News

15th September 2016 The 1938 Tube Stock train visited the Great Cockcrow Railway for their 2016 Gala Weekend. It operated as only a 2-car set despite intentions to have the centre car rebuilt by then. Advantage was taken of running the set in the dark; the lighting being most effective - and highly praised. Being a 2-car set, it did not stay for the public running on the Sunday, but on the Saturday it worked alongside a C69 Surface Stock train.

The LRT at Green Lane on the GCR
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The LRT at Green Lane station (Not Green Park)!

26th July 2015 Having failed in service during the Spring Open Weekend, the hand-held unit was taken apart at the end of July, and the cause was found. One of the leads to the potentiometer is quite tight, and this had broken away. One of the AMR Volunteers has soldered a short piece of cable between the Pot and the cable that broke away; hopefully giving more reliable service from now on.

Pot with missing wire   The missing wire reinstated
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Left - Nothing attached to the lower end of the Pot in this view.
Right - A short (black) cable has been soldered into place.
[Photos: A. Janes.]

28th April 2015 The Little Red Train has returned to service; its unveiling took place at 10:30 on Saturday 25th April at Wesley's Halt on the Acton Miniature Railway. For the present, the train is back down to a 2-car set, and a date has not yet been agreed for the centre car's overhaul, but we hope that it will be soon.

The situation was that having carried several thousands of passengers, many of them on a badly laid portable track with 16mm rails, the train was worn out. The wheels were out of profile, the motors were growling, there were all sorts of worrying noises coming from under the body, the (plywood) body was splitting up, and the train was failing in service at regular intervals. For a number of reasons, which included the state of the train, the decision was taken to stop doing portable track events, and an agreement was reached with two of the LRT's Volunteers that they could have the entire outfit - minus the actual trains - in exchange for carrying out a thorough overhaul of the 1938TS train and bringing the 1923 "Ginny" into service.
Ginny was brought into service in 2011, but it was found that more traction was required, so that is an ongoing project. The 38TS train performed its last duty in late 2013, and the body was broken up on site (AMR) soon after. If you have been checking this website for news, you would have every reason to worry that the LRT had disappeared due to the lack of much news of progress. The fact was that the overhaul was much greater than we had expected, and the final product was to be something of a delightful surprise for the owners - and in the event "delightful" is an understatement!

The LRT unveiled
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The LRT / 38TS just after the covers were removed by joint-owners, Adrian Allum and Daniel Hill. [Photo: A. Janes.]

The first thing to notice is that the train is now in an earlier darker red livery with cream window dividers. Nevertheless, with respect to the original builder's wishes, the original numbers have been retained. The body is a mixture of timber and fibreglass, with steel components in places (doors, for example). The train now has working lights, and a whole chapter could be written about these. After the basic on-off switch, the lights are directionally controlled from the motor reverser switch; both ends with the red tail lights illuminated when in neutral. There are four miniature switches under the body at each end to determine which marker lights come on with the main white headlight. Another switch brings on the red lamps at the leading end for use when working wrong-line! Interchangeable destination boards (not blinds) are provided for each end (and a special anniversary set were in use at the AMR in April). A working whistle has been fitted at the 'D' end, with one at the 'A' end to follow.
Underneath, it would seem that only the square section tubular steel frame is all that remains of the old train. The batteries now sit in low-level trays (thus lowering the centre-of-gravity - and the body height), and the bogies are now fixed at sole-bar height, not under arches at almost roof level (the old arrangement was necessary for operating on portable track - and for fitting the motors that were available at the time). The bogies are new, and are based on the design in use very successfully at the Great Cockcrow Railway. The wheels, motors, and PWM Controller are all recycled from the train as it was, but most of the cabling is new. Just like the prototype, everything is a tight fit, and there is quite a bit of resistance whilst everything is running in.

Do compare these photos of the rebuilt train with the old, and notice especially the one with the panel from the old train leaning up to it for comparison. The LRT 1938TS train should give us many more years' service; and is a credit to the engineers who worked passionately and tirelessly (especially missing out on sleep in the final hours before unveiling) to bring this historical and unique model into this wonderful condition.

Cab end   Old and new bodies compared
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Left - One of the cab ends. [Photo: R. Walsh.]
Right - Part of the old body seen with the new - to compare! [Photo: R. Walsh.]

12th May 2014 Progress update on the LRT overhaul.
The new sides for the D-car have now been attached and are looking good. Contouring work has begun on one of the sides.

Work on the D car   Work on the D car

31st January 2014

Darren Hayes
Darren (right) doing trackwork on the Acton Miniature Railway.

It is with sadness that we report on the passing of Darren Hayes, a former volunteer with the LRT, whose cheerfulness, kindness, and extremely good nature were appreciated by all who knew him. Darren came to the LRT through his friends at the Great Cockcrow Railway, and occasionally followed the LRT to the Acton Miniature Railway. His passion for railways extended also to the smaller scales (00-gauge etc), but he was equally passionate about his work with McLaren Cars near Woking, where he worked on the Production Line. Darren and a friend were both fatally injured in a road traffic accident with another vehicle, on the A320 near Ottershaw on January 29th. Our condolences go to his family.

21st January 2014 Another photo of the ongoing overhaul work:
The D-car body is seen upside-down, and strengtheners can be seen attached to where the side walls meet the roof. These are behind where the doors go. The doors, being thinner material in order to get the profile correct, became quite soft and pliable at roof level, so these strengtheners will hopefully solve that problem.
The cut-outs in the formers are where the original drives, gears and associated equipment were fitted in!

Underneath the body of the D car

15th January 2014 A quick progress check with the LRT six weeks into the project (which includes the seasonal holiday). The photos illustrate the body (filled and smoothed), and some of the skirting formers, which along with the sub frame, have been ground back, reshaped, and primed! (Thanks to Thomas Sanders for the update and photos.)

Body stripped and sanded   Skirting formers
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Left - The body framework. [Photo: T. Sanders.]
Right - Skirting formers. [Photo: T. Sanders.]

8th Decmber 2013 The LRT is back in the news - for its long awaited overhaul! We have asked the engineers to keep us updated with news and photos, and we will publish it here as it happens. We are allowing a full year for the work to take place, and it is intended that the LRT will re-enter service in February 2015, for the Acton Miniature Railway's 10th anniversary.
After a thorough investigation on November 30th, it was decided to start work on the 'D' car, which is the one with the controller, where the driver usually sits. One of the bogies was dismantled on site and a plan drawn up to modify the general design of the bogies as part of the overhaul. The body was dismantled, with both sides and both ends removed; the cab end had rotted quite badly, and there was probably more body-filler than wood there! At the end of the first day the whole car was taken away to be worked upon in a workshop. More news follows...!

LRT D car dismantled   LRT D car dismantled
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Left - The Body being dismantled. [Photo: C. Lee.]
Right - The roof is in good condition...! [Photo: M. Scrutton.]

