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Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
See also John Raby's blogs at www.rabylee.uk/linesidingindex.html


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Keef Open Day, Lea Bailey and Clearwell - 21 September 2013

The last day of the epic tour found me at Alan Keef Ltd's premises near Ross-on-Wye for the annual Open Day. There were many people I had met during the tour as well as two visiting locomotives that I had come across a number of times. The crowd on such a small site was a little overpowering but a lot of trouble had been done to make this an enjoyable occasion.

Patrick Keef doing a spot of shunting with a much-modified
1939 Wingrove and Rogers battery loco

Kerr Stuart 'Wren' PETER PAN
Barclay gasworks 0-4-0T JACK

Other very interesting visitors were two metre gauge Krauss locomotives that Keefs have restored and a metre gauge tram engine that is going to be converted back from fireless to its original form.

Metre gauge Krauss of 1894
and this 1908 Krauss that was only finished last week

Metre gauge Henschel tram loco of 1899.
A number of locomotives were under restoration or construction in the workshop, including RUSSELL from the Welsh Highland Railway, a Baldwin 4-6-0T, and the 1908 Thomas Green 0-6-2ST BARBER for the South Tynedale Railway.
In the workshop building, BARBER, ex Harrogate Gasworks.
Its rebuilt boiler will be delivered shortly.

A crowded scene with Patrick and Alice Keef centre.
Just over the border in Gloucestershire, a group is establishing the Lea Bailey Light Railway, commencing at the old Lea Bailey gold mine.

A 1975 flameproofed Hunalet

A 1957 Simplex
A very pleasant spot in the forest

The last visit was to Clearwell Caves where one 2ft gauge locomotive is on display and others are in storage.
Another flameproofed Hunslet
The most accessible of several Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0DM locos

Vale of Teifi and Brecon Mountain - 19 September 2013

This started off as a wet day. At the Vale of Teifi Railway, I was the only passsenger on the 11.15am train. Another narrow gauge line on a picturesque section of a main line railway, this friendly line, two miles in length, seems to have struggled with its location probably meaning some difficulty in attracting passengers and volunteers. Only one steam locomotive was available - 1894 Hunslet quarry tank ALAN GEORGE. It was the first time I had seen it since the Bruntcliffe Light Railway near Leeds which I worked on before 1975.

ALAN GEORGE waits by the engine shed

1959 Ruston & Hornsby TOMOS
Coming onto the train
Ready for departure
At the Pontgoch terminus

The weather was slightly better by the time I arrived at Pant, headquarters of the Brecon Mountain Railway. This line is professionally run and is situated along an old main line railway alongside Pontsticill Reservoir and into the Brecon Beacons National Park.

The beautiful Baldwin Pacific of 1930

Heading away from Pant

Having given advance notice of my visit, I was kindly shown around the workshop by Tony Hills

An impressive kit of completed parts for a Baldwin 2-6-0 of 1897,
awaiting a boiler.

Jung 1908 0-6-2T
The Baldwin pausing at Pontsticill on the return journey 

Vale of Rheidol - 18 September 2013

I think this was first visit to the Vale of Rheidol since the days of blue engines marked with the devil's footprint.

Big things are afoot. There is a new 200-foot three road workshop being fitted out at Aberystwyth. Every intermediate station apart from Llanbadarn (which effectively no longer exists) has a new platform and waiting shelter. Tree clearance has opened up some views. Devil's Bridge station will be getting a platform and a large museum building is to be erected at Aberystwyth  using part of the trainshed from the old London Bridge Station, hopefully in association with a station redevelopment.

