News from December 2002

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Seaton Tramway wins Best Small Visitor Attraction in the South West 2002-2003 award

Seaton Tramway has been awarded the accolade of Small Visitor Attraction of the Year 2002-2003 in the South West regional section of the Excellence in England Awards. The Awards are held in each of the regional tourist board areas and recognise quality, innovation and achievement in fields such as accessibility, sustainability and improvements. The winners in each region go forward to the national final at the Savoy Hotel in London in April 2003; the Tramway will therefore be representing the South West in the “small” visitor attraction category; this is defined as an attraction recording less than 100,000 visitors per year. Large Visitor Attraction of the Year was awarded to the Eden Project in Cornwall, so the Tramway can count itself in very good company.

Managing Director Mark Horner commented after the ceremony: “This is a great honour for Seaton Tramway and all of our staff, whether full time, part time or volunteer, can be very proud that all their hard work has been recognised by the tourism industry. We have worked hard to improve our facilities over the last ten years, and I am particularly proud that we were commended for the quality of our welcome – all of our staff are very enthusiastic about what they do and I am sure that visitors pick up on this. We have the great privilege of operating in a beautiful area, and I hope that this award will serve to promote East Devon’s glorious Axe Valley as a tourism destination and so benefit local people and businesses”.

This was the first time that Seaton Tramway had entered the awards, and it was particularly commended for its innovations in accessibility, including a tram for wheelchair users and the easy access features on the three newly-built cars, which will enter service around Easter 2003. The Tram Stop Restaurant at Colyton was also highly commended, as were staff in all jobs for the quality of their welcome and service.

Seaton Tramway has enjoyed a record year in 2002, continuing on from a record performance in 2001. New innovations this year have a full programme of Bird Watching trips alongside the River Axe, and plans are currently being finalised to extend the programme through to the end of 2003. The Tramway is currently gearing itself up for the “Santa Special” season; Santa will be visiting on the 15th, 21st and 22nd December and his popularity is so high that extra trips have had to be added this year after a sell-out in 2001. A short break will follow, but the Tramway will reopen again on 23rd February 2003 for the Half Term Week, at the start of what looks set to be another very busy year.

Posted by Peter Bowyer on 7 December 2002

Santa's Bala Visit

Over the weekend of 7 & 8 December Santa paid his annual visit to the Bala Lake Railway. This was his most successful visit to date with 11% more visitors than 2001.
Santa’s secretary puts this success down to the fantastic team spirit shown by all those involved and is a tribute to their dedication and hard work.
This Santa’s success follows on from the Bala Lake Railway having its busyest season for some years with passenger numbers being in excess of 10% up on the previous year.

Posted by Bob Shell.

Posted by Bob Shell on 9 December 2002

2003 Open Days at the Cadeby Light Railway

Open Days in 2003 will be:
February 8th – Valentine’s Special
April 12th – Morris Dance Day
May 10th & 11th (Both Days) – Gala weekend to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Cadeby Light Railway
June 14th – Freight Trains Day & Teddy Bear’s Picnic.
August 9th – Open Day at Cadeby Light Railway
August 9th & 10th – Cadeby Steam & Country Fair
October 11th – Cadeby Village History Walk
November 8th – Bonfire & Fireworks
December 13th – Father Christmas Special
December 26th – Mince Pie Special

and in 2004:
February 14th – Valentine’s Special

Open days commence at around 1300 and trains all afternoon. Trains are normally operated using our steam locomotive “Pixie” (Bagnall 2090/19). The collection of historic narrow gauge equipment is on show. Other attractions include:-
- an extensive model railway, based on the Great Western Railway
- steam road vehicles
- the extensive “Boston Collection” museum
- brass rubbing in the adjacent Church.

In addition to the above, the Model Railway hosts running nights on the last Friday of each month, when the layout is operated to a timetable.
Running nights in 2003 are:-
Jan 31st, Feb 28th, March 28th, April 25th, May 30th, June 27th, July 25th, August 29th, Sept 26th, Oct 31st, Nov 28th.
A further running night will take place on May 9th in connection with the 40th anniversary gala.

The Railway is a 2’0” gauge railway running around the grounds of the Old Rectory in Cadeby, Leicestershire. Founded by the Rev E.R. “Teddy” Boston in 1963, the railway normally operates using a Bagnall steam locomotive “Pixie”. There is also an extensive collection of internal combustion locomotives and narrow gauge wagons.
In 2002, major restoration projects have been completed on an ex-RAF Fauld Hudson wagon and a pipe carrying wagon ex Stanton; work continues on Hibberd 2306 – this locomotive is expected now to be completed in mid-2003 following major problems encountered during an engine rebuild. The reconstruction of Baguley 1695 also makes good progress. Motor Rail 5038 left the site in 2002 for restoration to commence off-site, and an Orenstein & Koppel believed to be 3444 arrived from its’ previous owners garden in Sheffield. Some work has started on the O&K, and initial signs are that the loco is in a fair general order, albeit missing certain components.

