Monthly News 2013

NOTE - Most pictures will show a caption when the mouse pointer is hovered over the picture for a second or so.

November and December 2013

Very complicated jig for drilling the rail ends

The riverbank repair is still ongoing and will be for some time yet. We are now trying to protect the trees that grow on the very edge of the river, as they are badly undermined and in danger of falling into the water. If they should fall they will take a large amount of the river bank with them and so endanger the track itself. The method we have adapted is to pack the void underneath trees eroded by the river, with the heaviest stones we can find, and then fill in the spaces between them with soil, hoping the trees will put down further roots and eventually recover. The bank side above the top loop should be a lot more secure and safer once this job is finished.

During early November we had 210 lengths of Plasiwood delivered to the site. This early Christmas present was really the start of the winter project. The huge pile was rapidly reduced to a pile of sleepers, courtesy of Trevor and Mick who both provided their own cutting machines. The two of them were tireless in their efforts to get the task completed in a single day. We now have enough plastic sleepers to replace all of the wooden ones on the site, including the sidings. The new track when completed will also include expansion joints at approximately six metre distance.

The big project this year is to replace and set out new levels, for that part of the track from the station, up to the start of the new loop. Two sets of points will be involved and taken up and reset to the new levels. One set is to be replaced altogether, making a better connection to the sidings which will also be replaced eventually.

The second part of the project is to construct a drain across the roadway to the station. We hope to stop the major flooding that occurs here in heavy rain. At the same time we also want to extend the concrete of the loading bay forward, to meet the paved area, in order to make it safer.

The next part is to replace the track alongside of the river from the new carriage shed to the opposite end of the loop; at the time of writing we have started this part already. Trevor has been making new track for the last month or so, and the laying part should be the quickest part of the task.

The last bit of the project is to pave the area between the new drain and the existing brick paving in front of the clubhouse, a member of the club has donated a quantity of blocks to help with this part of the project, anybody else with surplus paving the club can have, please let me know ASAP.

December started out cold and wet, and with the Christmas Santa Day special coming up we were getting a little anxious. Was it going to snow was the main worry because it was so cold, and it was forecast to snow on the high ground, what we did get instead was very high winds of around 70 + mph, which was also forecast, but being in a sheltered area we thought we would be OK, and escape the worst of the weather. We did not. The wind tore down the marquee we had erected the Wednesday prior to the event, in preparation for the Santa day. The following day, Thursday; three of our members went to the site and straightened out all of the bent poles, making the best repairs possible at the time. All of the joints of the tent were reinforced by wiring and taping them together, stabilising the frame to which we could then attach the canvas, at least for the day.

All the troubles now behind us the Santa day turned out fine and dry but a bit on the cold side. The day being as cold as it was, we were surprised at how many visitors we had to the site.

Almost all the carriages leaving the station were full to capacity, with Steve pulling two coaches most of the time. The barbecue also did quite well selling out of burgers, long before the end of the day, with hot dogs filling the breech until the close of play.

The first working day, after the open day, saw the workers take up the track from the station to the start of the new loop and placing it away from the working area.

The two sets of points were taken up, and are to be relocated with one set being remade to remove a kink in it and make the running smoother. The Sunday following the track on the down line from the new loop to the station, was dismantled and the ballast removed and stored to be reused if possible. The bed was then dug out to around four or five inches or more, and the bottom then made hard and flat with a vibrating wacker plate.

About two inches of hardcore was then laid, raked out vibrated again to allow the levelling pegs something firm to anchor to. Another two inches of the mixed aggregate, of crushed brick and limestone, was laid then vibrated once again until it was hard and solid. This is the process that will be used throughout.

This is a major amount of work, and will need a lot of willing hands to complete the work, the Wednesday team, is now quite strong at the moment, but we can always use extra hands on a job like this. So if you have a bit of time on your hands on any Wednesday come along, we will find you something to do.

Trevor making the new track

Chris and Ann already selling burgers

Busy day at the station

Graham taking up the old track

Some of the old track taken up and ready for stripping

Ready for the digger

Scraping up the old ballast to reuse as infill

A bit too close for comfort

Holding my breath that nothing goes wrong

The first part of the bed dug out for vibrating and filling

The bottom is softer than expected

September and October 2013

Setting up the display of working steam

Pictures from the open day, bank repaired!!

