Thursday, 13 December 2018

Seasons Greetings !

We would like to wish everyone,wherever you are, a very Happy and Peaceful Christmas, with all our best wishes for a Healthy and Prosperous New Year with lots of trains !

from all the 
ALR Boys and Girls


TTFN... see you next year ?

Monday, 19 November 2018

November jottings

Hello again
We had a good, productive AGM on 10th, agreeing, amongst other things, our Open Day dates for next year which are shown opposite, we hope to see you at at least one of them !
The steam locos are all drained and moved into the top running shed, and covered in duvets to keep them warm and cosy during the winter. There are a few jobs to do on them and they are easily accessible as and when we want them. 

The steam locos snuggled down in the Running Shed

The signals are all in and being checked, timbers refurbished or replaced, repainted and electronics checked, then stored down in the carriage shed at Laurel sidings on new brackets that should, save them from being damaged. The Gnomes and Fairies are all inside now too, but separated, you know what they are like !
Work continues on the new sidings down at the loco shed for an additional steaming road outside the shed and two new storage sidings under a new lean to, to be constructed. A shelter is being provided for the creosote tank and coal bags so they are under cover.

Randy and Barry work on the new tracks while Ray supervises !
Plans for replacing the existing Lake section timber sleepers with plastic ones have been approved and so work will start on this section during the Winter.
The two work train wagons are to be repainted by our Juniors during the Winter as they are beginning to look a bit tatty now after 14/15 years service so they are doing well. They will then colour match the newer work vehicles to make our work train even smarter when it is out with 'Atlas', which is proving to be an excellent and popular addition to the ALR fleet.
We are also pleased to be able to tell you that we have started work on the refurbishment of that old favourite, 'Thunderbox' that has been out of action for a couple of seasons now. It looks like a new engine will be installed as the old twin Honda is showing its age and with parts difficult to obtain, we feel a new (second hand) power unit is what the loco needs. As the loco will be 30 years old in 2019 we would so much like to be able to celebrate that by seeing the loco in service again, this space!   

Pierre carefully getting the body clear of the bogie
The bogie out !

The coaches will be serviced in the Spring so they are ready for the new season, as they are all in pretty good order.
The Shay is having a couple of jobs done with a new, more easily reached and more positive throttle control, and we are looking at improving the sound quality of the whistle via a better loudspeaker so yours truly can drive everybody even madder !!!!!!
Johnny Working on The Shay
Last Saturday three of us took the ALR display stand to the '32 A' s Model Railway Exhibition at a new venue, in the Wensum Valley Golf and Country Club in Taverham on the Norwich outskirts, very nice place ! We had an interesting day talking to friends, old and new which hopefully will see some new visitors on Open Days! 
So until next time.....TTFN

Monday, 15 October 2018

Brilliant October Open Day !

The smart new bunting

So our last Open day for this year was very sucessful, lots of happy visitors, lots of happy ALR members and helpers, and lots of happy locos !!! Well done to everybody who helped in some way or other, all went to plan, we had no mishaps at all, marvellous, it was a lovely afternoon. 

Getting ready

So thank you to everyone who has been to see us this year, we have enjoyed having you with us and we hope to see you next year. Special thanks must also go to Chris, Paul, David and Tony for coming along to help with their lovely engines and a big thank you also, to David's good lady, who very kindly supplied the very smart 'ALR' bunting you will have seen about the site. We also feel that we should mention the excellent help that all of our good ladies give us both on Open Days and throughout the year, we couldn't have the great railway that we have without their contribution, so a big 'Thank You Ladies', we do appreciate your efforts!!

Busy Station

There was a good variety of locos and stock working too, with 'Chieftain,' 'The Shay', 'Hotspur' (well driven on your first Open Day Pierre!), 'Isabel', 'Prospero', 'Remus' and 'Holkham' all working well.

Holkham arrives at the platform
Remus coming through the station
Things have gone a little quiet now after all that excitement, but we have a Fun Day planned for the 20th so we will have another 'play' before starting to take stuff in and getting on with maintenance, and the gardening of course. over the Winter period.
So, not a lot to report this time but we will keep you updated with our progress over the coming months, bye for now

The A L R Gang

Pierre with Hotspur on the Back Straight ....again! 

