Sunday, 18 December 2016

Merry Christmas

We would just like to wish everyone out there, wherever  you are.                                        
a Very Merry Christmas, and a Happy, Healthy, Peaceful and Prosperous New Year.....

From all the ALR Gang 

Happy Christmas !

Sunday, 4 December 2016

December update

Hi there, now it is December, and we are busy busy doing lots of things on the railway, there is always something to do !
We have procured (posh industry word for bought!) the replacement timber for the station signal gantry cross beam, which has now been shaped, you will note, (very artistically routed !), and painted with four coats of very high quality paint (cheers Ray), which should maintain the timber in good condition for a few years.

The newly painted cross beam ready to go into the shed until Spring
Pierre has been busy making some replacement point motor boxes out of a lovely shade of green plastic (thanks Dave via Chris!),which again should last a year or five ?

Pierre making up another green plastic point motor cover box
Leaves have been blown away, to disclose some track, only to return, (they must like it here! and who can blame them ?)  keep up the good work Guys.There is also, of course, some track tweaking going on!

Ray wondering what needs a tweak in the station area.
Coach servicing continues with newly installed block and tackle in the loco shed making the job of lifting so much easier, and safer ! and there is some lathe work going on to 'shoulder' axles for some new wheels to replace some quite worn cast ones on one of our sets.
The garden shed is receiving a well needed coat of preservative, well done Al, but Ray wouldn't like the colour ! (private joke!)

Mr B in painting mode
Oh and hey, really good news for Jane, as she won the 2016 EDP (Eastern Daily Press) Hoseasons Tourism Award for Best Self Catering Establishment for her lovely Plum Tree Cottage, during the Annual Awards evening held last week, when more than 200 guests from the Norfolk Tourism 'Industry' attended the event at Potters Holiday Resort. Well done to Jane for all her hard work and enthusiasm in achieving the very high standards that she has in her Holiday Cottages.(see ' for further details, and as railway enthusiasts, we were also pleased to note that the North Norfolk Railway has attained the Best Large Visitor Attraction award, mentioning the friendliness and enthusiasm of its Volunteers in helping to make the railway such a great day out. Hear, hear.

Too witt too woo.... To Let ! if you know of any roaming Barn Owls looking for a lovely home, there is a very desirable, specially built, Barn Owl Apartment on the Oak Tree opposite the Holiday Cottages. available immediately, lease negotiable, excellent outlook, reasonable rent ! first come, first served!

Peter's 08 has now been sorted with a new controller and some wiring 'tweaks' apparently, (well done Graham R & Co) and is now going extremely well, so the loco is returning to Peter's where his Grandchildren will no doubt be having some fun ?

The '08' in the station with one of Pierre's new point motor boxes prominent in the foreground
and, finally, we went along to our local model shop today (Friday), Great Eastern Models who had organised a great 'Digital Day' again, where several suppliers of digital stuff were represented with some pretty good deals on offer. very interesting. We were also pleased to see some model railway layouts upstairs (well organised Mr Ball), so we had a very pleasant couple of hours 'chewing the cud' can't beat it !

 32A Model Railway Club's nice N gauge 'Dalesgate' layout

Rob's very interesting modern image suburban station


P.S. Competition answer....tis a Wasp's nest of course !) prize held over as we did not receive one answer, never mind a correct one!!!!


Tuesday, 8 November 2016

The leaves are really falling now !

Hi, it's Autumn with a vengeance now ! It's colder, darker, wetter, and the trees are shedding their leaves like there's no tomorrow, but hopefully there will be ?

Richard and Peter busy 'gardening' down by the lake
So, we've been busy on the railway, trimming bushes and undergrowth here and there, (surprise, surprise), the signals are all in, the station gantry cross beam has been taken down and its replacement timbers ordered as there is some rot present, and the cameras are in,

Ken, Steve and Pierre moving the locos into the top workshop shed
 'Isabel' and 'Lucille' are separated from their tenders, the water drained and the locos moved to their Winter quarters in the top workshop shed. We have left 'Hotspur' for now just in case we feel like a play one nice sunny day ! 
We have also installed a block and tackle with lifting beam in the loco shed which will be a boon in helping with vehicle lifting when inspecting or carrying out maintenance and repairs.....