12th March 2012 The LRT - the complete LRT - gave rides at the Acton Miniature Railway in March, their most profitable event to date, raising over 1,400 in the two days! As usual, we had the 3-car 38TS train in service; but on the Sunday, the train failed in service, and whilst it was 'out' being repaired, 'Ginny' was brought into service, with the loco 'Livvy' providing the extra power (Ginny does need more motors - one on each axle)! Only three trips were run, but this was arguably its inaugural run with fare paying passengers! Towards the end of the second day, one of the 38TS train's motors was making a very worrying noise, so we shall have to work on that before it is next used.

LRT at Acton   Ginny and Livvy at Acton
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Left - A loaded train returns to Wesley's Halt from Yerkes Drive (driver at the back)! [Photo: D. Bullions.]
Right - "Ginny" in a formation with "Livvy" at the lead, seen at Depot Approach. [Photo: J. Wake.]

16th October 2011 The LRT attended the AMR for the London Transport Museum Depot's "Family Weekend" on October 8th & 9th, which complete with new batteries, gave improved performance. So much so, that we had an issue with hot axle-boxes! The Ginny was on static display also, which was convenient because a fault developed with the hand-held controller on the 38 stock, and we borrowed Ginny's in order to keep the service up, whist it was repaired! The train has been left at the Museum Depot as there are no other duties for it until the March "London's Transport in Miniature" event.

LRT at Acton   LRT at Acton
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Left - Having just arrived back at Depot Approach, the driver has alighted to open the exit gate, but the passengers seem a bit slower to disembark - who can blame them? On the adjacent track a steam loco known as "Lulubelle" awaits departure. [Photo: A. Allum.]
Right - With the passengers facing away from the driver, this is a return trip to Depot Approach. On static display, Ginny can be seen; this was the Saturday, she was inside the Museum Depot on the Sunday. [Photo: D. Bullions.]

28th August 2011 The 38 stock was taken to the AMR for the Fun-Day there on August 27th. But it wasn't much fun getting there! There were no vans available for hire (being the bank holiday weekend) and it looked as if we were going to have to cancel taking part. At the last minute, a friend with suitable trailer was able to help us get the train to the AMR. Then we found that our batteries were flat, despite charging. Age and 6 months without use are the combined probable cause. We were able to borrow the batteries from the AMR's in-works "Sarah Siddons" loco and thus enter service. Although we took all three cars, we ran just a two car set; the centre car is now on site, ready for the October event.

38TS at Acton
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The 38 stock at Depot Approach alongside ... do you recognise it (been to Covent Garden lately)? [Photo: D. Bullions.]

Video

Video from one of our invited guests showing him and other guests driving the 38TS under supervision. [Video K Hern]

20th June 2011 LRT team-member, Stephen Trower, who now owns some of the former LRT portable track, attended the Pirbright event (a good one last year for the LRT), taking a live steam loco with him, and representing the Great Cockcrow Railway (using two of their carriages). In the 6 hours (plus overrunning time), the train carried 974 passengers, which more than doubles the LRT's record! With a lack of suitable volunteers (for an assortment of reasons), Stephen worked mostly on his own, but did have a Station Master and Ticket Clerk; and for a short while, a relief driver also. Whether there are any photos from the event, we shall have to wait and see - we'll post any good ones that we get!

14th March 2011 The LRT attended the Acton Miniature Railway's Open Days on March 12th & 13th, with more than just the three cars; the Ginny was unveiled also, now in working order, and with a cosmetic overhaul. For a little while on each day, the 38 stock was on standby as passenger numbers weren't too brilliant (though just under 1000 is better than several recent events), and it didn't expire due to failed batteries. However, there was a controller related issue that required assistance (and for the passengers to be rescued by another train), but all was fixed within a few minutes. The Ginny, following unveiling, didn't actually enter passenger service, as it has become clear that ALL axles will need motors, so this is a modification that will be made in due course. But it was so nice to see it run under its own power, just how Fred intended it to when he first started the project.

Barry Le Jeune unveils the refurbished 'Ginny'   The refurbished Ginny
Ginny and LRT
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Top Left - Barry Le Jeune (London Transport Museum Friends' Chairman) unveiling Ginny. [Photo: D. Bullions.]
Top Right - Ginny stands amidst a round of applause for Steve and Matt for all their hard work. [Photo: C. Piasecki.]
Bottom G(23) and 1938 trains together on a working railway, at last. [Photo: M. Scrutton.]

28th November 2010 The LRT attended its last "portable track" event on November 27th, at Sonning Common Primary School's Christmas Fair. We carried 230 passengers in just under three hours, in sub-zero temperatures! Following this event, the decision has been taken to get rid of our minibus as it is costing too much to run, and without this, we are unable to continue with "portable track" events. The train will be refurbished and moved to a more permanent home; all other assets are going to new owners, who may be able to do the odd one or two events with the track!

LRT at Sonning   Packing up
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Left - A train load of passengers. [Photo: A. Allum.]
Right - Packing it all up for the last time! [Photo: A. Janes.]

25th October 2010 Ginny Progress... Damage has been repaired and the white globs you can see in the photos is filler, which has been judiciously applied! The chassis has been painted black at the same time. Steve and Matt have used an orbital sander on the bodyshell so it can get repainted. They're still debating as to whether or not to GRP the roof, but general agreement is that it would be a good idea.

Ginny bodywork   Ginny bodywork
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The body for the Ginny under repair.
[Photos: M. Scrutton]

18th October 2010 The LRT went to the Open Weekend at the Acton Miniature Railway - all FOUR cars! Yes, not only was the 3-car 38 stock in service, but the Ginny was on static display also; thanks to the efforts by Stephen, who has taken on the project (assisted by Matt). Original builder, Fred Blois turned up on the Saturday, who was delighted to see the progress that had been made, and like all of us, is anxious to see the train enter service. On the Saturday, we ran out of power again; but it's final journey on Sunday was also with very little power. We will be giving some thought to the replacement of the batteries before the next AMR event in March! (We had given the train a rest during the Sunday in order to conserve power - as passenger numbers were low - and this did help.)

