Saturday 6 July 2019

Friday and Saturday

Friday at Broadway

Footbridge steps work continues steadily, helped along by the excellent weather. There was a slight hiatus on Monday as one volunteer attended a funeral and another had a check up appointment, something you don't want to move around once you have it!

We've finished painting the roof sheets, and we've finished painting dagger boards, so now we are painting.... tongue and groove boards for the sides of the steps.

We've also started priming and undercoating the main steel structure. You can see the dark stone undercoat going on in this picture. There's a lot of metal to be coated here.

Undeterred, Neal was making a few extra dagger boards today. These will go on to the bottom of the P2 steps.

It takes a lot of thought to get the holes in exactly the right positions, and of course each hole consists of two halves, which have to match.
 Earlier in the week Neal did the very bottom, that little arch behind him.

Today he was doing the bottom of the platform side of P2.

Here you can see one of the last 3 going on. They all need to be perfectly upright.

As a a pleasant interlude after lunch we received the visit of 7903 Foremarke Hall, now back from its visit to Didcot. The loco was on a fire and drive course today, and came back for a second go later in the afternoon. By that time the light had swung round just far enough to start lighting up the Malvern side of the engine; there's even a bit of glint on it.

After attaching the last of the bottom end dagger boards we were inspired to get out the last 3 corrugated iron sheets, now fully painted and bitumened.

We wriggled the first one up. Holding these up to the next level is like handing someone a giant, heavy razor blade.

Neal manhandled it round. Believe it or not, there is a right way and a wrong way to mounting them (next to a right side and a wrong side - we painted one the wrong way round).

 Once the first of the three sheets was in place, having been pushed under the previous, higher layer, Neal started to drill the holes for screwing it down.

Here we are with the first sheet on; sheet no.2 is ready to go up and no.3 will follow soon after.

At the end of the afternoon all 3 were up, and that concludes the placing of the roof sheets on both sides of the footbridge steps.
On this picture you can see the footbridge with all the sheets on, with the newest ones on the left. New dagger boards also below them.

The next job is to machine the mouldings which go up and down the sides. We had a bit of a hiccough last week when the head didn't fit the machine, but this should be fixed now and we may be able to see something in action on Wednesday.

Saturday at Toddington.

A good turnout of 11 today, which was a bit of a morale booster. Many hands make light work.

We started to load up the tools at Winchcombe but our busy endeavours were interrupted by this large blue thingy which wanted to squeeze past.

We yielded to the admittedly greater power, and moved the Landie to one side before it rumbled past.

We are now in the peak season and there were 3 trains out today, so the Peak came to pick up the third rake, which is stabled next to our collection of storage vehicles.

We arrived at Toddington, where we intended to replace two sets of fishplates, and do a bit of packing here and there.

However, it took an hour to clear the track of trains and we spent this time sitting and waiting.

The time passed agreeably, as Pete and Neil decided who was more deserving of the long serving volunteer award.

One of the several trains that passed before us as we sat and waited was 35006, which arrived in a huge cloud of steam until at the last moment, the driver very kindly shut the drain cocks so that we could take this picture. (Admittedly they seem to be still open in the picture, but the huge cloud of steam containing the locomotive had disappeared)

More waiting as 4270 zig-zagged past us, running round its train which it was about to take to Broadway.

We found new employ for the steam department deckchairs, which we 'borrowed' for the day outside our workplace.

Finally we were let on to the track, and the first job was to replace two sets of fishplates with better lifters.

Another pause then, to allow the Peak to take its train out of Toddington and past our work site.
Finally we were let loose in earnest. This joint, the beginning of last winter's relay, was found to be floating and dipped too much as the locos passed over it.

A free ride offered to Bert Ferrule by the cunning crew of the King proved to be the persuading factor in deciding to skip the Defford straight this week, and attend to this immediately. There was a lot of digging out, kango-ing and then back filling, but the result was worth it and after more trains passed over the spot no more movement could be seen.

During our next wait Bert made a very generous gesture by bringing 11 cups of tea for the whole gang.

How kind is that !

The gesture went down extremely well with those waiting on the garden furniture.

Unfortunately it had a disastrous effect on productivity.

Although the track was cleared to resume our activities, only Bert was seen to charge back to work. The others remained firmly seated, claiming that the tea was too hot and that they hadn't had time to drink it.

An enjoyable lunch was observed in the mess coach back at Winchcombe (more tea....) and desert was in the form of fairy cakes baked by the expert Mrs. B. Just how many fairy cakes can a man consume? We tried to find out.

After lunch we returned to Toddington to complete the job, then take a closer look at the remaining trackwork at the southern end of the station. It is indeed very old, much of it dating back to the 1980s.

In the loco yard the 2807 team was busy too. So this is what they do with the GWR throughbolt chairs that we bring them.

With our limited means we are unable to remove the rusted up bolts easily, but the 2807 team have it sorted.

The oldest GWR chairs are the round ended ones at the front, and they are stamped 1892.

Our last picture of the day shows the Peak leaving Winchcombe. It was there when we got out the tools, and it was there when we put them back again. Clearly a 'Peak' day for us.

Over the fence: Romney Hythe & Dymchurch Railway.

