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Southwold Railway

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

  1. Johann Marsbar

    Johann Marsbar Member

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    Halesworth is a rather different place to Southwold and they seem to be more interested in attracting visitors to the Town rather than trying to keep the Proletariat out.
    The excavation work at the site of the loco shed and other works there highlight this different attitude.
     
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  2. Hicks19862

    Hicks19862 Member

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    That's very good to hear. I almost wish they could move the whole Steamworks site from Southwold to Halesworth.
     
  3. Johann Marsbar

    Johann Marsbar Member

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    Being able to establish a significant presence in Southwold enables them to show some of the doubters that they are capable of doing things - something they have already proved in under 2 years. They also appear to be getting a number of visitors as well, including, one assumes, a fair proportion of "locals".
    I can't instantly think of a suitable site by the trackbed at the Halesworth end for any similar undertaking - particularly as they appear to have ruled out developing the former engine shed site as part of the operating line. Shame this didn't all happen 40+ years ago when the area next to the BR station was still undeveloped, rather than the roads and housing it is today.
    Haven't visited the Steamworks site since early last year, but the big drawback in getting to it by car is the "road" that runs down to it, which has seen rather better days (Potholes R Us.....)
     
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  4. Johann Marsbar

    Johann Marsbar Member

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  5. The Green Howards

    The Green Howards Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Southwold unfortunately does seem to have become Notting Hill on Sea :(
     
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  6. Hicks19862

    Hicks19862 Member

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    Cant seem to find any recent updates regarding 'Scaldwell' on the website. Great to see progress with the Steamworks site though
     
  7. The Green Howards

    The Green Howards Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    I still think that is the most ironic/inappropriate name for a steam engine. Ever. :D
     
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  8. Hicks19862

    Hicks19862 Member

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    With the rapid progress on the new 'Blyth', I wonder if we will see it steam before 'Scaldwell'?
     
  9. David Humphreys

    David Humphreys New Member

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    upload_2019-4-4_18-0-48.jpeg

    Boiler for ‘Blyth’ turned the tight way up today. Hopefully finished for Easter.

    Have you a boiler we can make for you?
     
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  10. gwernol

    gwernol New Member

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    Sadly it appears that all progress on Scaldwell has ground to a halt. Per the leader of the "Friends of Scaldwell" group on Facebook: "nobody is in charge of the restoration as far as I know. All energies are currently being put into getting Southwold Railway Steamworks up and running for its first full season next year... there is not sufficient cash in the bank at present." Which sounds to me like they had just enough money to move Scaldwell and do a tiny amount of work on her, then ran out of both money and enthusiasm. I'd bet a decent amount that you will see Blyth in steam many years before Scaldwell is restored, especially given David Humprhey's excellent work on other locos.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2019
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  11. Hicks19862

    Hicks19862 Member

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    I think the progress with 'Blyth' is astounding. Until recently I thought the project was just a set of frames and a funnel, with funds coming in slowly, so the thought of a 2021 completion date will prove the doubters wrong.

    I personally think 'Scaldwell' would have been better off just receiving a cosmetic restoration and be a static exhibit at Southwold. (Just an armchair enthusiast opinion)
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2019
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  12. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    Progress with Blyth is extremely encouraging and that boiler, on what's always looked quite a 'dinky' design, looks a sight larger (in recent photos) than I imagined. Over on the 'New Build' thread, a while back, I asked for opinions on that hard-to-quantify tipping point at which any new build goes from 'WIBN' to something folks'll see as sufficiently viable to fork out to support. Here's to hoping Blyth's boiler now tips the project firmly on the right side of that question.

    Having clambered over Scaldwell at Amberly last century (!!), I can't say the slowdown in progress surprises me overmuch, the loco is very tired indeed and restoration to operational condition was always going to be a seriously expensive exercise. Over the longer term, I feel it's chances of steaming again are vastly improved by it now being located on a 3ft gauge line as, with the best will in the world, the wonderful Chalkpits Museum had absolutely no use for it as a working loco ..... though thank goodness they were there to keep this rare survivor of English NG industrial steam safe for so many years.

