Discussion in 'Narrow Gauge Railways' started by pure nostalgia, Aug 14, 2010.
Here ia a short film I made on my last visit.
It appears from photos online that Sian has now joined Katie at Clayton West. Is this permanent?
I've always had a huge soft spot for these lovely locos.
Yes this is a permanent resident by the sounds of things on Instagram
Reported to be a long term agreement which could be seen as just about as good as it reasonably gets these days. Good to see these two engines back together again and I just hope that they remain that way. Now if only a way could be found to get Ernest W Twining brought back into the Fairbourne fold. And if Mr Day could be persuaded to restore the machine to the very best of health then so much the better.
Delighted the sisters are reunited .... and in working order too. This pair captured my imagination when 'Sîan' was still young at Fairbourne, where matching trains hauled by two virtually identical locos was a far more impressive sight than might be supposed. It all looked very businesslike.
Their one time stablemate is another matter entirely. We chewed the fat about 'Ernest W Twining's' possible return from The Land Of The Rising Sun elsewhere a few months ago. Whilst this would be a welcome development, there's a reason it's been OOS and sitting cold, just taking up space in a shed. The Shuzenji Romney Railway found the loco very underpowered due to it's inherent design limitations. In point of fact, it always was, it's just that this wasn't an issue with moderate loads on the reasonably level Fairbourne back in the day.
The best outcome acheivable unless serious surgery, on the scale applied to some of the Bure Valley 'ZB' locos is undertaken, would be restoration as an 'operable relic'.
Put simply, the old loco is what it is and expecting too much of it would be plain unrealistic.
For those unfamiliar with this attractive (if ineffective) old loco, here (credited to 'picssr.com') is a shot of EWT in exile. I remember the blue being rather more sun-bleached at Fairbourne - though quite how the hell that happened on Penrhyn Point is something of a mystery!
Yes, this engine was discussed a little while ago, and it is rather strange that such a low powered machine was acquired by a railway that needed far more capable designs. At one level it might be viewed as a part of the history of the development of the Japanese line and be viewed as a valuable artefact on the other hand it may be unwanted and be viewed as taking up valuable space.
If the latter, then bringing it home would be the best option and if this were to be possible then having it join the Fairbourne twins would be ideal to my mind. Having it worked on by someone who would be both sympathetic to its history and capable of getting the limited best out of it would be the next step if other than a cosmetic restoration were deemed the best course of action.
As much as perpetuating faults* on existing locos usually grates with me, in the case of EWT, a complete breath over would almost certainly alter the loco's fundemental nature.
Want something more suited to heavy 15" gauge work? Then do what the SRR did (twice!) and order another 'Northern Rock', or dust off the proposed but unbuilt 2-6-2 design based on 'the sisters', or the putative modern 2-8-0t suggested for the Bure Valley. Just don't wreck Ernie!
*let alone spending a fortune recreating a known turkey weeded out by the engineering version of Darwinian selection.
No one (I hope) wants to wreck it. But if it is currently viewed as being somewhat in the way at SSR there would be little lost in offering a safer home.
The "complete breath over" approach does alter a locomotive's nature, but there are a good number of examples of engines improved significantly without their appearance being changed overmuch. EWT is a part of the development history of 15" gauge railways and their associated locomotives within the UK. It might well be viewed as a bit of a turkey but it was a part of the Fairbourne scene for many years and some very modest Atlantic types have the occasional day out.
I know about the "Northern Rock" type builds, chalk and cheese when viewed alongside the Pacific in question but Ian Gaylor's proposed "Abigail" would be something else again.
Wouldn't it just! The idea of a custom designed loco to meet contemporary operating conditions is an exciting concept. The most recent fruit of blank sheet design (excluding in typical M&EE sizes) was "Northern Rock" ... and that didn't turn out half bad, looks or performance wise.
The engineering seems perfectly viable, as pretty much all has been incorporated successfully elsewhere and there's an almost something of a modernised 80xxx about 'Abigail's' styling - a 'plus' IMO. It's the suspension, which AFAIK is entirely novel applied to a steam loco, that I'm not 100% sure about.
