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Internal Combustion progress

As we head towards the Diesel Delight event on October 7 & 8, various projects on the IC loco front continue to progress. The big Motor Rail, 1320, is continuing in ites PRISM-funded restoration project. The frame is now sitting upside down on a wagon, rather dominating the workshop. The frame has been shotblasted and primed. A few repairs were needed, and various castings were somewhat past their best. Since they were fitted in 1918 and probably not touched in 99 years, there isn’t really room to complain. Also, the Motor Rail Warranty Department doesn’t work on a Sunday.

At the opposite end of the Motor Rail spectrum is the tiny Autin-engined 12/20hp loco number 6031, known as Lord Austin. The loco was ordered for use by the Midhurst Whites brickworks, and they specified that it was for use in a low-height application; hence the cut down brake stand, and an unusual configuration of the gearbox controls. The loco has been finally fitted with its cab to complete the restoration – predictably, a low height cab. Getting in and out is interesting, to say the least, but the photo proves that the owner can manage it. How much vaseline was need to accomplish this feat is not known. The remains of the original cab are, as can be seen, at the “pattern use only” stage.

Finally, it’s been an interesting few days in railway preservation in the UK, and not in a good way. We particularly think of friends and colleagues affected at Felin Fawr, and we sincerely hope that the future works out. It is only a few months since “Stanhope” was operating on that railway, and the future seemed so bright.

Source: Moseley Railway Trust – Latest News

Posted by Peter Bowyer on 23 July 2017

Talyllyn Railway Press Release - Chris Smith Appointed Engineering Manager

The Talyllyn Railway is delighted to announce the appointment of Chris Smith as its new Engineering Manager.


Chris comes to his new role with a wealth of experience in the rail engineering industry, both in the mainline and heritage sectors, he has also been a regular volunteer for the past twenty years on the Talyllyn, being a qualified fireman on the Railway.

Having served his apprenticeship as a mechanical fitter he has worked on mainline diesel locomotives, and was the lead engineer on the overhaul of over 600 wagons for Freightliner, as well as a spell with Metronet in London. In addition, Chris has been employed as a contract fitter for the new-build A1 class steam locomotive Tornado. More recently he has been employed at Arriva’s Eastleigh maintenance depot.

In the heritage railway sector as well as his work with Tornado Chris has also led the team restoring the National Railway Museum owned Schools class steam locomotive, Cheltenham, on the Mid Hants Railway, where he is also a volunteer driver. In addition to this he has undertaken many engineering roles on the Mid Hants Railway and so brings a wealth of experience to his role on the Talyllyn.

Speaking of the appointment Chairman of the Talyllyn Railway Company, David Ventry, said:

“We are delighted to welcome Chris to this important position on the Railway. There was a strong field of candidates but we felt Chris offered us what we were looking for in a new Engineering Manager. Of course he is already familiar with the Railway and is aware of the challenges that the job brings. I look forward to working with Chris in the days ahead.”

Chris Smith commented:

“I am very much looking forward to working on the Talyllyn Railway following 20 years involvement as a volunteer, and also having the opportunity to bring skills and experiences from the heritage and mainline railway industries. My family and I are also very excited about having the chance to come and live in Tywyn.”

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


Chris Smith driving ex-British Railways class T9 No.30120 on the Mid Hants

Source: Latest News

Posted by Peter Bowyer on 17 July 2017


We have been honoured to host a visit from Dr Ailsa, and his glamorous assistant, who should have been called Craig but wasn’t. They cam to lay hands on the Hunslet “Twusk”, and more specifically its rather troublesome Ailsa-Craig two cylinder engine. The problem with this one is that the big end bearings were shot. The engine would run but wouldn’t generate oil pressure, and would then try to seize. The Good Doctor got to work; after an epic day’s efforts, the loco has been restored to health. Well done, chaps! Elsewhere on site, it’s been a steam train weekend with the Joffre doing its level best to broil the crew. A new “temporary” building has also been erected – the objective being to give covered accomodation for the increasing population of restored wagons on site.

