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Audley End Miniature Railway 2016 Running Season & Special Events

Discussion in 'Miniature Railways' started by big.stu, Mar 1, 2016.

  1. big.stu

    big.stu Member

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    Audley End Miniature Railway will soon be open again, every weekend from 19th/20th March until 31st October, plus weekdays in the school holidays. Steam hauled most weekends and Wednesdays during weekday running (subject to loco availability), diesel at other times.

    Site opens at 10am, first train at 10:45, steam comes off around 16:00, last train at 16:45 (other times may apply during special events). Cafe, picnic area, children's play area, Model Engineers train rides (extra cost), bouncy castle and fairground rides (extra cost), Fairy & Elf walk (May - September).

    While I appreciate that many on here are probably not the core market for AEMR (it’s mainly marketed at families with young children), the railway boasts the largest collection of David Curwen locomotives on a single railway, and this year should see the return to service of No 24 “Bruce” following a full overhaul including replacement boiler.

    For the enthusiasts, the Steam Gala weekend in September may hold the most attraction :) We will have as many of the resident steam locos out and running as possible, plus other attractions around the site.

    Do say hello to the driver(s) - it may even be me! (And this year I might even be allowed out on steam, but only under strict supervision and instruction - hurrah!).


    2016 Special Events

    Friday 25th March to Monday 28th March: Easter Bunny and Trail

    Tuesday 29th March to Sunday 10th April: Easter Train & Trail

    Saturday 30th April to Monday 2nd May:Fairy and Elf weekend

    Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd May: Peter Rabbit weekend

    Sunday 19th June: Father’s Day

    Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd July: The Gruffalo weekend

    Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th September: Steam Gala weekend

    Saturday 22nd October to Monday 31st October: Halloween Specials

    Weekends from 26th November to 11th December and Saturday 17th to Saturday 24th December: Santa Specials

    Audley End Miniature Railway is adjacent to Audley End House near Saffron Walden, Essex. If you’re in the Cambridge/Herts/Essex area then why not come and see us.

    http://www.audley-end-railway.co.uk/
    http://www.facebook.com/AudleyEndMiniatureRailway/
     
  2. Andrew Young

    Andrew Young New Member

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    Great little line, with only one problem-the complete lack of photo locations, unless access to the woods is allowed now. Are the woods still full of teddies. Also when the line opened was the forest Halt accessable and usable?
     
  3. big.stu

    big.stu Member

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    Whilst the area by the model engineers track has been opened up more in recent years, providing slightly better access at the station end loop, the rest of the line is still usually only accessible on the train. I suspect if you speak to whoever is duty manager on a running day then it may be possible to access other parts of the line for photography, but I would suggest you ring the office in advance and ask - that's way above my pay grade :)

    Yes there are still teddy bears and cuddly toys out in the woods - these days they have their own little shelters to live in.

    I'm not sure, but Forest Deep Halt may have been the far terminus when the line was an in and out run, but that is way before my time (even as a kid!), and even then I don't think passengers were allowed off the train other than at the main station. I'll check :)
     
  4. big.stu

    big.stu Member

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    Having consulted with Terry (my driving trainer, who's been there long enough to have driven me round when I was a kid!), the halt was never used, and the original route of the track carried on bearing off to the right just after the halt, looping back round to re-join the line before going back over the main river bridge. You can still see the old trackbed - I would have grabbed a photo, but I ended up driving rather than riding so Terry could re-assess me :)

    At the main station end there were two platforms with a track for each and a turntable at the far end of the platforms for turning the locos. I think the main station had been re-worked to the existing layout with a loop before I ever visited. The cafe kitchen is now probably on top of the old platforms and the turntable is long gone.
     
  5. andrewshimmin

    andrewshimmin Well-Known Member

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    Can anyone confirm which days are steam loco running days at Audley End? I can't find it on the website (doesn't mean it isn't there!)
     
  6. big.stu

    big.stu Member

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    Subject to loco availability, there is usually a loco in steam on Saturdays, Sundays, Bank Holidays (except Christmas/New Year) and Wednesdays during school holidays. Diesel only on October weekends apart from the Halloween specials.

    I can confirm if steam is expected on specific dates if that helps :)

    I agree that some useful info appears to have been lost/buried in the recent revamps of the website :( I'll try and get that fixed.

    EDIT: And of course there is the steam gala which is two days this year (17th/18th September) when as many locos as possible will be in steam.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2016
  7. Andrew Young

    Andrew Young New Member

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    Interesting, didnt realise there had been a previouus alignment. Ah so Forest Deep is not the hub I had tought lol. And I cant imagine it without the loop either thinking about it. So was the lne originally an out and back with a turntable at FD as well or did the forest end always have a loop, or form part thereof?
     
  8. big.stu

    big.stu Member

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    The far end always had a loop. Between training trips on the regulator on Sunday, I finally remembered to grab a picture. This was taken looking back across to the bridge, just after passing FDH. You can see the original alignment bearing off in the foreground, curving initially to the right, and then back to the left in between the far trees to re-join the original line just in front of the pillbox at the bridge.
    trackbed.jpg
    Originally the loop points were at the FDH end of the river bridge, with single track across the bridge, but these were moved to the station end of the bridge a few years back providing parallel running lines across the bridge - which makes life easier for the token exchange.

