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2002 Diary: Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec
2003 Diary: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec
2004 Diary: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, closure notice, The Final Run

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Salfords Light Railway

The Salfords Light Railway diary

June 2003

Not too much to show really. I have been working in the house and have also been on holiday, so not much has been going on in the garden. Doris and I did manage to lay a stone circle. Next weekend is major-tidy-up for the barbeque the weekend after, so probably get a load of update shots done then.

I am aware that there hasn't been much of an update recently, but this coming weekend is the "last chance" to get ready for my opening day on the 28th.

The main areas to concentrate on now are the station, sheds, but also to make the top end of the garden a bit more presentable. i.e. the end nearest the camera.

This view also shows cows in the field at the end of the garden, which only happens a few days each year.

I mentioned in the May diary that there was "something afoot". Well, I had a long chat with Paul Normal of PNP Railways about his tipper. He's made 7" gauge versions for some time, but had just announced a 5" gauge version. Nice though it was, the bucket was a bit narrow. Paul said they made them this way so that they didn't overbalance. In 7" gauge these wagons are big enough to be practical and this is a valid concern, but in 5" they are mostly going to be a novelty and are not likely to be used in anger. I asked if there was any chance of redesigning the bucket to make it wider and more in proportion with the RoR ones I have and just more prototypical in general. Well, I got an email from Paul during the week that they are making the wider bucket and that they hope to be able to get it to me for my open day.

Here's the "original" PNP tipper design. We'll have to wait and see what the wider bucket looks like.

Not sure if the wide bucket is a one-off or a change to the whole design.

Paul at Ride on Railways also has a few plans up his sleeve for some rolling-stock, some of which will be finding its way to the SLR.

Doris chatting to the local train-spotters. This was the only shady place in the field, so we had ALL of the cows crammed in to a small space at the end of our garden.
Loads of cows. They're very inquisitive creatures.
After having a tidy-up and putting down some wood-bark chippings the station area looks much better.

The chippings may not be a permanent solution, but it does make the place look a bit tidier. I still need to lay a footpath from the "patio" down to the stone-circle for when it is wet.

I also intend to populate this area with some large terracotta pots.

The station from the other end. Still got a lot to do here - namely the loco shed and turntable, but it is presentable.

You can see a potential passenger waiting for a train...

He must have been waiting quite some time - he has fallen asleep.
And the pond is developing nicely. Looks like I am ready for the opening next Saturday.
Jobs still to do during the week - if I get time.
  • Replace the "kink" with the more gentle curve - this is just a cut and insert the new lengths of rail.
  • Test-run a train to see for any dips - it has been very hot and I can see where the aluminium rail has expanded and the track has moved.
  • Loads of tamping.

Well, I have been round and done a little tamping - not as much as I expected to have to actually.

Emma Crowley at PNP Railways called... The wagon is almost ready and they will ship it out via courier so it will reach me for Saturday. What nice people. OK, I am going to have to pay for the courier, but you can't have everything! Oh, and yes, it will have the wider bucket.

27th June: True to their word, PNP Railways delivered the tipper on time. The wider bucket looks good too. It is a fair bit larger than the Ride on Railways version, but then they came in numerous sizes so that doesn't matter.

RoR tipper on the left, PnP on the right.

28th June: Barbeque for my birthday and "Grand Opening".

The day dawned early and Doris and I went out in to the garden before 08:00 to start sorting things out for the big day. Taking no notice whatsoever that this is my brand-new PnP tipper, Doris uses it for weeding!

My brother-in-law and the kids came round to help too. It is amazing how long it can take to do the most simple jobs. "Thanks gang".

The arrangement was that anyone with young children who needed to leave early should turn up any when from 3pm. This also allowed me to get up steam and tidy PETER away before the bulk of the people turned up and long before it got dark.

Paul Middleton (of Ride on Railways) and his wife came along and brought some ride on coaches (as I have no body on mine yet) and also his saddle tank Trojan. I'd like to thank him as without this help it would have been rather more difficult to run for "the public".

He also brought his other 2 tippers (and eventually took back the 2 that I have had on loan) and he made up this "show train" of all our tippers and my loco - although I notice he left off the PnP tipper.

Photo courtesy of Paul Middleton of Ride on Railways and used with permission.

After not-so-successful previous attempts, I managed to raise steam and have quite a few good trips round the garden.
My firing technique still needs some work though, and to be honest, when there are 35-40 people around, this is not a good time to learn to fire a steam loco.

Photo courtesy of Paul Middleton of Ride on Railways and used with permission.

However, I am flushed with confidence that this is just practice now as I have been able to raise and maintain steam pressure.

Photo courtesy of Paul Middleton of Ride on Railways and used with permission.

My brother-in-law also managed to get a good fire going.
Some bright spark (I think it was a conspiracy between my sister and Doris) had bought me a Thomas the Tank Engine birthday cake. Rather embarrassing - but tasty at the same time

Incidentally, it is also my sister's birthday on the 29th June, but she is 5 years older than me.

Equally strange is that Frank (the man I bought the Hunslet from) also has a 29th June birthday.

As the sun went down, the bench at the bottom of the garden was the place to be to catch the last rays of the day.
The following morning, Ross (the neighbour's cat) was spread all over the picnic bench.

The fact that his tongue is hanging out would tend to suggest that he partied too long last night too! 

I think it went very well. Everyone said they enjoyed themselves and they went away happy. We had no major derailments and only one scraped knee where one of the boys fell off a carriage.

Paul Middleton also took a short movie of the line which I have uploaded on to this site (with his permission). It was taken a little late in the day , but you can view it here if you wish: Garden Railway Movies / Videos

Now to start planning for the next open day...

29th June: Open Day at Ride on Railways

29th June (my actual birthday) and my Trojan and my open wagon are off to Essex for Ride on Railways' open day at David Middleton's house.

It looks like I didn't take many pictures for some strange reason, but Derek Wheddon sat on the back of a train made up of my Trojan and a load of tippers (actually Paul's but I have 4 of my own at home) and took a sequence of shots of me driving round David's garden.

Like the genuine Panama hat?



[ author: - last updated 29th June 2003 ] [ HOME ]