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August, September and October 2015

Joshua and Sir walter ready to go. George waiting for steam.

Sunday August the 10th we were at Locke Park Barnsley with the portable track. The day was warm and dry this time and although the setting up was difficult, the day turned out warm and busy with passengers all enjoying the ride. Steve, Keith, Sam, Chris, and Abigail all worked hard on a very difficult track. Next year we hope to find a better more level position if we decide to do the event again.

Sunday 30th at the forge was a really nice warm day with quite a few visitors. The railway was busy with lots of children enjoying the train rides. The clubhouse was also kept busy with tea and pop being served all day.

September 6th we had our annual open day, the day was really nice with warm sunshine all day. Joshua and Sir Walter Raleigh were in steam from start to finish. Steve's class twenty five also did Stirling service carrying loads of passengers too. We also had the odd visiting loco to help us out too. The day was good but visitor numbers were down. Refreshment from the clubhouse was popular as usual. Chris and Ann ran the barbecue which more or less sold out before the end of the day.

Steve's train with a full load. Joshua steams into the station.

September the 16th members of the model engineers and members of the forge volunteers got together today to discuss the way forward for the coming year; it was proposed that we meet regularly. The main aim I think was that the two organisations work together more closely. Generally the projects for this year are reaching a conclusion with only bits and pieces of various projects being left to finish. Pete has completed the work on the river bank and the station approaches; Steve and Abigail quickly moved in enhancing the work by planting out the reclaimed riverbank and making it look even better.

The extension to the old cartridge shed is also close to finish. This work has gained us much needed space, in the shed, and workshop, where we now have a covered outdoor work space and a very useful cupboard for the barbecue and station signals, it really does look very good. The track from Forge Halt to the steaming bay that we decided to upgrade has reached the top of the hill and only needs two or three lengths to finish, this will be included in the next set of projects.

The signal box has had some much needed TLC from Keith who has worked with the skill of a brain surgeon, cutting out all of the rotted timbers and transplanting new wood where required. (And it required a lot) While still under the anaesthetic it was given a face lift too, with Graham and Abigail giving it a fresh coat of paint.

At the back of the car park the river has taken out a section of bank side and has undermined several trees. This has no direct effect on the track at the present time, but could cause trouble in the future if not attended to now.

We have made a good start on this, which is the last major problem with the bank, and the progress so far has been very good. Ted and our bank side expert Pete, using wellies and waders, assisted by the digger used as a crane, placed large stone blocks across the offending gap, creating the footing of the retaining wall. When this is back filled we should be able to finish the wall without getting our feet wet.

Probably the last project this year is the gable ends of the station roof. Again this has been undertaken by Keith, who is rapidly becoming indispensable when it come to anything to do with wood. Take a look at the photos and see the difference. I do know that they are different ends, but he was so quick I hadn't got a chance to photograph the 'before' and 'after' from the same end.

Abigail is now in charge of the class 25. Keith works to rule at the signal box. Graham completes the signal box face lift. The old carridge shed's extension is almost done.

The station gable before Keith gets to work on it.  

And after, just waiting for paint. (and before you say it's not the same end - I already know that. He had the other end done before I got out the camera!)

April, May, June and July 2015

Making a start taking up the old rail. Making a bit of progress.

So far this month the main task has been to get the track up and running again, so that the Sunday visitors can enjoy their visit more. Abigail is busy as usual with all manner of things, keeping us well supplied with refreshments, and looking after the garden, she also painted the station area benches making them look like new, see photos. Steve is making good progress with the old carriage shed extension, with some of the drains and the rails completed.

Sunday the 26th Steve, Abigail, and assistant Keith were busy with the garden, setting out the bedding for the new season. Most parts of the site are looking good at the moment. There are a few bits that would benefit from a bit of tidying up, and that will be sorted in its turn. We had a few visitors who enjoyed riding the trains.

What can we do about this. That should should do it.

Wednesday was warm and sunny for the most part. Abigail was busy with the garden, Steve was busy with the extension, and the lawn was mowed for the first time.

Wednesday the 14th of May and the warmest day of the year so far. Abigail is on holiday and we have to make our own cups of tea! That really showed how much we miss her; I just hope she doesn't stay another week.

Chris set about and weeded the track, while Pete continued with the new section on bankside that needed rescuing. The digger was put to use again in making the car park and bank top tidy. We still would like to reclaim about another ten metres of river bank which is very badly undermined. When that's done we will only have small sections at the forge end to do if we can find the materials. The digger was also used as a crane for a while on behalf of the forge; moving parts of a huge machine about that is in the process of being restored.

