Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Sunday, 07 October 2012 01:00

Of revisiting an old byway

7th October 2012

Back when I was about 20, I was invited to an Open Day at a private railway not far from Southampton, then under the general auspices of the Hampshire Narrow Gauge Railway Society. They had started building a small circuit on land belonging to their Chairman, Barry Curl, in 1967 and I was there the day the finished ballasting the far side of the line and were able to do the full circuit for the first time, with ex Dinorwic 0-4-0ST "Cloister" as well as a selection of Simplexes and one of two O&K RL3 0-4-0DMs.

Published in 2012 Oct-Dec
Sunday, 16 September 2012 01:00

Of different gauges

16th September 2012

It may surprise some people to know that I was an n.g. enthusiast before I became professionally involved with s.g. and in many respects I would rather be involved with 2ft than 4ft 81/2". I was at one point offered a job as Commercial Manager for Bala Lake Railway by the instigator and Chief-Of-Almost-Everything George Barnes, only for the company Chairman, Tom Jones (no, not that Tom Jones, this one was a Gwynedd County Councillor - you really must keep up with the Jones's...) politely to withdraw it as the railway "could not afford me".

Published in 2012 Jul-Sep
Sunday, 22 July 2012 01:00

Of doors, floors and filters

22nd July 2012

It has been another interesting week. OK, not so much of railway interest in the short term - far too much of the week has been occupied with the forthcoming move from Briddon Towers to Briddon Country Pile - which at one point I was seriously thinking wasn't going to happen until some time in August. But by dint of applied pressure we got as far as exchanging contracts on Friday and hopefully completing this Tuesday. So is it then all systems go?

Published in 2012 Jul-Sep
Sunday, 24 June 2012 01:00

Of wanderings and doings

24th June 2012

The narrow gauge theme started by the Amberley visit continued this week. On Wednesday night Steph and I met Andrew at Butterley for their annual n.g. open night. (We met for the simple reason that he was on his return journey from Eastleigh.) These open nights have a similar theme - two or three runs the length of the GVLR with resident 0-4-2T "Joan", then the area around Butterley is de-marked into sections and a loco is set on each and visitors are free to have a go.

Published in 2012 Apr-Jun
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 01:00

Of stopping and starting

4th March 2012

Even as I was packing to go away for the (previous) weekend, I got a phone call from Peak Rail reporting that Charlie’s stop solenoid had given up the ghost. Let me explain. Left to its own devices, most engine fuel pumps head to the “run” position, it is what they are made to do. Therefore you need a device to pull the lever on the pump to a position where there is insufficient fuel delivered and the engine stops.

Published in 2012 Jan-Mar
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 01:00

Of festivals and failures

10th June 2012

The Young Master took his old, decrepit Dad for day out on Monday. Seeing as how his employers are one of the sponsors for Railfest, he had the opportunity for VIP passes for self and family and took it up. So with bright yellow passes strung around our necks, we wandered in to York. Now, I am not usually one for "dos" like this. If I am involved in organising, looking after a stand, or something, fine - I've done quite a few exhibitions over the years representing one employer or another. But to be one of the visitors is a different matter. I cannot immerse myself in the atmosphere the way some people seem to be able and left to my own devices, am liable to charge around everywhere at high speed, tell myself I've done it all and leave!

Published in 2012 Apr-Jun
Tuesday, 19 June 2012 01:00

Of water in all the wrong places

12th June 2011

It has been a fraught week at Briddon Towers. It began on Tuesday – well I know weeks generally begin on Monday but this one really launched itself a day late – with a scream from Steph that we had a leak. Actually we had suddenly developed two – one in the bathroom but a more serious one in the dining room, where water was gushing out from a radiator.

Published in 2011 Apr-Jun
Tuesday, 19 June 2012 01:00

Of wagons and D2128

18th September 2011

It has been a busy but sad week in the run-up to my father’s cremation at Bournemouth. We were surprised at how many came – the chapel was full to overflowing – and in the “wake” afterwards we learnt how many New Milton area residents were on his publicity circulation list. It seems that he had a group of avid readers of all Andrew’s press cuttings, and I was asked “you are the one who was on Scrapheap Challenge, aren’t you?” by people I’d never met before.

Published in 2011 Jul-Sep
Tuesday, 19 June 2012 01:00

Of vacuum and lost buses

19th June 2011

Sadly the cunning plan Andrew had hatched last week didn’t work. In fact, not only – when he rang up on Friday lunchtime – was he unable to secure the services of the required contractor, but the “boss” declared she was on holiday that day! He was not at all impressed with such customer service and we may be looking at an alternative solution.

Published in 2011 Apr-Jun
Tuesday, 19 June 2012 01:00

Of pipes and wires

5th June 2011

We should have been into a thoroughly productive weekend, but somehow, things went a little awry. Up to Friday early afternoon, we were hoping to be at Scunthorpe on Saturday but again, the vital element in the plan was declared not available this weekend, and shortly afterwards Andrew succumbed to a heart-felt plea from his girl-friend to make an additional trek down to see her on Saturday. Before he left, he stripped out the DVLR’s free-issue exhauster for “Pluto” to check rotation and exactly how, if needed, it can be reversed since space within the casings is severely restricted and turning it physically round may not be feasible.

Published in 2011 Apr-Jun
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