Unloading the LRT at Acton   Stephen testing the Ginny
Fred Blois sitting on the Ginny as the 38TS passes   Young helper driving the LRT
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Top Left - The LRT being unloaded - note the 'body' on the platform!
Top Right - Stephen testing the Ginny's motor bogies (with chassis).
Bottom Left - Fred Blois sits on the Ginny, whilst the 38 stock motors by.
Bottom Right - As a reward for helping out, this young lady gets to drive the LRT, Daniel supervising (once all the passengers had gone).
[Photos: A. Allum]

8th October 2010 On Friday October 8th, Stephen managed to get the last two bushes made for the bogie seen in the last update; he cut down some springs to the required length, put it all together and ensured it was all free.
Unfortunately Matt wasn't around to weld up the last axle box keeps, but this didn't stop Stephen trying it out ... there was a spare battery in the engine shed so he connected it up direct to the motor and ran it up and down (GCR) Hardwick Station limits a few times until the battery decided it wasn't going to put out any more and it came to a stand.
Then as if by a miracle, Matt was on his way home from Portsmouth, so, picked up and with a pair of 12V batteries wired in series from his house (perfect size to fit within the Frame on the bogie), they got back to the railway and before welding up the remaining keeps they decided to try it on 24V around the railway. So without further ado they put the wires on, and set it off on its merry way ... they started running after it and then had to give up as it started getting away; so instead, they decided to watch it through Everglades (see the YouTube clip). After running down the spur, they caught it at the bottom of the hill by the spring points; it was at this point that they decided to turn it around and send it round again, this time though, they decided to wait by the viaduct for it to return, and very quick it was too, putting out speeds that could compare with an express train!
Once they'd done this a couple of times they decided it might be an idea to secure the last axle and make a few adjustments. This was all done by 5 O'clock, so we now have one complete Ginny bogie ready to go! More, later

Ginny Bogie   Ginny Bogie
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The completed bogie, with motor and wheelsets in place.
[Photos: S. Trower]

Video

The completed bogie runs through Everglades Junction on the Great Cockcrow Railway. (Note that there were no other trains present on the railway at the same time). [Video S. Trower]

4th October 2010 Work is progressing well on Ginny; all the wheel sets are now machined and profiled, all the bogie slots are cut and neatened up. Work has started on the next big job, the axle boxes. These are made from a steel section with a bronze/brass bush to give the axle a decent bearing surface. 4 of the axle boxes have been drilled and bored to the correct size and 2 have had the bushes inserted and tried on the axle. The next big job is the horn stays, the device used to keep the axle in the slot. These are made from axle section welded to the frame, with a bar across the bottom held together with a nut and bolt; this ensures that the axle box cannot drop out from the slot. As can be seen from the pictures one axle is complete on one bogie; it is hoped within the next week to have the other axle on that bogie complete and a quick test. Work will then start on the other bogie with view of a test run in the near future!

Motorised wheelset   Wheel and axle box
Axle Box
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Top Left - A motorised wheel-set ready to go.
Top Right - An upside-down bogie with everything held in place. Above the axle-box, there is one large heavy duty spring, kept in place by a locating 'pin.'
Bottom - Cluse up of the axle-box showing the one large central spring, and oiling point!
[Photos: A. Allum]

31st August 2010 The LRT attended its last event for the Summer 2010 on the August Bank Holiday, at the Staines and Ashford Lions Gala Fete off Worple Road. This was a new event for us, and we were given a good spot with a few panels of track alongside the main thoroughfare before curving away across a large part of the field not actually in use for anything else. We carried just under 170 passengers in the 4 hours, and had 'low' periods whilst the Dog Shows were going on. The range of stalls was vast, and we were surprised that we were unable to generate more journeys than we did. There was also a live band (who we won't name) who were so out of tune and generally terrible that we wondered if we should offer the lead singer an Aspirin - or take them ourselves! The train performed admirably (though the minibus did give us a scare in the early morning by struggling to start), and many leaflets for the next Acton event were given out, as well as our (LRT) details for possible future events, one of which sounds very interesting!

LRT at Staines   LRT at Staines
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Left - Adrian driving from the back for the return trip, a common practice. [Photo: D. Bullions.]
Right - The sweeping curve out from the station area shewn to good advantage. [Photo: A. Janes.]

19th July 2010 The LRT attended two events over the weekend, July 17th & 18th. Both were busy events, but both were with problems.
On the Saturday, we attended the Byfleet Parish Day, where we were somewhat away from the main events, but near to the pony rides and classic cars. We did wonder if we would run at all, as the train simply wouldn't move. After some investigating, the fault was traced to one of the tiny plastic cable connectors on the 4QD controller, but it seemed (as daft as this sounds) that the copper was not conducting! It is the same controller and cabling that we have been using for a few weeks (we're still awaiting the return of the one sent in for repair), and it has worked OK. It appeared that the tags were not stripping the insulation enough to make reliable contact, so (contrary to the design of the connector), we stripped the wire and inserted it, and the train worked from then on.
On the Sunday, we made a return visit to Canons Park, but it was the uneven ground that caused the problems this time, with a few derailments over one of the curves, on one occasion, pulling the track apart! Revisions to the track requirements are to be considered as a result. The situation was made worse by the general condition of the track following the soft ground at Totteridge, which we have not had the chance to repair (though a few panels were repaired during the day on the Saturday)!

Dave at Byfleet   Ben at Byfleet
The queue at Canons Park   Dave passing over the troublesome curve at Canons Park
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Top Left - Dave with the last train on the Saturday ... and then another passenger arrived ... and then another! [Photo: A. Allum.]
Top Right - Earlier in the day, Ben is driving, with another lightly loaded train. [Photo: D. Bullions.]
Bottom Left - Queues on the Sunday were inspiring, but it meant that there was no time to relay the track! [Photo: D. Bullions.]
Bottom Right - Dave passing with caution over the troublesome curve at Canons Park. [Photo: D. Hill.]

5th July 2010 On a more upbeat note after recent problems with the LRT and minibus, we can bring you some good news about the Ginny.
As stated earlier in the year, Stephen Trower has taken this project on. Well he is progressing nicely, having completed the two unpowered wheelsets (unlike the LRT, the Ginny will only have motors on two of its four axles). He has also started cutting out the axle box slots in the bogies, however this is a harder job than first thought as there is no easy way to mount the bogie frame in the milling machine without there being excessive wobble when any force from the tool is put against it. So a good old fashion Hacksaw and File job it is.
Ginny is soon to be moved up to its new temporary home where any cosmetic work will be carried out, as well as final assembly. No date has been set for completion but a test run at the Great Cockcrow Railway is hoped for around September.

Ginny Trailing Wheelsets   Ginny Wheelses
Ginny Bogie frames
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Top - The completed trailing wheelsets for the Ginny.
Bottom - The bogie frame, with slots cut out for the axleboxes.
[Photos: S. Trower]

4th July 2010 The LRT went to the Totteridge fair organised by the 11th Finchley Scout Group on July 3rd. Unfortunately, as with last year, the grass hadn't been cut, which meant that the track was very springy! This possibly caused a cable to break away, which resulted in 20 minutes' down-time whilst it was soldered back on; and grass got into the mechanism, contributing to a second stoppage. We have stated that we will not tolerate this again. We carried just over 200 passengers, lower than average for this event, but the demand was a steady flow of passengers.
On Sunday 4th, we were due to appear at the Earls Court Festival, but the minibus broke down in the morning and we were unable to get there. (During the investigation with the minibus, we found that the starter motor fitted by G-force about a year ago, had no securing nut on the earth contact, and the screw-thread for the power cable was so worn that the power lead wasn't properly connected. We won't be going there again. Curiously, some artefacts disappeared from the minibus also, whilst they had the vehicle!)