The block and tackle in action with a Happy Steve (and others!)
We have also obtained a very smart, unused mobile generator which has reignited our desire to have a proper tool van to store all the track maintenance 'stuff' in, so plans are afoot, or in hand !, to come up with a suitable design, to accommodate the genny and track tools....,, watch this space....imagine a 'work train on the ALR...three wagons, a tool van/guards van, and a coach!!!!! 
We have started the maintenance regime on the rolling stock too, so plenty going on to keep us busy!
A 'barn owl' box has been installed on the big oak tree opposite the holiday cottages (see '' for details..superb!) in the hope that these wonderful birds can be attracted back.

The Barn Owl box in position
All photos; Brian M


Friday, 21 October 2016

October Update

Peter getting used to Chris's Sweet William
 Hello again, how quickly Summer disappears as the days shorten and we prepare for Autumn and Winter  !!!!!! We have just about recovered from that very very busy Open Day and are now thinking about the jobs we need to do over the Winter, The list isn't too bad, so we will work through the tasks in our usual way and hopefully, by next Spring we will be raring to go again! 
 There is prospect of a new steam loco at the ALR, as one of our members is investing in a 'Feldbahn' loco from Station Road Steam, which is expected in January,so that will be exciting ! We are to carry out a comprehensive check on 'Thunderbox' so we can decide whether the loco needs a replacement engine, or not, so it will be interesting to see what we discover once the loco is stripped down.We are to fit a second injector and new sight glasses to 'Hotspur' which is running nicely now and there are one or two other jobs to do on 'Isabel' and 'Lucille', some signalling tweaks to be looked at to make operations safer in the Lake area, and the timber cross beam on the station gantry has rot in a couple of places, so a replacement will be fitted over the winter, and there will be one or two gardening tasks to be done, probably !

Graham coaxing 'Hotspur' through the station, with Dave 'conducting' Pierre into Den section with  'Romulus'
We had a great 'Fun Day' on 15th October when our friends from south of the border brought along their two'Sweet Williams' and the 'Romulus' so our Boys could have a go at steam loco driving, and they did ! There were five trains out for most of the day so plenty of chance for our members to have a go, we even had a freight train trundling round with 'Nelson' in charge. Excellent...This was all followed by a tasty fish and chip supper, so a good day was enjoyed by all.

The three steamers having a rest in the station
Photos: Alan Ball, Brian M ;
and this month's competition !

 What on earth is this ?????

answers on a used postage stamp, please, to...'you know where'

and for an additional prize......whose arm is holding the ???????


Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Phew, busy day !!!

Well you certainly came in droves on Sunday afternoon to help us see out our 2016 season of Open Days with a bang! So thank you all for coming.....we hoped you were not too disappointed with the queuing, the like of which we have never seen before and to be honest it was a bit too busy !!!! But we did our best with five trains out and we can't run any more than that else you would be waiting at every signal and nobody likes that (particularly our signal box staff!).  We had a record number of steam locos out with four in action , our three and 'Holkham', plus the reinforcements in the form of 'General', the 'Shay', 'Chieftain', and even at one stage, 'Sergeant', and they all ran very well behaving themselves impeccably! So well done everyone including our gallant ladies on refreshment, ice cream, merchandising and Platform duties, we couldn't do it without you.......
So now we are picking up the pieces, tweaking some of the track that became in need of attention, looking at signalling improvements in the Lake area to improve traffic flows, the engineering Boys are tinkering with wheels, axles and a plastic chair ?????? something to do with track maintenance it is this space !!!!! Some new turf has been laid along the footpath to the platforms, and a bit of painting done to the workshop doors, so always plenty to do !!!!!!

Oh and did you lose a pair of keys which we have found in the car park grass! if so do let us know so we can arrange for them to be returned or collected.....thanks


Thursday, 29 September 2016

It's Never nearly October ?

Well it is, can't believe it, Sunday is our Last Open Day for this year so we are hoping for a nice day, to welcome you, with a variety of trains.....all our steam locos are fit, and  in fact all our locos are serviceable so who knows what might appear ?. Paul is coming over with 'Holkham'  as well, so there will be a good variety of  trains to ride behind.

