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Southwold Railway

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

  1. Hicks19862

    Hicks19862 Member

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    Maybe in the future, with the Halesworth group extending the line from their end, and the Southwold group from the other, there will be a golden spike style ceremony when the two lines join lol.
     
  2. James Hewett

    James Hewett New Member

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    Yes indeed - we'd love to see that happen. Meanwhile, HSNGR Soc. have been re-laying three-foot track on the 1879 main line at Halesworth - the first section of proper track anywhere on the railway trackbed, since scrapping in 1941. We are using materials which, though heavier than those used in 1879 (and will take our 15-tonne loco OK), give a very similar impression - as the light permanent way was one of the original railway's unique features. The 20mm crushed stone ballast also mimics what was used by the Victorians. On Tuesday Nov. 19th, we put down the last northward panel at Halesworth Junction, as far as the Network Rail boundary, using a PW trolley re-gauged for us by the Mid-Suffolk Light Railway, which thus became the first item of rolling stock on the line in 78 years - so there is now 2 chains, one rod and a bit! More panels will go down after Christmas: it's a slow job, as there is only footpath access to the worksite. The work is being paid for by "Sponsor a Sleeper" (£35.00 each), and is already three-quarters funded.

    Then we will move on to the second Project - replacing the point that led into the 1914 loco shed, a little further down the line. The Millennium Green own some original parts of this point (stock rail and blade, stock rail and check rail), and, surprisingly, they are re-usable: we are re-gauging a 2-foot point now (not the easiest of tasks, as the geometry changes pretty radically), to provide the rest of the components. We think that - when complete - this may be the first time that (a part of) an original point has been replaced in the historic position, such that later re-use is possible. Our loco team continues on the RFS Channel Tunnel 0-4-0DH - the Cummins engine is fine, but disentangling the by-passed, leaky and non-operational electrical and air systems is a very complex task indeed!
     
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  3. nine elms fan

    nine elms fan Member

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    If you could manage to get the lines to meet next to Adnams brewery (a tall order I know) what an attraction that would be, for me anyway. my two favourite obsessions railways & beer although not always in that order. thank you. :)
     
  4. James Hewett

    James Hewett New Member

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    Sadly Adnams have been objectors to railway restoration in the past. One would have thought that railways and beer go rather well together....
    (In a similar way, an anti-train pub is holding things up on another nascent railway not very far from here - which is, apart from anything else - a pretty silly business decision on their part, railway enthusiaststs being notoriously thirsty and hungry)
    Many Southwold businesses, pretty well everyone on the Town and District Councils, and most residents (not to speak of the RSPB, the Wildlife Trust, the AONB, and so on), object to any restoration at the east end of the line. That's the main reason HSNGR are concentrating on Halesworth, where there is a great deal more support for the idea.
     
  5. nine elms fan

    nine elms fan Member

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    Sorry to hear that, anti social lot. Still wont put me off a pint of Adnams Broadside. :)
     
  6. nine elms fan

    nine elms fan Member

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    Talking to a mate tonight who stayed in a hotel in Southwold with his wife and says the local folk have a strange attitude in that they want the money that tourism brings but not the tourist. strange lot. :confused:
     
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  7. DcB

    DcB New Member

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    There does seem a lot of conflicts.
    As retired people die their homes are being sold at high prices to Londoners who see buildings as investments and don't want tourists. Local families can't afford to stay in the town.
    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news...iday-homes-squeeze-life-out-of-suffolk-resort
     
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  8. paulhitch

    paulhitch Guest

    Not supporting Nimby attitudes in any way or making any comments about the Southwold scheme in particular but we should not be too surprised. Railway preservation sites do tend to be terminally untidy. "Normals" are not likely to relish the thought of some of the places I can think of along the road from them, yet alone next door.
     
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  9. kscanes

    kscanes Well-Known Member

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    Ha! There are one or two other tourist areas I could name that share that attitude! Southwold though does seem to have a reputation for being particularly insular. Only one road in.
     
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  10. James Hewett

    James Hewett New Member

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    We in the heritage railway movement (more of a cause than a business!) don't do ourselves a lot of favours - you are right. I have visited two small-to-medium heritage railways in the last decade, and each was completely surrounded with rubbish - diesel locos with trees growing through them - rolling stock which will obviously never be restored (and for which there is no conceivable use even if this ever happened) - not a single yard of their public lines without its rotten sleeper, half-demolished signal post, smashed LC gates, rails suitable only for scrap, plastic bags half-filled with PW materials, miscellaneous unidentifiable rubbish, and so on and so on.
    On the other hand (and back to topic), SR is a three-foot line, so there's very little out there to run on it, and therefore very little tat to have lying around "just in case". We, for example, only have one loco, two wagons, and a potential coach - all well out of public view except the PW trolley, which is in regular use, and not obtrusive.
     
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  11. paulhitch

    paulhitch Guest

    Absolutely so but you are paying the price for the other places who become instant **** heaps in the absence of someone prepared to say "don't you dare bring that stuff on site, we have no use at all for it". Railway enthusiasts are incorrigible collectors, whether of rubbish or not and plenty of "normals" have become only too aware of it.
     