Dave driving at Totteridge   Fault Finding
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Left - Dave driving, with a trainload of passengers at Totteridge. [Photo: A. Allum.]
Right - Adrian and Daniel fault-finding; note battery leads removed for safety. [Photo: D. Bullions.]

Video

The state of the permanent way at Totteridge! [Video A. Allum]

27th June 2010 The LRT made its annual trip to the 1st Hook Scouts Summer Fair and Dog Show on June 26th. There was some cause for concern about whether we would be there, as it took Adrian a long time to recover from his illness last week. Also, of course, the train was using the 4QD controller that has been earmarked for Ginny, but that seemed to be OK, even though we couldn't find a certain inhibitor device that needed removing ... reverse was at half power; not a problem at Portable Track events! Nevertheless, it was a good event and we carried 244 passengers, which is the most ever at this event, so the higher (1) Fare was not a problem.

LRT at Hook
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Dave about to depart the station at Hook. [A. Allum.]

22nd June 2010 The LRT attended the "Anna of Avondale dog trials and open day" at the Surrey Police headquarters in Guildford on 20th June, following an enquiry during the event at Pirbright, 8 days previously! This, however was for Free rides all day, and certainly proved to be popular. We carried well over 550 passengers before a very loud "pop" was heard from the controller and the train came to a stop.
Following an investigation, we found that one of the transistors (or similar) had exploded, and we were unable to continue in service for the remaining two hours. (As a short term measure, we're going to swap this over with the spare (4QD) controller for Ginny, whilst we look into getting a proper repair made.) Adrian was certainly not sorry for the early finish; a minor cold clashed with his usually "slight" hay-fever, making him very ill, and at the time of writing, is having to spend time off work; unheard of! We fear for the next event for the Hook Scouts; if Adrian is unwell, there is nobody else to drive the minibus...!
(There are no pictures from Guildford ... the two of us were just too busy!)

14th June 2010 The LRT attended two events over the second weekend in June, 12th & 13th. Both were events that we did in 2008, but were too late booking in time for 2009, but the contrast - especially with one of them - was interesting.
On Saturday, we went to an event organised by the Knowl Hill School, but unlike 2008 when we set up a short track in their play-ground, we were on the (Pirbright) village green as part of the village summer fayre. Stephen brought his steam loco, Alison, along, but with only five operators (one as a guest), we were kept busy (one driving the LRT, one driving the steam loco, one working the point, one selling tickets, and one loading and ticket-clipping)! We had just over 600 tickets available, and with a previous record of 458 passengers in one day, we were confident of this being enough. The first hundred were sold in less than an hour, and by the end of the day we had carried 715 passengers, a new one-day record! There was no break in the demand for rides and none of us got the chance to look around the site. We have already been invited back next year, and subject to AMR activity, we intend to be there.

LRT and Alison at Pirbright
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LRT and Alison at the station at Pirbright. [Photo: D. Bullions.]

On the Sunday, we went to Ashford Park Primary School for their summer fayre. We had a better plot than in 2008 and were kept reasonably busy, but carried a more typical 205 passengers. These figures are a point of interest only. We don't value the Ashford event any less than Pirbright; it was probably more fun to do because it was a more relaxed pace. Obviously, the more passengers we carry, then the more money that we raise for their PTAs (or whoever the host is) and our maintenance funds. But we have needed to place an urgent order for more tickets!

LRT at Ashford
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LRT at Ashford. [Photo: A. Allum.]

7th May 2010 On May-day Bank Holiday, Monday 3rd, the LRT made its usual visit to the 1st Ottershaw Scout & Guide Group's May Fayre; accompanied by a second train, Stephen Trower's delightful little steam tank loco, "Alison." With a 1 Fare, we didn't beat any records, but 308 passengers was a very comfortable figure, enabling us to raise over 100 for the Scouts & Guides. "Alison" is still undergoing some running-in, and there was an ongoing issue with the injector, but a spare was to hand, and the service didn't need to be compromised. The only hiccup was when Adrian got a chance to drive the steam loco, and managed to derail the lightly-sprung riding truck! (Yeah, blame the tools, like all bad workmen do!) Our old Gazebo has been retired, and a new one has not arrived yet, so thankfully, there was only a little rain in what was otherwise a pleasantly sunny (but not too hot) day. For the first time since we started doing this event, we were not announced over the PA system as being "from the Great Cockcrow Railway!" We are of course well acquainted with the GCR and its volunteers (some of whom joined us during the day), but the LRT is not a GCR "regular!"
With the slight delay in posting this news, we can also make one small announcement that an assessment is about to be made regarding the work that is necessary to bring the "Ginny" into service. Stephen Trower, having suitable experience with his own electric loco (now sold on) as well as a professional railway background, has offered to take on this project, which Adrian and Daniel have been delighted to accept. The bogies were taken away on the Thursday...!

LRT and Alison at Ottershaw   Stephen with Alison at Ottershaw
Dave driving the LRT at Ottershaw
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Top Left - LRT and Alison side by side at Ottershaw. [Photo: M. Scrutton.]
Top Right - Stephen with Alison. [Photo: D. Bullions.]
Bottom - Dave with the LRT. [Photo: B. Foley.]

26th April 2010 The Acton Miniature Railway and the Little Red Train got together on April 24th & 25th to provide rides (and raise awareness of the AMR etc) at the Spa Valley Railway's Gala Weekend. Unfortunately, with the event aimed more at the enthusiast rather than the family, we carried only 35 passengers on the Saturday and 40 on the Sunday! This made for a very boring weekend, but most of the team made the most of a trip along the SVR, and this served as fair relief! The SVR had the L.99 Pannier tank steam locomotive in service (along with a 'Jinty' and a Polish 0-6-0), and one of their LU 'T' stock cars also made a few journeys, which proved very popular; people (by choice) were packed in almost as much as on the LU today! Our miniature railway was set up in the loco shed, and a Plate-layers' trolley had to be used to get the equipment on and off site! Back in the days of ownership by Fred Blois, the LRT had been carried in a goods wagon at a preserved railway, so this is nothing new!

LRT and L99   T-Stock
Dave driving the LRT
LRT track on platelayers trolley   LRT on platelayers trolleyk
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Top Left - LRT and L.99 side by side. [Photo: A. Allum.]
Top Right - "T" stock car for the Bakerloo Line? Surely not! [Photo: D. Bullions.]
Middle - Dave drives the LRT into the loco shed. [Photo: D. Hill.]
Bottom Left - The LRT's portable track being transported on a platelayers trolley. [Photo: A. Allum.]
Bottom Right - The LRT and equipment loaded onto the platelayers trolley at the end of the day, ready to be rolled back to the minibus. [Photo: A. Allum.]

