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Miniature & Heritage Railways Re-opening and Running Information 2021

Information on miniature and heritage railways re-opening after lockdown. Please send any updates that you would like us to post to socialmediarailways@gmail.com 

Ashford Miniature Railway. Opens to the public on special occasions. Read more………….

Audley End Miniature Railway. Open daily. Read more…………………..

Bentley Miniature Railway. Re-opended 2nd May 2021. Read more…………

Brookside Miniature Railway. Read more………………

BSMEE at Ashton Court Park. Re-opened late May bank holiday 2021. Read more………

Caldecotte Miniature Railway. Re-opened 29th May 2021. Read more………..

Eastleigh Lakeside Steam Railway.  Open daily until September. Read more…………….

Fancott Miniature Railway. Re-opened 1st May 2021. Read more…………………

Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railway. Open and steaming when we visited in April. Read more……

Grantown East Miniature Railway. Open Thursday to Monday. Read more………..

Grosvenor Park Miniature Railway. Re-opened April 2021. Read more…………………

Hastings Seafront Miniature Railway. Open and running when we visited in May. Read more…….

#Loveyourrailway Full list of participating railways. Read more………..

Maidstone Model Engineering Society. Open every Sunday from 23rd May 2021. Read more……

Midland Railway – Butterley. Re-opened 24th July. Read more………..

Narrow Gauge Railway Museum Tywyn. Now reopened. Read more…………...

Perrygrove Miniature Railway. (Forest of Dean) Now re-opened. Read more…………

Riverside Miniature Railway (St Neots). Open every Sunday during summer. Read more…………

Roxbourne Railway. Open on Sundays from 27th June 2021. Read more……….

Rugby Model Engineering Society Ltd. Open on selected summer dates for public running. Read more…..

Sheffield & District Society of Model & Experimental Engineers. Reopens Sun. 1st August. Read more..

Stapleford Miniature Railway. Private railway with occasional public open days. Read more………

Thames Ditton Miniature Railway. Opening on Sunday again from 4th July 2021. Read more……..

Thompson Park Miniature Railway. Open on Sundays. Read more………………..

Wansford Miniature Railway. Opened 12th June 2021. Read more……………….

Watford Miniature Railway. Now re-opened. Read more………………..

West Lancashire Light Railway Now re-opened. Read more…………..

 

Whilst every effort is made to ensue accuracy of information please check with each specific railway before making plans to visit as in current times
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How much does it cost to stop a train?

What components do I need for a complete vacuum braking system and how much will it cost?

We are frequently asked what items are required to fit vacuum brakes.

There are of course many different types of locomotives and rolling stock so there is no generic answer.

The example solution shown below is based on a narrow-gauge Romulus hauling two eight wheeled wagons. On the loco, all wheels are braked whilst on the wagons just the rear four-wheel bogie is braked.

 

Product Part No. Description Qty Unit Cost Total Cost
PNR-4R Vacuum Ejector No 1

Required to create the vacuum

1 £78.95 £78.95
PNR-1H Vacuum Limiting Valve

Used to set the limit of vacuum in the system

1 £40.95 £40.95
PNR-3P 7¼” Narrow Gauge Progressive Brake Valve with Lap 1 £195.90 £195.90
PNR-2D Vacuum Brake Kit with Trunnion. This version is to allow for fitting in carriages where space may be an issue. 3 £45.70 £137.10
PNR-1C Vacuum Reservoir

To hold a reserve of vacuum without which the brakes would not be able to be applied

3 £17.00 £51.00
PNR-1G Vacuum Release Valve Employed to allow atmospheric air pressure into the vacuum reservoir 3 £12.00 £36.00
PNR-3U Vacuum Gauge – Brass

Two are required, one to show the vacuum in the train pipe and the second to show what is in the reservoir on the loco.

2 £51.80 £103.60
PNR-1E 1/3 Scale Brake Blocks (Set of 4) 3 £15.80 £47.40
PNR-1J T-Hose Connector 6 £1.45 £8.70
PNR-1M BSP Socket 3 £2.00 £6.00
PNR-1L Male Taper Hose 3 £1.85 £5.55
PNR-1I Clear PVC Tube 3 1/16th 4 m £1.15 £4.60
Example Total Including VAT £715.75

Prices correct as at June 2021.

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Mount Kilimanjaro at Rugby MES

Extract from the Rugby MES Newsletter.