Source: Moseley Railway Trust – Latest News

Posted by Peter Bowyer on 9 July 2017

Snakes on a Train

One could reasonably wonder what is going on here? Have we decided to simplify AVLR operations by fitting some form of remote control, thereby saving all the faffing with running the loco round the train at each of the train? Tempting, but wrong. This is testing the Portable Air Brake Panel (better names are doubtless available). The PABP is intended to allow some of the locos which are not fitted with a permanent air brake installation to be used with the passenger train. Supported by all the necessary risk assessments and the like, this new piece of kit will be the centrepiece of the Diesel Delights event on October 7 & 8. The event will see some of the Trust’s vast collection of historic diesels being given a chance to haul passenger trains, for the first timer ever. So, if you want to see an interesting piece of railway brake technology, plus maybe some trains, put the date in your diary today!

Source: Moseley Railway Trust – Latest News

Posted by Peter Bowyer on 2 July 2017

Turtle Tricks

A bit warm down the Valley this weekend – more suited to eating ice cream than working on railways! Nonetheless, progress was made on several fronts. We are providing a temporary railway for the North Norfolk Railway’s World War One event next weekend – called Tracks and Trenches, which is a strangely familiar title. We’re providing two locos – the Tin Turtle and and 20hp open tractor – plus a number of wagons. The locos have been extracted, tested and cleaned ready for the voyage East. Meanwhile, work has continued on MR1320 - which is a close cousin of the Turtle. The engine has reached the “gory oily bits stage”, allowing a view of the big ends, mains and camshaft not seen for many, many years.

Source: Moseley Railway Trust – Latest News

Posted by Peter Bowyer on 18 June 2017

2017 June - Peter Sam's Party

Peter Sam and friends joined us for his party at Abergynolwyn Station on Thursday 1 June.


It was an early start for Peter Sam and Duncan as they set off in the morning sunshine with their special double headed train from Wharf. Rusty’s engineering train followed up soon after. Ivo Hugh and Rheneas joined in, with the engines whistling madly at each other as their trains passed through. The platform and sidings at Abergynolwyn were very full at some points with all the trains going in and out. Great fun to watch and try and work out what was happening next! Luckily the Thin Controller was on duty to make sure everyone behaved.


There was plenty for everyone to do. For the craft lovers there were all sorts of painting, badge making and drawing activities.  Quite a few brightly painted pebbles were added to the new Fairy Glen down the Discovery Path our Tracksiders have created. See if you can find it next time you explore Abergynolwyn Station – it’s well hidden! The legends of the Skarloey Railway were read out for the younger (and young at heart) visitors. You could also get your face painted or try and win the ‘Spot Peter Sam’ competition.


As well as the visiting Skarloey engines, we had miniature railway rides along the platform and Peter Sam’s free station shuttles. Rusty’s shuttles between Abergynolwyn and Nant Gwernol kept the Nant Gwernol Station Master busier than usual.


Down at Wharf the Llechfan Garden Railway was running plus our young Tracksiders were manning activity stalls.  All in all, a busy, fun day out in lovely sunshine for visitors and volunteers alike.


Join us on Thursday 24 August for the next Peter Sam’s Party! Many thanks as always to the volunteers who go to a lot of effort to organise this fantastic event.

Photos by Barbara Fuller, Darren Turner and Karen Willans.

The Talyllyn Railway is the owner of locomotives Talyllyn, Dolgoch, Sir Haydn, Edward Thomas, Douglas, Midlander and Tom Rolt which were written into the Rev. W. Awdry’s stories as Skarloey, Rheneas, Sir Handel, Peter Sam, Duncan, Rusty and Ivo Hugh.


Peter Sam and Duncan's train going through Pendre
Peter Sam and Duncan's train on Dolgoch Viaduct
Rusty's train at Abergynolwyn
Craft activities at Abergynolwyn Station
Miniature train rides along Abergynolwyn platform
Ivo Hugh running round at Nant Gwernol
Peter Sam and Rheneas pass each other at Abergynolwyn
Duncan pases through Abergynolwyn watched by a few admirers
Rusty's shuttle gets the 'Right Away!'
Ivo Hugh approaching Brynglas Station during the afternoon
Peter Sam back in the shed at Pendre at the end of a busy, but fun day

Source: Latest News

Posted by Peter Bowyer on 5 June 2017

Working in the sun

The dismantling of Motor Rail 1320 has taken a major step forward with the main components being craned out of the frame. The frame is now elsewhere for shotblasting, and the engine is in a cradle for further work. The photo of the wheels serves to remind of a key reason for undertaking this project. We have received an offer for the old wheels from Gillette, as the flanges are sharper than any of their razors. This is not, by a long way, the only project happening at Apedale. For example, the large Pechot wagon featured large in these notes a while back, at a time when it was using up weld consumables at a formidable rate. After a bit of a hiatus, the wagon has now been finally assembled and finish painted. We are reminded that it dates from 1888, which makes it one of the oldest – if not THE oldest – vehicle on site.