16th March 2010 The LRT was taken to the Open Weekend at the Acton Miniature Railway on March 13th & 14th. Poorly advertised, visitor numbers were very low, and this affected the railway also, carrying just under half the number of passengers that is usually expected. The LRT carried over 300 passengers over the weekend, accounting for about half of them, the rest travelling behind any of four locomotives, the "A" class Metropolitan loco, Matt's "Livvy" tram loco, Stephen's "Alison" steam loco, and "Michael Faraday," which was at the official opening back in 2005, but which has missed quite a few recent events.
The LRT had one equipment related stop, where an electrical coupling between the cars had come undone, and this caused the available power to drop to a level where we were unable to continue in service. The coupling was reinstated, and the batteries from "Sarah Siddons" were borrowed, and we returned to service, albeit as a two-car set, not three. On the Sunday, suitably charged, we ran the three-car set without any problems.

LRT with a young driver
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LRT (with a young guest driver - without 'public' passengers aboard) alongside "Michael Faraday" at Depot Approach. [Photo: A. Allum.]

20th December 2009 The LRT visited the AMR on December 19th for a "Mince Pie Run," but with only three volunteers present, we were not kept busy. Only the two car set was taken, and despite the icy rail conditions, the train performed faultlessly. Another train present was an overscale model (still under construction) of another Underground design...!

AMR in the snow
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LRT and loco side by side at Depot Approach. [Photo: A. Allum.]

5th December 2009 The LRT made an appearance at Cradle Hill CP School in Seaford for their Christmas Fair. Seaford is actually miles away from the area that we would normally cover, but our bluff was called! Adrian foolishly thought that it would be more polite to state what our fee would be for attending an event so far away, than to just turn down the application; but the school accepted our quote! Careful planning was necessary due to the 2-hour travelling time, so that a break could be had on route (we only have one person insured to drive the minibus, which is why we don't normally venture out of the local area), and this worked reasonably well. The event was well attended and the train was kept busy for all but 10 minutes of the three hour session, those ten minutes due to rain! There is interest in having us back there again, so we will give some thought about a safe policy to enable us to do this (and would enable us to renew our acquaintance with another cherished host also). We cannot make any guarantees at this stage, but we'll see how discussions go!

LRT at Seaford with Santa onboard   LRT at Seaford
Click picture for full size
Left - First passenger for the day, none other than Father Christmas! [Photo: A. Allum.]
Right - Adrian driving (passengers hiding behind him). [Photo: M. Scrutton.]

28th November 2009 The LRT attended the Christmas Fair at Sonning Common Primary School on November 28th. We carried well over 200 passengers in the three hours, although at times we wondered if we would ... an intermittent electrical fault worsened, and before our next event, we are going to have to undertake some exhaustive tests to try to locate the fault and fix it. The fault prevented the train from moving, but would then kick in causing the train to have a sudden start! The host sold the tickets, but unlike last year, there was just the one for the rides, so visits to Santa were charged separately. This did give us a few repeat passengers, such is the popularity of the train.

LRT at Sonning Common   LRT at Sonning Common
Click picture for full size
Left - One of the lighter loaded trains, with only four volunteers and two stations, we were all kept busy (and appreciated Daniel's grandparents turning up to oversee the provision of Tea and cakes)! [Photo: A. Allum.]
Right - Daniel, wrapped up well against the cold weather, drives the LRT at Sonning Common. [Photo: D. Bullions.]

13th October 2009 On October 10th & 11th, the LRT attended the Acton Miniature Railway and Museum Depot's "Family Weekend." Along with the A-class steam loco and train, we carried just over 1450 passengers over the weekend. As there were just the two trains, we used the centre car, but we had to withdraw from service before the end of operations because we ran out of power (the centre car has no batteries or motors) on the Saturday. However, charged overnight, there were no problems on the Sunday.

3-car LRT at Acton
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A lightly loaded LRT passes the signalcabin at Acton. [Photo: A. Allum.]

5th September 2009 The LRT had a day out at the Acton Miniature Railway on September 5th, for a Fun Day. The Museum Depot was closed to the public, but instead a Friends' event was taking place, and free rides were on offer. With no children present, we were not kept busy, but six adults did travel, four of them on the LRT. But all volunteers LRT and AMR got to drive both trains and operate the signals, so yes, it was a fun event.

LRT at the AMR
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The LRT's only trainload of passengers, seen departing Depot Approach. [Photo: A. Allum.]

31st August 2009 The LRT supported the Acton Miniature Railway on the weekend of August 29th & 30th at the Upminster Depot Open Weekend. Despite being a well organised show (a complete contrast to the shamble the previous weekend), patronage was low (for the miniature railway, anyway), but we did raise a good revenue for the AMR as well as covering our costs. A more thorough report is given on the AMR's website.

LRT at Upminster   Waiting for passengers at Upminster
D Stock and LRT Centre Car at Upminster
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Top Left - Dave taking the 2-car LRT out on a trip. The centre-car was on standby!
Top Right - Daniel waiting for the next passengers (seen from the roof of the minibus)!
Bottom - Underground cars lined up at the Depot; spot the odd one out (clue - it's red and very small)!
[Photos: A. Allum.]

24th August 2009 The LRT attended a two-day event at the Friern Barnet Summer Show on August 22nd and 23rd. Unfortunately, this event was beset with problems right from the very start. It seemed that the Site Visit (essential for all new bookings) had been totally irrelevant, as we were moved to a part of the field with a very steep camber, exactly where we had said that we could NOT run. We were, therefore, moved to a better site, and on the Saturday, we carried a fair number of passengers, but we never actually got busy; a bit boring for a team of six! New member, Dave was 'passed out' as a qualified driver, and his contribution to the whole operation is appreciated. At the end of the Saturday, the organiser invited the public to cross our track to reach the arena, and this they did, causing much superficial damage in the process!
We had been invited to leave the track down overnight, and were told that the site would be patrolled day and night by a local vigilante group with lawful powers of arrest. Well, they were certainly invisible during the day, and we were told about a theft that had taken place during the previous (Friday) evening; so we took no chances and brought the whole outfit home!
On the Sunday, we were to move our station area slightly, to give enough room for the Dog Show. Our host (the organiser) failed to turn up until 30 minutes before the agreed start time, and then wanted us to change the set-up; this we didn't! Then, at the 12-noon start time, we were told not to start; we had to wait until an open-air 'service' had taken place. We finally started over an hour later than agreed at the Site Visit, and carried even less passengers than on the Saturday. In fact, it was in the 20 minutes after the closing time that we were busiest, with several well loaded trips in quick succession.
Unless next year's event is organised by somebody else, we will not be returning. This is a decision that we have not had to make before, but for the host to renege on location and operating times, and to invite people to breach the right-of-way, could have had serious implications on overall safety, and thus the risks are too great.

LRT at Friern Barnet   LRT at Friern Barnet
LRT at Friern Barnet
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Top Left - Daniel with a well loaded train on the Saturday. [Photo: A. Allum.]
Top Right - More typical is this photo from Sunday, very light load and very few people about. [Photo: A. Allum.]
Bottom - Dave, our new driver, with a lightly loaded train. [Photo: A. Allum.]