The new workshops

Shelter being painted at Nantyronen
Completed shelter and fencing at Rheidol Falls

The only item I saw of the 'Rampton Collection' was this
Colonial Sugar Refining bogie tender from Fiji at Capel Bangor
To be fair, some features of the old basic tourist railway, some of which must date back to GWR days, are still current. The carriages, beautiful externally, are somewhat spartan internally, which heightens the sense of crowding when the train is full. It was a cold windy day and the first train had five cars including an open carriage. On its return, crowds appeared from nowhere for the afternoon service so two additional carriages were added (to what appears to be the maximum that can be handled at Devil's Bridge without a pilot engine there). One of the two additional carriages was an open car, which seemed unnecessary and was little appreciated by the passengers. So I felt that a little of the 'cattle class' feeling remains. Hopefully the money being spent elsewhere will be followed by improvements for on-train passengers also.

Only two of the line's three steam locomotives are in use. OWAIN GLYNDŴR is a chassis sitting on a wagon at the station. However, it must be said that the external presentation of the trains is excellent and the dramatic nature of the line is second to none.

PRINCE OF WALES at Aberystwyth.
Surely there must be no doubt that it was built by the GWR in 1924.

Carriages beautifully presented

. . . but rather 'tourist class' inside. Is this 'heritage' to be retained?
Inside the old BR shed at Aberystwyth

Permaquip navvy car at Capel Bangor
On arrival at Devil's Bridge
Running around
Pilot at Aberystwyth
Baguley-Drewry type of 1987 built at Brecon Mountain Railway

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Sinclair Horticultural, Bolton Fell - 17 September 2013

The weather was supposed to be better than it was - cold and wet.
I took up a suggestion to visit the peat bog near Carlisle that is one of the last British industrial narrow gauge railways. Rail transport is used because it is the best method of bringing the harvested peat in from the bog to the processing plant. There is more than 5 miles of track. A fleet of modified Simplex locomotives is in use, each hauling four loaded peat wagons. The major issue mechanically is worn out clutches as the level of the excavated bog is now below that of the works.

The full wagons are tipped at the works and the empties are taken out to the loader which fills the wagons with previously-excavated peat. The loaded train returns to the works using a circuit of track so no reversing is required. Five locomotives were in use using at least two loading points, and I think another was with the track gang. The locos are colour coded and I saw working yellow, red, green, light blue and dark blue. Travelling on the outside of a 'Simplex' in the cold and wet sounds grim but it was one of the highlights of my trip.

The works and the line will be closing on 1 March 2014.
1941- built GELT waits to enter the unloading station

Tipping the wagons
Heading off into the bog

A loaded train heading back. 1937-built LIDDEL

Coming through a wooded section

At a junction


Track heading back from the loading area.
This is temporary rack that is shifted according to need.

1936-built LYNE about to return with empties.
1941-built IRTHING in the workshops

Out of use locos - two Simplexes and one Alan Keef

Friday, September 20, 2013

Apedale and Rowley South - 15 September 2013

This Sunday was a miserable one for weather, which was a great shame for the Moseley Railway Gala at Apedale. A good selection of internal combustion locomotives were on show as well as a steam passenger service.
Definitely 'stout mackintosh' weather.
JACK LANE, the 2006 quarry tank from Statfold

The field railway featured three vintage Ruston and Hornsby diesels in a good recreation of industrial conditions
A 1940 10/13hp type

A 1938 Model 16/20hp

A 1943 Model 20DL

STANHOPE was the second steam locomotive in use

Demonstration freight duties:

Orenstein and Koppel 4wDM of 1930

1949 Ruston 20DL

Ruston 33/40hp of 1939
By the time I got to Rowley South, location of the Derbyshire Dales Narrow Gauge Railway, the weather was even worse. This line is an adjunct to the Peak Rail standard gauge site and would be nice place to visit on a sunny day!.
Ruston and Hornsby 48DL of 1963

Ruston and Hornsby Type LBT of 1956 ex British Rail

1960 Motor Rail Tpe 40S in its snug container-shed

Gullick and Dobson tamping machine, built in two parts for ease of access
for underground colliery use. It was suggested that the 'power unit'
may be modified to operate as a locomotive.