Friday, 6 October 2017

Good final Open Day for 2017


A happy Matthew ready for another trip!

Well, we got away with it, again, !!! the weather forecast for our final 2017 Open Day last Sunday was awful, but  by early afternoon, the rain went somewhere else (thank you) and we were able to have a very enjoyable and relaxing afternoon with our happy visitors. It was not 'busy, busy' but the shorter queues meant that people got more rides and we were able to chat to people as the pressure was off. 
Our two visiting locos, 'Holkham' and 'Remus' and their drivers in the station

'Chieftain' and 'Holkham' awaiting signals to clear outside the station
When we started building the ALR we were just a bunch of Guys who wanted to build a miniature railway for our own enjoyment and satisfaction, and back then in 2002, we would never have dreamed that we would create what you see today from a  'grass field' ! So, having decided to open the railway up occasionally back in 2004 to help to fund the further building and maintenance of the site, we could not have anticipated how popular we would get ! We never wanted to be a 'Tourist Attraction!  So thank you for coming and we hope to see you again in 2018.
One of our best experiences is to see people like young Matthew, who is probably our most travelled visitor on the railway, having such a good time each time he comes with his Carer and his Family, and as you can see, he just loves the place !!!!!!

Peter with 'Prospero' and a full train coming over the bridge
So, things to do to keep everything uptodate, the Clubroom floor is now prepared ready to receive the vinyl flooring, we are installing the 'rolling roads' on our hydraulic lift table to enable us to work on locos more easily, and 'Hotspur's' new pistons are coming along nicely.The shelter for the wagons is taking shape. Then we will construct the canopy at the front of the loco shed so locos can be prepared in the dry! 

The 'nerve center'  Boys keeping everything running
The S & T Boys are sorting out the 'wiggly amp' things to do with servos on the signals and the like, to make them more reliable as required, and gardening continues , constantly.........several , ha , ha, trees to come out to allow the rest to grow nicely, track maintenance continues, and we now have a bigger Clubroom to keep clean!
We are having our last Fun Day later this month followed by a fish and chip supper which will be a nice way of rounding off the running season. We will then be checking all the locos and stock to see what needs to be done over the Winter, and we are thinking  of installing a water tower of some sort at the platform to enable the steamers to be topped up more easily. The gate at the signal box sidings needs rehanging on the other side to allow easier access for vehicles and their trailers to reach the ramp, the list goes on !

TTFN

Paul comes down the lake bank with 'Holkham'
All photos: John Pond






  

Monday, 25 September 2017

Nearly October ?


Kevin prepares 'Bertie' while Kathy and Kay help in the damp.
Hi there, we can't believe that's it will be October this week, where has this year gone? So we are preparing for our last Open Day of 2017, this coming Sunday 1st , and are hoping for some nice weather to finish off with. All our usual locos with maybe a couple of visitors from down the road to help us out again, so should be a nice afternoon.
We had a pleasant visit from the folks over at the Great Yarmouth and District Model Railway Club the other week and we did manage to run some trains although the weather wasn't too kind. It was a relaxing evening, enabling us to chat and enjoy a cuppa or two!



Then last Saturday we had a visit from some of our friends over at the Evergreens Miniature Railway when Kevin, Kathy and Kay brought along Kevin's Romulus, 'Bertie', which had a great time with one or two 'guest' drivers having a go, (thanks Kevin, nice loco), and  Alan came up from the Chelmsford Club with his lovely 2 truck, steam Shay, a lovely loco, very smooth and powerful. We even got 'Lucille' steamed up for the first time in a long while and she was a very good girl, running well with Alan and Keith at the controls.





'Prospero' had a good running session under the watchful eye of Keith and Peter


So we had a good day with one or two of ours out as well. Have a look on 'UTube' under 'BillycanKay' for some film of the day's running (thanks Kay!)

Alan prepares the Shay for action in the dry!




