20th July 2009 The LRT had a busy weekend, 18th & 19th July. On the Saturday, we went to the Fun Day organised by the Rotary Club of Surbiton, at the same location as for Hook Scouts, except that with a few curves we brought the station area forward onto the grass, where it certainly got more noticed. We charged 1, but the 182 passengers got a double ride for that, so it was certainly good value.
On the Sunday, we went to the Fun Day in Canons Park, near Edgware. We charged 50p and carried just over 300 passengers - in three hours. It was hard work, and we had quite a long queue for most of the afternoon. We had to put up with a little rain and strong winds, and the Gazebo got quite badly torn; but it was the cones and cordoning that were an ongoing problem ... many of the cones have lost their sand so they're quite light, and many had to be held down with pegs! Both hosts are interested in inviting us back again next year.

LRT at Hook   LRT at Canons Park
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Left - Daniel with a train departing the station on the field at Hook. [Photo: A. Allum.]
Right - A train departing at Canons Park, with the reduced queue in the background. (The nearby Canons Park Tube station was closed for the weekend, but this was for many years a station that the prototype for our model would have stopped at!) [Photo: D. Bullions.]

13th July 2009 The LRT attended the Open Day at Lambeth Cemetery on 12th July, for an interesting, if somewhat quiet event. The idea of a "Hearse of the Year" competition seemed a bit surreal, but the horse-drawn variety really had no competition. Even the pink Rolls Royce alternative, intriguing, but not giving rides, didn't get the prize. One lady did question us about the morality of a "Fun day" at a cemetery. True, this may seem a bit odd, but look at it from a different perspective, where can you go - without 'going around the houses' - to plan and prepare a funeral? All sorts of appropriate traders were present, and to create a 'fun day' is a way to bring in the punters. And this is where the LRT came in, running alongside the main road (but within the grounds), we were successful in bringing in passing trade. (And apart from a few terrible puns, the whole event was respectful. I won't name the person who suggested that we change one of the destination blinds to read "Morgue-gate!" (Moorgate, if you missed it!))
However, we carried very few passengers at the event, and the team of four were not kept busy! We were provided with refreshments including lunchtime rolls, and we even got some track maintenance done! Despite the low patronage, we are likely to be invited back again next year, but to be located more visibly within the grounds, and hopefully with better all round advertising also.

LRT at Lambeth Cemetery   Horsedrawn hearse
Pink Hearse   Adrian doing some track maintenance
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Top Left - With a nice leafy shade, the LRT takes a train load out for a ride. [Photo: A. Allum]
Top Right - What a way to go, this hearse won the prize! [Photo: A. Allum]
Bottom Left - The grey hearse is not so unusual, but pink? [Photo: A. Allum]
Bottom Right - Adrian working on the track! [Photo: D. Bullions.]

5th July 2009 On 4th July, the LRT made a return visit to Totteridge for the Summer Fayre organised by Finchley Scouts. After some debate it was agreed that we would charge a 50p fare (we have charged 1 here, before), but 326 passengers is down on last year! Nevertheless, despite a little light rain for a few minutes, it was a lovely day, and a busy one. We were in our usual area, but the grass had not been cut, so a lot of track-packing had to be used as it was impossible to determine the best actual route. Already, we have been provisionally invited back next year.

LRT at Totteridge   Track amongst the grass
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Left - Checking tickets at the station.
Right - Yes, there is track down there, somewhere!
[Photos: A. Allum]

28th June 2009 The LRT attended two events at the end of June, a regular one and a new one.
On Saturday 27th, we went to the 1st Hook Scouts Summer Fayre. We were charging 1 (which still made us cheaper than many of the other activities), and there was a slight drop in the number of passengers (191). Nevertheless, we were able to make a donation to the host at the end of the day, and our costs were covered. We were unfortunate in that our station (set up in the usual place) was behind a couple of small stalls, and also behind a diesel generator! We have asked for this to not happen again. Despite the lovely weather during the event, the heavens opened up as we started to pack away, and we all got completely soaked.
Then on Sunday 28th, we went to the Summer Fun Day at St Josephs Catholic Primary School in Aldershot, very near to the directors' homes. Being a school event, we charged 50p fare, and carried almost 250 passengers, with agreeable weather throughout. It was especially nice to attend a local event (yes, despite the 'London' theme, we're based in the Farnborough / Ash Vale area), and hopefully this will lead to more - as well, of course, as a return next year!

LRT at Hook   LRT at Aldershot
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Left - A train load at Hook... [Photo: D. Bullions.]
Right - ... A train load at Aldershot. [Photo: A. Allum.]

24th June 2009 On Sunday June 21st, Adrian and Daniel took another trip on the 1:1 scale 1938 Tube Stock, this time from Edgware to Colindale via the Kennington turning loop! As a bonus, there was an extra ride on offer, from Russell Square to Ealing Broadway, a journey which would otherwise have been ECS due to the need to return the train to the (Museum) Depot. A cab-ride was permitted along this latter journey!
The journey to London was interrupted with a stop at Woking, to see "Tornado" come through, some 15 minutes late, and whilst we were at Colindale, a 'Lancaster' flew over!
As we understand it, this is probably the last time that this train will be able to run along the Northern Line due to resignalling which will be incompatible with the train!

1938 Stock at Colindale   Lancaster bomber over Hendon
Hanger Lane Junction
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Top Left -The 1938 Stock passes through Colindale.
Top Right - World War 2 Lancaster bomber flying over Colindale.
Bottom - Cab view approaching Hanger Lane Junction, where the District to Ealing Broadway and Piccadilly to Uxbridge diverge.
[Photos: D. Hill]

Video

Along the Piccadilly Line, through the "South Ken Bends" where trains can be "Stalled, not Stored;" and finally through South Kensington station and back into the Darkness! This was shot with the video facility on an ordinary digital 'stills' camera, so the picture quality isn't as good as the professional DVDs from the London Underground, but it is quite something to arrive into the station and depart again! [Video A. Allum]
Videos are hosted by YouTube and require Macromedia Flash to play. They are not guaranteed to work on all browsers.

4th May 2009 On 4th May, the LRT attended the Ottershaw May Fayre, organised by the local Scouts & Guides. This is a regular event for us, and last year we carried 444 passengers; a record. This year, we started off with a very heavy downpour, and thoughts about coming anywhere near that figure were dashed immediately. There was even some humour about bringing 800 tickets with us. However, for most of the afternoon, the weather was dry, and we broke our record again, this time carrying 458 passengers.
Joining the 2-car LRT (we only use the centre-car on permanent layouts), we had a model of a class 73 locomotive, still actually in the final stages of construction, but nevertheless, fit for service. And for the passengers behind this loco, a carriage from the nearby Great Cockcrow Railway was borrowed. Unfortunately we got off to a bad start with the point lever being too high for the guest train to pass over when set to the 'reverse' position, and at the first attempt, some considerable damage was caused to the point mechanism. But the loco's owner/builder (one of our younger members) made a splendid repair and all worked well from then on.
Upon unloading back home in the evening, we have found that one of the wheels on the LRT has come loose on its axle, so this will need to be repaired before the next event; presently proposed for just over one month's time.