Steve has started laying the concrete floor of the old carriage shed extension.

We had a visiting birthday party on Sunday and there was quite a crowd of children, all who said they loved Thomas the tank engine. Steve and Abigail were kept busy taking the kids around the track time after time after time.

Wednesday morning we were early at the site to welcome a coach load of visitors to the forge, a few of the lady visitors came and had a ride round the track many didn't.

Sunday31st and the fault with Abigail's loco has been solved; thanks to Sam’s detective work. Robert grant has re-jigged the jig this should now turn out nice straight track, and to gauge.

Wednesday the 10th May and we were mostly busy getting ready for the event in Locke park, loading the trailer and checking that we had all the bits and pieces to hand to make the day a success.

Sunday the 14th the day out at Locke Park with the portable track, was very cold and wet, we were really glad when it was over. I think that there is great potential at the park though, and will attend again, hoping for better weather next time.

Saturday the 27th another day out with the portable track at Oughtibridge gala. The weather was brilliant with bright warm sunshine and loads of passengers for the trains. We arrived in good time: we were set up and running by twelve o clock. The gala was as ever a really nice occasion with all sorts of things happening, if you haven't visited this little gala I can really recommend it.

Keith, Sam's granddad has been displaying his woodworking powers by repairing the signal box, and doing a good job of it too.

Looks really good. Abigail's hard work shows makes this bench look new. And these too. Getting there.

A few Wednesday visitors take a ride.

Oughtibridge Gala.

More passengers at Oughtibridge Gala.

January, February, March 2015

How much snow does it take to bring a tree this size down. Mind the garden lads.
When we arrived at the forge on Sunday the 28th of December, the site was covered with snow and Ice, but the worst was yet to be discovered. We found that the weight of snow and ice, had brought down huge branches and trees, all over the place. At the furthest end the site near the bridge over the river, one fallen tree had temporarily blocked the main road! Fortunately, this was dealt with by the council before our arrival. We could do nothing at the time to improve things so we called it a day and went home about 3.00 pm.
Logs. And more logs.
Not far from the forge. Nearly there.

On the 31st December we organised getting the site tidy. Trevor brought his chainsaw and made a good job of getting most of the heavier stuff that was across line reduced to logs. It was then decided to remove two other branches that were considered dangerous.

Sunday 11th January was mainly given over to removing a guide rail in the main track assembly jig, which was found to be out of gauge at one place and could have caused a pinch point on the five inch gauge.

What does the site look like covered in snow? Have a look at the photos.

On Wednesday the 21st we found out when a few hardy members turned in to find out what it was like. We were three, and the forge also had three in attendance, our three left after a cup of tea and a pork pie about eleven thirty.

Wednesday the 4th and the 11th of February - Trevor set about sorting the track setting jig for us. Steve is making good progress with the extension to the old carriage shed. Today he cut the surplus overhang off the original roof of the shed, to enable the rainwater gutter to be fitted.

Sunday the 15th - Steve and Graham have now fitted the gutter to the old carriage shed. This was quite an awkward and difficult job. I personally doubted that a gutter could be fitted at all because of the nearness of an adjoining building, I'm pleased to announce that I was wrong. The gutter having now been fitted the roof quickly followed. The latest news is the floor is now being got ready for the rails and concreting.

Wednesday the 18th and at last we have begun to take up the rails from the exit points at Forge Halt up to the station. If we can quickly overcome the problems with the 15 inch track, the seven and a quarter gauge should follow quite quickly.

Sunday 22nd and the track for the old carriage shed extension was finally made, and is now being embedded into the concrete floor.

Wednesday 25th - replacement of the track from Forge Halt to the station began, once we have passed the 15 inch points the work should progress quite quickly. John has also found something useful to do by scrubbing and cleaning the recently installed bridge over the garden, and also giving it a coat of paint.

Sunday 29th and it rained all day, but that didn't deter Steve and Abigail who made an excellent job of tidying up the garden shed, whilst we had a cup of tea and thought about what to do next.

Pete is determined to finish the bankside. Arrived at last. A quiet time. Steve is busy as usual.

A real problem at this spot.

Removing a piece of the 15 inch to store.

As said before a real problem which won't be when finished.

For earlier news items please see the 2014 News Page, the 2013 News page and the News archive which contains items up to November 2012