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Southwold Railway

Discussion in 'Narrow Gauge Railways' started by Bar Side, May 7, 2012.

  1. Flying Phil

    Flying Phil Well-Known Member

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    Always good to see track being laid!
     
  2. James Hewett

    James Hewett New Member

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    Thanks Phil - it's the best bit of any heritage railway! We PW guys think that a loco is just something to test track...........I was taught the craft at Gelert's Farm in Porthmadog, by track guru Nigel Hanwell, on a considerably smaller gauge (but with very much heavier rail). For my fellow track nerds, I will post about our new spoon point, when it's done.
     

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  3. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    The limited clearances twixt the three foot and those fences surprised me.
     
  4. Tobbes

    Tobbes Member

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    Excellent! Are you actually planning to run public trains on 30lb rail or is this just for demonstration purposes at this point?
     
  5. Bikermike

    Bikermike Well-Known Member

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    Allows passengers to pick blackberries more easily...

    Nice to see track going down. Hope to be visiting Southwold in autumn, so hope to have a look round the various sites (covid/opening hours/rest of family permitting).
     
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  6. Hicks19862

    Hicks19862 Member

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  7. James Hewett

    James Hewett New Member

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    Yep - it's tight (they are not original to the bridges). However, with caution, we can get our Greenbat loco and two of our wagons through there OK - if we can work out how to reach the site, as the only approach is via a narrow, winding and rough footpath! If we were to gain permission for a working railway (which we don't have now) then modifications could be done - but that would have to be in negotiation with the landowners, and is not in prospect soon.
    Forum readers may therefore 'ask why do it at all' - but having suffered (and still suffering) from widespread objections to any railway restoration (although certainly less at Halesworth than at Southwold) our strategy is gradually to introduce the public to the idea of restoring a railway closed since 1929, by taking very small steps - frustrating but necessary.
     
  8. James Hewett

    James Hewett New Member

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    Hi Tobbes - additional to my last post - at this point it's just a demo bit.
    The original railway ran for 50 years on 30lb with no problems - and one of our remits is to reproduce the PW - one of the many unique parts of the line's history - as closely as possible - but our longer-term plan is to use 35lb or 40lb (we have both) which give a similar impression, but also give some leeway (our RFS loco is 7.5 tonnes axle weight, and technical specs allow use on 35lb - but a bit of engineering redundancy is always good). [Our Greenbat, on the other hand, is only 2 tonnes, and can use 25lb rail if it's well fixed, supported and maintained - the SRT's new loco 'Blyth', and our 'Halesworth', will be only about 12 tonnes, on three axles].
    Thus the relaid sidings at Blythburgh station are 35lb - they are buried (using robust steel sleepers) - so the increased rail size is not obvious.
    We are currently laying down a tramway at our workshop, where all this technical stuff (min. curve radius, cant, coupling overhang and flexibility, point check rail distances, as well as track weight, sleeper and fixing types) can be rigorously tested away from the public (it's only accessible to working volunteers) - so our preferred specs may change with experience.
    Good to see the SR thread livening up! Thanks for the interest.
     
  9. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Tangential track related enquiry: How much does Scaldwell weigh?

    Absolutely loved the update on Blyth the rate of progress is utterly astounding .... and so's that livery!
     
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  10. Hicks19862

    Hicks19862 Member

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    Scaldwell does look like a bulky piece of kit.
     
  11. MartinBall

    MartinBall Guest

    Is North Bay also building 'Halesworth'?
     
  12. James Hewett

    James Hewett New Member

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    Martin - much too early for that decision! By the time we get there, it will doubtless cost well over £400,000 - a very big ask in current circumstances - so it's currently a long-term ambition. (There are apparently no measurable economies of scale in building two [almost] identical locos together)
    My (very) personal preference would be Hunslet at Statfold (who already have a three-foot-gauge line for testing) - but it will not be only my decision. It (he?) will almost certainly be presented in as-built livery - Sharp Stewart green - BTW, although I am a great fan of GER blue as well. Considerable efforts will be made to be authentic - with two exceptions: air braking, and some possible modification to the SS-patent pony truck, which is highly inflexible. And - who knows whether coal firing will still be allowed?
    One thing we (HSNGR) have going for us is that the two Chairmen jointly own the Sharp, Stewart Company (we were inspired in that by similar moves at the L&B) - so it will be a genuine SS, as far as that is now possible.
     

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  13. MartinBall

    MartinBall Guest

    Nice! Any thoughts on building Southwold (II) instead of Halesworth - to have a slightly different type to Blyth? Would it be very much more expensive to have a rear pair of wheels...?

    Good luck, anyhow :)
     
  14. James Hewett

    James Hewett New Member

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    Martin - the 2-4-2 was certainly a better design - and nicer for the crews as well. However, we set up the HSNGR organisation to try to capitalise on the strong support there is in Halesworth for railway restoration (something certainly not true of Southwold), and we are hoping that a loco named after their town will enthuse residents to get stuck in, and donate. Halesworth needs tourists, which can't really be said of Southwold (well, they do need them , but they won't admit it!). When you have a town that hosted a loud public demo, with banners and megaphones, decrying the very idea of bringing the railway back - it does tend to put you off using the name.
     
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  15. Meiriongwril

    Meiriongwril Member

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    There's always Wenhaston for the next new build after Blyth and Halesworth!
     
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  16. Jordan Leeds

    Jordan Leeds New Member

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    Surely engaging statfold to build a replica would be counter productive and cost more by having to design everything again when you could just have North bay press a button and things arrive with the knowledge and experience of building Blyth already attained
     
  17. SpudUk

    SpudUk Well-Known Member

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    Really admire Southwold's ambition - one replica mid-construction and one in early planning before there is even a line to operate them on is quite impressive
     
  18. ghost

    ghost Part of the furniture

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    2 different groups though
     
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  19. James Hewett

    James Hewett New Member

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    Keith - exactly! Spreads the load, and allows a more varied expression of restoration. Saying that, there's a lot of member sharing, and both the HSNGR's Co-Chairmen are donors to SRT's projects "Blyth", Steamworks, various legal and planning fees, and the Wenhaston station land purchase, among many others.
     
  20. James Hewett

    James Hewett New Member

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    Meirion - yes - a nice, and quite powerful loco. But Wenhaston village is, if it's possible, even more anti-railway than Southwold, so there'd be no local interest or support. Nor as far as I know are the plans available. Still, perhaps the NWNGR Gowrie group might consider it as a challenge.....(!)
     
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