Spring – Summer 2016 Update

So much has been going on, time for website updates has been limited!

A LOT of work has been going on at the Works in preparation for the new Railway of the King’s Lynn and District SME at Lynnsport. A Warrior pallet lift has been modified to serve as a variable height traverser mounted platform; allowing locos to be offloaded onto platform at whichever height is the car or trailer. The platform can then move up and down the rails to one of the four raised loco prep areas, and drop to near ground level to run off onto the main circuit. This thing follows the usual ALW criteria, FFP = Fit For Purpose. This often means that said item is also HEAVY, this is no exception, however it will serve the Club well for many years.

hydrailerMy two sit-astride passenger trolleys were brought out of retirement, and a few weeks spent refurbishing them ready for the King’s Lynn club to borrow for their portable track outings this year. They have performed well at the Walpole Flower Festival, with two other ALW products – Drewry 3 and Harlech Castle providing the motive power for this weekend session. Harlech registered 6 miles, that’s a lot of shunting up and down a 60 metre track! IMG_9301_tonemapped

The trolleys and Drewry 3 also made it to the Fenland Food and Craft Fair at the Secret Garden Touring Park, a one-day event that was well worthwhile and we hope to be invited back again next year.

In the workshop, aside from the carriages and the lift, the M7 has been undergoing an overhaul… well, it is 9 years old now! A lot of the wiring has been simplified and replaced, the air compressor is now in the driving trolley for ease of access and the air brake cylinders have also been upgraded to apply a greater amount of brake force than before. The combined air brakes and the re-gen of the 4QD controller was sufficient to stop the loco from speed in short order, now it’ll be better with heavier loads that we seem to be getting out and about.

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Speedfit battery connectors, no more faffing with spanners! Click = done!

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A new brake cylinder (top) with an old one removed from the loco

The situation now is that there are two driving trolleys, one is for the M7 with its air brake gear, and the other is for the Sentinel which is set up with vacuum brakes.

Harlech has received the same speedfit battery connectors which saves hunting for spanners. A new pot for the hand controller is being looked into as it seems to have a dead spot in the upper half of its motion. Not being thrashed enough!

Outings for the first half of the season have been limited for various reasons, a trip to the annual Hemsby Week was made with Harlech and the Sentinel; the weather wasn’t everso great but we had fun nevertheless. Nice to meet up with Mike and Charlie from the Norwich club, and their locos; the tiny Sentinel which can shift an amazing load, and the Class 73 which probably has as much power as the real thing!

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Comparing Sentinels, one petrol hydraulic and the other petrol electric. Both very capable machines

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The 73 is a beast! Harlech seems to have found some nice Gresley teak carriages… should upset the purists!

The second major outing of the season was to the Weeting Steam Engine Rally, where we help our friends the Brandon and District Model Engineering Society with their operations. The Sentinel came to play on the Friday and along with Norman’s ‘Warship’, a small Hunslet looking steam engine and a recently completed ‘Statfold’ steam loco, handled the deluge of excitable schoolchildren who were queued along the station approaches solidly from 10am to 2.30pm! Some loads totalled 17 children plus driver and guard and the Sentinel performed impeccably and only drank half its tank of fuel.

 

Harlech came to play on the Saturday, and with two steam locos in service plus another battery electric, it wasn’t being used as intensively as before; it acted as early morning haulage and covering of lunch and service breaks for the steamers, plus the last few runs in the afternoon. Not that Ben minded, plenty of opportunity for tea stops and to sample some of the delicious, if a bit pricey, fish and chips from the truck in the next arena. Even in this reduced capacity, the speedometer recorded 9.8 miles for the day, and some heavy trains.

The Brandon track looks flat, but it isn’t… something like a 1 in 80 gradient to climb, tight corners to negotiate, followed by having to brake on a 1 in 80 downhill into the station! Quite a demanding circuit, the 6hp Sentinel with its Eaton drive unit handles it with ease but the 1hp Harlech requires some skilled driving to keep it moving and the amps in a safe range.

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Until next time…!

September – October Update

The workshop has seen a rather limited amount of action recently since I suffered from a very painful wrist! My Doctor gave me an injection in my wrist which seems to have worked wonders.

I visited Wales again with a friend to see and ride the trains plus we visited a few more places taking a canal boat ride over the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct on the Llangollen canal, with Jones the Boats.

The refurbishment of the two sit-astride trolleys is ongoing. Extra box section metal is on order so once that arrives it can be cut into sections to make into a third, 5 foot 3 inch ridding car. The club is hoping to resume attending a few charity garden fetes in 2016 with the portable track.

The final installation and testing of my new Sentinel driving desk should take place early November, It has enhanced features including a new tachometer, ammeter, Guards Alarm unit, speedo and is fitted for vacuum braking operated from the new driving truck. The aluminium cut out desk was laser cut for me by Tom at Dale sheet metal, and MR Signs of Austin Fields did the artwork instruction notation for the desk top. The driving desk looks good and very professional so when it next goes on display it should get quite a bit of comment and questions asked about it.

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The angle iron metal for the table lift runners should come next week so that can be cut and made up ready to install once we have moved to the new track site.

Works Update – August 2015

Another very busy month for the Works!

The new driving trucks have seen some changes made to the braking systems with the fitting of the Vacuum braking controls onto the driving truck after removal from the driving desk on Sentinel. This allows the driving trucks flexibility to operate either the M7 with Pneumatic straight air brakes or full vacuum control of coaching stock when required or they can double as a Guards trolley.

