Between the dates of 28th of may and 5th of June in 2016 the Leighton Buzzard Narrow Gauge Railway Society hosted a large event to celebrate the 100th anniversary of a very special type of locomotive. The Motor Rail Simplex was designed in 1916 as a cheap, reliable and easy to operate locomotive for the british trench railways in the first world war, and are still being built (albeit in very limited numbers) to this day. A design that truly stood the test of time. They came in many forms, from small basic 20hp tractors right up to large locomotives with well in excess of 100hp. This event celebrated the entire history of the Motor Rail and Tramcar company whose factory was located on Elstow Road in Bedford, and being that Leighton Buzzard is located close to Bedford, it is only right that the Leighton Buzzard Narrow Gauge Railway Society would mark this important milestone in the history of these marvelous locomotives. The event culminated in a record breaking run hauled by a total of 17 locomotives! With 16 on the front and one on the back it was quite the spectacle to behold! I had the fortune to be working there all of the weekend days of the event and would like to share as much of my experience as I can for the benefit of those who couldn’t make it.
I recently paid a visit to the Mid Hants Railway in Hampshire, Affectionately known as the Watercress Line. I picked perhaps the worst day to go as it hardly stopped raining all day, but despite the rain it was a fantastic day out and is highly recommended for anyone who is a fan of the former Southern Railway.
The Watercress Line runs for Approximately 10 miles (16km) between the towns of New Alresford and Alton in Hampshire. It forms part of a former through line between Brockwood (near Woking) and Winchester. Originally transporting Watercress from the beds in and around New Alresford to London and beyond. The line closed due to poor traffic in 1973 and re-opened as the preserved line in stages between 1975 and 1985. The line is now one of the premier heritage railways in the UK. The line is currently run by a small core of paid staff (mostly performing administrative duties) and over 400 volunteers, working as a non profit organisation with all profit reinvested back into the line to keep it running for future generations to enjoy. Continue Reading…
For the 4th year running, I have had the opportunity to participate in the annual youth exchange organised by FEDECRAIL, the European organisation for museum and tourist railways. This is only open to railway workers between the ages of 16 and 25, and there is usually a fairly small group of between 20 and 30 each year. This year we were based in Budapest, Hungary. It had originally been planned to take place in Serbia, but, due to complicated reasons, Hungary was selected to host instead. Normally the youth exchanges take place in multiple locations within a country with participants moving from one location to another throughout the 10 day trip, but unusually this year we stayed in one location for the whole 10 days. Our home for the duration of the trip was a pair of refurbished (and thankfully air conditioned) sleeper carriages from Golden Eagle Luxury Trains’ “Danube Express.” This post is intended to be a detailed report of what we did on the trip, and to show off the many photographs that I took (or, at least, the ones that are safe for publication!). The trip took place between Friday 31/07/2015 and Sunday 09/08/2015.
On Saturday the 16th of may 2015 the Leighton Buzzard Narrow Gauge Railway society held their first beer festival, entitled the Buzzrail Ale Trail, and as an active volunteer at the time of writing who would I be to turn down an opportunity to visit?
On the 17th of January 2015 a small group of us travelled around the West Midlands of the UK on a West Midlands Day Ranger ticket which allowed us unlimited travel in the specified area (for more information about this ticket, click here). This is the report for this rather eventful trip.
Welcome to my new website, I have just launched it and I’m hoping that it’s a lot better than it was before.