Monday, 31 May 2010

Hidden Gems

Many people will have visited Robin Hood's Bay; many of them will have been railway enthusiasts too no doubt over the years who will have parked deliberately at the top car park because it's where the old station is. But how many, I wonder, will have seen this?

It's now hidden in a little courtyard where a couple of local companies have their premises behind the station out of the way of most people but still has a role within the local community though.

Remember there is so much railway heritage out, you just need to look very carefully so you don't miss it sometimes.

Friday, 21 May 2010

One of the Best Feelings in the World!

For those of you who have never played cricket you may not understand this but, as a bowler, taking a wicket is always a great feeling! Though the lad in the picture is a rather good cricketer and used to play for us but just beaten here by a off break. To prove I can report in a balanced way I will add that my previous delivery had been belted through the covers for four!

Local cricket often goes unrecorded however locally we now have an excellent website - The name gives away the area which it covers - HU17 is the postcode for Beverley and the surrounding villages. Other 'local' papars and news sites tend to be very much 'Hull-centric' and leave places like Beverley alone. So if your local the site is well worth a look and if you're from further afield, have a look to see the sort of site you should have for your community!

Monday, 17 May 2010

Mountsorrel Railway P-Way Working Week

I spent last week in Leicester and, despite having a horrible end to the week, found it a rather satisfying week.

I visited the project earlier this year when as part of a visit with VolkerRail and told the project leader, Steve Cramp, that I hoped to be back at some point to assist in some way. It was the Mountsorrel Railway's first P-Way working week and the intention was to lay the junction turnout (where the branch meets the Great Central Railway's mainline) a panel then a catch point and a further two panels beyond that. Doesn't sound like much but the Mountsorrel volunteers had to overcome a rather steep learning curve in the process. However they did have the guidance of Andy Higginson, the GCR P-Way Supervisor, and the permanent P-Way staff on the on the GCR. The GC staff were excellent and great lads too!

The junction turnout was the first item to go in - due to the geometry it was a specially fabricated 'Y' B7 turnout. This had been prefabricated by Balfour Beatty. This is located at the northern end of the up loop at Swithland Sidings.

One of the works trains which we had for the week.
This was in by the end of Tuesday with the closure rails in place on the loop line. From this point it began to resemble the beginning of a junction! The design was obviously well thought out, very credible for a heritage project, as the geometry of every thing went together perfectly.

Following this installation work on the branch itself could continue with one panel followed by a set of traps - these are very important on this line as the branch is rather steep! Any runaways will be swiftly dealt with here, assuming, of course, they make it round the curve just before the junction! This is just 225m in radius. There was a slight confusion earlier on in the week as initially it went in at 250m. However, it was clear something was up when the sleeper ends were hanging off the ballast shoulder! So the two panels beyond the traps were manually realigned as you can see - and it also proves that technical staff such as me do indeed know how to use tools!

All that was required after this was to line and level the start of the branch - this was actually completed on the Saturday but I'd left by then. The extent of the works can be seen in this view, complete with me contemplating all we'd done from the far end.

And late on of Friday afternoon one of the works trains was stabled in the up loop and one the points were clamped to protect the mains it did look like all was set for 37 255 to take the first train up the branch!

We did have the first movement of a rail mounted vehicle though when an RRV from Morgan Est brought the signal post to be lifted in place ready to form the signal which will allow traffic to come off the branch.

So a week which achieved a huge amount - in terms of a p-way job it wasn't such a major task but for the Mountsorrel Project it marked a huge milestone and provided long term volunteers with vital experience for future works. The GCR staff were excellent and worked hard throughout the week and were very patient with some new volunteers for whom p-way work was completely new! I think all those who were involved can be pleased and proud of what has been achieved.

Further Reading:

Friday, 14 May 2010

Goodbye George

I write this with a rather heavy heart. Sadly today our "rather large, daft ginger cat" George had to be put down today. He'd not been well for a couple of weeks and over the last twenty-four hours he had deteriorated rapidly. The vet came to the house which made the whole ordeal much less distressing for George - animals aren't stupid and a trip to the vets in a plastic box is a huge source of stress. As it happened he was sitting on my knee with Suzi and I both stroking him. A horrible experience but the right thing is often the hardest thing to do.