The planned outing to Cambridge SME new track opening on the 22nd did not take place due to health issues and availability reasons.

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Work continued with yet more modifications to the driving desk of Sentinel with a new revised layout design and extra instrumentation being added, to provide the driver with better status technical information. The small 2 speed fan has been removed and replaced by a heavy duty 7 inch bi-directional fan. An ammeter has been added to the instruments and the old rev counter replaced with a better quality Tachometer which is easier to read the engine revs. The new controls desk on Sentinel is to have instructions graphics added so as to ensure that any safety issues are not encountered whilst operating and driving public services.

angles2965table2888The Warrior 500kg table lift that I purchased [with the intention of it going to the new track site] has been undergoing modification so that it will act as a traverser unit for off-loading engine trailers. It is fitted with four 150kg V rollers to give it a maximum loading up to 600kg, these will run on a 50mm inverted angle iron vee bed track bolted down to the ground. The flat top has been extended to safely take engines up to 1620mm in length and 550mm in width. In normal use this allows for a maximum axle wheel base distance not exceeding 1200mm. The maximum certified weight of 500kg will be reduced to 375kg once it is installed and commissioned. (approx. 7.4 cwt.)

Another guy has contacted ALW regarding the design of a 7 1/4 inch Drewry Tram engine, to be based on the 1.7 inch ones produced. This engine should be somewhat larger at about 2.25 inches to the foot although this criteria may vary according to actual needs of the intended petrol hydraulic equipment, chassis sizes / specifications.

Criccieth Castle complete with its driving van trailer etc, has now gone to a new owner in Andover, Hampshire.

5ftsatastride ptrolley60 ptrolley66My old sit-astride passenger trolleys are being refurbished so that the club can consider re-opening the Garden Fetes requests diary for 2016. Refurbishment and track testing will take place over the closed winter season pending safety commissioning/testing taking place. The portable track was a very popular fund raiser with many local organisations until the club started public running of the Lynnsport track every Sunday during the season. This frequency of operating negated the need to take the portable track to local events and the loss of many of the “old Fete Crew” meant that we could not attend these invitations due to the lack of trained staff and suitable traction being available on the day. Another factor being that peak holiday time co-insides with members holidays. HSG216 code of practice determines the safety factors and suitability of the proposed site(s) which require a formal method statement to cover each venue.

July 2015

Another very busy month for the Works!

The new driving trucks have seen additions made to the braking systems with the fitting of the Vacuum braking controls onto the driving truck after removal from the driving desk on Sentinel. This allows the driving truck the very best of flexibility to operate either the M7 with Pneumatic straight air brakes or full vacuum control of coaching stock when required.

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The planned outing to Ruddington on the 11th (Nottingham SMEE) did not take place due to health issues and availability reasons, however the Sentinel did venture out to the Weeting Traction Engine Rally on Friday the 17 covering some 11 miles of passenger operation.

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On the Saturday (18th) Harlech Castle out performed the other engines until the end when the crowds had started to ease off, it too covering some 11 miles.

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Work continued with modifications to the driving desk of Sentinel with a new layout design and extra instrumentation being added, to provide the driver with better status technical information. The small 2 speed fan has been removed and replaced by a heavy duty 7 inch bi-directional fan. An ammeter has been added to the instruments and the old rev counter replaced with a better quality Tachometer which is easier to read the engine revs. A few more replacement parts are due in shortly which will allow completion of my upgrade plans for this month.

June 2015

Been a busy month for the Works!

The plank wagon driving trolleys have been moving on apace, there are two of these – one for the driver and one to be a guard’s truck, and both kitted out with a vac brake control. IMG_2156 - Copy copy vacb2 copy truckchasb copy IMG_2167 copy

 

Friday 19th saw us getting up at the crack of dawn and heading west to Kingsbury Water Park for the Standard Gauge event at the Echills Wood Railway. Our route just happened to go past a Toby Carvery, whose breakfast buffet for a VERY reasonable price will set us up for the whole day!

Arrival at the EWR was in good time and we joined the queue for the offloading device! Once on the rails, a quick check over before firing up the Sentinel and we were one of the first trains out on the circuit.

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We had a great day out, the Sentinel performed impeccably and only drank half its tank of fuel on what must have been ten or so laps. Being that little bit faster than the Ffesties, we kept up with traffic! Our thanks to the EWR gang for their hospitality and inviting folks to come and play on their superb railway.

May 2015

Round up of activities from ALW this month…

Early into the month, a visit to the Vale of Aylesbury Society and their track at Quainton Road. The Sentinel was able to haul a full rake here today, with its vacuum brake system up and running.

may (5)The Aylesbury track is a good one, with almost a mile in length and some gradients to play with as well.

A brick arched tunnel marks the final approaches to the station. may (6)

Pick a day when the full size Quainton Road museum is operating and you can find yourself running side-by-side with a mainline steam locomotive!

The new driving truck is making good progress, look how many nuts and bolts are in this thing! may (2) may (3)

These are to represent an 8 plank wagon, this decision being helped by spotting some discounted laminate flooring in the DIY store! This being cut into strips to represent the planks.

Towards the end of the month, it was time to visit Hemsby for their annual week long bash, though we tend to pick a mid-week day as not to be too busy. This track is on a private site at a holiday park, so it’s not over-run with people wanting rides and you can have a bit of a play. Single track, double track, bridges, tunnels, steep gradients… it’s a good day out! 7.25″ Society membership is mandatory though!

may (4) may (1)Few pictures taken due to camera malfunction, however the video camera played ok and you can see some of these by following the links on the Vids and Pics page