Monday, 5 August 2013

Lovely Open Day !

A happy James bringing 'Isabel' round through the station on Saturday
Hi there. We enjoyed a super Open Day yesterday with lots (but not too many !) happy visitors enjoying the lovely warm, sunny afternoon. We had four trains running for most of the afternoon which kept the queues down so our visitors didn't have to wait long for a ride. We had Lucille working hard all afternoon (well done Keith!), ably supported by General, Thunderbox, The Shay, Nelson and Sergeant. Unfortunately, Isabel  was 'failed' on Sunday morning with a faulty injector, so did not make an appearance, which we were all sad about as she had run faultlessly on Saturday, and we have been looking forward to her being in action! So maybe next time?

 Alan & James having a 'conflab' with 'Isabel' on Saturday.
Photos: Brian M


P.S. Could we just remind (intending) visitors that the Ashmanhaugh Light Railway Club operates the railway on a private site which is only open to the Public on the advertised Open Days, so we would be grateful if people would not just wander in for a 'look round' at other times, as it is private property. Thank you. 

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Time Flies

The NRM's lovely L & B 'Taw' seen at its temporary home at the Nottingham Club during our visit in June.
Well into this lovely Summer now and Schools are out so let's hope it lasts a while longer ! We had a pleasant Birthday Party last Saturday with lots of happy, singing and laughing children enjoying the trains and the surroundings.(to say nothing of the cakes and stuff!).  General, Thunderbox, Lucille and The Shay came out to play, but not for long in Lucille and The Shay's case,! Lucille quickly ran out of breath (a shortage of that steam stuff actually!), and the Shay, well, if we will try to run the loco with the brakes full on, it's hardly surprising that the drive belt from the Eaton to the chain axle gave up and snapped! But another has been sourced and should be fitted on Saturday all being well, so no serious damage done thank goodness, but another lesson learned ??????.  
Isabel needs a new injector we found, so one is on order, but we are hoping to give her a run round on Saturday which is going to be a bit of as training day for us to 'polish' our skills, driving, guarding, signalling or whatever we can fit in. We are getting more members 'passed out' on more tasks now so we can be very multi skilled hopefully, which will help out on Open Days!
Oh and you won't believe this, but what did we do yesterday?, you'll never guess, well we pointed up the ridge tile on the signal box roof which has had a 'gap' for 'x' years now !!!!!! All done, really, it is, honest......  so that's another job off the list (not sure which one ?).
The bridge handrail is re stained and the bridge decking has been given a splash of decking stain, the Ticket Office roof has had a new felt ridge piece fitted as there was a hole on the roof felt.
And Hotspur's chassis is having a good clean and checkover prior to being repainted so it's all posh when the new boiler arrives (not yet for a while !) 
Ben's mended another puncture on his bike tyre ! and we need to get some of that 'stuff' to put into the wheelbarrow tyres to stop them deflating as they are all flat again (it's all them thorns from the gardening!).
And we will have another 'green ' loco soon, (if it rains!), not quite sure what it is, looks a bit like a tank loco, think it's a steamer as there is a chimney, but let's wait and see what nature can do and we'll show you a photo maybe!
So, all is well here, hope all is well with you all....see you soon?

Roy's super Class 40 out in the 'Boondocks' during its visit to the ALR earlier this year.
Photos: Brian M

Monday, 15 July 2013

An Update For You !

'Little Olive' amongst the greenery on Lake section
Ok so as promised, here we go with a brief update, well reasonably brief......., on what's been happening on our railway since the middle of June....
On Wednesday 19th June, the Rackheath Bombers Toddlers Group came for a 'toddle' round the perimeter, as a Fund Raising exercise for Barnados, following which they had some stories (excellent, we were very good and sat very still 'til they'd finished!), followed by a bit of a picnic and a train ride or two. Their theme this year was 'Fairy Tales' so there were some excellent costumes about the place (we declined thank you!)...lovely morning!