If you're not an animal lover you may find this hard to understand, he had become a real part of the family since we got him about a year and a half ago. He was 16 then and had been in a shelter with a local cat charity for three months; due to his age many people just weren't interested - the charity didn't even want a donation for him just as long as we gave him a good home. He'd ended up there after his previous owner had to go into a home and her family took him to a vet to be put down but the vet refused to put a perfectly healthy animal down but offered to pass him to the charity. Those who weren't interested missed out on a cat who was incredibly affectionate and attentive not to mention completely daft with an appetite which could have bankrupted a number of small countries. The usual comment when people saw him was to say 'he's huge!' It seemed like he was the world's largest domestic cat! He was around three times the size of Thomas' birth weight! He adjusted to Thomas' arrival far better than we could ever have hoped - often ending up lying next to Thomas on the sofa when we were all in the lounge!

Although my blog tends to concentrate on railways of various sizes I wanted to share this. If you want a cat (or indeed other pets too) a rescue one can make a wonderful pet and addition to the family. George came in and in a short space of time became an integral part of the household despite spending half of his time asleep (and it seemed like the rest of his time purring!) and wrecking all three sofas to some extent when he continually moulded them to make comfortable beds! But we aren't really bothered about small details like this!

We knew that taking on an older animal would mean we wouldn't have them as long as a we might have had a younger pet but, despite the end, it was all worth it and I hope we gave him a happy year and a half's 'retirement'.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Carron Road

When I was nine years old, one layout appeared in the December 'Bumper' edition of the old ModelRAIL magazine - Nigel Bowyer's Carron Road. It had a big impact - so much so my copy of said issue is incredibly tatty! There was something about the layout which really appealed to me. It seemed different from most layouts which I had seen and it looked incredibly realistic. It still does when I look back at it now despite the Lima based class 37 starting there with its faults but even so the overall effect still impresses me today.

Looking at it now I can see the layout is done to a consistent standard right across the board (no pun intended) and this really adds to the overall effect. Also helping this is that this standard is quite high too. Weathering of all items to some degree draws everything together.

The layout also appeared in Model Railway Journal, issue 76, with some very atmospheric photographs by Barry Norman. Strangely one of the most evocative views actually shows a train coming out of the fiddle yard, but with the sector plate in full view!

When I was nine the trackplan was also something new to me; the use of the sector plate as part of the loop wasn't something I'd been aware of previously, but no doubt I had seen layouts with this arrangement, and the trackplan is still a concept which I think can work well today.

I wonder what happened to the layout as I found it a real inspiration!

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Class 37 Details

I took these photographs when I visited the Mountsorrel Railway in February as a source of reference for future projects. They depict various aspects of 37 255 which was stabled at Quorn on the Great Central Railway at the time.

Knowing some of you who regularly read the rubbish I post here and your interests I thought they might prove useful!

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Michael McNicholas

Just wanted to share this.

I came across an excellent Fotopic site the other day whilst looking for photos of a particular class 37. They are part of a collection of photographs and slides taken by Michael McNicholas in the late eighties and early nineties and have been uploaded by Neil Harvey. The period covered really appeals to me as that's when I was first going out watching and photographing trains with my Dad. The site is well worth a look and, if you're like me, you could find yourself spending a long time going through the photographs!

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Fenced In

This evening we went out for our meal - I say 'meal'...

It was a take-away pizza from a pizza shop in Market Weighton! As it was a lovely evening we decided to stop and have it in the car and with the windows it was very pleasant! We stopped in one of my favourite parts of the world; the valley through which the York - Beverley line runs between Kiplingcoates and Market Weighton.

One thing which I find quite interesting is how the lineside fencing has remained for nearly forty five years since the last revenue earning trains ran - still standing guarding the 'railway' boundary after all this time. Not that there's much to disturb them really. The first photo shows a section of this fencing; still in good condition and much better than a lot of of other fencing you might have seen.

Only people and a few cars pass by now; people taking things at a leisurely pace or farmers going about their business. Looking in either direction the trackbed still lies dormant as time passes by in this peaceful part of the world.