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Salfords Light Railway

The Salfords Light Railway diary

March 2003

Need to start work on the station area as soon as possible. Things are running ahead of schedule, I managed to start work on the station in February.

Great, I have located another drain cover of some sort under the grass. I am beginning to realise why the former owner of the house put a path down the garden - it covered up 2 man-hole covers if nothing else! I am trying to dig out the old path, level the ground, then the top soil from the station area can be used to raise the level of the grass about 1". That's the theory anyway, but it just looks a right mess at the moment.

Typical isn't it? I don't have anything else planned for today and I don't have a headache, so what happens? It rains. 3 times this afternoon I have been outside and started work, and 3 times I have had to come back in when it started raining. It now looks as if it has set in for the day. Still, the forecast for tomorrow is better so I'll just have to be patient.

This is the sort of thing I have to contend with. Huge lumps of concrete all the way down the garden. Fortunately, whoever made the path was not very good at mixing concrete and the very sandy mixture is quite easy to break up. I am still going to need a skip to get rid of all the rubbish.

The reddy-pink "thing" is a sort-of millstone I have put round the socket for the washing line - never could find the fiddling thing in the grass!

Oh my poor garden!

You can just make out the 2 large heaps of concrete near the wheelbarrow. Well, if you click on the image and look at the bigger version you can - caution BIG image.

The new footpath doesn't show too well in the shadow, but it does in the image below.

Still not convinced about the shape of the path, but as the stones are just sitting on the grass at the moment it'd be easy to change.

That is surplus grass (I shall not call it turf) in the white sack. You'd never credit that so much spoil would come from such a small area.

Just noticed that from overhead the path looks like a giant ? Why indeed.

The general idea is that where the footpath comes across the track by the shed, it will curve across towards the white sack and eventually join up with the station.

All I have to do now is start removing soil from the station area (bottom of picture) and start spreading it out over the rest of the garden, then re-seed it with grass. This may take a while!

After doing a load of earth moving, I decided to have some "fun". I fitted the 2nd side of the triangle and have run a test train. I just need to fill in the gap on the straight side. Shouldn't take long.

The weather hasn't done me any favours today, but I did get one of the left-hand points/turnouts for the station approach built. I also received an envelope in the post with some gorgeous etched nameplates for PETER and No.1 from Diane Carney in Glasgow. Expensive yes, but thoroughly recommended.

I had the family round for my parents' wedding anniversary. Unfortunately, I did not have time to fix the nameplates to PETER in time, but I showed my Father that I had the plates made to honour him.

The families Oxlade and Hogben (Doris Larman behind camera).

From left to right:

Julie Hogben (my sister), Michael and Natalie Hogben (nephew and niece - twins - born on the 4th July!), myself (standing), my Father Kenneth Peter Oxlade, my Mother Iris Margaret Oxlade, my nephew James Hogben and my brother-in-law David Hogben (standing).

Natalie and James.
My sister with James riding shotgun bringing up the rear.

Yes, that is a fibreglass pig peaking from behind the tree! A Christmas present from Doris. We decided to call her BESS.

James finally gets a drive - not that that was the last time. There was someone driving pretty much all afternoon.
People (Natalie in this case) are still having to ride sitting on a toolbox or similar - at least until I get the carriage shed built. The logic behind that being that the chassis will stand on-end in the garden shed (workshop), but if it had a body on it it would need to live flat, and in a carriage shed.

Anyway, after some serious train-running, my nephew's and niece all wanted to do some digging. Far be it from me to turn down an offer like that!

We are getting there. After the sterling efforts of David and the kids a large area of the station has been dug out and spread over the grass - the scruffy path "scar" has been buried and with a little more effort, it'll be ready for re-seeding with grass. Doris and Julie did sterling efforts in the kitchen too!

We changed the shape of the path too - looks much better now.

Still need to do some more digging in the station area, but once the next set of points is built, I can put them both in place and then I can put in the 2 station tracks. Then the turntable, then the loco shed, then the carriage shed, then etc., etc.

Fairly typical isn't it? The weather is glorious, and I have the weekend fully booked doing other things! Oh well. I did get out there and spread the grass seed, just needs watering a few times to get it established.

Spot the difference?

I have been on a training course all week and got home early on Friday. So, I fitted in the third side of the triangle (wye) and the first of the "station approach" points.

