Sunday, 31 December 2017

Happy New Year !!!!





We would like to wish everyone, wherever you are on this amazing planet , a very Happy, a very Prosperous, a very     Healthy and a very Peaceful 2018, with lots of great trains! 




Best wishes from all the ALR Boys and Girls 

Sunday, 24 December 2017

It is Christmas !!!!

MERRY CHRISTMAS !


We would like to wish everyone, wherever you are, a very Happy Christmas and all our best wishes for a Peaceful, Healthy and  Prosperous 2018, with lots of trains !!!!


From all the ALR Gang 


 



 

Thursday, 21 December 2017

It's Nearly Christmas!

So are you nearly ready for Christmas ? how the time has flown by this year! We have been tidying up and continue to thin out the trees and bushes, especially along the Back Straight, and around the lake, which is opening up the views and letting light into some areas that have been 'shady' for a while. So, we are thinking we could have a log burning loco which could replenish its tender as it made its way around the track!!!!
We had a great evening at a local hostelry last Friday when 22 or so of us tucked into a lovely meal and  enjoyed a convivial atmosphere with Santa providing some nice Surprise parcels for the members present! 
Keith and Johnny have got Hotspur's new pistons fitted and we tested them out last Saturday on the rolling road with the help of the air compressor, and all ran smoothly, and so it is looking good. We look forward to steaming the loco up in the Spring as we have now moved the steam locos up into the top workshop shed and tucked them up nice and warm for the Winter. Our thanks to Brian and Kevin for their help and advice, we are very pleased with the progress on the loco. 
We are looking at replacing our timber 'electrical' boxes around the circuit that contain all the wiring and 'wigglyamp' things that control our points, signals and track circuiting, as these are deteriorating now (the boxes, not the wiring etc etc !). We have a couple of  metal/plastic boxes (outside meter box for one ) which are just the right size , so Graham and Ricardo are trying them out, working out how to get them in position over the existing wiring and 'stuff'., an interesting exercise we think!
A point lever has been made from part of an old one that we found, (it's amazing what you find tucked away if you look), which will be used for the new point to be installed down at the loco shed to give another steaming road alongside the existing track that goes into the loco shed, eventually.
We have had a clear out of all the building remnants from the Clubroom extension, enabling us to get the locos in for the Winter 'hibernation'.   
We have placed the chassis and steel framing for the new Tool Van onto trestles in the workshop, so progress can be made on this vehicle, which is going to be a very useful addition to the rolling stock fleet.
So, always things to do to keep us occupied, so until next time.....keep smiling !
TTFN

P.S. no piccys unfortunately, as the 'modern technology' stuff is not co-operating, maybe next time, hey ho !

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

November Update

Hi, yes it is November, can you believe it ? The dark nights are with us, the temperature has dropped , and the fireworks are all done for another year, and it will soon be 'you know what' again, where has this year gone?
But, we are still keeping busy now that our Public Operating Days are finished with, there's plenty to do ! We have installed a set of 'rolling roads' on our hydraulic table so we can get at locos more easily for maintenance work, and we have 'Hotspur' on it at the moment while we fabricate and fit the new pistons which are coming on nicely, thanks to our Johnny B and a certain Young Man who has Hemsby connections! (can't wait to see the A4 Brian ! wow)..


Hotspur being loaded onto the 'rolling road'

A close up of the rolling road installation
   










                                                                                       

Our recently acquired 'grass cutting and tidying machine' has been in action picking up one or two leaves that seem to be laying about, very effective! 


The 'GCand TM' in action with Peter and Richard in attendance

Some new turf has been laid by Richard to replace the worn path en route to the platform,

The new turf pathway
 Several trees have disappeared as part of the ongoing 'thinning' process to allow more light in and to open up some areas that were starting to get a bit dense. Woodpecker Lodge and the signal box are being treated to some paint. Trackwork 'fettling' continues and is well advanced generally, so well done Boys. The wagon shelter is nearly complete, and we are just about to start work on the construction of a 'machinery and equipment ' shelter down at Laurel sidings, to be done in tandem with the Loco Shed canopy, and our Clubroom extension has now received a lovely vinyl, simulated timber floor that is very smart indeed......
A couple of week ago we were pleased to be able to welcome some of the Boys who are associated with the Southwold Railway Project, (Neal, Nigel, John H and Tony R), with their newly built 71/4" gauge loco, intended for use on their Southwold site, giving rides to help swell their funds. They needed to give the loco a good run to see how it performed, and it went well ! A good day was had by all, and several of us had a drive which enabled some valuable feedback to be given to the Boys so they could improve one or two things. We look forward to seeing the loco at work on the Southwold Railway.

The Southwold loco being unloaded by Neal

The loco at work during the day along with General
Photos: Brian M


















and finally , our Annual General Meeting takes place on Saturday which gives us a chance to review the year's activities, and following that we are pleased to welcome Bob Bramson, (thanks Tony) who is going to give a a talk about steam injectors and test each one off our locos to ensure they are in good nick. Should be an interesting day.

TTFN











 

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

Thursday, 6 July 2017

July Open Day ? Excellent !


