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!