Open day this year was the 1st of September; the weather was fine and dry. The site had been made ready on the Wednesday before and we were rewarded for our efforts with around four hundred visitors. Thanks must go to Chris and Ann for manning the barbeque, and to Sheila for looking after the clubhouse refreshments. Malcolm took charge of the raffle with his assistant Chris Langley who raised around a hundred pounds for the club funds. Much use was made of the new picnic tables and seating areas, and we were complimented on how nice the site was looking. Visiting engines were brought from Leicester by George and Keith to support the day’s event. Trevor brought his beam engine and we had displays of hot air engines and miniatures on the same stand.

Starting to get busy

A project that’s not been mentioned before is the repairs needed to the river bank. This project has taken most of this year to complete, and has been very hard work, thanks to everybody who has put in the effort to help complete a tedious and difficult job. In the flood of 2007 most of the river bank suffered some undermining to a degree or so with the most serious being where the river takes a sharp turn to the left and then to the right. At this point the river runs faster and imposes more stress and damage to our side.

The bank fell into the river and was washed away, this was serious! but it was ignored, as the saying goes, "out of sight out of mind" until last year when we were flooded yet again. This time we lost another two metres of bank and looked to be in imminent danger of losing the track altogether. Something needed to be done urgently, so it was decided we had to rebuild the bank and somehow keep it in place.

Sir Walter and a visisting engine waiting for the signal

We started when the river was at its lowest, and recovered as much heavy stone and silt from the river bed as possible, we then replaced as much of the bank as we had the materials for, trying at the same time to protect the trees which are badly undermined and in danger of falling into the river as well. We had only been partially successful, because we ran out of materials to work with, but we hope we have saved the most vulnerable places by covering it with netting. All we have to do now is to finish the staking of the netting and hope for the best, and no more floods..

Two visiting engines and Abigail

July and August 2013

Not quite a race Eric’s no chance anyway

July started well with bright sunshine and another event to do, and we were off to a good start with the Bolsterstone fete. The day was bright and sunny and warm, we were all loaded up and ready to go by 10 o’clock. Johnny towed the portable track to the site and many hands put it together. By 11.30 we were all set up and ready to go, having roped off an extra large area so we could also run Eric’s traction engine as well. Along with the stalls and other attractions of the gala, Trevor brought along his miniature beam engine as an added attraction. The fete also had veteran cars, ice cream, book, cakes stalls and many others stalls vending all manner of things. The event was well attended so we were busy as usual. Steve’s and Abigail’s engines did the running and coped really well.

A view from the back of Trevor’s beam engine

Wednesday the 17th was a hot beautiful day, and the day that we celebrated the achievements of Alec and Bryan, by many of their friends and members getting together and having a barbecue and buffet dedicated to them. The Wednesday team spent all day preparing the site for the event, the grass was cut, picnic tables scrubbed, trees limbed, marquee and gazebo erected. Everyone present on the day was kept very busy with only very short breaks taken for the odd cuppa tea. The celebration was well attended with about seventy guests including some of the forge volunteers too. Chris and his wife Anne did the catering and made sure everyone was well fed. Midway through the evening reminiscences and tributes were paid to Bryan and Alec. To say they will be missed is a massive understatement. By 9pm it was all over with everyone saying how well it had been done.

On the 31st July and the 7th of August we had visits from the Autistic Play Scheme on each occasion there was around forty visitors each time, and all the trains were well occupied all the time that they were on site. The 31st started with a bit of heavy rain and the seats were wet and needed drying to start with, but then the weather picked up and things started to dry out giving the passengers more comfort and less wet bottoms. The 7th was a really nice dry and enjoyable day; the picnic area was well used and justified the effort put into its construction.

Some of the crowd at the commemoration

The unstoppable and indestructible Steve has started work on the turntable and it now works better than it has for years, when it’s finished it will have pushing handles and the position lock will be more accessible. The garden goes from strength and looks better as the weeks go by, some of the grasses are looking quite mature and the whole effect is really good to look at, some of the tubs though are looking a bit sad at the moment but should improve with time and a bit of care.

Chris having a breather after the rush


June 2013

New Sign at start of the loop

A new sign has arrived courtesy of Trevor of Metal Magic Barnsley who made and fitted it at the start of the loop. It was all done at no cost to the club at all, a big vote of thanks go to Trevor and his friend Rob Rymer of Robin Hoods Bay who made the rubber template from which the sign was then able to be made. The sign is slate engraved by shot blasting. The rubber template is first stuck to the slate, and then shot blasted to the depth required, painted and finished. I am sure the sign will impress most visitors to the Forge site, and is the sort of improvement we need to see more of, any ideas anyone. The 16th June saw a quick visit of around a hundred tractors of all types. They were on a run to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis charity. I will put some photographs of this gathering in the new album on the home page later.