Cadeby is to be found on the A447 north of Hinckley.

Further information may be obtained from Audrey Boston on 01455 290462 or Simon Lomax 07771 830452 or e-mail simon@planethalo.freeserve.co.uk

Posted by Peter Bowyer on 19 December 2002

ex-MOD rolling stock for sale

Ramco (UK) Ltd. has announced that it will be selling off ex-MOD standard and narrow gauge rolling stock. Dates are still to be finalised but all interested parties should register their interest along with any preferred viewing dates to jillstringer@ramco.co.uk or telephone 01754 880880 and ask for Jill.

Posted by Peter Bowyer on 25 December 2002

Moseley Railway Trust submits planning application for former Ashover Railway Site

Planning Application Submitted For Ashover Railway Site

The Moseley Railway Trust, formerly based in Stockport, Cheshire, has applied for planning permission at Ashover Butts Quarry near Clay Cross, with a view to providing a permanent home for it’s extensive collection of industrial narrow gauge railway equipment. The Trust’s collection is currently in storage at its restoration base in Buxworth, Derbyshire pending a successful conclusion to the site negotiations – which have been in progress since the early part of 2000. Should the application prove successful, plans will be progressed to provide suitable facilities to house and develop the museum. Negotiations with landowners and the local authorities are well advanced, and an understanding has been reached as to how the project could be integrated into local plans for tourism and infrastructure.

The Trust’s main objective is to open a museum with a short running line in order to show how narrow gauge railways were used in the diverse industries they served. The museum will provide educational material to show how goods and materials were transported and how industry benefited from this form of transport. Models and photographs will be used to interpret the artefacts and exhibits in the collection in relation to the industries in which they could be found.

The former Butts Quarry in Ashover is situated at the terminus of the Ashover Light Railway, which closed in 1950. The line was built primarily to transport stone from Butts Quarry and Milltown to Clay Cross – for the Clay Cross Company.

Initial plans would allow for a line of around a quarter of a mile from the proposed museum to a station adjacent to the car-park access, in addition to a suitable museum building in the Butts quarry itself to house the Moseley Railway Trust collection. The short passenger line would follow a section of the former Ashover Light Railway turning-triangle in the quarry area, and it may be that in the future, a passenger boarding point can be provided at the site of the old Ashover Station.

Posted by Gareth Roberts on 30 December 2002

Restoration of a WW1 40HP Simplex in 3 months!

Restoration of a 40HP Simplex in 3 months!

Simplex 1369 in France.

The Channel 4 television program, Salvage Squad, in association with the Moseley Railway Trust and supported by Leeds Museums & Galleries, have fully restored former WW1 Motor Rail loco – LR3090 in just 3 months.

In what is thought to be a first for television, Salvage Squad and Moseley Railway Trust, supported by Leeds Museums & Galleries, have undertaken the full restoration of former WW1 & Leeds Knostrop Sewage Works narrow gauge ‘Protected’ Motor Rail (MR1369 of 1918) locomotive. The hour-long programme, due to be screened in early 2003, will follow the full restoration process over a 3-month period.

The petrol-engined machine, on long-term loan from Leeds Museums & Galleries, had not operated since the early 1960’s when it was withdrawn from service. In 1980 this loco, in remarkably original condition, passed to Leeds Museums & Galleries where it spent a further 15 years on static display. Acquired on loan for eventual restoration by the Moseley Railway Trust, the machine arrived in 1995 in time for display at a Military Gala. Following the Moseley Railway Trust’s removal from the Cheadle site, this project was classed as low priority. The Trust’s current Buxworth restoration base is tackling more practical equipment in preparation for a move to a new site.

In early 2002 the Moseley Railway Trust were approached by Wall to Wall television, makers of the Salvage Squad programme, to provide a suitable project. This resulted with the former WW1 locomotive being selected over 2 other Trust engines.

Although in substantially original condition, the locomotive was canibalised for spares to keep its sister engine running whilst at Knostrop Sewerage works. Amongst other things, this has resulted in the whole of the ignition system (carburettor, magneto, etc) having to be replaced with the correct pattern parts.

Restored to original WW1 condition, this locomotive took part in an Armistice Day special event on 11th November 2002 on one of the few surviving remnants of the WW1 light railway system in France; CF Cappy-Froissy-Dompierre (APPEVA) and was accompanied here by Leighton Buzzard Railway locomotive “Festoon”.

Having arrived back UK again, the locomotive will be returned to its berth in the Mosley Railway Trust’s Buxworth workshops following a brief stay at the Leighton Buzzard Railway. Hopes are high that the restored locomotive will make several working visits to UK Heritage railways in 2003. For more information go to: http://www.tinturtle.info or http://www.mrt.org.uk

Posted by Gareth Roberts on 30 December 2002

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