The month started with the trial steaming of locomotive ‘Mount Kilimanjaro’, which is on loan to us by owners PNP Railways – the makers of various plastic products for miniature railways such as the rail clips for our track and vacuum cylinders for our coach brakes. The video of this is on our website but here is what Edward has to say:

It was a lovely sunny day, and the first steam trials for the East African Railways 59 Class Garratt No.5928 “Mount Kilimanjaro” that is staying with us. This marks the completion of the major works that were carried out in order for the boiler to pass its hydraulic and steam tests. The engine has been completed almost exactly as it was last running, and came with some ‘health issues’! We knew about these before we agreed to have “MK” on loan at RMES, and we knew we’d have some work to do, which will take us a little time, it’s nothing we can’t handle with the clubs skills, and will be a very interesting trip in to the science of steam locomotives. Today’s steaming was all about finding out what the performance of the engine was as it arrived, setting a benchmark, and from that we can build. The ‘health issues’ were very evident and we had some issues with steaming, as we had already predicted, but we know now what we need to do.

I couldn’t have completed the work on my own and the help of the engineering department has been invaluable. I don’t make a habit of naming names in case I miss anyone out, but you know who you are!”

Many thanks to Rugby MES for the update and images.

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Baltic Tank 4-6-4 Locomotive

 

At the start of this time of self-isolation, I made a foray down to our garage, where some of our locomotives and rolling stock are housed, along with a variety of other bits and bobs. I was just contemplating one of my father’s miniature steam plants that he must have built way back in the late fifties, and just as I was trying to place where the piece of lino that was on its mounting board was from, my other half pointed out a puce green locomotive.

At first glance, to my untrained eye, she looked rather ungainly a long lanky tank engine with quite small wheels, to make it worse it had a funny sort of Tender truck behind it that I later found out was not a natural pairing for this locomotive. “Odd” I thought, but being no oil painting myself I kept quiet, as hubby launched into an explanation of what this 5” gauge locomotive was and why she was special.

Firstly, her size is unusual as this model is a 5” gauge reproduction of a prototype 5’ 6” broad gauge locomotive so a scaling factor of 1:13.2 has been employed to build this model. Normally for models of standard gauge (4’ 8½” ) a scaling factor of 1:12 or (actually 1: 11.3) for the purist using 1 1/16” to represent 1 foot is employed.

I was informed of this before he told me that she was a model of a Baltic tank 4-6-4 locomotive. She is a 3-cylinder tank engine built originally to service The Buenos Aires and Pacific Railway that was in service between 1886 to 1948. These 4-6-4 tank locomotives were designed and built by Robert Stephenson and Co. and this particular type of locomotive was built between 1928 and 1930. This model Baltic tank engine’s number is 2367 and as it worked on an Argentinean Railway you can see that the number plate is reproduced in the Spanish language Ferro Carril De Buenos Aires Al Pacifico.

Apparently, the name of this “Baltic” locomotive tank engine comes from the very first 4-6-4 tender locomotive, a 4-cylinder compound locomotive designed by Gaston du Bousquet for the Chemin de Fer du Nard in France in 1911. The 4-6-4 was designed and built for the Paris to Saint Petersburg express and so was named after the Baltic sea. This model Baltic tank engine is a copy of one designed and built by Robert Stephenson and Company Ltd, Darlington, engineers, as mentioned above. It was awarded a Highly Commended certificate at the 50th Model Engineer Exhibition, also at a Midlands Model Engineering Exhibition sometime later, and bears a plaque attesting to this on the front just below the smokebox.

I was looking at the 4-6-4 wheel arrangement on hubby’s model Baltic tank locomotive which according to my mentor is a fairly good wheel arrangement for passenger tank locomotives. However, more commonly a 4-6-2 arrangement is often employed. The beauty of a tank engine with carrying wheels at each end of the locomotive is that it can run equally well forwards as backwards and hence does not need to be turned on a turntable. The 4-6-4 is well suited to high speed running across flat terrain because this type of engine has fewer driving wheels than carrying wheels, hence a smaller percentage of the engines weight contributes to traction compared to other engines with more numerous driving wheels. The 4-6-4 is therefore more suited to higher speed passenger travel rather than hauling heavy freight or slogging up sustained grades and inclines.

The 4-6-4T, is essentially the tank locomotive equivalent of the 4-6-0 tender Locomotive, but they have water tanks and coal bunker supported by four smaller wheels trailing behind the engine instead of a tender.