I have actually turned a train on the triangle, but without ballast under the track, it wouldn't take the weight of a passenger - no problem, I just need a couple more tons of ballast!

I really need some rain on that grass seed.

The brown mark leading up towards the house (to the left of the shed) is the other part of the concrete path beneath the grass. That's got to come out too.

Got some more digging done, but quickly came to realise that I don't have anywhere to put any more rubbish, so..... I have ordered a skip for next weekend and have hired my sister's "child labour force" to help me move all of the spoil from the white bags (and a few other piles) in to the skip. She tells me they work for pizza and ice-cream, but then who doesn't?

I then need to order some ballast for the weekend after, so that I have a more stable trackbed to run on for when I have some friends come over on 12th April. It's all go around here!

Although nothing is down properly, I hooked a length of track on to the station points and have run a "test train" in to the station.

I managed to dig out the remainder of the concrete path from under the grass, so that's another job done.

I have been investigating a curious derailing problem. I put a piece of chipboard on the bogie chassis and sat cross-legged on this peering down at one of the bogies to see why it derailed in the same place over and over. Goodness knows what the neighbours thought if they saw me. I drove back and forth numerous times until I saw the problem. It turns out that the check rail wasn't pulling the wheel over far enough and the flange would sometimes hit the tip of the frog. I have been round and checked all 4 of the points built so far and moved 3 check rails and done some filing of sharp edges and now it all runs smoothly.

I can't wait for the skip to arrive next weekend so that I can get rid of all the rubbish, it is a real eyesore.

I have been busy.

Woke up feeling awful, but by midday my migraine had all but gone, so I went outside for some fresh air. I built the remaining 2 points and test-fitted them in position. This got the rails out of my spare room! I had to keep them in orderly piles so that I knew which rail went with which point (left or right)

This view from my backdoor shows the two highly ornamental rubbish sacks which are soon to go, but also roughly how the station will fit. You can also see the ring rail for the turntable plopped on the ground more-or-less where it is going to live.

A couple of things have come to light:

  • There is not enough room for the lift-table where I hoped it would go as there is the drain cover in the way. I might replace the end length of track with the lift-table. Not sure yet. I need to get the rest of the track in place to see how it all fits together.
  • Due to the fact that there is a 9" height difference, there is little chance of me ever going up the drive to the front of the house. Doris thinks this is a terrible shame - NOT. She gets to keep the front garden as her own private domain - which is fine.

I have ordered 2 tons of ballast to be delivered for next weekend (i.e. the week after the skip).

Well, the skip arrived and we spent Saturday filling it up. Doris thought it was huge, but now that we've finished, it is full to within 9" of the top.

This is Doris' younger son Ben mucking-in with clearing one of the sacks of clay soil and turf.

Once the sacks were sufficiently empty, we could drag them up the drive to the skip rather than having to load the rubbish in to wheel barrows.

Yes, Ben is tall (as tall as me), but not that tall - he's standing on my doorstep!

As well as the 2 sacks of soil and grass, there was all the concrete rubble too.

This gives you an idea of how much rubbish came out of the garden. The skip is the standard size you see on a building site size - 6 cubic yard.

With the combined efforts of us all, we managed to fill the skip in a little over half a day.

Not sure what Michael is doing, but it looks as if he is gearing up for a live, on-stage performance.

Tea up!

It is difficult to tell just from the photographs, but the whole area is much tidier now.

Am I contemplating the building of the station or one of the several drain covers that is just in front of me?

Not sure who suggested it, but I tried a little "flange lubrication" last weekend. Bad move, I then had grease all over the rail head and with my gradients that is not a good idea.

James volunteered to go round with de-greaser and clean off all the rail - which even though I do not have a large railway is still quite a lot of rail to clean.

I think maybe we have another convert.

That expression on Ben's face is "I am not going to admit I am having fun". He said afterwards that he thought the railway was "Cool", which for a 14 year old who doesn't much like trains is quite something.

Next weekend - ballast. There is all of the station to do, and the bit of track Ben has just come along in the view above needs some more ballast too. I have ordered some materials to build the station with - paving slabs to make a platform etc. This will all come with the ballast. It shouldn't actually take long to build the actual platforms etc., it is the loco and carriage shed that will take the time.

I also hung the SALFORDS station sign on the shed - picture to follow.


[ author: - last updated 31st Mar 2003 ] [ HOME ]