We have started to construct the wagon shelter down at Laurel Sidings and have had a bit of a clear out in the top workshop now that the building extension materials are just about done with, which has enabled us to move 'Hotspur' up there ready for the work involved in fitting the new pistons that we are making, We also have purchased a set of 'rolling roads' for the locos to sit on which will be a very useful addition to our  equipment. Work continues with track maintenance with sleeper replacement and tweaking continuing as required. Quite a bit of tree 'pruning' to be done to keep things in check as everything has been growing like crazy this year, and we have been 'given' a powered grass mower by one of our members and we are just getting the machine into good running order, then some of us can be 'trained' (oops sorry!) in the operation which will take some of the workload off our Chairman in the grass cutting department! We also might see some progress on the new 'Toolvan', as we have 'found' it under all the building stuff that has been stored in the top workshop, so we will have a fine 'worktrain' once that is complete, watch this space.....



'Bertie' and the 'Shay' rest in the station with 'Prospero' loitering at the rear

See you soon...
TTFN

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

September Time

Ray trundles round to do some track tweaking with 'Viceroy'

Hi there, we had a great Open Day last Sunday, when the weather was great and lots of nice people came to see us, thank you, we had a very enjoyable afternoon. We were pleased with the 'wrist stamp' ticketing that we introduced which went down well with our visitors and which made life a lot easier for our Ticket office and Platform ladies..... We ran four trains for most of the afternoon which dwindled down to three later on. Chieftain, Prospero, General, Nelson, Isabel, Remus and Little Olive (where are you Paul ???) were on duty with Remus being a bit off colour after derailing for no apparent reason on the Laurel Sidings mainline point, so David decided to withdraw the loco just in case , but we understand that there is no serious damage. Little Olive also had a bit of a sulk and was taken off in sympathy, but again no damage so that is good news.

Ross brings 'Nelson' past Laurel Sidings with a full train on Open Day
In the extended Clubroom, we are now ready for the flooring to go in and we will then be just about done (maybe????), it's a lovely area now and we are very pleased with the way it has turned out.
   Our revised speed limit signs are nearly all out now following our decision to make the maximum speed 4 mph, after we had a play with our mobile phones to see how fast we were really going, think we told you about that previously?.

Track 'tweaking' in progress
  So the next tasks will be a shelter for the wagons down at Laurel Sidings, and one for the powered grass cutter that has very generously, been donated by one of our members. This will be at the rear side of the carriage shed once one or two trees have been 'dismantled!. Then there is also the Tool Van to complete once we can get at it when the top workshop area is cleared of all the building debris and leftovers !!!! (think a skip will be called for !)
 The S and T Boys are looking at ways of introducing a time delay on some points so the point cannot be thrown until the train has cleared, as sometimes the signalling staff are a bit too quick resetting a route !!!! (only sometimes we hasten to add!)  But seriously they do a great job in there on Open Days as it demands very intense concentration to keep four trains on the move, never mind five, (which we have decided not to do !), and interruptions are not a good thing, which is why we ask that people do not go in there during the afternoon.

Graham busy with remedial work on the control panel in the Signal Box

A 'mixed ' train as our American Friends would say with a passenger train bringing back the work train wagons, just wait til we get the Tool Van finished !
All photos: Brian M
 and....we are looking forward to a visit this Thursday evening by the Great Yarmouth Model Railway Club when we will have a pleasant evening running one or two trains and having a bit of a 'mardle' !!!

TTFN   

Monday, 14 August 2017

This 'n That

We had a great Open Day on 6th August, when the weather was, once again, warm and sunny, and we had lots of nice people visit us, thank you. Everything ran more or less OK, and at one time there were five trains out, although the feeling is that we should leave it at four, as trains are less likely to be held up at signals while trains are unloaded and loaded in the station. 'Remus' and 'Little Olive' came to see us, and we ran 'Hotspur', 'Isabel', 'The Shay', 'Chieftain', 'General', and 'Nelson' during the afternoon. 'Prospero' also proudly appeared in the early afternoon to give Peter his first experience of driving his loco on an Open Day, and it went well, so well done Peter!

'Prospero' and 'Chieftain' in the station area during the August Open Day
'Little' Olive' was a bit naughty, but the Boys eventually managed to make her better and she came out later for another 'play'.. 'Hotspur' was even naughtier and was failed  due to a lack of power, again, and was sent back the the shed in disgrace. We have since, with the help of Brian B and Kevin, (many thanks Guys, and well done to Keith and Ben), discovered that the piston rings are worn and are not really the correct ones for the loco, and so we have decided to 'bite the bullet', and fabricate new ones!. So, this is a major step forward for us as we are not miniature steam loco engineers, but we are beginning to get to grips with the fascinating, and often frustrating world of these wonderful machines ! Exciting !!!!! The materials are ordered, so watch this space for progress reports.