3-car LRT and 73 at Ottershaw
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The LRT and class 73 side by side at the station. [Photo: D. Hill.]

8th March 2009 The LRT had its usual out-of-season spring run at the Acton Miniature Railway on March 7th & 8th, supporting the London Transport Museum Depot's Modelling Weekend. For this event, we inaugurated the centre car, thus a three-car set. It has metal footboards (and the other cars will be modified to match) to reduce the risk of people using them as platforms (and standing with both feet on the one side)! It needed a bit of running in, and by the end of the Saturday, the batteries had had enough! However, despite Sunday being busier, the batteries lasted the whole day, having been charged overnight.
We shared the AMR with unfamiliar company ... the A-class steam loco was still undergoing modifications, so its owner brought his other LU themed loco, a Met-Vic number 8 ("Sherlock Holmes"). On the Saturday, two locomotives from the Ascot Locomotive Society (another Met-Vick and a model of the design that the Met-Vicks replaced) were also in service; and on the Sunday (as well as some testing on the Saturday), LRT Friend Stephen Trower brought his new (and not quite completed) class 73 Electro-diesel!

3-car LRT at Acton
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Matt Scrutton driving the 3-car LRT towards Harrison's Crossing. [Photo: D.Hill]

22nd February 2009 On Sunday 22nd February, Adrian and Daniel continued working on the repairs to the train. After applying more filler to one of the bodies, attention was turned to the centre car. Enough square-section steel was bought to make the foot rests and cross pieces to support them, and these were cut to length. Fading light and encroaching coldness prevented further progress, but is was certainly nice to see (even if momentarily,) the body on the chassis on the bogies!

Filler on the body   Parts for the centre-car's footboards
Modification to the bogie
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Top Left - Where there used to be wood, there is now filler! Sanding and painting will be done soon.
Top Right - The cross pieces will be attached under the chassis, but in this view they are on top, with the foot rests above.
Bottom - One of the new bogies has an extra nylock nut above each end spring - if the bolt unscrews, it will not drop out!

18th February 2009 On a weekday evening - well, time is running out - we set to work with some of the repairs that the train needs. This included copious amounts of body-filler and glue to one of the car bodies; but the motor noise issue will be done later when we can run the train on track (probably at Acton, soon). Having taken delivery, recently, of the wheel-sets for the centre car, we also fitted them into the bogies (didn't quite complete this due to poor lack of fixings), and we are cautiously hopeful of having a three-car set at Acton in March! The wheels are flat sided, so we had to add washers to prevent them rubbing on the axle-boxes; thankfully we have a healthy stock of them.

Centre-car bogie
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One of the centre car bogies, with wheelsets in place. [Photo: D. Hill.]

8th December 2008 On December 6th, the LRT visited Slip End Lower School for their Christmas Fayre. Due to an administrative error we copied down the opening time of 3-5pm as 13-15, and arrived two hours too early! Nevertheless, after setting up, some of our team, together with some of the school children who were already on site, had something that vaguely resembled a football match! Adrian managed to get plastered with mud just before opening ... but back to the trains ... we carried exactly 100 passengers, most of whom visited Santa's grotto, and the last half-hour was in darkness. Thankfully, the school switched on all the classroom lights alongside the railway at the end of the day so that we could pack away safely! Unfortunately, the only photos that we got were of the football antics!

30th November 2008 The LRT made another return visit to Christ Church Infants School at Virginia Water on November 30th; a very wet day, with very few passengers. Nevertheless, we did manage to raise some money for the school/PTA, and we were provided with a hot drink! Unfortunately, the destination panel that we replaced in 2005 broke away, and we had to make a temporary repair; the need for new bodies is becoming more apparent. This was the first time that we used our new Edmondson Ticket Dater, a nice compliment to our Edmondson style tickets.

LRT at Virginia Water
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Daniel with one of the busier train loads; unfortunately, the rain played havoc with the camera's auto-focus feature! [Photo: D. Hayes.]

22nd November 2008 On November 22nd, the LRT went to the Christmas Fair at Sonning Common Primary School. A slight miscalculation with journey time, coupled with the minibus breaking down, caused us to arrive an hour later than usual (we really need 90 minutes to set up), but we were ready to go in 40 minutes, ten minutes after the event opened. We had an unusual set-up for this event; the passengers boarded the train halfway along the line, and then the train reversed back to the planned starting point before proceeding forward to the other end, where the passengers alighted to go to Santa's Grotto. The train returned ECS to the mid-way station. Also, passengers queued inside (in the warm) and were called forward to the barrier in train-load quantities, which given the 2C temperature was probably appreciated! We were kept looked after by Daniel's grandparents who provided a tea-run along with mince pies and cake!
But the service was non-stop. In roughly 2 hours, we carried 282 passengers, averaging just under 7 per train, some passengers coming back for more (one little group of girls were so carried away that they made up a "Little Red Train" song ... which we declined to record; sorry)! For this event, the organiser took fares and produced their own tickets (see picture), one type for just the ride, the other including access to the Grotto. Although this is really out of our area, it is unlikely that we will turn down any future bookings!

LRT at the AMR   LRT at Sonning Common
Click picture for full size
Left - The combined LRT and Father Christmas ticket.
Right - Daniel with a full train load. [Photo: A. Allum.]

2nd November 2008 The LRT went to the Acton Miniature Railway on November 1st & 2nd, as this was the Museum Depot's Family Weekend. Customary to these events, it rained; but in a break from tradition, Acton Town station was open! We had more Bearing problems during the weekend, but the service demand was too high to take the train out of service! Further servicing took place on the Sunday morning in the hope of improving things for the day's operation, and we were successful.

LRT at the AMR
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The LRT passes the AMR's new Signal Cabin on route from Depot Approach to Wesley's Halt. [Photo: A. Allum.]

12th October 2008 Following further work, the LRT was taken to the Acton Miniature Railway on October 12th for testing. The nice thing about the AMR as opposed to our portable track is that there is more of it evenly laid out, so we can try higher speeds and longer duration, but although the Great Cockcrow Railway would have been even better for testing, one has to remember that the GCR is a working railway, and we would only be in the way - especially if something went wrong again. Thankfully, nothing did go wrong, and all appears to be well. Whilst we were at the AMR, we also took SSj (the code name for "Sarah Siddons: Junior" (so as to not confuse her in conversation at the museum with the 1:1 scale version)) off her bogies so that the motors could be tested during the week. Most of the day however, was spent trying to identify the components for the 'N' style signal cabin lever frame (and separating them from 'B' style components) that is being built there; see the AMR's website for details.