Ray with Chieftain leaving the station

Keith with Isabel passing the signal box


Saturday, 6 October 2018

October update

Well, it's our final Open Day of the year on Sunday 7th October, so we are hoping for a good, sunny day we can enjoy showing off our railway to our visitors. We have had a good year on the operating front with everything running , mostly, as planned, but as always, there are always one or two 'whoospies' that are sent to test us! We are still a bit mystified as to why 'Hotspur' suddenly doesn't want to play, after a couple of hours running, and we will see how the loco performs on Sunday! We will have our visiting Friends again to help out with a couple of their locos, and most of our locos will be available, so there should be plenty of variety. The weather forecast looks good, so fingers crossed?
Work has started on creating the trackbed for our new sidings down at the loco shed so we can get the new three way point installed after our last 2018 Open Day. Then we can carry on with the grading of the trackbed going into the extended lean to, as time and resources (and weather!) permit.

The new three way point laid in its proposed position.

Keith, Pierre and John hard at work digging out the new track bed

The S and T boys are working through the signalling and track circuiting to keep all working and will be carrying out some upgrading and servicing of circuits and wiring over the winter. Some of the installations have been in place for 13, 14 years now, so they have performed well. We will have to start thinking about Winter maintenance too now and come up with lists of things to do (just like being at home !!!)
The steam loco driving sessions are coming along nicely, and on a recent 'Fun Day', several of us had a drive on 'Atlas' and were pleased with its willingness to 'go', lovely little loco.

Graham wrestles with the controls on 'Atlas', while Pierre gets some more steam driving practise
Photos: Brian M
Gardening continues with grass being cut still and bushes and trees trimmed as necessary. more tree felling due over the coming months to trim out further areas.
Think that' s about all for now, maybe we'll see you on Sunday ?


Wednesday, 19 September 2018


Atlas is a Maxitrak ‘Planet 2’ 0-4-0, 700-watt battery electric loco, purchased by ALRC member, Randy Gourdie, and delivered to the ALR on 4 July 2018. The loco is based on the 2ft gauge light industrial locomotives manufactured by F.C. Hibbard and Co at their Park Royal works in London. These engines were common in industrial service, both narrow and standard gauge, and were found at many naval dockyards.
The model features an all steel bonnet and full cab and incorporates the distinctive Planet radiator and makers plates.  The loco is also fitted with spring suspension, full electronic control and a wealth of detail.
The loco was mainly introduced to haul the ‘maintenance of way/work’ trains on the ALR and is a powerful little loco that is proving to be a popular addition to the ALR fleet.

Tuesday, 11 September 2018


'Nelson' waits !
We are pleased to report that we had an excellent Open Day on 2nd, with a good turnout of happy visitors, quite a few who hadn't been before, and we hope they (you ??) will come again ! 'Little Olive'  and 'Remus' came over so their drivers could have a good afternoon out, which they did, but 'Little Olive' threw a tantrum and had to be withdrawn, nothing too serious, but a little job for Chris to attend to back home ! We also had a visit from some folks from over Brandon way who came to see our turntable! We haven't found it yet, but they were very interested in the three way point that is being constructed in the workshop, (nearly finished) and they had very kindly brought us a lovely cake and biccys, which were thoroughly enjoyed by the Gang. Thank you......There are lots of very nice people about!

'Little Olive' awaiting steaming up time

and 'Remus also waiting its turn to play !

We had another very pleasant surprise when a lovely miniature traction engine rolled up the drive, in full steam, with young Thomas Potter in charge, along with Dad, Andy. This lovely engine spent the afternoon with us and received many complimentary comments. Andy has been promising to bring it over and so it was good to see it in action at last. Came all the way under its own steam (yes, really)

Thomas about to depart for home from the ALR.
We had 'General', 'Chieftain', 'Prospero', 'Hotspur', 'Isabel', The Shay and 'Nelson' out during the afternoon and all did well, although 'Hotspur' got tired again and had no puff left later on, out in the 'boondocks' at signal 10, so 'Nelson' went round to do a 'Thunderbird' job and pushed the train back into the station, much to the amusement of the passengers ! Another first for the ALR! don't see this often (cos I'm usually taking the piccys! cheers Pierre) but here is 'moi' with my family enjoying time with the Shay during our September Open Day 

About to depart with the Mason/Aldous Express!
Photo: Peter Hodges

Peter and Pierre took 'Prospero' over to the Whitwell and Reepham Railway last Sunday at the invitation of the Boys and Girls out there, who are building a 71/4" line in the 'top field'. After some problems getting water into the boiler, the loco (and driver) did OK

