Monday, 23 December 2019

Happy Christmas !!!!

Image result for christmas pop art

All of us at the ALR would like to wish you and your families a Very Happy Christmas, and a Happy, Prosperous and Healthy New Year,and we hope to see you at one of our Open Days in 2020.....

Image result for christmas pop art

Image result for christmas pop art

Image result for christmas pop art

Image result for christmas pop art


Friday, 6 December 2019

It's beginning to look a lot like !!!!!

'Thunderbox' takes the prototype Guard's vehicle for a spin

Hi there
Yes, as they say, 'time and tide waiteth for no man ( or woman)', and it's nearly that time again. Where has this year gone?

Unfortunately we have some sad news, as one of our Founding members, Ken Gilham, passed away recently after a long suffering kidney illness. Ken was a Guard on the Bure Valley Railway, being one of the Founding Friends of the Bure Valley Railway. He was also a guard and driver on the ALR , as well as being involved with the building and running of our railway over the years. Ken was a popular member, having a dry sense of humour and will be sadly missed.

Work continues at the railway with more work being progressed on the 'prototype' Guard's vehicle , with it more or less as we think it should be. The seating has been slightly raised to give a better view forward without sacrificing the stability of the vehicle, and it has been fitted with a higher back to provide more comfort for the Guard, with, eventually, a padded, upholstered seat and back (Pleeze Ladies???). It had a sucessful run on Wednesday, running nicely, so the plan now is to strip it down and give it a coat of grey paint, which it is thought might be its final colour, which once it has the 'ALR' and 'Guard' plates fitted, should look smart.Then we need to re appraise the chassis design and cost the vehicle to see if we can afford, or want to build any more !

Keith and John sampling the ride on the GV

The Guards vehicle was taken round the track behind 'Thunderbox' which the Boys have finally managed to coax back into life, with the help of a new coil and the old spark plugs !!!!!! So happy faces all round. 

Happy John, Pierre, Ricardo and George with a running 'Thunderbox' !

The loco also took a set round to check the running over the Lake flat crossing which has been remade and fitted by Randy, Ray and Barry. Excellent job chaps, very professional installation, which is all that we have come to expect from our Track Boys!!! 

Randy finalising the installation of the new Lake flat crossing

The new shredder has been busy chewing up tree bits all around the site so there is now plenty of mulch to spread around to keep the weeds and vegetation down.

Peter and Alan in amongst the vegetation

Graham and Ricardo are scratching their heads to come up with some more reliable signalling circuits, (wiggly amps we call 'em!), so we look forward to seeing the results of their musings, eventually....
We have also been replacing some of the fence palings and refurbished the platform gate hinges, and we also attended to a roof leak in the Clubroom, that manifested itself some weeks ago during some very heavy rain accompanied by strong winds. We think we have sorted it but time will tell.
We are looking forward to our Christmas meal in a local Hostelry next week, and we are having a bit of a running session on Saturday 21st December, as an excuse to devour some mince pies, sausage rolls and the like. No steamers as they are all tucked away but one or two of the other locos will no doubt have a trundle round !


Tuesday, 12 November 2019

November notes

Lovely Autumn colours down by the lake

Hello again
Winter cometh, it's getting chilly, and the dark nights are with us, roll on Summer !!!! but we carry on as best we can, still plenty of jobs to do, in between the 'mardling', ....the steam locos have had their tenders drained and are being prepared for their winter quarters where they well be warm and dry....the signals are inside now and being checked over one by one to see what needs to be done, as are the CCTV cameras, the track Boys have replaced the rotting timber sleepers at either side of the bridge, and creosoted the decking ready to be reinstalled and treated with decking stain, when its a bit drier, they continue to install 'H' timbers under the track joints to keep everything smooth. 

Randy, Ray and Barry at work at the bridge

Ray and Randy ditto

Some fencing palings are being replaced where rot is showing and they will all be repainted in the Spring. Tree and bush clearing continues...and 'Thunderbox' is receiving attention to find out why one of the choc blocks is melting?????.

