Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Phew, Summer's Arrived !!!!

Lovely, lovely sunshine, lovely, but not too good to work in eh ????? 

                                               The locos ready for action last Wednesday evening 

We had a good visit the other evening from some 30 or so members, friends and families of the local RoSPA, IoAM and RoADAR Groups (think I've got them right ? but no doubt you will let me know if not!!!!), who enjoyed a very pleasant evening riding some trains and having a good look round and a chat, as well as a cuppa or two of course!!!. The Shay, Nelson and Thunderbox were on duty, excellent. Thank you for coming folks, nice to see you all, maybe we'll see you on one of our Public Open Days ????

We are expecting the Norfolk Railway Society on Thursday evening this week, and they are always an  interesting lot!!!!, we look forward to seeing them again!

..and of course, Sunday July 5th is our next Public Open Day, when trains will be running from 2 til 5pm, (weather permitting!). There could also be the sound of music drifting across the railway again, as the Norwich Accordion Band may well be playing for us again. Looking forward to enjoying a pleasant afternoon.  

Ray's happy now that Viceroy has it plates on !!!!


Monday, 22 June 2015

Mid Summer Update !

The Boys at Dungeness Station on  the RH&D Railway
Hi there. So we have had the longest day of the year, it's mid summer now!!!!! quite a lot going on at the ALR........we had our annual Boys Weekend Away last weekend when eight of us ventured into deepest Sussex, where we enjoyed visiting several railways, as is our wont! On Thursday we 'did' the Kent & East Sussex, very interesting shed visit, thanks Guys. It's amazing the amount of work that these railways take on.... then on Friday we spent the day on the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway, where we were well looked after. This is a superb railway, it has just about everything, those lovely locos crack on a bit, and we thoroughly enjoyed our round trip. The workshops and sheds are more than impressive, as is the work going on in the 'carriage' shop. We are looking forward to seeing two of their locos visiting the Bure Valley Railway next month as part of that railway's 25th Anniversary celebrations. 
Then on Saturday we 'did' four railways!!!! Popped into see the Eastbourne Miniature Railway  (7  1/4 " gauge), nice family business, thanks for your time Folks ! good family attraction!!! Then onto the Bentley Miniature Railway (7 1/4" ) in the grounds of the Bentley Wildfowl & Motor Museum. We were again impressed here and had a good look round and a trip along the interesting main line, and had a good old natter over a cuppa! Thanks Guys.

Alans admiring 'Black Swan' at the Bentley MR 
Then on the way to the Bluebell Line, we called in to to have a look at the Lavender Line at Isfield, where one of Clive Groom's Footplate days taking place, nice little 5" railway here too, had a quick bite to eat, before moving on to Sheffield Park where we had a trip along the line all the way to the new terminus at  East Grinstead behind the immaculate S15. Plenty to see on this superb railway, loco sheds, carriage works, all in a very authentic period railway atmosphere. Then we had a real treat as we had booked a meal on their Pullman Dining train in the evening, very nice indeed, excellent food and drink, and friendly, attentive staff ensured that our two round trips were very enjoyable. We even dressed up 'smart' for the occasion and were seen wearing a variety of bow ties (you don't see that very often!)....Then on Sunday, our final day, we called in to see the Swanley New Barn  Railway (7 1/4") which is again, in a public Park, and runs a very intensive service to bring the Public from the car park onto the Park area, demanding a peak demand when they all want to get back to the car park to go home !!!! Great hospitality from the 'staff' again, had a good look round, and of course a ride round the steeply graded, in some places, half mile circuit, before having a bit of a play on a couple of their Mardyke diesel outline locos. We were impressed with the ex London Underground signal box panels and levers, they even have the LT lady announcer's voice making the platform announcements, impressive or what! We were also impressed with the numerous youngsters who were running the railway, good to see the younger generation being encouraged!

The Boys playing with the Swanley New Barn diesels on the Sunday
So, another great weekend which always provides us with lots of inspiration and ideas to crack on with 'Projects !!!!!! It's also very pleasing to receive such a warm and friendly welcome wherever we go,, especially from the miniature railway fraternity, we have learnt such a lot from you all since we started our railway in 2002....thank you all !!!!!!!!

