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Salfords Light Railway

The Salfords Light Railway diary

January 2003

I was invited along to the family & friends day at the Ickenham & District Model Engineers track on New Year's Day.

To say the weather started out wet is an understatement, however it dried up and we got about an hour's running in the dry. Notice driver in necessary waterproof clothing!

This is a particularly good example of a 5" gauge Talyllyn Railway DOLGOCH - even with 4 passengers on the back she had no trouble producing ample steam.

Unknown to me at the time, Paul Middleton of Ride on Railways was there with 5 of his new V-tippers. 2 of these were for me with 2 more to follow later.

This is a picture I nabbed form Paul's own site.

3rd January 2003 - Steam up!!

My good friend Robin came round and we spent most of the day mucking about in the garden. At least it stayed dry, though it did turn rather cold.

OK, so basically it is just practice, but it took a long time to get up steam (not far off 2 hours in the end, but hey, it was my first time), and I am not convinced the coal is as good as it could be. It took for ever to get it burning and after 3 laps the fire had gone out. Curses. OK, practice makes perfect, but it is a little annoying.

And would you believe it, the batteries in my digital camera went flat (with no warning) just as I got steam up!! Here's the last shot I got out of the camera before the battery died on me. You'll have to take my word for it that I did get up steam - even if it didn't last long.

Not having a raised steaming bay is a real pain in the neck - and knees, back, etc. Between us, Robin and I had a ponder on this one, and we came up with the following:


If I run a switch-back from near the turntable down towards the shed, I can use the natural drop of the garden along with a rising gradient to give me a working / steaming bay about 3' in the air - which will make access a whole lot easier. It'd be preferable to put it somewhere a bit closer to the loco shed, but I don't see how I can get enough drop (or rise) to get in underneath the loco - I will just have to see how it works out, but I'd prefer it near the turntable.

Incidentally, Don Young (who designed the Hunslet) needs shooting for putting the boiler blow-down valve in such an inaccessible position!

I am making real progress with the Trojan now. About all that is left to complete the loco are the cranks, the max speed pot., and the battery-level meter needs connecting up, but otherwise nearly there.

I had real trouble with the Halfords own-brand paint covering - especially the green. I resorted to Plasti-kote lawn green in the end as it covers better, but it is a bit light.

I also noticed I forgot to put the RoR badge above the radiator - it is picked out in red - looks nice.

On this shot you can see one of my "not sure if it is a good idea"s. Many industrial locos are rather crude in design and to replicate this I have attached the vented side panels (bought in a DIY store) with small wing-nuts. Many full-size industrial diesels have wing-nuts like this to make it easy to get to the "innards". If you don't believe me, go and have a look through some of the photos I took at the Amberley Working Museum. I am not 100% convinced, and in this photo the strong sunlight makes them stand out against the shadows - up close they are not quite so prominent. A friend has since told me in no uncertain terms they look terrible! Oh well. Perhaps I will look at making some sort of replacements.

I am still contemplating some kind of exhaust, probably directly up in front of the cab window.

My TROJAN (aka No. 1) is shown here with 2 of RoR's new V-tippers. I have ordered a total of 4, but have only received 2 so far as Paul says they take up too much time and is only building about 1 per week.

Still not fixed a date for my "grand opening" but the ground is pretty water-logged at the moment so I guess I don't want a couple of dozen feet turning what bit of grass I do have in to a swamp. I'd also like to make some progress on the station area, so perhaps the opening will wait until about March - we'll see.

I have had a re-think about the coaching stock. I am still going to build what I planned to build, it is just when I will do it. At the moment the 2 chassis are standing on end in my shed and taking up next to no space. However, if I build the bodies I will have a real storage problem. The 4-wheeler might be OK, but the bogie coach will be too big. So, for now, I will leave the body(s) until I have built my combined loco and carriage-shed.

On the subject of loco maintenance and inspection tracks... I didn't mention that Robin turns his hand to all sorts of mechanical and metal fabrication "problems". We were having a natter on the phone (as you do) and I said that something nearer the locoshed would be preferable. We don't like the idea of a pit as it'd have to go down a good 30" and flooding might be a problem - and a conservatory is planned for the current site of the patio, which might cause problems with foundations. A hydraulic lift as you find in a garage is out of the question (it'd be interesting though!), but a scissor lift might be possible. He's gone away to have a think, but if anyone can design it Robin can. Watch this space.

Robin also admits that he got bitten by the "bug" the other day (the garden railway bug that is, not something I cooked for him), so perhaps he'll be building a 5" gauge line too. He has got the space, there's about 4 acres of land behind his house, he just claims he is "too busy" - which is probably true actually.

12th January 2003

Most important guests - my parents - and Doris. This was the first opportunity for my Father to visit the line since he came out of hospital in November and the first time he could actually get to have a drive - mostly due to the weather.

It was bitterly cold, but there was no wind (unusual for my garden) and sitting on the bench in the sun it was quite pleasant.

The weather news after the event reckons it was -10C.

Went to the Model Engineers Exhibition at Wembley. To be honest, I was somewhat disappointed.

Although the club stands put on a good show, I couldn't find any competition classes or "display" locos. Plenty of tools and materials for the model engineer, not many models.

Here's a picture of the combined Polly Model Engineering and Ride on Railways stand which was right next to the entrance.

Still, there were a few things that caught my eye, so I have set up a small gallery of the pictures I took.

Some time ago I asked Paul at Ride on Railways if he would be interested in making a protected (not fully armoured) 40hp Simplex as provided to the British War Department in World War I. Originally I had thought he wasn't interested, but he mentioned it to me again the other day, so perhaps he'll make one after all. Years ago I used to have a 009 model of one of these by Meridian Models. It is like Marmite, you either love it or hate it. I have a bit of a soft spot for them myself. Here's a couple of links if you are interested: www.wdlr.org.uk -and- www.tinturtle.info

Image courtesy of the Moseley Railway Trust and used with permission.

Whilst refurbishing Salfords station, they tore down all of the old station names (those the vandals hadn't already dealt with) and replaced them with new ones. Thanks to the assistant station manager for the area (Salfords is not big enough to have a station manager all itself), a polite enquiry has produced:

Not quite as classy as the old Southern green enamelled ones, but hey, it is an original.

Minitrains Train Site Award 2003Minitrains has given the Salfords Light Railway website a 4-star award.


[ author: - last updated 25th Feb 2003 ] [ HOME ]