'Scamp's friend and 'Scamp' approaching Laurel Sidings
Saturday 29th June saw us 'hosting' the 'Flying Pigs' AGM, which was interspersed with some fascinating visiting locos on the circuit!!! Some of the Guys who attended the FP AGM had come all the way from Stoke and brought along a couple of locos which had several trips round the circuit, good to see you Boys, and what a long way to come! We also welcomed some of the Gang from the Halesworth Club whom we had met during our recent visit to their Club in May. We had asked them if they would help out on our July Open Day as we thought we were going to be a bit short of locos ( and crews), and they were very keen! So they brought along two 'Sweet Williams' , 'Holkham' and ' Little Olive' (for a practise), which were duly unloaded, fired up and, after a pleasant 'induction' walk round our circuit, were let loose to see how they got on with our slight grades, and signals ! Of course they managed very well and the smiles on their and our faces told the whole story ! So we had a lot of fun and some of us had a go, as you do, (even Barry was persuaded!), and I have to say we were more than impressed with these lovely locos' performance, what super engines to drive !!!!! An excellent day all round!
Sunday 7th July, our quietest Open Day..... ever!!!, well it was hot, very hot, 'whatshisname' was in the Wimbledon Final (well done Andy, great performance!), it was hot, beach time?, barbeques in the garden ?, it was hot, there were fetes everywhere, it was hot, so it was a nice change for our visitors not to have to queue, and for us to be able to chat to people. As well as the two 'Sweet Williams', John and Dudley had brought along their 'Toby's for a run out, so there were loads of locos about, so the crews had a great time...!!!! Thanks a lot Guys, see you again ?????
The Sweet Williams all ready to go. 
...and finally, last Saturday saw us 'lending' the railway to the Musical Keys Charity, for them to welcome their guests and visitors for a different afternoon out, and to help them to raise some funds. A pleasant afternoon was enjoyed by all, with General, Thunderbox and Nelson doing the 'honours'. 
Lucille negotiating the bridge on 7th July
The Tobys out in the Boondocks!

'Holkham' coming off Lake section
On the 'work' front we have been and are still busy with the gardening, all the greenery has shouted 'yippee' and is growing like there's no tomorrow, so there has been much snipping and pruning going on!
The bridge handrails are having a rub down and restain....the water in the lake is disappearing rapidly in this hot, dry weather. The two comments are not related! although there has been some weed clearing going on, maybe the plug was pulled out ????
Track and signals are being tweaked as necessary, and Isabel has been fired up after all the work that has been done to bring her up to ALR standards.... and it all looks promising, in fact ...ssshhh but we overheard Ray saying that she should be good for the August Open Day !!!!! but I didn't tell you that, and I don't know if he meant this year!!! Sorry Ray, just joking, you are doing a great job, double bonus this year eh ?
Hotspur's boiler was collected last Wednesday for a trip up North, to have a new one made, which will be excellent, but not just yet! Cheers Harry !
 Think that's about it for now, see you soon eh ?

 You can leave her here if you like Guys !!!!!!


Thursday, 11 July 2013

Back on the ether !

Hello there! Just in case you have been wondering where we have been for the past few weeks, well, my 'modern technology' decided it had had enough, and has gone to play in that big junkyard in the sky or somewhere! So if you can just bear with us for a few days to let me get to grips with the new (lovely!) machine and it's OS (that's Operating System they tell me!), we will bring you up to date.
Suffice to say we have been busy doing lots of things, had a nice quiet Open Day last Sunday (tennis, weather, fetes,  etc etc !) so you missed four, yes four visiting locos !!!!!! There will be photos soon, we promise!

Friday, 14 June 2013

Wonderful Welsh Weekend

 Bryn Elltyd - Our Weekend Residence

Hi there, six of us on this year's Boys Weekend Away, to North Wales, and what a weekend! Lovely warm, even hot sunshine from start to finish, the hottest place in the country on Friday! Marvellous!!!!!
On the way in on Thursday we stopped off at Betws-y-Coed to have a look round the Conway Valley Railway (71/4" gauge) and had an interesting chat with their engineers in the workshop where there were two super locos, 'Douglas' and an American 2-8-2, lovely, can we have one please? No..they said !......then on to our Bed and Breakast abode, where we were very well and truly looked after by Celia and John....(''... Tel: 01766 6831356/07905 568127), fascinating place in a wonderful location on the side of the Tanygrisiau Reservoir (of Ffestiniog Deviation fame you may recall?) with the railway running around the back of the property 75 yards away, excellent!