Hubby’s model has three cylinders. The external (outside) cylinders valve gears are Walchaert’s, but the internal (inside) valve gear is Stephenson’s link. The inside cylinder drives an internal crank on the middle axle, as do the outside cylinders so they all drive on the same axle. The middle cylinder sits over the front bogie. This front bogie even has a swing-link system, so it is in effect a self-banking bogie. The turbo generator which can be seen on the images is capable of running the front or rear head lamp depending which way the locomotive is heading on the train. Powerful headlamps were necessary on the routes served by these locomotives, owing to the fact that many parts of this railway were unfenced, and obstacles and wildlife had to be detected early on the route.

The model has a non-prototypical four-wheel coal and water tender which when the removable part of the cab and imitation bunker coal is removed, makes driving much more convenient while adding to the distance that can be covered without stopping. All in all, a lovely model acquired from Robin West of View Models on the understanding that some refurbishment is required to bring it back to its former prize-winning condition.

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PNP bar rail chairs survive -20C

We recently received this from a customer. Interesting to note the temperature range that the bar chairs are subjected to, especially in relation to our recent post about their use in Canada. Many thanks for sending this in.

“My son’s garden railway is in Northern Italy close to the foothills of the Alps. It is, at the moment, an end to end run of about 155 yards in length with a passing loop of about 15 yards, but there is ample space to extend this to a continuous loop of about 400 yards. Family matters are ensuring that progress is very slow, but I know that I have taken out enough of your bar stock chairs to get at least 2/3 of the track built! Initially the track was laid on homemade concrete sleepers, but these were very time consuming to cast and have had a small mortality rate over the years. Following a rethink about half the track has been laid on plastic ‘timber’ purchased locally.

The track bed under the sleepers is at least 4″ deep, sometimes in a trench, sometimes on hard core, with about another 1.5″ ballast around the sleepers. In 10 years since the first lengths were laid nothing has moved significantly despite temperature variation from -15C to 35C regularly and -20C to 40C in extremes. Just for your interest the long straight is 70 yards long with the bottom half on a 1 in 50 gradient and the top half at 1 in 40. 

The blue loco featured in one of the photos is my Phoenix Locos Titan 5 “Alpine Courier” which I have taken over there on 3 occasions to give it a change of scenery. Purely for you own amusement in these rather boring times, if you look up ‘Alpine Courier’ on YouTube then find the one labelled Bellaria Alpine and Northern, this was filmed over the full length of my sons railway one lovely afternoon when we had nothing better to do than play with trains and cameras!” 

We really do enjoy reading about your installations and projects and seeing your photos, so please do send them in or post on our Facebook page. And we look forward to being able to sit in the sunshine and play with our trains again.

 

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King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table

This week I finally made it down to a garage to meet a V.I.P. As I opened the doors there he was with big sad eyes, “SIR PERCIVALE”.

No we don’t have one of the Knights of the Round Table residing in a garage, but rather a 10¼” model of a Southern Railway King Arthur Class 4-6-0 locomotive Number E 772. The sad eyes of course are the spectacle plates in the cab designed to be almost teardrop in shape to allow for maximum vision in these minimum width cabs and to fit through the narrow tunnels on the Southern lines.

I was rather surprised by the sheer size of this model. The engine is 7′ 2″ long and the tender is 5′ 3″ a total length of 12′ 5″, it is 2′ 6″ from rail to tip of the cab and 1′ 9″ wide. It is built to true scale 2.18 inches to the foot, (a rather ragged fraction of 1/5.5 scale). At the moment “SIR PERCIVALE” is awaiting a paint job so the livery is rather patchy, but in parts you can see the green colour characteristic of the Maunsell period on the Southern Railway. The cab is rather spectacular but the tender has more paint than the Loco right now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This model of a King Arthur was one of the Oakhill Manor in Somerset collection that was sold off in or before 2004. It has been slowly refurbished over the years and has now had a preliminary steam test but awaits its full boiler test to be signed off.

Having had my interest aroused I did a little research on the net and was amazed to discover that there were 74 full size King Arthur class Locomotives built for or by The L.S.W.R. and Southern Railway between 1918 and 1927. They were, of course, named as a massive advertising campaign for the Southern Railway.

This six-coupled class loco was derived from the 736 class of 4-6-0 engines introduced by a Mr Urie on the L.S.W.R. in 1917, however the original 22′ x 28′ cylinders of the forerunners were reduced to 20 1/2′ x 28′ in The King Arthur’s. The boiler pressure was also raised from 180 to 200lb psi, super heaters fitted, improved piston valves, more streamlined steam passages and a larger chimney with a capuchin.