The ALR's  'Peter and Pierre preparing 'Prospero
and had several trips along the short, but graded and curved line out and back. The line is in its early days but there is plenty of scope there and we look forward to watching the progress that the youngsters (mostly!) achieve. It was good to see Kay and friends from the Evergreens Railway paying a visit, and also a 'family' contingent from Great Eastern Models made an appearance !!!! There were seven ALRC members visiting the site, which is full of interest and well worth a visit ! This is the first time a loco from the ALR has been taken to another railway, and there is interest in repeating the exercise, so watch this space.
A good contingent of members enjoyed a tasty meal at a local hostelry recently, and had a pleasant evening eating, drinking and chatting!
So. plenty going on as always

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Hello again

Well there's a lovely old song 'Its a long long, time, from May to December'.......well not this year ! Twill be September on Saturday, yes it will, and so another Open Day on Sunday 2nd September, if you recall ? Trains will be running from 2 til 5 if the weather behaves, and it will !! hope to see you there. Should be 3 or four steamers out and our usual array of other locos, looking forward to it.
We had a nice evening visit recently, from our friends of the 'Top Field' railway at Reepham & Whitwell, who are building a 71/4" line, and a pleasant evening was had riding the trains and having a good old 'mardle', think they were impressed, we still are !! We look forward to visiting them in September, when Peter plans to take along his 'Prospero' for a trundle round their track! Nice to welcome Ann and Mark from Great Eastern Models during the evening too.
Our track and points are back in action following one or two problems which meant we couldn't have a Fun and Visiting locos day on 19th August. Our point motors are due for a good old overhaul and even replacement as they have been whirring away for 14 or 15 years now, not bad for cheap screwdriver motors eh? The S and T Boys are planning a methodical  approach, (really?) over the winter checking and sorting the point motors out, replacing where necessary, including having a spare one made up for a quick changeover should the need arise during a Public running session. 
We have, at long last, started our 'Steam Loco Management' sessions, being run by Alan and Keith, which is enabling several of our members to learn what is involved in driving and looking after a miniature steam loco. We would like to record our thanks to Brian Baker and Brian Reading for their help in setting these sessions up for us.
Pierre getting to know 'Hotspur'

Ricardo leaves the station ....tenderly!

After many discussions (and we are very good at them !), and visits to other railways, we are now planning and costing up the use of plastic sleepers, starting with the Lake section, which is the wettest part of the ground on the railway. So, all being well we will be making a start during the 'close season', should be an interesting exercise? Watch this space.....  
We have also made a start on fabricating another three way point to give us more siding space down at Laurel Sidings, which will enable us to have two steaming roads outside the shed, and additional siding space needed on running days when things can get interesting down there! 

The new three way being set up to get the correct alignment at Laurel Sidings
The Umbrella Special leaving the station with John Buckingham driving and Tyler guarding
Photo: Peter Hodges
..and on Sunday we helped our Chairman celebrate a forthcoming 'significant' birthday, when some 50 invited friends enjoyed a lovely Hog Roast with all the trimmings, and just a short ride round the track as it was a rubbish afternoon with much precipitation (like it was rather inclement to be polite!), but that didn't dampen the spirits, oh no, brilliant afternoon, very enjoyable. Thanks to John and Jane for all their efforts in making for great afternoon....

Guests mingling in the Clubroom
Photos: Brian M or as noted

So, we think that's just about brought you up to date, see you soon.....and keep smiling !

Thursday, 2 August 2018


Well, what a Summer we are having, temperatures reached 39/40 degrees on Thursday and Friday last week, talk about Costa del Cromer !!!!! but we have had some cooler days and some rain which is badly needed, but the temperatures are picking up again now so we should have a nice Open Day this coming Sunday 5th August. There is the prospect of having five steam locos in action, with maybe an appearance of Randy's lovely little 'Atlas' loco, which is proving to be a big hit with us all. So, should be good.

