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Salfords Light Railway

The Salfords Light Railway diary

April 2003

Need to be making good progress on the station area to be ready in time for my running day / barbeque in June. I am making good progress on the station. The loco and carriage shed may have to wait a while though as I have other higher priority items to sort out - non railway.

Have 2 friends coming round who have been involved with miniature railways for some years. Dave Smallbone was one of the other original builders of the Merstham Valley Railway.

I don't know, get rid of the skip out of the drive and the following day a load of ballast and "stuff" arrives. Station building here I come!

Doris and I started outside bright and early today by building a wall (to stop you falling off the garden on to the platform) - that took all morning. Julie turned up with the kids after lunch and we set to ballasting. Between them they moved about 1.5 tons of rock over the afternoon. Not bad going by any standards. They brought their friend Roger Atkins - not sure if he knew what he was letting himself in for.!

Here's Doris pointing the new station wall. The mortar is still wet which is why it is red. I hope (?!) it blends in a bit better once it dries.

Once the wall was in place, we fitted the paving slabs for the platform itself, then the kids started filling barrow loads of ballast.

James with that look of determination.

You can also see my SALFORDS station name board on the shed.


The boys brought loads of ballast up to the station, and Natalie and I levelled it out to form a bed for the second platform track.

Seeing as it was the first time Roger had been round, he got to have the first drive of the day.

Whilst Natalie took the laid-back approach to tamping ballast.

We've also laid a lot of ballast down the "other" fence side to raise the noticeable dip near the birdbath.

Without a shadow of a doubt, Doris and I couldn't have done half what was achieved without the help of the kids.

Saturday 5th April 2003

Last thing in the afternoon after Julie and the kids had gone home, Doris got to drive the first train in to the new station. Sorry, no picture.

Still got lots to do before my friends come round next Saturday. I may try and take Friday off work to get some more jobs done.

Went round to see Paul at Ride on Railways and picked up my remaining 2 tipper wagons. Actually, that is not 100% accurate. John Crosskey (one of my friends who is visiting next weekend) also ordered 2, and Paul has lent me his 2, so I actually have 8 at the moment! I got home too late to take a picture today, but might be able to get one after work tomorrow.

Umm, thinking... I may extend the wall and platform along towards the fence. I just think it will look neater.

Making progress. I have tamped all the ballast put in last week. Still have a low spot by the bench at the end of the garden, but that can be fixed easily enough. I have also put in the 2nd platform track so I could conceivably run 2 trains now. I think I have a check rail out of gauge - will look at that tomorrow. So, I am ready for John Crosskey and Dave Smallbone to come round. Rumour has it that they will be bringing some rolling stock of their own and we're going to get PETER; my Hunslet, in steam for the day.

Dave Smallbone and John Crosskey came round for the day and we've had a good time "playing trains". That is after all what the end result of all the work in the garden has been about.

Here's Dave raising steam on PETER. As suspected, it is just technique and as Frank (the former owner) told me, once you raise steam there is no problem producing it. I'll say, the safety valves were lifting nearly all the time. With a combination of paraffin-soaked wood and charcoal to get things going, we'd raised steam in about 30 minutes.

As I don't have a proper steaming bay yet, we found it easiest to use PETER's trolley.

We have found though that the fire can die very quickly, so straight on the blower when you stop.

PETER has no trouble at all with the gradients in my garden.

I was given the first drive, but didn't get anyone to take a picture of me - which was a bit daft.


Here's Dave running with PETER, my 4 V-tippers, Paul Middleton's 2 and John Crosskey's 2.

This will be the only time in the near future to run a train of all 8 wagons.


Dave getting a face-full along the chain-link fence.

This is where the low-spot was which I raised, ballasted and tamped just before Dave and John arrived this morning.


We had a good couple of hours running PETER before hunger set in, so we let him go "off the boil" whilst we ate. After lunch we posed my 2 locos in the newly finished station. OK, it isn't really finished, but you know what I mean.

The slate wagons and brake van behind PETER are John Crosskey's.


Getting down low on the ballast I got this very satisfying shot of my two locos.


As PETER's fire had died, we hooked up #1 (my Trojan) to the tippers and John had a run around - well, actually we all did.

If you think the rear tipper looks as if it is off the track, it isn't, it is just one of the unusual "transverse" tippers which Paul at Ride on Railways made especially for John.

The 2 tippers with red buckets are John's.


The grass is starting to grow slowly too.

But this is my favourite picture of the day.

I think John and Dave had a good time, I certainly did, and it was great to see PETER finally fulfilling his potential. I just have to hope I have luck next time firing him on my own.

Though it is not a real problem, the short length of 10' radius curve along the chain-link fence side needs replacing. I have the rail to do it, just haven't gotten around to it yet. I did wonder if I might get away with it, but running PETER and a 4-wheel driving trolley round yesterday showed how much the stock "kicks" on the short curve, so I shall have to deal with that.

One thing we did note is that the footboards on some of John's rolling stock was getting very close to my point-levers. I may have to move them further outwards, or turn them through 90 so they are parallel to the track.

Went to Berlin over Easter so didn't get anything done on the railway. I did get to visit a couple of lines in Berlin though: 500mm Feldbahnprojekt e.V. and the Berliner Parkeisenbahn.


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[ author: - last updated 28th Apr 2003 ] [ HOME ]

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