The Class 08 outside the workshop
One of our newer members, Peter, brought his Class 08 over to have a good run round our track and found that there seemed to be a problem with the controller, but pleasingly, the folks at '4QD' are coming up with a remedy, which is very good ! It's of 'Compass' origin and is a very nicely detailed, strong loco, it certainly looks good ! 
We have been, yes, you know.....gardening, as you will see if you come on Sunday, lots of trimmed bushes and trees to help with the views from the signal box and shed, and much easier to maintain too. We've got the station fencing treated to a 'cream' coat for the winter, and everything else plods on with maintenance and various jobs being attended to by our enthusiastic members (14 on site on Wednesday!).
So, short and sweet this time, maybe we'll see you on Sunday ?



We have a variety of 'genuine' enamel signs (16 ) for sale, as can been seen from the photo, that shows a selection. They are all 'Southern' area signs kindly donated to us by a 'benefactor' but as we have no real need for them, they are for sale. If you would like full details, kindly get in touch via '' Thanks....

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

A 'gentle' Open Day !

Isabel and Ben coming over the bridge with a full train
We enjoyed a leisurely Open Day on Sunday for a change, must have been everybody getting ready for 'back to school' Monday ?????, or Bressingham or the North Norfolk Railway Steam Weekend,,or whatever,,,,,who knows, but we had a good afternoon with time to chat to people, so thank you for coming Folks, its always good to see you enjoying our Railway !
'Remus' and 'Little Olive' came up from Suffolk, (thanks again Guys, we know its a drudge coming up here but, we think you enjoy it ?) ...... and had a great time, as did  'Isabel',  'General', 'Nelson' and the 'Shay', all having steady trundles round the circuit. So just one more Open Day to go, then we're finished for this year, how quickly its gone !!!!!

David brings Remus through the green Tunnel (methinks?)
Those of you who remember the lovely Little Melton Light Railway, now long gone unfortunately, that gave so many people so much pleasure, and whose memory lives on in a small way at the Ashmanhaugh Light Railway, will be delighted to learn that there is now a tribute website (see Link on the right) with some fascinating information and photos that Michael Fish has created. Well worth a look ! Michael is keen to hear from anyone who has any memories or photos to get in touch with him via his website, thank you..


John with Nelson and the 'Pullmans'
All photos: Graham Reeve

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Summertime !

Well, we can't complain that we didn't get any Summer this year, it's been really hot these last few days, and even though we haven't seen much rain, the trees and bushes have never grown so fast. So several days have been spent lopping trees, and trimming bushes as some of them are really getting too big now and we need to keep trimming them to give good views across the site and to make future maintenance easier. A shredding machine capable of mulching up to 6" logs has been called in to help dispose of the trimmings!

The 'MightyMulcher' in action near the turbine.
Photo: Brian M
We took our publicity stand to a Model Railway Exhibition in Neatishead Village Hall, (very smart! ), just over the road!!!! the other Saturday, when John and Richard met some very nice, mostly local people who didn't know the ALR existed....... they do now !!!! We hope to see some of them next Sunday 4th September which is our penultimate Open Day for this year, when we will be running trains from 2 til 5 pm, weather permitting.

Some great American truck models
Photo: Ricardo
We had a Play Day last Saturday, when we had some fun! Our 'Footplate Experience' candidate enjoyed his day, although we don't think he was expecting to drive a steam loco, as when he saw 'Hotspur', he asked if it was a diesel !!!!!!!.His family called in after lunch and enjoyed several trips round the circuit, as did the Cottage's holidaymakers, so lots of happy people. We ran several trains with General, The Shay. Lucille, Nelson, Viceroy and Chieftain all coming out for a run round or two,. then Fish and Chips for tea. Excellent......a really enjoyable day
Apart from that, not a lot to report with just the usual things going on, a tweak here, a tweak there, all to keep everything in order. The Boys did a great job fabricating a new blastpipe connection on 'Hotspur' which has cured the loco's reluctant steaming habit, so this much loved (mostly!) Club loco is fully operational again!!!!!!

'Hotspur' coming down the ramp on its way back to the shed after the blastpipe works
Photo: Brian M

Our Winter job list is beginning to mount up, so plenty for us to do so we won't get bored !!!!

Until next time........TTFN

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Sunny Sunday

Chieftain leaves the station with a full load, and a goodly queue waiting
We had a great Open Day on Sunday with lots of very nice people coming to see us in the lovely sunshine, and it was great to be able to spend some time chatting to people, we love it when we can see people enjoying themselves at the railway, Mums, Dads, aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews, children, grandparents, our regulars and enthusiasts, young and old alike, thank you all for coming. We know that one of the reasons for such a good turn out (they tell us!) was that we had a different signal box crew, Pinky and Perky, on duty, who more or less kept things going with, at times, a record five trains out and about !!!! Well done Boys, it's not quite as easy as it seems is it !!!!!!