'Atlas' with its smart lettering in place (well done Ben!) stands in the loco shed on 28th July
The S and T Boys have further improved the interlocking protection on routes coming into the platforms thereby preventing any conflicting movements, which it was noted during the recent Fun Day, was still possible in some instances !!!!! The concreting of the Lakeside crossing is completed, we think, and the Boys are connecting back the track circuit wiring, so we should have it all working to check on Saturday. 
Concreting operatives in action

Civil engineering plant at the Lakeside crossing site 1st August
A blitz was made on tree and bush trimming as they still continue to shoot up at an amazing rate, in spite of the dry weather, although the sweat (forgive me) from the Lads must have helped to stimulate some more growth. 
We have both Green and Lesser spotted woodpeckers around as well as the buzzards and the occasional kite. (no Dave, it's too windy for your drone, Mate!)
We will be looking forward to visiting the Parklands Railway over at Hemsby on Tuesday next to enjoy their trains, company and BBQ, always a good afternoon.

So, that brings you up to date, must fly, things to do, keep smiling


Randy brings 'Atlas' carefully through the station alongside 'Chieftain'

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Phew !!!!!

Well, what a Summer we are having, really hot, and no sign of any rain yet ?
Our July Open Day was good, quite warm and busy, but not too busy, so there was time to chat and mingle, which we like to do. All ran well, and Dave come up to help with 'Remus' again, so we had an enjoyable afternoon. Thank you for coming to see us.....

'Atlas' newly arrived at Ashmanhaugh 4th July
Photo: Brian M

We are very pleased that we have a new arrival at the railway, as one of our members has purchased a super little loco from Maxitrak, an 0-4-0 Planet 2 diesel outline, battery powered loco, which is proving to be a very capable and strong loco, mostly being used on our 'work' trains, so far, but powerful enough to do the occasional passenger run? The loco is to be named 'Atlas'  in recognition of its strength! and Randy, the proud owner, is 'tickled pink', a very Happy Bunny!

Randy having a drive on his new loco
Photo: Peter Harvey

Out on the track, looking the part!
Photo: Brian M
'Prospero' has been up to Station Road Steam for  its springs to be changed for stronger ones, and we look forward to seeing the loco in action out and about again.

We are still working away on the track to ensure it is in tip top condition, and we are about to concrete a 'vehicle' crossing down at the lake, so we can get stuff across the track in the lake area without damaging the track. The 'S and T ' Boys are also working away at maintaining and improving the system we have ,and are looking at providing some more interlocking to prevent conflicting movements.
...and, of course the bushes and trees are still growing in spite of the dry conditions, so this work is ongoing, as always!

The 'work' train coming back into the station after a busy day out on the line
Photo: Brian M

Monday, 25 June 2018


The steam drivers having a chat whilst steaming up under the shed canopy
Hello there, we are still here, but been very busy with this 'n that, so just found some time to update you on the latest happenings on and off the railway.
Our May Open Day was very successful, thank you for coming to see us. All went well and we thoroughly  enjoyed the afternoon. 'Isabel', 'Remus' and 'Little Olive' provided the steam power and we also had General, Chieftain, and The Shay  out and about.

John brings a train out of the station with 'Chieftain'
The works train including the new tool van was on display in the Tunstead Road siding, for all to admire and at long last our track gang Boys are using a loco to take out the wagons and tool van to where they are working on the track, mostly in the Lake area recently, where the generator is providing power as required.

Ray 'supervising' Randy on trackwork duties

The 'work' train with 'Viceroy' at the flat crossing

We have altered the ashpan bottom plate on 'Isabel' so it can 'hinge' down when required to lose ash during the afternoon so we don't  get a build up of very hot ash and clinker, which is not good for the grate ! This should mean that we don't have to drop the grate over the pit after each session which will make life a bit easier for the drivers after a hard afternoon's driving !!!!!! It was tested last Wednesday and worked well. So we may do the same on 'Hotspur' ?
'Prospero' is unserviceable at the moment due to very soft springing which is causing the brake gear to foul the track and sleepers now and then, resulting in a derailment. Stiffer springs are being provided by Station Road Steam, which we hope will solve the problem, so until then, the loco is being 'rested'!
Gardening, of  course, continues and all is looking tidy.......
Last weekend five of us popped down to the South Coast to ride some trains and had a great weekend on the Moors Valley, Swanage, Eastleigh, Mid Hants and the Isle of Wight railways. Good weather, great trains, excellent hosts on each, comfy hotels and good food with a few beers, what more could the Guys want!
Hope to see you on Sunday 1st July(surely not another month gone?), when we will be open to the Public with trains running from 2 til 5 pm....

'Hotspur' comes through the station with Keith in charge during our June Open Day