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There and Back Light Railway

Discussion in 'Miniature Railways' started by stevepurves, Feb 28, 2020.

  1. stevepurves

    stevepurves New Member

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    There & Back Light Railway was founded by my wife, Naomi and I in August 2019. We had bought our 7.25 inch gauge Bagnall earlier in the year and I had rebuilt it by June and we thought that there was a gap in the market for this type of attraction in our region. We all remember when we were little having rides behind little steam engines at fetes, but these railways were often operated by model engineering clubs which in recent years have seen declining numbers and ageing members. This has led to the portable tracks they used falling into disuse and this type of attraction disappear from the public eye.

    With this in mind, our railway was born. In the modern age of social media and technology this allows people young and not so young to experience the joys of a little steam engine once again. For some this may even be their first experience of steam! Because we are looking at this from a commercial perspective, we have approached this differently from the clubs of old, we have a strong brand, online presence and marketing. We have built relationships with complementary organizations and industries; we feel this is a steam railway with a truly modern outlook.

    Our Railway is 200 feet long currently and we have a single coach. Our calendar is filling up for 2020 and we are looking to expand with extra track and an additional coach during the summer.

    Regards

    Steve
     

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  2. mdewell

    mdewell Member

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    This reminds me of my early experiences of live steam. I was 15 when my Dad took me along to the Ilford & West Essex Model Railway Club (http://www.iwemrc.org.uk) and from indoor model railways I soon migrated to the outdoor 7.25 live steam section. We had an 7.25in N15 (built in 1930's so that was also my first involvement in 'heritage' railways) and portable track that we used to take around local carnivals and school fetes etc. Great fun and very rewarding to not only operate the railway but also seeing peoples enjoyment of the railway. It was also good training for when I stepped up to 12in to the foot scale at Didcot when I was 18. :) Happy days.
    It eventually stopped as it was hard work and fewer people wanted to help, plus increasing red tape. Now they only operate at the clubs permenant track.
     
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  3. stevepurves

    stevepurves New Member

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    What a great memory and similar to my own experiences. I was a volunteer at Stapleford Park for many years and having caught the bug never really let go. When we go out with our kids there is noticeably less railways at 'non railway' locations which is why we started down this route!
    Steve
     
  4. stevepurves

    stevepurves New Member

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    Its a while since I dropped in here. I thought I would put a little update on things post CV-19

    We took the enforced closure from March to July as a time to regroup and work out what direction the railway was headed. We looked at the events done already and with thins knowledge was able to tailor our package to the events that work best for us. The first job was to replace the awful riding car that we had with something more up to the job - a purpose built tender with enough coal capacity for a days running as well as having vacuum braking fitted (which included fitting an ejector to the loco). Second job was to extend the line, we took our initial 200 feet and added another 150 feet making 350 feet in total. This second batch of track however is fitted with recycled plastic sleepers which differentiates it from the first and allowed a direct comparison with the wooden sleepers we had previously used. Another big job was to construct locomotive number 2, Moose. Moose is a petrol-electric 'scamp' type locomotive which acts as standby on our running days. Also upgraded were other ancillaries like our trailer, gazebo and signage.

    Services resumed on the 4th of July with a low-key trial to see how the new regulation would affect us. With having only one station we are essentially classed as a fairground ride and not public transport which made life easier in this respect. We had quite a busy summer season culminating in us adding another 100 feet of track taking the total up to 450 feet. we think this makes us one of the longest portable miniature lines in the country currently operating.
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