Tod The Tug comes round into Den section
We had Mike Riches, Charlie and Mike's Mum helping us out too with 'Tod The Tug', Mike's new diesel which performed very well, along with Isabel, Lucille, General. Nelson, The Shay and Sergeant, all doing their bit, a really good afternoon's running.
So, four done, two to go, how quickly this year is flashing by........see you next time


Lucille steams under the gantry on the Back Straight

Isabel heads over the flat crossing down to the Lake

General in the trees on Den section
All photos: Brian M

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Now it's August !!

'Old Time' ALR Station fence advertisement
Photo: Brian M

Hello, so it's almost time for our August Open Day, this Sunday 7th August, from 2 til 5 pm, weather permitting, and hopefully it will be OK. We are just about ready, all our locos are serviceable and we have a visiting loco from the Norwich Club, Mike Riches' diesel, 'Tog The Tug', so it should be a good afternoon.

'Viceroy' having some fun with the ALR Boys in Suffolk
Photo: Brian M
We had a great day out last weekend when we had an invite to visit a very interesting railway in deepest Suffolk, where we were made very welcome, and when another ALRC first was created, as we took one of our locos, 'Viceroy' for a day out. This is the first time we have taken one of our locos to another railway! The loco performed very well, (apart from the controller sulking after getting a bit wet during a very heavy downpour!), mixing very well with several other very interesting locos from the Chelsmford Club, and we were very pleased with our first outing with one of our locos. So a good time was had, we made some new friends, and renewed some 'old' ones, and generally had an enjoyable time !!!!!
We have been quite busy, (understatement.... exceptionally busy!) in the gardening department as everything is just leaping away this year, never known it to grow so quick, you can almost see it growing ! We have had to 'demolish', professionally by our local 'tree surgeon', a fir tree alongside the path near the 'Ice Cream Parlour', last week, as it was outgrowing its welcome. Amazing how well the trees and bushes have flourished since they were planted. They obviously like where they live,and why wouldn't they ??????
We regularly see our two 'resident' Buzzards as they patrol the adjacent fields 'squeaking' to one another, a lovely sight.....
Yesterday we welcomed the nice Folks from the Springfields Miniature Railway at Spalding, who came over for a look round to see how we do things and to swop ideas, think they were impressed ! another enjoyable day We look forward to a visit to their railway to see how this developing attraction is coming along, Early days yet but lots of interesting projects in mind, it seems.
The families staying in the holiday cottages were also treated to a ride round with 'Chieftain' in charge, so all everybody was happy !


Photo: Mark Reavell

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Superb Open day

Prestart time down at the shed

Hi there, well what a day we had on Sunday.....the weather was great (has Summer arrived ????Shhhhh), the grass had dried out sufficiently to allow car parking (thank goodness, was a bit touch and go), our visitors were all very nice, happy people, and we had a great afternoon. Thank you all for coming....

'Holkham' and 'Little Olive' trundle past the shed on a double header
We had a good running session with 'Holkham', 'Little Olive', (what lovely little engines these are eh?} 'Isabel', 'Chieftain', 'General' all running really well, (mostly!). 'Lucille' was fired up ready to go but in the end was not needed so she was put to bed early, but Keith did get a drive on 'Isabel,, taking over from Ben, so he was a happy Boy too!!!!! So thanks again to Paul, Chris, Dave and Tony for coming up to help us, they had a great time as usual, and a special thanks to all our Ladies who do so much to help out on Open Days! See you next time ????


Sunday, 26 June 2016

More June Ramblings

Tea break time during our 18th June Play Day 
Hello again, as promised last time, we can report on an excellent 2016 Boys Weekend Away, when 6 plus 1 later ! (nice to have you with us Tony), of us headed into scenic Staffordshire and deepest Derbyshire to visit, the Crewe Heritage Centre, very friendly, fascinating place, loved the Exeter South Signal box, and the American HO scale model railroad, courtesy of the Calder Northern Group of the NMRA, what a great place to have a Clubroom! 