In actual fact the original Urie engines were rebuilt as King Arthur’s, these are known as The Urie Arthurs’s, (20 in total), and some of the new engines, to the modified design, were built by the North British Locomotive Co. Ltd and these are fondly known as The Scotch Arthurs (30 in total).

The Eastleigh Arthur’s were built by Maunsell at Eastleigh (24 in total). SIR PERCIVALE is an Eastleigh Arthur as denoted by the prefix E before its number 772. Although I am given to understand, by the fountain of all knowledge (my husband), that all the King Arthurs were denoted as E as they ran and were maintained out of the Eastleigh works.

SIR PERCIVALE has an 8 wheel tender also known as a “Water Cart”. As the Southern lines did not have water troughs the locomotives could not pick up water on route. This was mainly because the Southern Railway was more of a commuter service offering shorter stopping passenger runs, hence the engines required less amenities en route than those of other railways, travelling much greater distances non-stop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of The King Arthur’s, used on the eastern section of the line, had a six-wheeled tender ( to enable them to be turned on shorter turntables) whereas those engines used on the western section (like SIR PERCIVALE) sported the double-bogie tenders and could carry 5,000 gallons of water.

Unfortunately these majestic Locomotives were slowly edged out of service between 1953 and 1962. The Southern Railway being one of the first to adopt electric traction very early on in the 20th century.

SIR LAMIEL ( A Scotch Arthur named after a minor Knight of Cardiff and alleged to have had a following of the fairer sex ) is the last remaining full size preserved King Arthur and it can be found on display at The National Railway Museum in York, or out running on either the mainline or a preserved line quite often.

The Urie Arthur’s have romantic Arthurian names including EXCALIBUR, CAMELOT, TINTAGEL and MORGAN LE FAY,to name but a few. The Eastleigh and Scotch Arthurs are all “SIR’s” apart from QUEEN GUINEVERE and KING ARTHUR himself in the Eastleigh group.

The full size SIR PERCIVALE entered into service in June 1925 and was withdrawn in September 1961. As a romantic footnote the knight himself was a legendary knight of the round table in King Arthur’s Court and he was noted as a hero in the quest for the grail, before being replaced in later literature by Sir Galahad.

A wonderful piece of railway history that should enthrall all model engineers and miniature railway enthusiasts not to mention fans of heritage and historic steam locomotives.

 

 

 

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The Bushey Miniature Railway – by Daniel Siddal

Here you can see a few pictures of our new 5” railway in the village of Bushey in Hertfordshire.

The 70m loop of track was built with the PNP clip fit system. We chose 16mm Aluminium rail with the plastic sleepers and clip-in chairs that you slide down the rail. This provided a simple and fast way to build the track at the same time keeping the look we required. We spaced the sleepers at 10cm centres.

One of the reasons for choosing the PNP Clip fit system was that it makes is so easy for younger helpers to build the track panels while I got on with the heaver work.

Building any miniature railway is hard work but it was made even more of a challenge due to the overgrown state of the garden.

Every section had to be OK’ed with my mother who owns the garden and cleared of undergrowth before anything could be laid, this compounded the delays already present due to work commitments etc.

Work progressed and we laid the track upto our first gentle radius to the left. I have to admit- we didn’t have any rail benders so we just bent it carefully without some, seemed to be fine as it was only a slight curve.

At first I had the track sent off and pre bent by another company which was expensive. After I had this 10 foot radius curve made I decided to bend the rail myself.

My son helped out while I did the digging by fitting the fish plates and getting the correct inclination on the curves.

At this point I got a rail bender from PNP Just wish I had done this sooner. It enabled me to put the subtlest bends in the track as you can see, and I could have put a lesser radius of curve going into the tree tunnel instead of using the spare 10′ radius curves I had. Anyway the rail bender was to be a great help for what was to come…By this point I had used about 7 tonnes of ballast.

I found it easy to screw directly into the PNP track panels to create a simple but effective

crossing out of garden decking:

The difficult task of forming the radius round an old tree stump and then to join up with the existing track was a challenge – impossible without the rail bender:

 

 

We completed the 70m loop with a removable section to enable access to the garden when the track wasn’t in use

The PNP track was built up with treated gravel fencing boards to make up for the incline at the near end of the garden.