It's really part two of the great PWay escape to the other side of the fence - in Kent. Our second day saw a visit to the RH&D Railway. Why it has that name is not clear, as the line runs from Hythe to Dungeness....

Looking over the fence at other railways is quite interesting. Just to see how they work, what USP they have, how successful they are. No two railways are alike, each has its own atmosphere and that is a good reason to visit them all, if you can.

There is very much a seaside feeling to the RH&DR, and of course the sea is never more than a sea wall away. In fact Romney marsh all used to be sea, but gradually the water retreated leaving a vast, dry bay behind. It is edged by cliffs that stretch in a long curve from Rye to Hythe.

New Romney station has a style all of its own.

Almost Kings Cross.

We heard that Captain Howey and Count Zborowski needed a long flat piece of terrain so that they could race 15 inch gauge trains, both characters having a line in their own gardens. Hythe to New Romney was selected and later built to double track (!), then extended to Dungeness.

It may be a seaside line, but it has an air of professionalism.

The small size of the 15 inch gauge becomes apparent when you stand on the footbridge at New Romney and look down at the road over bridge below.

Two little mouse holes! We're going to fit through that?

The locomotives are faithful 1/3 scale copies of 1920s main line locos, mostly Pacifics but there are also Mountains. There are 10 of them, plus a smaller 0-4-0 which was used in the construction of the line. The loco passed by several owners but was eventually sold for scrap. It was found by Sir William McAlpine under a pile of scrap metal in 1972 and restored to its former owners.

The little cabs of the operating locomotives are quite roomy. The drivers have a seat, and their feet go in a footwell where the tender fall plate would be.

There are real signal boxes along the line, but they are not linked to each other. Instead, every loco is fitted with a transponder device, through which its exact location along the line can be seen by the controller.

The locos are turned at Hythe for the return journey, so always work chimney first.

At Dungeness there is a balloon loop, and the line from new Romney to Dungeness is now single, one of the running lines having been rendered unusable by the army's occupation of the line during the war.

WINSTON CHURCHILL was being prepped at new Romney, ready to head north.

The loco has a Crosby chime whistle. This, we heard, was brought over by Capt Howey after a trip to Canada.

The LNER became interested, borrowed it, and fitted similar ones to the A4s as a result.
After turning at Hythe, we headed south, all the way to Dungeness. This is a shingle point which is slowly growing out to sea, necessitating a new lighthouse at some point - this is the old one.

Behind is Dungeness nuclear power station, with the famous cottage in front that was advertised for sale accidentally without mentioning the gigantic power plant right behind. It looked great from three of the 4 angles.

The train goes right round in a loop, stopping briefly at the building with the red roof, which has a large cafe. The stop isn't quite long enough to comfortably buy yourself a cup of takeaway coffee. Bit of stress here, but we made it.

Back at New Romney, the company's nerve centre, we were made very welcome and then given a guided tour of the workshop and shed.

Full overhauls are done here. This is Dr. Syn. These are just like full scale locomotives, and under certain angles it is hard to tell that they are only 1/3 of the size.

Boiler work is often contracted out, but not always so, in order that the team can keep their hand in. Dr. Syn's for example is being done in house.

It's only when you look at the front tube plate that you realise everything is that much smaller - there are only 4 superheater tubes.

Nonetheless the locomotives weigh over 8 tons each.
The company is lucky to have a full set of drawings to which they can refer.

The design is by Henry Greenly, one of the foremost designers of miniature railway engines of the last century.

This drawing is also signed 'LZ' -  Louis Zborowski, who had a considerable influence during the formative years, but who sadly died in a racing car crash in 1924. Capt. Howey thus lost his partner in building the RH&D railway, which almost brought the venture to a halt.

The loco shed was almost empty, as of course most of the engines are out doing a day's work.

This is GREEN GODDESS, just out of overhaul. Look at that gleaming paintwork!

The tracks in the shed are on brick towers, which makes it easier to work on the engines.

Hythe and New Romney are fully signalled. This box is in New Romney, and has an interesting frame. The levers are released not with the usual handles, but with a foot pedal.

Note also the 'collars' in the form of brass and yellow coloured tubes. They indicate the position of locos and carriages in the station.

We did a little 'selfie' outside the signal box at New Romney. Note the 'RHD' cast iron monogram above the door of the box. A number of their platform benches also had the initials cast into them.

Outside on the unloading road was a completely different type of locomotive, the others being mostly based on Gresley pacific types. It looks huge from this low angle, but it is 1/3 scale like all the others.

BLACK PRINCE is a German locomotive, built by Krupp in 1937. The locomotive was designed by a contemporary of Henry Greenly, Roland Martens, who also designed sister locomotive Whillan Beck on the RER. This type of locomotive was designed to operate at exhibitions and parks and were known as Liliputs.

All in all a successful visit to two interesting railways in Kent. We look forward to the next one - a visit to the Great Central has already been pencilled in.


  1. Great progress at Broadway.
    So no one cracked the old joke when changing the fish plates with the diesel about. As in "Diesel fitter".
    A good few photos of the RH&D, a line that I had the pleasure to travel over many years ago.
    Regards, Paul.

  2. Is the duck head on the chime whistle hinged for when it goes through tunnels?

    1. No, there are duck shaped cutouts on each bridge.

  3. Suoer blog thank you gentlemen .great jobs you are doing,