Terminus time at the Crewe Heritage Centre's 7 1/4" line
........the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway, lovely ride to Duffield (cab rides again!) and an impressive collection of DMU's.... the  10 1/4" Rudyard Lake Steam Railway (cab rides, thanks Guys!), lovely setting and good collection of locos, some from now defunct Isle of Mull Railway....the Foxfield Railway, never seen so many Industrial locos all at once, and very interesting 7 1/4" Foxfield Miniature Railway, plus great tour of the facilities, thanks Guys..... the Churnet Valley Railway, they have a 'Hotspur' too, bit bigger than ours though, ex Polish 'Tkh' tank which hauled us on our round trip with Class 33102 'Sophie' on the other end....,

Polish tank 'Hotspur' on the Churnet Valley line
.... and on the way home on Sunday, our Friends at the Nottingham Club, made us more than welcome as usual, providing a lovely lunch and a look around their proposed track extension area. Rain, (shame there was a Birthday Party in progress !), and lack of time prevented us from having a drive round, but, hey ho, great place to stop for lunch and a chat with the Guys to catch up. Hope the Irish trip went well Roy.
So, a great weekend staying at the Travel Lodge at Trentham, Stoke -on -Trent, excellent, good rooms, great food and very friendly staff!

The Riches 'Tog the Tug'
Then on Saturday 18th June, we had a visit once again from Mike and Charlie for a fun day, with their new 'Spuggy' type diesel loco, 'Tog the Tug', which had a good time around the circuits in amongst some of our trains, very powerful, impressive loco, which will be helping out on a future Open Day, methinks. Excellent day, did some more training of our Guys, and had lots of fun.

So, back to earth with the other stuff, we have been having problems for some time now with our power supply down to the Laurel Sidings shed, tripping out, particularly when it's wet, and has it been recently ? oh yes. So, after much deliberation, discussions, (we are experts at discussing) and checking, we think there is a fault on the cable itself, so new cable has been purchased and our major Civil Engineering Works Gang, (TWITS for short), have been mustered to excavate and install the 60 metres or so of armoured cable and some smaller stuff for possible extra demands on S and T installations. The work is progressing well, as the photos show, and we hope to have it connected up soon !!!!

Cable trench work in progress!!!!!!

In reality, trench work at the ALR!!!!
Still having problems with 'Hotspur's  'Hinjector' so we are hoping our friendly Consultant Monsieur Brian B will pop across to have a look at what is not going right!!!
and, finally, we are a bit concerned at the amount of rain we are having which is leaving the ground very wet, could result in us having to cancel next Sunday's Open Day, but we will see how the parking area dries out during the week, so watch this space if you are thinking of visiting.

A Class 20 comes along the tracks at Ruddington
All photos: Brian M


P.S. Just in case you were wondering.......'TWITS' = Track Work Installation Team !

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Excellent June Open Day

Lucille and Isabel driven by Keith and Ben approaching the station
Hi There
Now we are back from our Boys Weekend Away, and more about that next time,  we can catch you up with recent events.....our June Open Day was excellent, thank you for coming to see us, we had a very enjoyable afternoon with an interesting variety of visitors, and we had time to chat, which is always good ! Our friends from Suffolk helped us out again with David bringing his Romulus, and Paul his Sweet William, so we had four steam locos out, a first methinks for the ALR ! We gave General, Chieftain, The Shay and Sergeant a run out and everything went well, culminating in a great finale with two double headed steamers, another first for us !!!!!!

The Sweet William and the Romulus preparing to depart with  Tony and Dave driving

The double header approaching the station

On the work front, we are still tweaking Hotspur's pipework which we hope will remedy the reluctant injector, The steam locos each have their own storage box in the loco shed now, so no excuse for losing bits !!!!
Lots of gardening being done as everything is growing like mad!  We had a hedge cutting 'land train' to help do the boundary hedge which is looking tidy again now. Track maintenance continues as always, the gates have had a green stain update and the fencing is about to be done, maybe !
Ken about to take Sergeant and four passengers for a trundle round
All photos by Graham Reeve
And, a bit sad, one of our members, Ray H is moving away and so we gave him a bit of a send off last week, with sausage rolls, pork pies etc, (any excuse!!!), to thank him for all his efforts on the ALR over the years, but he and his good Lady will be coming back to Norfolk to visit friends in the future, so we will will be seeing him again.
So that's all for now, details of our Boys Weekend Away next time!