We are now building a 20m siding that goes over the old pond and then to re-join by the station:

 

 

 

The new Station:

 

 

 

 

You can read more about the Bushey Miniature Railway and keep up to date with our progress. Please contact me via the website if you would like to know any more or have any advice for us, We’ve still got much to learn!

Just Google ‘Bushey Miniature Railway’ or go to: https://danielsiddall.wixsite.com/bmr-herts

Written and submitted by Daniel Siddall.

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Ironic Ionic

My education into all things railway continues. Whilst pottering about in the garden and garages I have been wheel counting again. My little 5″ gauge 1361 saddle tank engine 0-6-0, hubby’s larger 5″ gauge Fowler, fondly known as the sugar cane engine 0-6-2. I have counted wheels on most of our models and was doing really well, including MONARCH that I managed to remember was 0-4-0-0-4-0 but that we have since discovered is classed as 0-4-0 + 0-4-0 as are all Kitson Meyer engines, don’t forget the +. So, I thought I was getting the hang of it, that is until I entered our dining room and looked on the window sill.
A rather beautiful 3½” inch gauge black model of a loco with a tender has been sitting next to me at supper every night since we moved into this house. I rather blithely counted the wheels and very proudly announced to my other half that “Ionic” was a 2-4-0 tender engine. “Ah” he said “it may look like a 2-4-0 but the four large driving wheels are independently propelled so technically it is a 2-2-2-0”. Typical I thought, caught out by an engine called “Ionic”, now that is ironic.
I squinted hard at the little engine and discovered that the connecting rods were indeed independent to the front and rear driving wheels. “That’s interesting” I said and decided to do a spot of research.
I discovered that my husband’s model is a copy of one of ten Teutonic locomotives built for London & North Western Railway between 1889 and 1890 at the Crewe works. It was designed by Frances (Frank) William Webb, Chief Engineer for L.N.W.R at that time, and was developed to feature one boiler delivering saturated steam (wet steam at boiling point not superheated), to two external (14″) high pressure cylinders. These then exhaust into one (30″) lower pressure cylinder inside the frames. All three cylinders have a stroke of 24″. As is logical the two high pressure cylinders drove the two rear driving wheels whilst the lower pressure cylinder propelled the two leading wheels. As the Teutonic’s driving wheels are not connected this type of locomotive is Duplex drive and may sometimes be called double-singles.
The positive advantage with this type of locomotive is of course the extra power afforded to the engine and also economy as the steam is used twice through the two-tier cylinders. I get the impression, however, that they were rather temperamental to operate. A lack of a reverser for the inside cylinder affords little control over the front wheel set movement, half a turn having to be achieved in these two wheels before all wheels were aligned to run in the same direction, in other words all sets of valve gear needed to be aligned to run in the same direction. This is however a personal observation and I may be doing this type of engine a great disservice.
The Teutonic locomotives were a further development of the Dreadnaught class, the Teutonic’s having larger wheels and modifications to the Joy valve gear. The later Teutonic’s, a total of seven built in 1890, had their internal cylinders driven by a slip-eccentric valve gear. These engines were primarily designed and developed to meet the ever-increasing need for greater speed.
The Teutonic’s, although relatively few in number, became the most successful, and were the largest of F.W. Webb’s 2-2-2-0 three-cylinder compound locomotives. They boasted 7’1″ driving wheels compared to the Webb’s smaller Dreadnaught 6′ 3″ driving wheels. The axle boxes were lubricated by oil rather than grease.
Interestingly all ten Teutonics, apart from one, were named after ships on the White Star Line. The odd one out is probably the most renowned and was named JEANIE DEANS after a character in The Walter Scott novel “The Heart of Midlothian”. It was so named because it was exhibited at The Edinburgh International Exhibition of Electricity, Engineering, General Inventions and Industries in 1890. Jeanie Deans is one of Scott’s most celebrated characters.
The other nine locomotives are named below, and I am still pondering as to why there is a jump in the numbering of these great engines towards the end of 1890. Can anyone please enlighten me?

 

 1301 TEUTONIC  1306 IONIC
 1302 OCEANIC  1307 COPTIC
 1303 PACIFIC  1309 ADRIATIC
 1304 JEANIE DEANS  1311 CELTIC
 1305 DORIC  1312 GALLIC

 

Sadly, all these beautiful Locomotives were scrapped by June 1907

 

 

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A teen, steam and a tall dark stranger. – Romantic Railways

I thought that you might like to hear a little about “this narrator” and how my fondness for steam developed.