    The bridge points can be operated in either a sprung or toggle configuration, allowing the choice between one way running (always left at bridge, round and back down the hill - only option for busy/gala days) or alternate trains going each way round the loop - which makes life a bit more interesting for us drivers on a quiet day, and is good fun letting rip when going up the long straight hill on steam :)
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2016
  9. B17 61606

    B17 61606 New Member

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    This thread brings back some nostalgia! I assume you're talking about Terry H...? He used to take me up there when I was a kid to help out/make a nuisance of myself (delete as appropriate). Hence my username!

    It's interesting as my memories of the line are firmly stuck in the late 1980s and early 90s, without really having been back since. I remember the cafe was in an old Green Line double decker (although that disappeared at some point), and a maroon BR Mk1 was alongside the vehicular access road to the shed/back of the then picnic area. (I understand this coach has now gone to Epping Ongar).
     
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  10. big.stu

    big.stu Member

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    Yes - spent a fun day on the footplate of the Rio on Sunday under instruction from Terry - beginning to get the hang of it now. It's quite a juggling act when you are both driving and firing. A lot has changed on site since those days! If you want me to pass on your regards to Terry, PM me with details :)

    I am led to believe that one of the nameplates from 61606 is on the estate somewhere...
     
  11. B17 61606

    B17 61606 New Member

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    Sounds good - must pop down at some point and reacquaint myself with the place and see what's changed! Is the US-style clerestory coach still there?

    I see Terry very occasionally - for the last 15 years I have moved away from the immediately local area, but my parents still live next door to him! :)

    It would be nice to think part of 61606 lived on in an appropriate place - is the ER nameboard still used at the station?

    Paul
     
  12. big.stu

    big.stu Member

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    No - I think that went before the Mk 1.

    Ah - sounds like you have no need for me to pass on a greeting :)

    This one?
    IMG_3751.jpg
     
  13. B17 61606

    B17 61606 New Member

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    Thanks for the replies!

    That's a shame, interesting coach that - although not very practical iirc it had no doors, sections of the roof lifted off to enable access to very small children only!

    Ah good to see that again, glad it's still there. I see the coaches have roofs now which is probably a good idea! :)
     
  14. big.stu

    big.stu Member

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    Happy to chat about AER - can't claim to be an expert, just a regular punter who has now progressed to being a driver, because I decided I was there so much I should make myself useful :)
    Actually, may have confused it with something else - not sure I remember that at all!
    Indeed, and lights for in the tunnels as well. My earliest memory of AER is from the 70s, so open carriages with either the Atlantic or Western Thunderer are how I remember it as a kid.
     
  15. B17 61606

    B17 61606 New Member

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    You had me starting to wonder if I'd imagined that coach or confused it with something else... (it is a very early childhood memory). I recall it was always buried in the loco shed, I never saw it used. But here is a link to a picture with it in shot (not my pic): https://www.flickr.com/photos/trainsandstuff/4964216188

    I don't remember the Atlantic ever running although I always admired it, but do remember Western Thunderer very well. I also recall Doris the green shunting loco, Sara Jane (which I believe was always Terry's favourite) and I *think* possibly a LNWR style loco in black, maybe 4-6-0? But this is very hazy and could be well off. I am remembering these as about a 7 year old!
     
  16. big.stu

    big.stu Member

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    Never seen that before - but my visits to the engine shed (prior to starting driving) only go back a few years.
    Western Thunder was sold some time back and now operates on another railway. "Sara Lucy" & "Henrietta Jane" currently bear the brunt of the work - seen here in a shot from the second footbridge over the running line:
    IMG_4436.jpg
    Doris is still there, but underwent an extensive rebuild in 2012 - now has a fully enclosed cab which is a bit snug if you are over six foot tall with long legs, like me. Mainly used as the backup loco these days:
    IMG_4855.jpg
    Bruce is the other large scale American outline loco, due back from major overhaul sometime soon:
    IMG_2803.jpg
    I believe that the original Atlantic was rebuilt as a 2-6-2, now named "Lord Braybrooke", but there is still another Ivatt Atlantic and also the NG style "Barbara Curwen".
    P1020490.jpg P1020537.jpg
     
  17. B17 61606

    B17 61606 New Member

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    Fascinating, thank you. It was the Ivatt Atlantic I loved but have never seen working. "Lord Braybrooke" has (to me) always appeared as your photo, although I think it was navy blue 'in my day'!

    Rather than clutter up your thread with my various questions and personal memories I will PM you soon (once I get a chance!) if you don't mind?
     
  18. big.stu

    big.stu Member

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    Hasn't been in steam for a couple of years I think, but currently under overhaul and hoped to be running at the steam gala in September - might be worth a visit to see it in action :)
    Also under overhaul (as is Barbara Curwen - the engineering dept has a lot on their plate at the moment!). All three currently have boilers off for full boiler inspections.
    Happy to take questions here if they may be of general interest - but PM fine if not...
    Stu
     
  19. B17 61606

    B17 61606 New Member

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    Hi Stu, will send a PM as soon as I get a chance - I don't think the questions within will be of much interest to anybody else - sorry to be a bit cryptic, but will become clear once message sent!

    Paul
     
  20. B17 61606

    B17 61606 New Member

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    PM now sent.
     

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