The Guard vehicle prototype ready to go on a test run

The prototype Guards vehicle that Ken kindly allowed us to alter, is coming along nicely with the axles refitted to a shorter wheelbase to give a better ride and to ensure the Guard is sitting inside the wheelbase, if you follow me, to prevent any tipping movement. A redesigned handbrake has been fitted which gives a very positive action. The vehicle ran well during a test run last week, so with some more work on revamping the upper body (mmm?) to see what works best for the Guard (seat height, longer seat, higher padded backrest, shelf  for Guards stuff, flags, sandwiches, drink holder, alarm button etc etc) , and then we can cost it all and see if we can afford them.and decide if we really really, need any more (one for each train would be good? (Wish list item ????)

The revamped handbrake
We had a good day at the Wensum Valley Model Railway Exhibition last Saturday ( well done 32 A) with our display stand. The event was well attended and we met lots of nice people who were interested in our railway, several of whom had just moved into the area, interestingly, so we hope to see them next year. Our 2020 Open Day dates are shown opposite. Several interesting layouts were on view, with some having a wartime theme. It's always fascinating to see what peoples' imaginations come up with and some of the ingenious bits and pieces they put together are fascinating,
We have our AGM on Saturday which will establish our plans for next year, and then we have our annual Christmas meal to look forward to at a popular local 'tavern', where we get well looked after,should be good.


Thursday, 24 October 2019

Excellent Fun Day

Dave, Chris, John and Derek getting ready for  some Fun Day driving 

Hi there, to round off our operating season, we had a Fun day last Saturday when we had good weather and lots of Fun !!!! Dave and Chris brought up their locos, 'Remus' and 'Little Olive', and Dave also brought along two of his friends, John and Derek, who had a really good time driving and enjoying the surroundings (and the company!)., Several of our members hag a go at driving the visiting locos too so that was good. Our 'Hotspur' was out and about too, along with 'Chieftain,' 'The Shay', and 'Atlas'. We had a break for fish and chips at teatime( supper?) and then drove on into the dark which is an entirely different experience and lots of FUN ! A most enjoyable day !

Peter and Tyler have a go at driving Remus and Little Olive
Ben and John driving Hotspur and Remus

So now we can start to bring everything in and to get to grips with the maintenance that is required over the Winter. There are already more than a few things on the list !

More tree and bush thinning continues and we have nearly finished Randy's Den round the back of the coach shed where he, Ray and Barry do 'track things, now with a workbench, light and power, and a water butt with a tap so they can wash the dirty ballast.!.They have been busy replacing sleepers at the bridge recently with much creosoting going on to preserve the new timbers a bit longer, (it is quite wet down there). The signals are being brought in so we can see what needs doing to them, and one of the station gantry timbers is showing signs of a crack/shake or split, so that will have to come down too. The gnomes and fairies are starting to complain that it's getting cold overnight so they will have to come into the warm for the winter !
Our AGM is due in November, so following that we will be able to confirm the dates for next Year's Open Days, and  on 9th November, we are taking our display stand to the Wensum Valley Model Railway Exhibition courtesy of the 32A Model Railway Club and Fundraisers of Aylsham and District, so maybe we will see  you there ?

Relaxing with Remus in the station


Sunday, 6 October 2019

Today's Open Day cancelled

Hi Everyone
Just to let everyone know that we have had to cancel today's Open Day due to the extremely inclement weather...... 


Monday, 30 September 2019

Happy Alan back on Lucille again!

Hello again
Well just one more Open Day to go, this Sunday October 6th, when we hope to have as many trains as possible running to keep us on our toes, with hopefully a nice sunny afternoon for us all to enjoy! We hope to see you there?
No major work going on at the moment, just the normal tasks that need to be done to keep everything shipshape, gardening continues, track maintenance continues with our hardy Gang of Randy, Ray and Barry out and about with the work train tweaking as necessary, we have been trying to find out why 'Chieftain' runs out of power, with investigations ongoing on  how the batteries are charged, or is it a wiring problem..etc etc, the Boys will sort it out !
We've been having some good impromptu, (is that how you spell it ?).... training sessions now so that members can have a go at different tasks and enjoy all the variety, and fun ! of running our railway.
Finally, regrettably we have had to increase the price of our Rover tickets which will now be £5, with the Singles remaining at £2, still good value we believe.....see you soon