The 'Brains Trust' discussing 'Hotspur's' problem!
Several of us enjoyed a really good afternoon at the Parklands Railway at Hemsby on August 1st when the Club members, courtesy of the site owners, ran lots of interesting trains during the afternoon, during which a superb BBQ was also available, and well patronised !!!! 
We have fitted the posh external fascia to the Clubroom extension (plan E worked!), and we are starting on the revised kitchen layout so we can lay the vinyl floor. Some wall cupboards have been fitted in the workshop for the S & T Boys to store their precious components in (it is alleged!).

Smart new fascia on the Clubroom extension
We recently took a train load of members around the circuits to see how fast 5 mph really is, with the help of speedometer apps on our mobile phones! We have decided that 4 mph is fast enough for our track, with 2 mph restrictions at various points, so additional signs are being fabricated (posh word for made!), and will be in place soon. We have also introduced a basic Induction sheet for visiting drivers to read and sign to ensure they are aware of the way our railway operates. We tried this with our visiting Friends on our recent Open Day, and they were happy with the arrangement.

Finally, would visitors kindly note some changes to our ticketing arrangements on Open Days, when from 3rd September 2017, Single tickets will be £2, Rovers £4, and there will be no Family Rovers issued from this date. Children of 2 years and under can travel free.   Thank you
TTFN





Friday, 28 July 2017

July Jottings


'Birthday Boy' takes some of his guests for a spin with 'Chieftain'.
Photo; Graham Reeve
Hi there, just one or two jottings to keep you up to date......one of our members celebrated a 'significant' Birthday last week, so on Saturday, we had a bit of a Fun Day, with a few trains out, followed by a Fish and Chip Supper that was most enjoyable. Some 30 Souls were present to enjoy the convivial surroundings in our newly extended Clubroom, and later after the 'Land and Seas' , enjoyed a tipple and some delicious gateaux...loverley...

Peter is getting to grips with 'Prospero' now and had a few trips around the circuit, including a coach carrying some of the visitors staying in the Holiday Cottages who enjoyed the ride....(Must have been his experience aboard '60009' on the Mid Norfolk recently?????)

Bit different to 'Prospero' eh  Peter?
We had a brilliant Fun Day with four visiting locos on Saturday 15th July, when we had our three, (and I must get things right now once and for all, one Suffolk and two Norfolk visitors (not three Suffolk! sorry Chaps) who often help out on Open Days!!! who once again brought along their 'Sweet Williams' and 'Romulus' for a relaxing 'play day', and we had Bruce and Brian over from the Chelmsford Club with Bruce's fine Stafford, 'Kitty'. So, as you can imagine, we had a great day with several of our members being allowed to drive the visiting locos which went down extremely well and brought lots and lots of beaming smiles as the trains trundelled around!.

A fine line up of visiting locos !
I know we keep saying this, but work on the Clubroom extension really is nearly complete, but it's always the fiddly bits and pieces that take the time! We expect the flooring to go down soon, after the August Open Day, then we can finalise the kitchen and fit the skirtings......and wait until you see the fancy external fascia we are working on.....very smart !!!! 
..and the 'gardening', well, everything is shouting with glee and competing to see which one can grow the quickest and highest, which means...??? Yes, you've guessed it....... more and more time spent on trimming it all...
One of our next tasks is to construct the canopy on the end of the Loco shed to give some protection to the crews steaming up the locos when the weather is 'inclement', together with a possible extra siding under so two locos can take shelter, (but we haven't told the 'track gang' yet !!!,) and we have all the bits necessary to construct a shelter to house the open wagons, now that the sheds are nearly full again, so there's always a job or three to be done.

We are looking forward to popping across to Hemsby next week to enjoy their, now, annual Parklands Railway BBQ, which will be good, as we can catch up with friends old and new, just hope the weather stays kind !
Well, think that'll do for now, hope to see you soon, keep smiling


 

TTFN