Although 'Abigail' is specifically intended for Bure Valley conditions, I note the drivers (at 550mm) are about the same diameter as the RH&DR 4-8-2's, which have no problems operating at the same speed as the larger wheeled Greenly pacifics, but as I somehow doubt it'd fit under Littlestone Road Bridge, it's probably not going to spend too much time galloping across the marsh.
Whose thread have we invaded? Oh right ...... well the Kirklees loading gauge should cope with 'Abigail' perfectly well.
I don't think it is. I remember Pete Bryant of the Miniature Railway World forum sent a letter to Japan several years ago and was assured that the loco is not for sale. One can only assume that the park's visitors find her interesting even as a static exhibit.
That said, if circumstances ever changed and she were able to return to the UK then I don't think a return to steam should be ruled out, and it need not require extensive modifications. It is simply a case of finding the right course for the horse...I'm sure she would be quite at home on a smaller line like Evesham Vale or Windmill Farm. Whether those railways would actually be able and willing to spend money on her repatriation and restoration is another matter, however!
Video and photos from an excellent Katie filled Steam Gala.
Photo Gallery... Estate Railways - Steam and Diesel Gala 2019
I see that Kirklees Light Railway have now rebranded themselves as Whistlestop Valley (and changed their website to https://www.whistlestopvalley.co.uk/).
I'm not convinced that such a non-descript title does them any favours as anyone hearing that name will not have a clue where or what that is (Although I suppose the same could be said of the Bluebell Railway! . . . although they do at least include the word railway in their name)
Looks like I've got some renaming to do on my own website and links to match the above.
I assume it's an attempt to broaden their market by indicating that they have more on offer than just a train ride. AIUI the railway itself will still be known as the Kirklees Light Railway and no doubt that's how it will continue to be known among the enthusiast community.
I guess thsi kind of marketing is a bit of a gamble as it hasn't been tried in the railway world before, but if it works, I wouldn't be surprised if we see other railways (especially the smaller ones) changing their branding in a similar way.
You'd have to presume some research was done, ahead of a name change. On their website, I've noticed a lot of emphasis marketing the line as child friendly local attraction. If that's their primary customer base and they've sounded the idea out, what may seem an odd choice to us lot mightn't be seen so locally. Still, the rationale would be interesting to learn. Have to say, a big selling point to get me there (it's a long old way off for me!) is actually that it's the home of the Guest sisters, Katie and Sîan, lovely little locos which I got to know and love during their Fairbourne days .... but that's just me!
Visited KLR a few years ago and felt it was a sad place for railway enthusiasts but a great place to bring your bairns before they are of school age or during school holidays. The website certainly seems to be promoting that clientele and good luck to them. Lots of potential at Clayton West for development, it needs it!
Having said all that, did we have a trip? No, too many screaming kids about!
Yes as far as I know been a volunteer at the K.L.R. whistlestop valley theres a small adventure ticket no train ride included but a ride on the miniature railway the Clayton flyer, and only the freedom of playing in the play area at the former clayton west gds yard this was partly to stop local members of the public using the play area especially at evening times at the K.L.R. thinking it's a public leisure area for free so if any visitors want to use the facility's at the K.L.R. for their kids to play or have a picnic they pay just short of £4 per each visitor or family of 5 £16.95 and the big adventure includes the play areas at clayton west Shelly and unlimited travel on the miniature railway and up and down to shelly on the 15 in running line from Clayton west £7.95 per adult or child or family of 5 £31 depending on carriage spaces.
Certainly not just you! I have been itching to get up to Clayton West ever since they moved there. Unfortunately I've never quite found the right time as yet - and COVID certainly hasn't helped - but hopefully one day soon!
Its a great day out if you have a young family, plenty to keep everyone occupied.
Agree. Miss taking my kids there as they are now older. However a friends just started work there so will have an excuse to visit
It's a similar situation for the Perrygrove Railway. When the management changed, the Heywood Collection left, depriving enthusiasts of the railway's historic element. The PR now leans heavily into the family day out, with play areas and trim trails for the kids, which is absolutely fine; but it's not quite the same as it used to be for those looking for their heritage fix.
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