Oughtibridge Gala

Oughtibridge Gala on the 29th June was a huge success, the day turned out to be warm and very busy. On arrival we found that the area had already been roped off, saving us time doing it ourselves, we were also in a much better spot, being more in the middle of things. To start things were just a little slow, but around one o'clock, things really took off with queues forming all afternoon until around four, Steve's steam loco was given a good testing, and Lady Abigail was as stalwart as ever, our last customer was around four forty five.

Open Day this year is on the 1st September will any member who can help in any way please contact me or Graham ASAP. If any non members would like to run their engines on this day please contact me with details before the end of August.


May 2013

Making a start on the gardenJust a small part of the whole improvementsLast month was a busy one. The carriage shed is now all but finished, with only a few minor tweaks to complete the work. Some of the old rolling stock is undergoing a facelift, with a nice new paint job by Abigail to Adele, the two seater riding car, being the first for treatment; Steve has refurbished the bogies too. Then there’s the garden, a big job made easier by many hands helping! The turf covering the site of the garden was removed and re-laid on a different part of the site; the whole area was then dug over and laid out with shrubs and bedding plants.

A spot was set aside for a hard standing, and two eight seater round tables purchased to take pride of place there.

The foundation for paving was laid, and the wacker plate given some action. We now only await delivery of the flags to complete the picture.

Many hands make light work10 minutes after putting in place - our first customer

If there are any keen gardeners out there who would like to come and give us a hand to keep on top of the garden now we have created it, please come and join us, you will be made very welcome even if you are not a member of our club.

The carriage shed lock is now finished, fitted and painted green too, one less job left to do.

There are more photos of this project, and other from around the site included in the new photo album. (May Slideshow now online, see photo gallery - webmaster)

If you have any images and would like them included in the album please let me have them as soon as possible.


April 2013

Progress is being made all around the site, with particular attention being given to finishing the refurbishment of the old carriage shed. The cover lock on the new carriage shed is being modified and refitted to give better all round security.
Sections of track are being got ready for the winter project of replacing track from the station to the new loop; maybe a bit early but will give us more time later. It's hoped that we can replace at least ninety to a hundred metre of track a year given finances, and labour.

All members should remember that this is your club too, and all of the present hard workers are hoping you can attend and give us a bit of your time. Just about anybody can contribute something, and to tell the truth nothing arduous will be asked of anyone that's outside their own comfort zone, so come along more often and give us a hand sometime.

Steve's Class 25 Steve's Class 25

Look right look left
Steve's new Class 25
Deserves a second look

There have been loads of photos taken of projects completed and during the start to finish period, but they never seem to be seen on the site. So I will include a few of the loop as a start to trying to get a fairly complete archive of all major projects on to the site. Future collections will include the tree that fell on open day last year, and the subsequent repairs. The moving of the station and anything that we have images of. Anyone that has any appropriate photos and would like them included please let me have them.

In our efforts to make the site more attractive we are making a garden, and picnic area close to the clubhouse. So if you have any plants, shrubs, paving, going free, or if you have any skills in this direction, come on any Wednesday or Sunday and give us a hand. Start time is around eleven am Wednesday, 1pm Sunday, finish when you like, tea, coffee, are served in the club house as usual.

If you haven't paid your membership fee yet can you try and do that as soon as possible please.


March 2013

For all of the members who we have not seen for a while I have to let you know that Bryan Donn our president and a founder member has died. The funeral was on Wednesday the 3rd of April at Grenoside crematorium. For all of you that knew Bryan, you will remember what a nice a man he was. Bryan had been ill for quite some time but did manage to visit the site on occasions when he was able. His love of steam was evident at the service and was recalled many times. On leaving the ceremony we were treated to the sound of a steam loco pulling away from a station somewhere.

Sunday 17th we saw the resurrection of Sir Walter Raleigh which we suspect is a one off design and not a true to type example, see July 2012. The engine has had over a thousand hours of painstaking restoration and repairs since its last outing, and has had new cylinder heads, cylinders re-bored, new pistons created, a bit of paint to complete the picture.

The site as a whole has suffered the ravages of winter with the ground so sodden with all the rain, and snow making parking on the grass almost impossible. Still the few hardy members of the Wednesday team keep attending and the work keeps getting done.

The later part of March, snow stopped play and the planned gala had to be cancelled. When the day of the gala arrived we were all surprised at how good the day turned out to be. Although the event was cancelled, we did in fact have more visitors than expected and Abigail and Simon were busy for most of the day supplying refreshment. Well done you two.