    If only other industrial locos (thinking especially of lost 3ft gauge gasworks Bagnall 2-4-0Ts Concord and Unity here) had survived just another few years as, Bob knows, their owners tried in vain for years to get someone interested in saving them both ..... Oh well - can't win 'em all. :(

    Who knows? Maybe the advent of a working Southwold loco may even convince at least some of the East Suffolk Flat Earth Society to shut the f*** up re-evaluate their blanket opposition and maybe even actually get behind efforts to bring a slice of their locale's lost history back to life. Well, a chap can hope! :)
     
  13. Hicks19862

    Hicks19862 Member

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    I was also surprised at the size of Blyth's boiler.

    I don't think the opinions of the East Suffolk Flat Earth society will ever change, but I also think their opinions will matter less and less as progress with the site and Blyth continue.

    Whether they will stop any extension of the line may be another matter.
     
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  14. James Hewett

    James Hewett New Member

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    Thanks Johann - indeed true! Halesworth to Southwold Narrow Gauge Railway Society has found almost universal local support for bringing back what we are now calling "Halesworth's Lost Railway", and we are concentrating on the three miles from Halesworth to Wenhaston, where there are several planning policy advantages. That doesn't make it easy, though - as the terminus is lost, and landowners have to be willing to sell (or lease, or hire) the trackbed. We do have some positive feedback on that.
    Meanwhile, our ex-Channel Tunnel RFS loco's Cummins 5.9 engine started a few weeks ago (needs some more work - a fuel pump to be refurbished, and we can get on to the hydraulics and air systems). Design work for re-gauging our ex-Rowsley points from 600mm to 914mm is in hand, with advice from the WHHR. Coach 1 (a 4-wheeler with SR features) will have its wheel-lift next week, preparatory to re-gauging from 762mm to 914mm. Membership is increasing, but we need a lot more - and a lot more volunteers (there are now two workdays a week - usually Tuesdays and Sundays).
    And we have just published our first book - "Halesworth - a Transport Hub" - soon to be found on our website www.halesworthtosouthwoldrailway.co.uk, and currently available from Halesworth Bookshop. Follow our news on our Facebook page.
    We have much volunteer and membership crossover with our colleagues at the Southwold Railway Trust - we often attend the same events on other railways. Technical specification harmony between the two interest-groups (obviously essential) is in hand.
    James Hewett
     
  15. Hicks19862

    Hicks19862 Member

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    Glad to hear relations between the two groups is amicable.

    Could there be scope, in the future when both sites are more developed, for something like a vintage bus service connecting the two sites?
     
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  16. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    From what I've seen, owners of vintage buses are always keen to get their charges doing what they were designed for. Perhaps, given the ambience of Southwold itself, a horse bus might be appropriate?
     
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  17. Johann Marsbar

    Johann Marsbar Member

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    If there is any element of taking fares/making money out of a "Heritage" bus operation, then you have to jump through all the hoops of a fully fledged bus operation - Operators licences, registering routes, full PCV MOT's, PCV licenced drivers etc, etc. The group I am involved in looked into the costs of this (and we have several buses) a number of years back, and it just wasn't worth it for the financial returns available.
    We operate "free" bus services at some of our open days, but you cannot restrict their use to peole paying admission to the Museum, as that would be seen as making a "charge" for the transport. We insist on fully qualified PCV drivers and the buses are MOT'd to Class 6 (think that is still the designation) which is the Full PCV test. The number of normal driving licence holders with "Grandfather Rights" to drive bigger vehicles without the correct licence is dwindling now as well.

    At the end of the day, you have to address the "is it worth it?" question.................unless there is a "tame" local operator in the area. There was a former Crosville (original, not the Western Super Mare one...) Bristol SC4LK that ran in the Southwold area for a while, but that is no longer the case. Nearest company to Southwold/Halesworth with anything old in PCV use is Bucklands at the former RAF Bentwaters (1929 Dennis & 1966 Bristol). The Transport Museums at Ipswich & Carlton Colville are not Operators (see above...) and neither is the Eastern Transport Collection (still at Attleborough?) who have a number of old buses.

    We have got a 4' gauge horse tram though.................
     
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  18. GHWood

    GHWood Member

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    Is this one of the locos you mean? Never heard of them or the railway before. Looks like Groudle Glen’s Sea Lion on steroids!


    https://rcts.zenfolio.com/industrial-and-light/industrial-steam/other/hA8772414
     
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  19. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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  20. tor-cyan

    tor-cyan Member

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    found this short film on youtube

    some interesting working practises

    Colin Green
     
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