Dual arrival at the station on a busy July Open Day


Thursday, 5 September 2019

September update

Hello again, we had a very enjoyable September Open Day when we had time to chat to our visitors as it was not too busy (too hot, too cold, coming back from holiday, getting ready to go back to school, too many other attractions an the same day ? Who knows? ) But thank you for coming we were pleased to see you!
We had the usual good selection of locos on duty (Hotspur, Remus, Little Olive, General, Chieftain, The Shay, Nelson), and they all behaved apart from Chieftain which got the sulks and lost power, and the Shay seemed to be struggling until it was discovered that the coach brakes had been left on!!!!! Not a good idea.
Jobs continue with gardening and trimming ongoing, trackwork tweaks are keeping the Boys busy, the S and T Boys are still working at signal and track detection improvements, with the help of some very cheap components from our Chinese friends, how do they make 'em so cheaply?, and plans are  afoot to change signal 1 to colour light mode. There are always plenty of those 'little' jobs that can be done now the pressure is off on the big ones.We will be looking ahead soon, to list what needs to be done during the Winter once our October Open Day is done.
We had a bit of a Fun Day on Saturday 24th finishing off with running in the dark, which is always good fun ! This was to help our Treasurer to celebrate his xxth birthday, and fish and chips were enjoyed at tea time to help things along. an enjoyable day for everyone, with a bit of a carnival atmosphere with flags, music and disco lights and all sorts (but no photos unfortunately!)


P.S. Algernon is still fishing !

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

August Fun

Algernon fishing
We would like you to introduce a new ALR character, this is Algernon, we call him Algae !!!! (get it?), and he appeared one morning wondering if he could fish in the lake, well, he's been sat there for two or three weeks now, and as far as we know not even a nibble ! We don't want to spoil his fun, but fish in the lake?, there are non Mate......  hey ho.....

We have had a Fun Time this August, with a good Open day on the 4th with kind weather and lots of happy folks enjoying the railway. All went more or less well, despite some problems with the signals and track circuiting caused by the storms, which the S and T Boys are wading through and all seems just about OK now !.All the locos ran well apart from David's 'Remus' which developed a problem with an axle wheel moving on the axle, so the loco had to be withdrawn so David could remedy the problem back home, which we hope he has managed to do. Our usual locos were out and about, 'General' was going well for too long and ran out of power, 'Chieftain', 'Hotspur' and 'The Shay' all ran well.

Dismantling work in progress
Wet days are uncommon at the ALR so when we get one, as we did last Wednesday, all hands got involved in lots of jobs that needed doing but that were not quite essential ! So the workshop was a bit crowded, but the 'crack' was interesting, old CCTV stuff was dismantled to gain bits and pieces that could be utilised elsewhere, The Shay had its cab roof sanded down ready for a gloss coat down in the Laurel Sidings storage shed, there was some stuff going on in the loco shed with Isabel, 'Prospero' was having an extension fitted to the injector overflow pipe so the driver can see whether the injector had 'taken up' or not if water was issuing forth, and there was some work going on to make 'Thunderbox's' throttle smoother in operation, so a good day.

Add caption

Then last Saturday, our August 'Fun Day' we had a visit from a Class 66 belonging to Simon and his Dad James, Mum came along too,so it was a family day out and very enjoyable. The '66' was very impressive with lots of fine detail and the loco ran very well all day with some of the ALR Boys having a drive too, thanks Simon!.We use these days to enjoy our railway and it gives us a chance to practise new skills and at one time we had 5 trains out, as yours truly realised, it's all go in the signal box then, but help was at hand with JP and then Keith each helping out. So we got some more training done and had a thoroughly good day !

The Class 66 leaves the station

Just unloaded

A trio of locos resting at lunchtime

'Thunderbox' was out too


Friday, 2 August 2019

Month Eight already !

Happy Boys at Hemsby !

Hello Folks
We can't believe that it's August already and we are halfway through our Open Days for this year. We are looking forward to our next one, this coming Sunday, August 4th, when. as usual we will be running trains from 2 til 5 pm, so maybe we will see you then ? We expect to have three , if not four steam locos in action, plus our usual selection from General, Chieftain, Thunderbox and The Shay being available. We have booked nice weather!!!!!

The recent thunderstorms created quite a bit of damage to our signalling 'electrics' and the phones but Graham and Ricardo are working very hard to ensure we have a working system in place for Sunday...