We also saw the first run of Steve's new engine, a really superb example of a class 25/2 made at Darlington around 1963. This miniature example has taken just around 18 months to complete and was constructed from photographs and scaled down works drawings. Along with hundreds of tiny rivets there are 300 plus louvers individually made and fitted in what can only be described as a painstaking manner. The finish is British Rail Green.


February 2013

What else was done prior to the last update? We have completed many projects some we had planned and some we did not. The two main ones were the new shed, and fixing up a lifting system in the old carriage shed. We had needed more storage space for the general work tools and all the stuff that had accumulated and was in the wrong place. So after looking at a number of types a new custom built hut was purchased, which measures 11 by 8 feet, 6 feet 6 at the eaves and about 8 feet at the ridge. It has double doors in the centre of one long side and no windows. We have fitted it out with shelves and tool racks, and it now accommodates most of our equipment. It wasn't a simple matter of replacing one hut with another, but involved a certain amount of ground work and landscaping. While most of the Wednesday team were involved in this work, Steve, Pete, Jim, Chris and Trevor did most of the hard work. While all of this was taking place time was allocated to tidying the paving around the clubhouse doorway. Trevor's pal (not a member) built us a small wall around the base of the tree that stands close to the door, in order to keep the soil in place. The whole thing is a vast improvement on what went before. There was even more than that involved in what at first glance seemed to have been a simple little job. Paths were laid and the welding table moved, all taking up lots of time.

The old carriage shed has undergone a huge makeover. First the floor was swept patched and painted, The old angle iron shelf supports and racks were then stripped out, leaving the walls clear and ready for painting. The walls had all of the gaps and spaces filled in, pointed and then painted with two coats of vinyl magnolia. The steel work supporting the roof was brushed and given a coat of Hammerite. The steel box section for the racks and supports, was supplied free of charge by someone who is not yet a member. I would like to say a big thank you on behalf of all our members for that. The racks and lifting gear were made off-site by Steve who had previously been asked if he would like to undertake the whole enterprise. To make headway with the work the shed has to be more or less completely emptied of all the stock each and every time progress needs to be made. The work is not an easy task and requires considerable effort to do. At the time of writing the carriage shed is around ninety percent complete.


January 2013

You may have been wondering why the site hasn't been updated recently. So it is with regret that I have to let you know that Alec our secretary and webmaster of long standing has recently passed away having been ill for sometime. Alec has been a club member since time began, and was excellent as a member and friend. He will be missed big style. Alec and his faithful companion Sam the Labrador was a founder member of the Wednesday team, which has grown from three to as many as eight at times. He was always on top of his job here at Wortley and at the Heart Foundation who will miss him as much as we shall.

This year the AGM was on Sunday 10th  MARCH, 2pm at Wortley Top Forge.

On a lighter note much has happened since the last update, some major projects, and some less so have been completed, below is just one project that had to be done and wasn't on the list.

That was the tree that fell at the Christmas open day, it was discovered at about 9.45am on the day by two of our younger members Jim and Chris, who were making an inspection of the track to make sure that all was well. It threatened to derail the running, and bring about a cancellation of our participation in the event.

The tree that fell was dead but no one had suspected it could fall, but it did. It was so tall it almost reached the other side of the river, it had a diameter of around three foot at the base. When it fell it undermined a section of track below the signal box and at the lower end of the bridge. The bridge as well as the track also needed a bit of attention. It was thought at the time that we would not be able to run, but having got together a lot of willing hands, and a lot of packing later we were up and running in about two hours, nobody even noticed anything amiss. We were lucky in a way that the tree was really dead, because it's roots were rotten and caused only a fraction of the damage it would have done had the roots had been good. Had the roots been good the damage would have been extensive, and we could possibly lost the bridge.

The proper repair was was done by the Sunday and Wednesday workers, and it would be remiss of me not to mention a few names here. The job was started on the following Sunday by Malcolm, Mick and Jim. The work was continued on the following Wednesdays and Sundays and was largely undertaken by Ian, Jim and Dave all though every member present lent a hand, tea and refreshment were supplied as always by Abigail. A special mention also has to be made of the contributions made by David Beu (sorry Dave if I've spelt your name wrongly)

Dave supplied all of the stone that made the repair possible at all. He has also supplied a large quantity of stone for further projects, many thanks for that. The total works were completed in less than three weeks, with everything safe and sound.

On the next update I will try to bring you a progress report of the missing months, with photos of recent projects.

For later news see the latest news pages, for earlier news items please see the news archive which contains items up to November 2012