 Earl of Merioneth passes on the way up to Blaenau Ffestiniog

Ready to enter the hill climb section (just across the road
               from  our B & B !)

Friday morning, very early!, saw us admiring the fascinating variety of cars starting the hill climb section of the Three Castles Rally, and then later, looking round the Ffestiniog's Boston Lodge works where we were more than impressed with the warm welcome we got and with the work that is done there, what a set up! Thanks to all the staff and volunteers for making us feel so welcome.

 The Boys (less One!) outside Boston Lodge Works ready for action !

Then we popped across to the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway where we had a bite to eat to satisfy the inner men, before having a ride behind Emma (for twas a diesel day) and, what could be called an 'exuberant ride' on their 71/4" line hauled by one of 'Toby's mates !!!!!!! Nuff said ! They have a very interesting museum and shop to browse, which we did, before we heading back to our 'country, environmentally friendly accomodation', where a very tasty evening meal was enjoyed, followed by a nice relaxing evening with a few beers and wines in the conservatory, admiring the view and the setting sun, heavenly!

    'Emma' The Diesel on the Welsh Highland Heritage Line

'Merddin Emrys' ready to depart Porthmadoc Station on the Ffestiniog Railway

The highlight of the weekend was the full round trip on Saturday over the Welsh Highland behind Number 87, in the Observation Pullman car. An amazing journey, twisting and turning all the way through beautiful scenery which we thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish. The sound of that loco working up to the summit from Beddgelert, and the start from the Forest Campsite Halt at Meillionen was, as they say, awesome !!!!! Well done the crew !!!!

Ready at Caernarfon for the return trip

Meeting Number 138  at Waunfawr.

So time to head home on Sunday calling in at The Nottingham Club where a lovely lunch was awaiting us and then the Guys made up our very own train, Class 20 hauled, so we could each have a drive! (which of course we did !) The site was busy as they were hosting a 5" Sweet Pea weekend so there was plenty going on! Many thanks to all the members who made us very welcome, but especially to Tony,Liz,Roy and Dennis.

   Dennis explains the controls to Dave
All photos : Brian M


Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Excellent Weekend!

 Phil preparing 'Helen' after arriving on Saturday

We had a great weekend thanks to Phil (Coates) and Martyn (Redfearn) for bringing their lovely locos to play! On Saturday Phil came across from his Hemsby week stay, to try out our circuit with his lovely Stafford saddle tank loco (Station Road Steam). All went well and once he had got acclimatised to our circuit,  he helped out with the Birthday Party we had in the afternoon.General and Thunderbox helped out a bit too!

 'Helen' coming in from the Lake on one of her many circuits.

Then on Sunday, our June Open Day, we had a lovely sunny afternoon with a goodly number of visitors who were hauled around the circuit behind Martyn's lovely Romulus, 'BerryHill' (very appropriately painted in green and yellow I thought !!!!), his  very popular 'Spuggy', complete with canopy sunshade (which yours truly appreciated whilst driving!), 

 'Spuggy' all ready for action.

Thunderbox chugged round all afternoon (well done Ben!), and we got the Shay working in the morning after her oil changes, and so this loco came out to play too!. General did a stint before the batteries gave up, and Ken's 'Sergeant' also had a play. Unfortunately, 'Lucille' was failed during preperation due too faulty safety valves, so Keith didn't have much fun during the afternoon as he was really looking forward to the challenge of keeping her in steam for as long as possible!!!!! Should be a minor 'tweak' to put her right.! 
So a great afternoon with lots of happy people, we enjoyed ourselves. Thank you all for coming.

 'Berryhill' being prepared for a busy afternoon.

We were delighted with the visiting locos which as well as being fun for their owners to run on different tracks, give us additional pulling power to take the pressure off our locos, and we are very grateful for Phil and Martyn's help!  See you again Guys (and Gals!)

A very happy Martyn preparing 'Berryhill'