Twelve young people gathered from as far away as Liverpool and Oxford at North Ings Farm Museum and Railway near Sleaford for the Railway Experience Day.
Malcolm Phillips supplied his vertical boilered steam locomotive SWIFT and supervised the participants as they drove it round the track. Stuart Hendy was in charge of the Museum Trust’s diesel PENELOPE and supervised the trainee drivers on this little engine. Gerry Young took control of the signalling in the signal box at Pear Tree Junction which was in two way radio contact with the intermediate station at Fisherman’s Halt. Peter Bowes was safety officer and guard’s inspector and also gave instruction in the issue of Edmondson style card tickets. Chris White was present as organiser and mainly worked with Jack to service and prepare the Museum Trust’s Ruston diesel INDIAN RUNNER.
Heavy overnight rain gave way to an overcast morning and a warm and sunny afternoon with a pleasant breeze so conditions were ideal. The start was a little delayed by heavy traffic on many of the approach roads between Nottingham and Newark but every-one was able to have ample opportunity to take part in everything, being divided into four teams of three to share the various activities. Many family members arrived about 3.30 to take a ride round the circuit and meet the staff and other young people.
Following the formal proceedings INDIAN RUNNER was fired up and took a couple of circuits, including an experimental trip with the passenger train: this demonstrated that the locomotive is not suitable for hauling this train because the couplings on the passenger carriages were designed for the other resident locomotives which are all shorter which much less overhang.
SWIFT being serviced with coal and water
SWIFT and train pass Fisherman's Halt and the lonely signaller
PENELOPE makes progress through the trees
Signallers and PENELOPE's crew wait for the line to be clear to proceed
INDIAN RUNNER on the experimental trip with the passenger train
The Right Rev Robert Paterson, Bishop of Sodor and Man opened the Awdry centenary exhibition in the Museum on Wednesday 15 June, the centenary of Rev Wilbert Vere Awdry's birth. Wilbert's three children also spoke to the assembled crowd, Christopher set the scene and read the very first story; Veronica read (from her mother's bible) the passage from the Book of Ecclesiastices that Wilbert had chosen for the Talyllyn Railway's centenary service and used at all subsequent T.R. services and Hilary offered a prayer in memory of her father. The Bishop closed the formal proceedings with a blessing given in Welsh and Manx, before photos of the Awdry family were taken. The Ffarquar model railway, built by Wilbert was operating in the Slater Room. After a buffet lunch at King's, the party travelled to Nant Gwernol on a train hauled by Sir Handel and Peter Sam. The Bishop travelled on Sir Handel, Gethin Taylor, a resident of Castletown, being the fireman.
Pictures by David Mitchell
Winston McCanna presents Bishop Robert a small collection of books by Wilbert Awdry
The members of the Awdry family who gathered in the Museum for the event
Bishop Robert with Wilbert Awdry's three children on the Museum balcony
Wilbert Awdry's children at Nant Gwernol
Present were Frank Yates, Winston, McCanna, Don Newing, and David Mitchell. Frank worked the Gauge Glass of JUBILEE 1897. Don and David took down the 60th Anniversary temporary exhibition which had been running since last autumn, and Winston started setting up the new exhibition to celebrate the centenary of the birth of the Rev. W Awdry. This opens on 15th June, when we will be visited by members and guests of the Awdry family. A couple of photographs of Wilbert from the exhibition are shown below. The second shows Wilbert with the late Rev. Teddy Boston and his locomotive PIXIE.
On the 4th and 5th June, the railway was operating trains through the night to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the start of regular services by the TRPS. This, combined with the Duncan Day event on the preceding Thursday, resulted in a large number of visitors to the museum.
