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2017 February - Loco Working Party Update

Update from 4/5 Feb working party at Pendre


No 2 Dolgoch was the main focus of the working party. The plugs, blast pipe and blower ring were refitted. New gauge glasses were fitted, the ashpan overhauled and refitted, firebars replaced and new brake blocks put on. The smokebox and firebox got a fresh coat of paint. The loco was hydraulic tested to check the plugs don’t leak.

No 4 Edward Thomas has had the inside cab, buffer beams and running plates painted.

No 7 Tom Rolt’s safety valves were lapped, and the dome cover refitted.

Thanks all for your hard work.

Photos by Mike Morris.

Painting inside No 4 Edward Thomas' cab
Brake block replacement work on No 2 Dolgoch - why they need replacing!
Brake block replacement work on No 2 Dolgoch - new block

Source: Latest News

Posted by Peter Bowyer on 13 February 2017

Press Release - Talyllyn Railway is 'Loving It Local' over Half Term

We’re ‘Loving It Local’ during the half term week between 18 and 26 February 2017.


Twice as many trains will run, at half the usual fares, as part of the Railway’s annual thank you to the local community. Called ‘Love It Local’ there will also be children’s activities at Tywyn Wharf station during the week including a colouring competition.

Trains will depart for Nant Gwernol from Tywyn Wharf station at 10.30 am, 11.40 am, 2 pm and 3.10 pm and all fares are half price. In addition, Kings Café at Wharf station will be open all week serving hot and cold meals, and the Quarryman’s Caban at Abergynolwyn station will be open for snacks and light refreshments.

Chairman of the Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society Ian Drummond comments:

‘We deeply appreciate all the support given to the Railway by the local community during the past year, and one of our aims is to build more links into the future. This Railway has served the local community for 150 years, and we hope it will continue for many more. Therefore, this is our way of saying thank you and this year we’ve made it bigger and better than ever. We hope that many people will come along and join us during the week whether it’s to ride the train, have a meal or simply say ‘hello’, you will be more than welcome’.

On Saturday 25 February there will also be an opportunity for those interested in getting involved in volunteering on the Railway with their ‘Try Your Hand’ day.

For further information about this press release please e-mail: pressoffice [at] talyllyn [dot] co [dot] uk or phone 01654 710472.

Photo by Ian Drummond.


No 2 Dolgoch at Tywyn Wharf station, complete with Welsh daffs

Source: Latest News

Posted by Peter Bowyer on 11 February 2017

Diana at May Gala

The Moseley Railway Trust is pleased to confirm arrangements for the 2017 railway gala at the Apedale Valley Light Railway. This year’s gala, to be held on May 13 and 14, will mark the centenary of the Kerr, Stuart locomotive “Stanhope”. Kerr, Stuart were a Stoke-on-Trent based locomotive manufacturer – so “Stanhope” is now preserved less than five miles from where it was built. However, the intervening century saw it work in England, Scotland and Wales!
The gala will be themed around Kerr, Stuart products, and the visiting locomotive line-up will reflect this. The Trust looks forward to welcoming Phil Mason and his locomotive “Diana” to the railway. “Diana” will also mark its centenary in 2017, and is the only “Sirdar” class Kerr, Stuart loco in Europe; there is one other preserved in Namibia. “Diana” was used on the long-closed Kerry Tramway in Wales, and now operates on the Bala Lake Railway. The locomotive steamed again in 2015, 65 years after being taken out of traffic.
Further visiting locomotives are under negotiation and will be announced in due course; suffice to say that the Trust is aiming to have the largest-ever gathering of Kerr, Stuart locomotives in preservation at Apedale in May! There will be the usual supporting cast of model railways and trade stands, plus military re-enactors in the recreated World War One trench system.
The Trust will also be launching a new book telling the story of “Stanhope” and its’ astonishing survival – the loco owes its survival to an argument between two well-known personalities from the early years of narrow gauge preservation!
Phil Robison, Moseley Railway Trust Chairman said “We are all looking forward to bringing Diana home to Stoke-on-Trent; the Stanhope Steam Gala looks like being another really good weekend at Apedale. The MRT has developed a reputation for top-notch railway galas, and we are expecting this to be no exception!”
The “Stanhope Steam Gala” will be held on May 13 and 14. Admission will be £6 adults, £3 children.