  12. marshall5

    marshall5 Well-Known Member

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    The onus is on the host railway to have proper legal agreements with vehicle owners in place before they are brought on site. There have been far too many examples of locos and items of rolling stock which have rotted away in full view of the travelling public when the owner's enthusiasm and/or cash has run out. How is that a good advert for any line? I read, some time ago, that one line - the Glos Warks I think, didn't even have a record of who owned some vehicles and I'm sure they are not an isolated case.
    It is not just individual owners who are to blame as many derelict/semi derelict items are 'company' owned and are being held as 'spares' or 'just in case'. Obviously there will be occasions where spares are needed but, unless they are kept under cover or at least well tarped, one is just putting off the inevitable trip to the scrap yard.
    There are some lines that have no "linear scrapyard" such as the Torbay & Dartmouth (or whatever they are calling themselves this year) where business sense prevails over rose coloured spectacles.
    When the former Steamport was being demolished on of the last recognizable items was a large red sing "Don't hoard $hit - dump it!" - hmm....
    I'll get off my soapbox now.
    Ray.
     
  13. pete2hogs

    pete2hogs Member

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    You people worrying about scrap heaps should come and live out here - you'd hate it. Every farm has its own heap of 'might come in useful' stuff. Some of which has been 'in situ' for 50 years. Maybe they know more than you do.
     
  14. marshall5

    marshall5 Well-Known Member

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    Maybe they do have heaps of cr@p lying around but they aren't charging people to view the eyesore.
    Ray.
     
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  15. Johann Marsbar

    Johann Marsbar Member

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    A view of the track laid at the Halesworth end of the line, as seen today......

    DSCF4658.JPG
     
  16. Johann Marsbar

    Johann Marsbar Member

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    As I seem to be able to post photos on here again (It hasn't worked for several months), here are a couple of the former loco shed area at Halesworth......

    General view of the site, with the rebuilt frame for the water tower in the foreground

    DSCF4661.JPG

    View of the inspection pit, with some relaid track up to the original buffer stop

    DSCF4662.JPG
     
  17. James Hewett

    James Hewett New Member

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    Thanks JM - good pics - thanks for your interest and support. The one of the inspection pit track shows clearly how the entire installation was planned to be standard gauge, and then modified to three-foot when it became obvious that gauge conversion was not going to happen. We decided to restore the longitudinal timbers as they were, to show this. We would like to restore the loco shed here, exactly as it was, to provide a visitor centre for the surrounding public land, and for the railway and the adjacent Blyth Navigation.
    Next year we'll be replacing the 1914 point that led from the quarry branch onto the track section you show, hopefully using some original components - and a typical contractor's wagon (a 3-foot-gauge Hudson tipper with a new body) will be displayed on this section. This Tuesday, two of our sleeper sponsors will be laying their "own sleeper" at the north end of the main line track - quite possibly in the rain! Anyone who would like to be involved in this exciting project can join us on our website www.halesworthtosouthwoldrailway.co.uk.
     
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  18. Johann Marsbar

    Johann Marsbar Member

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    There was an open day at the Steamworks, Southwold, site today, so I called in, in particular to see their ex SNCV trailer car, originally built in 1915.........

    DSC00728.JPG

    EDIT: The trailer actually originates from STIC in Charleroi, rather than the Vicinal.

    Since I was last there a couple of years ago, their Manx Northern coach has also appeared on site....

    DSC00727.JPG

    The restored standard gauge MR(?) goods van is still on site, but it is now obscured behind the MNR carriage.

    Took a walk down to the harbour, via the old trackbed, to try and find the track & buffer stop that were still there several years ago (the end of the short-lived harbour branch) but they seem to have vanished. Did find this rather decrepit section of a (presumably GER) carriage in use as a shed though....

    DSC00735.JPG
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2019
  19. James Hewett

    James Hewett New Member

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    Johann - the track panel from the Blackshore Quay branch is still there - directly opposite the yacht club. This panel formed a second branch off the main 1914 Harbour Line, accessed indirectly, via a backshunt, from a junction behind the Harbour Inn. It would certainly never have seen locos, being very lightly laid indeed - only spiked, with no baseplates, and VERY close to the water - so wagons must have been hand shunted.
    Under water nowadays at high tide, though....
    There are only two original track panels in situ - of which this is one (the other is at Blythburgh) - plus, now, a couple of chains of relaid track (which you have kindly illustrated) on the main line at Halesworth: this section has now been fully sponsored (70 sleepers), so we will be completing it, and moving on to the re-instatement of the point which led from the Quarry branch into the loco shed - using some original rails and components. The "contractors' wagon", based on an ironstone tipper - which will be placed onto the loco shed rails that you also illustrate - is almost complete, although getting it there, access being footpath only, is problematical.
    James
     
  20. Johann Marsbar

    Johann Marsbar Member

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    Sounds like it could have been under water when I was there then!
    I think it was during the late 1980's that I last saw it, whilst partaking in one of the Ipswich Buses Real Ale Runabouts, as some us walked down to the Harbour Inn from the town centre.
     

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