On Saturday 4 June Malcolm Phillips, Chris White, Tom King, Jack and Declan travelled to North Ings Farm Museum to prepare PENELOPE for work at the Young People's Railway Experience Day on 25 June. PENELOPE is 2' gauge diesel locomotive, Motor Rail 8826/43 Minstry of Defence No LOD758022 and has been owned by the Museum since 1990. After unlocking and opening up Malcolm went out to attend to farm business and some shunting was needed to access the two Museum locos, PENELOPE and INDIAN RUNNER (Ruston and Hornsby Type 33/40HP diesel locomotive No. 200744 of 1940, powered by 3VRO 201931). Inspection revealed the need to re-paint the engine covers of PENELOPE so these were detached and treated to a further coat of Deep Bronze Green by Jack and Chris. Declan painted the roof and front running plate of INDIAN RUNNER with black gloss and also the driver's seat from PENELOPE. Both locos were fuelled and watered and the oil levels checked and topped up as required. After lunch Tom was able to start PENELOPE at the first attempt: this was much easier following the repairs recently carried out to the starting mechanism. It was then time to check the ruinning line and it was found necessary to remove a large bush which was obstructing the line and cut back some weed growth. We then decided to start INDIAN RUNNER. Despite much winding with the starting handle it was not possible to start it in the approved manner so PENELOPE was used to give a pull start which was easily done. After several circuits of the track by both locos and various drivers it was time to replace the parts that had been removed for painting, clear up and go home.
Declan painting the front running plate of INDIAN RUNNER
Tom checking the water level in PENELOPE as Jack oils the axleboxes
PENELOPE was used to draw INDIAN RUNNER out of the shed
Tom drives INDIAN RUNNER on one of several circuits of the circular track
During the annual Tracksiders week, Thursday was spent at Wharf. Activites included a story timeline and story reading in the museum, while a group worked out in the yard rubbing down one of the museum's slate wagons prior to repainting.
The railway and museum had a very busy weekend celebrating the 60th anniversary of the first train to run on a preserved railway. The museum mounted a special exhibition to commemorate the event, and on Saturday and Sunday, presented the film "Railway with a Heart of Gold" in the Slater Room, depicting the Talyllyn Railway in the early 1950s.
As part of the celebrations, Locomotive No.2 "Dolgoch" returned to service with a new boiler manufactured by the Severn Valley Railway.
The locomotive featured in a re-enactment of the first preserved train, for which the tape dating from the original event on 14 May 1951 was loaned from the museum collection. On returning to Wharf Station, the Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society were presented with a ceremonial firing shovel by the SVR. This has been gifted to the museum, and was displayed from Sunday in the recent acquisition case.
While rearranging the display for the shovel, the opportunity was taken to finish labelling the exhibits in the case.
This Working Party was the best attended for a long while. Bob Hulley was specially welcome at his first working party in the museum: others present were Keith Theobald; Ian Evans; Richard Evans; Phil Sayers; Ray Brooks; and Winston McCanna. Additionally Richard Stoner was the duty attendant and pitched in.
The main thrust of activity was to thoroughly clean and prepare the Museum in preparation for the big TRPS 60th anniversary celebrations on the following weekend and all the locos, waggons, signalling equipment, the show cases and the glass in the staircase were polished. Additionally the stairs were given a thorough clean. Meanwhile Keith and Ian were busy fixing new key cupboards in the store and in the office. Keith and Ian then made a big space on one of the shelves in the store, by getting rid of redundant light fittings and moving some display and wall fixings to the cupboard space under the Tyers instrument by the visitors book, the new centralised home for such things.
This added up to a really useful day's work and the Museum looked very well for the effort.
The next working party will be held on Saturday 4 June, when the railway is running its all night service, and the Museum has to be prepared for the Rev Awdry Centenary celebrations to be held on 15 June.
Members of the Ashover Light Railway Society visited on 16 April which started cloudy but the sun later broke through.
They met at Wharf and had look around the museum before taking an early lunch.
Their special train took them to Pendre for a works tour. The highlight of the day for many was the sounding of PEGGY's whistle in the locomotive shed, where arrangements had been made by the Talyllyn Railway to operate it with compressed air. The whistle was formerly carried on one of the American-built, Baldwin 4-6-0 tanks originally built for service on the western front in World War 1 and acquired by the Ashover Light Railway. Other locomotives were HUMMY, JOAN, BRIDGET and GUY.
The train then continued on its journey up the valley where several stops were made for photo run passes. The Ashover Light Railway Society have kindly sponsored the whistle for which the Museum Trustees are very grateful.