Source: Moseley Railway Trust – Latest News

Posted by Peter Bowyer on 7 February 2017

Training on the Trains

We have had a Training and Assessment day at Apedale. This has focussed on re-assessing a group of mainline passenger drivers and Guards. We are required by law to have a training and assessment regime which is every bit as rigorous as a mainline operator. The days of “if the face fits, you can be a Guard” are long gone. Whilst this regime can be quite onerous, it does mean that both our volunteers and the management team know exactly who is authorised to do what job, and everyone is trained and assessed against a common set of standards – no favouritism and none of “clique problem” which afflicts some organisations. It also means that any of the volunteers can become part of the training process – but acheiving the necessary standard takes some time and commitment. A spin-off benefit is that we have documentation demonstrating the competence of our people, which is useful when Apedale locos visit other railways – we can demonstrate the competence of the crews which may accompany the loco. We are always looking for new volunteers, please get in touch here.

Source: Moseley Railway Trust – Latest News

Posted by Peter Bowyer on 5 February 2017

Driver Experience Dates

We have released the dates for the “Tracks to the Trenches Driver Experience” days for 2017 – they are Friday 24th March, Sunday 26th March, Monday 3rd April, Monday 24th April, Friday 8th June, Monday 26th June, Friday 7th July. We may add further dates later in the year depending on enquiries received. Full details are here

Source: Moseley Railway Trust – Latest News

Posted by Peter Bowyer on 2 February 2017

2017 January - Long Weekend Working Party Progress Report

20-23 January 2017



The morning was spent completing the fitting of the motion to William Finlay and placing in its final position. We also tidied up around ‘William’ and removed the surplus packing material from the museum and stacked it appropriately. We carried out a line inspection between Wharf and Pendre as well as removing a large quantity of grass and weeds growing in the ballast. An audit of the sleepers at Wharf was also carried out.


Saturday was ‘Line inspection day’. We made a start at Abergynolwyn, first we went to Nant Gwernol, then to Quarry Siding. The hedging gang who were carrying out some prep work with a train kindly gave us a ride back to Abergynolwyn for lunch. After lunch we drove to Brynglas and inspected the line between there and Quarry Siding. While the line inspections were being carried out others used the pole saw to remove overhanging branches on the same sections.


On Sunday we split the available gang between leaf removal with the leaf blowers and future work planning linked to further line inspection work. We also took a quantity of scrap to Wharf and obtained additional fuel for the leaf blowing gang. The leaf blowing gang started at Quarry Siding and headed west. We remove the leaves for several reasons including fouling the drainage and making line inspections very difficult. The leaves in places along the line collect in huge drifts nearly a foot deep. Line inspections were carried out between Pendre and Hendy Bridge and Rhydyronen and Brynglas.


The day was spent continuing with the leaf removal west of Dolgoch and clearing the drains. They made excellent progress and by the close of play they were about 100metres west of 4 ½ milepost.

Very many thanks to everyone who came along to enjoy three days of sunshine and help with tasks outlined above. The weather was a little chilly at times but it did not stop the good work. Many thanks again, your assistance is much appreciated.

Forthcoming opportunities to help your railway:

Advance notice is always very helpful!

Report by Keith Theobald

Source: Latest News

Posted by Peter Bowyer on 30 January 2017

2017 January - Hedgelaying

28th and 29th January


Volunteering on a heritage railway does mean opportunities to learn some unique skills – usually related to engines, carriages or track. One new skill a large gang decided to learn last weekend was hedgelaying. Properly managed native hedges provide us with a good sheep-proof fence, look more traditional than wire fencing, create wildlife habitats and help prevent soil erosion.

A couple of regular volunteers had taken part in hedgelaying courses and they offered to teach others their skills. A good cross section of volunteers came along - drivers, guards, firemen, various committee members, outdoor gang members and people who just fancied trying something new. The majority of the gang were women, possibly something unique in the heritage railway world! Although it did mean we had plenty of tea, coffee, biscuits and cake.

The aim of the weekend was to continue the hedgelaying already achieved along Doldeheuwydd Bank, between Brynglas and Dolgoch Stations. The exisitng blackthorn bushes had grown high, blocking the views from the train up towards Cader Idris. The bushes were cut back and selected branches were ‘pleached’ – laid down horizontally and interwoven with upright stakes to form a framework for new growth. Over the next couple of years the new shoots will be cut and trained to form thick hedges. New bushes will be planted in the gaps.

The gang worked in two teams – one to work on trimming back the bushes and one to take the accumulated ‘boscage’ by train to the dumping site near Dolgoch. Volunteers rotated between teams to get a break - it’s hard work sawing branches, pleaching and bashing in stakes! Everyone had a great time and we’re looking forward to the next hedgelaying weekend.

Many thanks to Becky, Dave, Keith and Chris for organising a brilliant weekend.