Source: Moseley Railway Trust – Latest News

Posted by Peter Bowyer on 4 June 2017

Gala Success

Moseley Railway Trust celebrates successful Stanhope Gala – and looks to the future
The Moseley Railway Trust held the annual railway gala at the Apedale Valley Light Railway on May 13 & 14. The theme for the 2017 event was to mark the centenary of the Kerr, Stuart locomotive “Stanhope”. Kerr, Stuart were a firm of locomotive builders based in Stoke-on-Trent – just a few miles from Apedale.
Three visiting engines attended, two built by Kerr, Stuart, and the third built to a Kerr, Stuart design. With the home-based fleet of Stanhope and a further 1916-built Kerr, Stuart loco, it is believed that this was the largest gathering of Stoke built locomotives in preservation.
The Gala attracted over 1000 visitors. Phil Robinson, the Trust Chairman said “We are very pleased with how the Stanhope Gala went. On behalf of the Trust, I’d like to express my thanks to the visiting loco owners and also to all our volunteers who worked tirelessly to make the weekend a success”.
The centenary of Stanhope was marked with various cakes – edible by humans and edible by engines. The owner of Stanhope – or the “current custodian”, as he described himself – Dr John Rowlands made a speech describing the remarkable story of how the loco survived into preservation. It was a close-run thing! This story has been put into print in a new book written by Phil Robinson and published by the Trust.
Looking to the future, there will be a new enthusiast-focussed event in October. The Diesel Delights weekend – 7 & 8 October 2017 – will see many of the Trust’s collection of internal combustion locos in action. Some will haul passenger trains – in some cases, these will be the first-ever passenger working for locos over fifty years old!
In 2018, the Trust will hold the third of the popular Tracks to the Trenches events, themed around the First World War. The site will be transformed into the Western Front for the weekend – July 13, 14 & 15 2018. The Trust would be pleased to hear from potential exhibitors of WW1-appropriate items, particularly road vehicles.

More details of the Trust and the Apedale valley Light Railway can be found on Facebook or here.

Source: Moseley Railway Trust – Latest News

Posted by Peter Bowyer on 1 June 2017

MR1320 and the Coach

In between running a steam service, and hosting “Diana” having a last running day before she heads off to Amerton, various other projects have been moving forward at Apedale. The engine of MR1320 has now been stripped back to “block” stage, using the loco frame as a very convenient mobile workstation. It’s fair to say that the condition of many components is as bad as was feared. In particular, the radiator elements are very poorly and also very non-standard compared to other Motor Rails. It looks like someone will have the job of assembling some 22,000 fins onto new radiator tubes. The cylinder liners are also in bad condition, which would largely account for the poor running of the engine. If anyone has any Dorman 4DWD liners down the back of the sofa, do get in touch. Meanwhile, the FR117 coach project is rapidly approaching completion. The coach was taken for a comprehensive test run on Saturday, followed by the slightly scary brake testing process. This all went extremely well, to the point where the project manager was seen to smile slightly at one point.

Source: Moseley Railway Trust – Latest News

Posted by Peter Bowyer on 29 May 2017

412 years of history

A busy weekend at Apedale preparing for the Stanhope Steam Gala. All three visiting steam locos are now on site, which inevitably means a mega-shunt to get them all safely into the shed. Also part of the mega-shunt is clearing the main shed out to allow the floor to be cleaned so that it is safe to allow visitors in to view trade stands and model railways. In between all of this, normal project works have continued. The large Motor Rail no.1320 is rapidly shrinking as it is stripped down for its restoration – this is not terribly photogenic. On the other hand, the FR coach has been painted and looks rather splendid. Sunday has seen us hosting a photo charter for 30742 Charters – the sun shown and everyone seems to have had a jolly good time. The opportunity was taken to line up all the Kerr, Stuart locos. Simple maths tells us that there is 412 years of history in the photo. Wikipedia tells us that 1605 was the year of Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder plot. Draw your own conclusions!


Source: Moseley Railway Trust – Latest News

Posted by Peter Bowyer on 7 May 2017

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