Meanwhile, back at the ALR , we had a good 'Loco Visiting Day' on Saturday when our friends from the Halesworth Club visited with two 'Sweet Williams' (with newly fitted, posh Walschaerts valve gear!), and a Romulus. A good time was had by all, lots of chat, several cuppas, and several drives, excellent. The only down side was that our poor old 'General' is suffering 'control' malfunctions, so we are wondering whether we need a new control unit...ugggghhhh!
Hey ho, keep smiling, tis all part of the fun of running a railway

The Halesworth Boys locos lined up  ready for action on Saturday
All photos: Brian M

P.S. we hear that a Tawny owl and a Barn owl have been seen around the site!          

Monday, 8 June 2015

Sunny Sunday

Hotspur arrives with a full train.
We were blessed with a wonderful, warm and sunny afternoon on Sunday for our June Public Open Day, and were pleased with the number of people that came to see us. Just enough without being too busy, which gives us time to chat, which we always like to do, as we see lots of interesting people from lots of different places! We were pleased, at one stage, to welcome a gentleman wanting to take photos of our steam locos, who, it transpired, was a volunteer on the Bluebell Railway, which is one of the railways we will be visiting this coming weekend during our Annual Boys Weekend Away!. We also had a visitor from the Sheffield Club, apparently, but didn't get chance to chat, so please if you are from another railway whatever size, do let us know, it's always good to hear from you !!!!   
We were able to roster a good variety of rolling stock which saw General, Hotspur, Chieftan, Viceroy, Sargeant, The Shay and Nelson all take their turn in pulling trains. Our two new Pullman liveried coaches were out, and wagon 53 in its guise of 'coach reinforcement mode' made a trip or two, too, and proved that the bench seats are really quite comfortable !!!!!

Nelson passing the signal box entering Den section

Chieftain runs through with the new Pullman coaches

We were also pleased to see that the 'Fairy Dell' is once again the meeting place for some lovely visitors from, well, who knows where ? They do seem to like it here in the Summer!!!!! and who can blame them!!!!!


Chieftain approaches signal 1 at Laurel Sidings 
All Photos: Brian M

Thursday, 4 June 2015

June update

It's hard to believe we are almost halfway through the year already, is 'Someone' making the clock go quicker?????  We are busy, busy on the ALR, with lots of varied jobs going on, we seem to have time now to attend to some 'fine tuning' here and there, now that the major jobs are done, (well, almost???) although there are still the ongoing items to be done such as trackwork maintenance and gardening, to keep everything in good order.
The new open wagon has now been lettered up and looks very smart, and has also had basic removeable bench seats fitted across the sides so it can be used as an extra 'coach' when demand requires !!!! The two new 'Pullman' coaches are more or less complete with their nameplates and ALR ovals now fitted and very smart do they look too!

Wagon 53 all lettered up! 
One of the new Pullmans complete with nameplates
The timbers have arrived today to enable us to replenish our stock of spare track sleepering, and to construct the carriage storage 'leanto' at the side of the loco shed, and to line out the Ticket Office to make it a bit cosier on those colder days.

Several of us had a ride over to see our Friends at the Parklands Railway at Hemsby last week, where we enjoyed their welcoming hospitality once again, enjoying several rides behind some excellent, mostly, 'standard' gauge locos, which are always very impressive. (we did enjoy 'Elidir' tho' Pete! lovely loco, beautifully presented as always!!!) The venerable Model T Ford was stretching its legs too! A thoroughly enjoyable day! Thanks Guys......

A magnificent 'Evening Star'!

and one or two faces you might recognise, ready for a trip !
All photos: Brian M

So, all should be out and about on Sunday (7th) for our June Public Open Day, when we gather the weather will be good, so we are looking forward to seeing you and having an enjoyable afternoon, who know what train formations will be out and about ???? 

Oh, and 2300 has some new plates ! now called 'Chieftain!!!! very smart !
 Bye for now !