Article by Karen Willans. Photos by Sarah Freeman, Keith Hayes, Martin Lester, Karen Willans and Andrew Young




The hedgelayers and train with plenty of boscage to collect
Laying branches
Pleaching a branch ready to lay
Saturday hedgelaying progress
Geting rid of the boscage from the hedgelaying by the lineside
Halfway there - Saturday progress
Sunday's section before work begins
Pleached branches
Pleaching with an axe
Loading up the boscage train
The Hedgelaying Gang and their work in progress
Hedgelaying - newly improved views up Doldeheuwydd Bank
Final view of the weekend's work as the last of the boscage is loaded up

Source: Latest News

Posted by Peter Bowyer on 30 January 2017

Let there be light

Another busy weekend at Apedale. A major shunt on Sunday was needed to extract the Howard petrol loco; this left the yard looking as though a diesel gala was in progress. The Diesel Gala isn’t until 7 & 8 October, and hopefully will be rather better attended. The Howard needed to go onto the inspection pit for attention to its sanding gear. Meanwhile, in the shed, the Ffestiniog Coach has gained its first working light fitting (the previous lights were recovered by the FR for their own vehicles). We are using 12v LED fittings, which will run off an on-board battery. As you will note, electrical lighting caued some wonderment to one of our members. He comes from Manchester, so not too surprising. Very much a prototype fit, we will now proceed to fit all six such lights. As part of the testing/development phase, a non-battery 12v supply was needed, so hence the writer’s ancient train set controller was extracted from the loft and pressed back into use. This controller is, in fact, older than the coach itself (or the coach body at least – the underframe dates back to 1926).

Source: Moseley Railway Trust – Latest News

Posted by Peter Bowyer on 29 January 2017


Plenty going on at Apedale at the moment; the closed season is when the rate of working needs to increase – if nothing else, it stops us freezing solid. The steam locos all had a ride around the yard today in order to get the Joffre ready for its boiler exam. It also took the opportunity to test a modification to a set of points which had caused that loco some issues in the past – all seems to be well now. Road 3 of the Red Shed is being re-configured to form a dedicated charging bay for the battery locos. In the past, we have had the chargers on a rail wagon. However, due to the linear nature of railways, getting the right loco near the charger wagon has proven to be nearly impossible. Battery locos are easy to drive and economical, and hence it makes sense to use them whenever possible for yard shunting. The Red Shed has been re-roofed recently (indeed, it now has a souble skinned roof), and hence is pretty dry, but a “tertiary roof” has been added over the site cleared for the chargers just to make sure that water and electricity don’t meet. There’s still more to be done – like actually installing most of the chargers – but it’s looking good so far.

Source: Moseley Railway Trust – Latest News

Posted by Peter Bowyer on 21 January 2017


The Moseley Railway Trust is delighted to announce that they are the recipients of a PRISM grant from Arts Council England.
The grant, for more than £13,000, will be used to fund the restoration of a historic diesel locomotive in the Moseley Railway Trust collection. The locomotive was built by the Motor Rail & Tramcar Company Ltd of Bedford in 1918 as their number 1320. It was built as a 40hp locomotive intended for operation by the British military light railways which served the front lines of the First World War. No.1320 was a “protected” locomotive – that is, the bodywork was intended to give some protection to the crew from enemy fire. However, No.1320 did not leave Bedford until September 1918, and hence was too late to see any active service in the First World War (which ended in November 1918).
As with so many such locomotives, it was sold second-hand (having probably never been used by the military!) to a Hertfordshire gravel quarry, where it had a hard (but productive) life in industry until it was preserved in 1978. It is now owned outright by the MRT following a bequest by its late owner in 2012.
When new, this locomotive would have been fitted with a Dorman 4J0 petrol engine. However, when at the quarry, it was heavily rebuilt with the current Dorman 4DWD diesel engine. At, or around this time, the bodywork was changed to give the loco its current appearance.
The locomotive will be sympathetically restored to the condition in which it worked at the gravel quarries. The history of the locomotive that is the subject of this appeal typifies the whole history of narrow gauge railways in industry; it was built for military use, but spent its working life in civilian hands. The quarry company rebuilt and adapted the locomotive to meet their own needs.
When complete, loco 1320 will form an interesting contract with another 40HP Motor Rail locomotive in the Moseley Railway Trust collection – no.1369, which is still in “military specification” condition.
It is planned to complete the restoration of No.1320 during 2017, which will allow the locomotive to be demonstrated at the Moseley Railway Trust’s 2018 Tracks to the Trenches event, which will take place in July 2018.

Phil Robinson, Chairman of the Moseley Railway Trust, said We are really grateful to Arts Council England for their support. This restoration project will be delivered by our volunteer members, so not only will the loco be restored, but our members will be able to learn new skills and pass experience to our younger members.

Moseley Railway Trust – Latest News

Posted by Peter Bowyer on 9 January 2017

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