My other half has a 5” gauge model of a 2’ 6” narrow gauge steam locomotive built in 1953. It is a replica of the last ever narrow gauge loco to be built for industrial use in the UK. The original is one of seven similar engines constructed in the 1950’s, the other six were exported to South Africa. It is an unusual design of locomotive and the model is named as the original, and I wonder if anyone can guess what it is?

I am the only child of an industrial chemist and a stay at home mum (back in the late fifties and early sixties most mothers stayed at home). My father, however, was also an avid steam enthusiast and dabbling model engineer. We spent our holidays with my maternal grandmother on the Mid Wales border in Oswestry. From here we made day trips out to all the great little trains of Wales. I think my father would have liked to have had a son, but undeterred, he explained all the basic principles of the steam engine to me, and as I mentioned in my very first report on The Brecon Mountain Railway, I spent many a happy hour in the garage with him as he worked on his little Myford Lathe.

Fortunately, my mathematics was reasonably good, and science has always interested me more than the arts. It was not until I became a teenager, however, that steam started to creep into my soul. Up until the age of thirteen steam trips for me had been a pleasant and fascinating holiday pastime to indulge my rather fanatical father.

It was one early Autumn evening, most probably a Tuesday, when dad arrived home from work to find that mum was going out, clashing with his expected attendance at a meeting of the Stroud Society of Model Engineers. After a slight debate, as to whether I could be left in the house alone, I found myself in Dad’s car heading towards the outskirts of Stroud to an abandoned Work House, where the then newly formed society had leased some space to set up a club room and machine shop. I had homework with me and Dad suggested that I stay in the car and finish my work. “Not a chance” as soon as he disappeared I was out of the car exploring the huge building and its surroundings.

About twenty minutes later, I was balancing on a log, rocking to and fro, gazing at the Cotswold scenery, from what served as the car park, when a rather smart sports car pulled up, and a tall, skinny, dark haired young man jumped out, and tugging his hand through his thick dark hair, rushed into the building. I think it was the car that piqued my interest, a harvest gold MGBGT (that my father later called an upholstered roller skate).

I hopped off the log and followed the young man inside. What a delight drilling machines, a big lathe an assortment of bits and bobs all strewn around as about eight men tried to make order of their recent acquisitions. Even at this early stage it smelt like a machine shop, that whiff of oil and hot swarf. Needless to say, I did not complete my homework that night, I spent the remainder of the evening wielding a broom, clearing floor space for machines to be pushed or hoisted in. I am not sure how good a job I did, because I kept one beady eye on the skinny dark-haired young man.

To raise funds for their club, volunteers attended all the summer fete’s in the area. Arriving the evening prior to the fete and laying a straight length of portable track of dual gauge 3½” and 5”. Returning on fete day with either a 5” 0-6-0 tank engine with Baker valve gear, or a beautiful 3½” gauge Great Western 4-6-0 County class engine built by Gordon Jones, one of the first club members. Two running coaches that could seat about four or five children linked up behind to form the train and we were in business.

The very first fete I attended was, I think, where my awe of steam locomotives really began. To see an engine being lit and fired up, coming to life in front of your eyes is quite a sight to behold. A lovely aesthetic inert ornament turns into a warm living chattering animal, with a glowing fire in its belly and a life all its own.

At these fete’s I would help children on and off the coaches and sit at the back to avoid anyone falling off. Elf and Safety was laxer in the 70’s. One society member’s son did fall of the back of the train when we attended an away day at another club. It was a raised track and he was only about 3 ½ years old. When his mother finally reached him, he was screaming and protesting very loudly, not because he was hurt, but because the train was going on without him. That toddler today is also an avid model engineer and steam buff.

On rainy days I often sat behind the driver, sometimes this was my father, who would be smoking a cigar (Elf and Safety!!) holding an umbrella over his head as we ran up and down the track with no passengers trying to attract some children onto the ride.

At the end of the fete when all the children had gone home, there would often be a fire remaining under the boiler and some steam would still be available to power the train. I was the kid begging at the side of the track to be allowed to drive the engine and, oddly enough, they let me. To begin with the owner of the 0-6-0 tank engine sat behind me instructing me and modifying my speed as we romped up and down the track. As I grew older he would still sometimes sit behind me taking his seat after running his hands through his thick dark hair.

Perhaps it was not only the steam that I found so attractive!!!!