A few of us had a ride out to The Parklands Railway at Hemsby yesterday, where there was in 'invitation' afternoon taking place. It was a very pleasant afternoon with several different locos out and about and a very good turnout of visitors, so there was much 'mardling' going on. Well done to all at Parklands for providing a really enjoyable afternoon.

                               Here is a selection of photos taken during the afternoon

All photos:Brian M

Thursday, 18 July 2019

July jottings

Randy brings 'Thunderbox' gently through the station during the July Open Day afternoon

Hi everyone 
We are in the midst of the 'holiday' season and so one or two of us, and more, have been in other parts recently, but our July Open Day went well, it was not too busy so there was a relaxed atmosphere with 'Thunderbox', 'Chieftain', 'Remus', 'Little Olive' and 'Hotspur' on duty. We had one or two signalling problems during the afternoon, but our crews coped well with 'line of sight' working at times, so all was well and the problems have been, mostly, resolved.since. 
'Thunderbox' is working well with just minor 'tweaks' being carried out, mostly to do with the throttle settings, but, overall we are pleased with the loco's performance. It's good to see the loco out and about again as it is very popular with our visitors.
We have also been carrying out work to 'Sergeant' with a new battery installation and some modifications carried out to the electrical bits and pieces, which have been sucessful, (of course!), as the loco has been tested and performs well again. So with luck the loco may be seen out and about again on Open Days. There has been talk of a double header with 'Viceroy'!  

'Sergeant on test wit the Pullmans

We were also amazed that one of our friendly Robins made a nest on the shelf just inside the carriage storage shed down at Laurel Sidings where they successfully raised and fledged some chicks. The birds were often seen flying in and out of the shed when we are about and they must have spotted a missing wall vent grille just above their nest site which enabled them to get in and out when we were not on site.
Mr (or Mrs ?) Robin on the nest in the carriage shed

On the trackwork front, Randy, Ray and Barry have now completed the installation of the 'sliding rail expansion joints' which seem to be doing their job and allowing the rail to move without distortion , so well done Chaps, another first for the ALR!
So, that just about brings us up to date, we are looking forward to visiting our friends at the Parklands Railway on 1st August for their annual bash, let's hope the weather stays kind, should be good.

The three steam locos doing their job very well in the capable hands of Dave, Chris and Pierre!
(all photos Stuart Moore)


Friday, 28 June 2019

Thunderbox is 30 !

Peter with Thunderbox's 30th Birthday Cake before the fun began (very tasty! )
Hi, we had a great afternoon on 23rd, celebrating 'Thunderbox's 30th Year and remembering the Little Melton Light Railway which also would have been around for 30 years this year. We had a nice turnout of friendly people who enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere, taking rides behind 'Thunderbox' which ran admirably, 'Hotspur', ditto, 'Remus', reliable as always, 'Chieftain', 'General' and The 'Shay'. 

Remus comes through the station with Dave in charge

Ray comes through the station with 'Chieftain' and the 'Pullmans'

'Thunderbox' was suitably attired with banners and 30th Birthday bunting and looked immaculate. The loco is a credit to all who had a hand in bringing this characterful engine back to life and ran perfectly all afternoon. It was particularly pleasing the welcome Michael Brett, a close relative of Bob Brett, the founder and owner of the Little Melton Light Railway. Michael was sure that Bob would be very pleased to see the LMLR tradition continuing at the ALR. 

Michael Brett enjoying a ride on the 'staff' train
We were also pleased to see Michael Fish, a one time volunteer on the LMLR, who is the driving force behind the LMLR website, (, and who brought along a video of the line that our Boys are going to transfer onto DVD format, so we can experience the LMLR as it was, at our leisure.

There was an interesting display of 'ancient' internal combustion engines, 

Andy and Thomas brought along their Showman's engine again, (they live 5 miles away, just an hour's drive!)

Andy attending to their Showman's engine
and Bob King came along with his powered bike with rear wheel 25cc powered 'CycleMaster'  bike dating back to 1957 ! complete with tax disc from those days !!!!!!

Bob's 'Cyclemaster'

So a very enjoyable afternoon for us all and our visitors....thank you for coming......

Our Junior Guards on duty
(all photos Brian M)