Ray taking the goods wagons round to the 'Boondocks'
Photo: Ross McKenzie
Thank you to all our lovely visitors who came along last Sunday to enable us all to have a most enjoyable Open Day, The weather was brilliant, we had lots of happy people, all our locos ran well, and nothing fell off the track, so we were happy Boys and Girls! We had two visiting steam locos to help out too, as Phil (of Blackgates Engineering fame) was staying in one of the holiday cottages (Eastviewfarm.co.uk) and had brought along his Sweet Pea, 'Jacquie O', and enjoyed several trips around the circuit on Wednesday when we set him up, and then most of Sunday afternoon saw the loco doing a fine job hauling our passengers. Lovely loco.  

Phil brings a train past the signalbox onto 'Den' section during the Open Day
Photo: Brian M
David and Tony came over with 'Remus' to help out again, and had a good afternoon, why wouldn't they?, so our thanks to them for helping out....We had Isabel, Chieftain, General, The Shay and Nelson on duty during the afternoon, and Viceroy stood with a work train on the loop in the 'Boondocks'.....we had a fly past too .....from a swarm of bees, but fortunately they didn't stay, maybe they are not into trains ????

Steve having a steam 'teach in' from Keith
Photo: Brian M
and.....the Clubroom extension is nearly done, we have fixed the ceiling joint cover strips and cut and painted the skirting ready to fit, so we will be attacking the kitchen area over the next two or three weeks then our 'expert' flooring gang can come in and fit the vinyl flooring, at which time we should be just about done, dare we say?, and oh yes, we are going to fit roller blinds to the windows too....

Peter is getting used to 'Prospero'..... bit by bit, and the Boys are now fitting an electric water pump on the tender to help keep the boiler filled up....track maintenance continues along with a big effort to relay and re ballast the track in the tunnel area which was totally flooded last week after the heavy downpour we had, well done Boys...and the bushes and shrubs are continually being trimmed as they are growing like there's no tomorrow, so plenty do do to keep us out of mischief (what us???) see you soon

TTFN

 
Dave having a drive on 'Nelson'
Photo: Ross McKenzie



Sunday, 25 June 2017

Even Better June !

So where have some of us been for the weekend ????














Not too difficult to spot for those Narrow Gauge enthusiasts amongst you???? We would like to express our thanks for the warm welcome we received at all these Great Little Railways, we even had a very enjoyable and scenic ride on 'Arriva Trains Wales' along the coast from Porthmadoc to Fairbourne, lovely trip, friendly staff, and economical too! 
There was one other railway that we visited on the way home, the Echills Wood Railway, impressive as always,  but no photos available, sorry,  mainly 'cos we didn't take any, too busy talking and looking!!!!. We were impressed with the coach bogies that the Guys have made as we are looking at possible improvements to ours, so thanks to Jeff and Co for their welcome , once again..... 

Meanwhile, back at the 'Ranch' we have taken delivery of 6 tonnes of granite ballast (shared a 12 tonne load with our 'Parklands' friends) to replenish our track in parts where some tweaking is needed. More second fix work (door trims/skirting etc) being done on our Clubroom extension, gardening continues as always, to keep the site looking neat and tidy, and we have our July Open Day next Sunday 2nd July, so maybe we'll see you then ?

TTFN 

P.S., just in case you didn't spot the railways we visited, they were the Welshpool & Llanfair,.Llanberis..Fairbourne,... Talyllyn..and  Ffestiniog... marvelous !

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Enjoyable June!

Time flies by and we have been quite busy.........we had a visit from some of our friends from the Nottingham Club last Wednesday when they brought over three locos for a run round our track before travelling across to the Parklands Railway at Hemsby for a couple of days. Roy Hollingworth and Barrie came over with his brilliant Class 40 and Mk1 coaches...there was Pete's 'Sweet Rocket' (7 1/4 version of a metre maid 0-6-2)...and Nigel's Class 08, Great to see them all enjoying our facilities.

Roy's Class 40 ready to go
Photo: Richard Neale
A good time was had by all and Tony and Liz kindly provided some tasty refreshments for our visitors for them to enjoy in the surroundings of our newly extended Clubroom ! 
We are still busy with 'stuff', the Clubroom extension now has its ceiling fitted and the fluorescent lights are installed, so we are nearly there.The gardening needs lots of attention as everything is growing like mad, and the track seems to have taken to wandering here and there, so we need to spend some more time 'tweaking'. 


Busy station area unloading a train
Photo: John Pond
Our June Open Day was good, and started off with a visit from our local 'Radio Norfolk' as part of their Treasure Quest ' programme on Sunday mornings. They came to us for their second clue, which was eventually located by Sophie, in the Squit Mine entrance. So, a nice little plug on the radio for our Open Day. 

Sophie's found the clue at the Squit Mine
Photo courtesy of Radio Norfolk
The weather was kind and we had lots of visitors who enjoyed the atmosphere, as always, David and Tony brought up David's much travelled Romulus, 'Remus'  again, and  we coaxed out 'The General', ' Nelson', ' The Shay',  'Chieftain', 'Isabel' and 'Hotspur', (but only briefly)...

The Shay coming off Lake section
Photo: John Pond
We didn't all manage to get over to Hemsby unfortunately, but we hear they had a good week, and the weather was kind for them!
Peter's new Feldbahn is finding its way around the track a bit more, as Peter becomes more accustomed to dealing with the vagaries of a steam locomotive!  .....and we have another 'Fun Day' this coming Saturday when we have four more locos visiting.....watch this space !



Happiness is ????
Mr Ball (Yard Boss) and Yours Truly (Shay Engineeer)



TTFN