Friday, 5 August 2016

A ride on the Bure Valley Railway.

I took a drive down to Aylsham this morning (I'm on holiday in North Norfolk as I write this), so I could take a ride on the Bure Valley Railway. This 15" gauge line was built on the old Wroxham to Aylsham railway trackbed, which it shares alongside a popular footpath.

Arriving at Aylsham you cannot help but be impressed by the set-up, the builldings are smart and purpose built, the trackwork neatly kept and the shop well stocked with blue and red boxes (as well as a fair amount of P*co and Woodlands Scenics). An all over canopy protects both passengers and stock from the elements. Ticket bought I wandered onto the platform, only to be confronted with this;

Despite appearences I'm sure that it serves well.
My train however was pulled by;

The inspiration for this is of course quite obvious, and despite not being a fan of those VoR locos I have to say John of Gaunt is rather smart.
Parked next to the platform is a rebuilt and regauged Hudson Hunslet;

Here's the view from the platform end;

On the way down I shared a carriage with a couple of families, out for a day trip. Again this is a railway serving a purpose rather than just being an attraction in its own right.
On reaching Wroxham I watched the engine being turned;

I had a quick browse in the secondhand bookshop before returning on the same train;

On the return leg I had a carriage to myself. These coaches are all enclosed, with padded seats, carpet up the sides and on the ceiling and LED lighting, which is turned on for the short section of tunnel near Aylsham.
Having a carriage to myself meant that I had control of the sliding windows, allowing me to lean out with the camera;

I did note that a lightly loaded carriage gives a lively ride! I also note that the trains can and do run at a fair lick when opened up.

Also in use today was 'Mark Timothy', a 2-6-4T of Leek & Manifold outline. We met twice at passing loops;

Also seen was this odd permament way truck, parked just outside Aylsham;

45 minutes after setting off from Wroxton we were back in Aylsham;

The workshop was open to visitors, although there was a rope stopping us from wandering too far inside;

I had a look in the shed as well; noting a smart regauged Lister;

This is I have to say a very impressive railway.


Thursday, 4 August 2016

A return to the Wells & Walsingham Light Railway.

Today saw me unexpectantly riding on the Wells & Walsingham Light Railway again. Although I enjoyed my last ride on this miniature railway, I had no intention of repeating the experience. This was not because I didn't enjoy the ride but simply because I had no intention of returning to Walsingham, a place that I find rather odd. However, Dani and various other familly members decided to visit the village, so we left Wells-Next-the-Sea on the 11.30 train. This was hauled by Norfolk Hero, a blue 2-6-6-2 Garratt. The line had an 'enchanted railway' theme running, at various places along the line fairies, dragons, trolls and other mythical creatures were hidden for the younger travellers to spot and record on sheets that were handed out (along with pencils). This seemed to go down well with the little girl and her father sat opposite. Roses and ivy were strung along the carriage roofs, helping with the enchanted theme.

The journey was pleasant, apart from Small Dog getting restless sat on our knees (Big Dog laid at our feet, he's quite stoic where travelling is concerned). The loco did stall on one gradient, hardly suprising as the train was fully loaded. The driver backed up, sprinkled some sand (or was it fairy dust?) from a bottle onto the rails, and off we went.

The return journey was just as packed as the outward, a bit uncomfortable but it is nice to see the train providing a usefull service rather than being an eccentric diversion.

Enough waffle, here's a few pics;

Earlier in the day I took an enjoyable trip on a restored lifeboat, the Lucy Lavers, which I covered over here.
And here's a few pics taken in weird Walsingham.


Sunday, 10 July 2016

Out of place wagons.

Driving home from Peak Forest today (I was taking part in a fell race there, running has become something of an obsession of late, which explains the lack of modelling posts on here) I spotted something unusual whilst driving over the quarry line near Peak Dale;

The middle wagon is in fact a BYA and would have been built for carrying steel;

Its presence between two stone wagons mighty be explained by examining the drawgear. The hopper on the left is fitted with buckeyes and the box on the right with the conventional British buffer and hook arrangement. The BYA however is fitted with both, so it seems that its being used as a converter wagon to allow the box and the hopper to be coupled together;

I could of course be completely wrong about this!

Further up the line I spotted a lone PGA;

Its quite unusual to see a 4 wheel hopper wagon around here;

Note the repair patches.

Also spotted...

...the remains of a narrow gauge line by the roadside set in concrete.


Sunday, 19 June 2016

Resettable handwheels for the Unimat 3.

Resettable handwheels are, as far as I'm concerned, a must on a lathe. Others will no doubt disagree, but when you've used full sized lathes with indexable handwheels you do wonder how folk manage without them. The ability to 'zero' the dial in any position is very usefull either when taking a cut on a diameter or when turning to length as the position of the tool can be marked by setting the dial to zero, then when the tool is moved the original setting can be easily returned to.

I bought a set of 3 'precision' handwheels from an ebay seller. These are genuine Emco products, part number 171900, and are sold as suitable for the Unimat 3, 4 and Basic. They are made of plastic with metal handles (which model engineering theorists will no doubt hate) and cost me the princely sum of £48 including postage. Other aftermarket handwheels are available from time to time, usually made from steel and of course more expensive.

Note the cover has been removed on the handwheel on the right, easily done by inserting a knife blade into a small slot.

The first job is to remove the existing 'wheel,using an 8mm spanner;

The new 'wheel is just a straight swap,but you do need an 8mm socket fitted to a ratchet or spinner to re-fit the nut.

Once the backlash is set, a trial and error job involving tightening the nut, checking the movement by turning the handwheel back and forth, loosening the nut, moving the handwheel slightly, tightening the nut etc. the cover can be clipped back in place.
I fitted the second handwheel onto the longitudinal shaft;

I didn't bother to swap the tailstock handwheels over as I rarely feel the need to set a zero when drilling.
The machine with both 'wheels fitted;

And a comparison between the old and new;

Initial impressions are good despite the divisions being printed rather than moulded. Time and use will of course confirm whether these are a good investment or not.
Now I should really get my finger out and make something on this machine!