LRT on test   The 'N' frame
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Top Left - The LRT on test, seen through the window of the Signal Cabin. [Photo: A. Allum]
Top Right - The AMR's Westinghouse 'N' frame, assembled inside the signal cabin with the levers in place. [Photo: D. Hill]

31st August 2008 The LRT was taken to the Great Cockcrow Railway on Bank Holiday Monday August 25th for a special event in collaboration with Cobham Bus Museum. Unfortunately, the LRT did not contribute to the event. We started by connecting up the 'A' end wiring so that the train can be driven from both ends (this hadn't been reinstated earlier when we scrapped the old wiring), but the train failed completely. After lengthy investigation we found that the PCB fuse had blown and that there was a 'break' in one of the wires in the 'A' car. We are hoping that this is actually just on the connection with the socket (with no disrespect to the person who did the work), something that can be easily corrected. We got around this problem by using a spare wire on the loom. We also fitted a household 3A fuse into the back-up holder and the train came into service. But during its first run (thankfully ECS), it started to make a worrying noise. After greasing one of the wheel-sets, we went for a second run with a GCR engineer, and although the noise was later starting up again (we almost got all the way around without it), it was identified as a bearing problem. By raising the D-car on blocks and powering it up, we were able to investigate ... placing the tip of a screw-driver onto (or near-to) the bearing in question, and resting the other end on one's ear, it makes a good stethoscope. Three of the motors sounded like electric motors; the other sounded like a poorly tuned petrol engine! So that was the end of the LRT's service. We are hopeful of having it ready to run for mid-September.
The LRT was not the only LT themed train there, however. Alan Williams had his "Compass House" Met-Vick there, finished in Metropolitan Railway livery as number 8, "Sherlock Holmes;" and we were taking responsibility for the AMR's "Sarah Siddons" loco; but her story is on a news update on the AMR's website.

LRT and Sarah Siddons at Hardwick   LRT and Sarah Siddons in the neck
Sarah Siddons at Hardwick
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Top Left - The LRT in the bay at Hardwick while Sarah Siddons and Compass House Metro-Vick 'Sherlock Holmes' wait to depart with a train. [Photo: D. Hill]
Top Right - Sarah Siddons and the LRT in the shunting 'Neck' at Hardwick Central. [Photo: A. Allum]
Bottom - With Sarah Siddons in the foreground, LRT Friend, Chris brings a steam train into Hardwick Central ... guess which organisation sponsored the carriages! [Photo: A. Allum]

28th July 2008 The LRT made a visit to Slip End on July 26th, but this time, not the Lower School; to the Village Day in a field nearby. We carried just over 150 passengers at 60p fare on an increased (to the usual) track length of just over 200'. We were supplied with a semaphore signal, but working it was not easy, and it was incorrectly painted on the reverse side, so for most of the day it was left in the Off position! One of our team was taken ill during the day, but we did manage to keep the railway running and get home safely. The return journey was also via the Workshops of the Miniature Railway Supply Company, to pick up the components for making two sets of points to use on the Acton Miniature Railway (and to have a guided tour of the workshops)!
On Monday 28th, Adrian and Daniel started painting the roof of the centre car to match the two other cars. The first coat of grey was applied with another to follow later in the week.

Matt driving at Slip End   Station and signal
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Left - Matt driving with a lightly loaded train.
Right - The station area; note the 'dummy' semaphore signal to the right!
[Photos: A. Allum]

20th July 2008 The LRT had a busy weekend, July 19th & 20th. On the 19th, we went to the Family Fun Day organised by the Rotary Club of Surbiton, one that we've been to before. We carried 199 passengers in the five hour period. We had wondered if this event would happen, due to the heavy rain as we loaded the train and equipment in the early morning, but at the event, despite some very grey clouds, it remained dry. Two track panels were noticed to be shewing signs of wear, so they were serviced during the day and the train service was not compromised!

LRT at Hook
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Adrian driving the LRT at Hook. [Photo: D. Hill]

On the Sunday, we supported the West London Line Group with their stand at Brompton Cemetery as part of the Earls Court Festival. The WLLG were taking fares, but we operated the railway with a station at each end of the full length railway (just over 200' was made available). With a bit of time available before we started, we fitted the new seat cushions to the train, and as the photos shew, they are very smart indeed. They were made for us by Kirsten Christensen, and the 'set' includes a cushion for the Centre Car and enough material left over for the Ginny! We carried well over 200 passengers, and with the exception of one very belligerent white-van-man who threatened violence against our team just for being there, the railway was very popular with many enquiries about attending other events as well as returning again next year.

The new cushions   Staff provided by the WLLG
LRT at Brompton Cemetary   Squirrel at Brompton Cemetary
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Top Left - The new cushions on the roof of the train, seen shortly before Sunday's operations commenced.
Top Right - The WLLG provided tickets and booking clerks; the LRT provided the usual made-up table.
Bottom Left - Martin with a train load; note the barriers provided by the Cemetery.
Bottom Right - The Cemetery is full of very tame squirrels!
[Photos: A. Allum]

5th July 2008 On July 5th, the LRT went to the 11th Finchley Scout Group's summer fair at Totteridge Green. Once we had got the track down, we thought about changing our name to the Little Rollercoaster Train, and we used almost all of our packing material to make the track safe to use! We carried well over 300 passengers in four hours, and at the host's request, we charged 1 fare. However, we had 200' of track (longer than usual) available, so people were still getting VFM (Value For Money). With a 90 minute journey each way, it was a long hard day for the three operators, and out of our usual area, but having proven so popular, that like with Luton, we are prepared to go the extra mile (quite literally). We received a number of enquiries about other events, and time will tell if there are any bookings. The only bad news is that with the strong winds, our new gazebo got quite badly damaged, with some of the Velcro strips tearing off, and also some tears to the main material itself; the problem will be looked into, and maybe a few modifications can be made? (We also took the new seat/cushions with us, thinking that we might get a quiet moment when we could fit them; oh well, maybe another time!)

Station area at Totteridge
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Daniel on duty, awaiting the first passengers. Note the concertina gates for the Entrance and Exit, and the new leaflet racks on the table. [Photo: A. Allum]

29th June 2008 On June 28th, the LRT made a return visit to the Summer Fayre with the 1st Hook Scouts. Last year, this had been a poor event, mainly due to the weather. Despite a poor forecast again, it turned out very nice and we carried over 220 passengers, some of whom had quite a few rides (and one little boy seemed especially interested in collecting the used tickets)! For some of the day, we had two very young helpers (aged 5 & 7), who were able to date-stamp the tickets and clip them. (They also got a few free rides ... when we were quiet, we sent out an ECS (Empty Coaching Stock) train, but with these children onboard to draw people's attention to the passenger carrying railway. It seemed to work, so perhaps we should hire them!!!) We have been provisionally invited back next year.

The LRT at Hook   Station area at Hook
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Left - Martin driving the LRT at Hook. [Photo: A. Allum]
Right - The station area at Hook. The gazebo was in use again, this time to protect us from the sun rather than the rain. [Photo: D. Hill]

On the following day, the 1:1 scale 38 Tube Stock train was brought out, so the LRT's directors took a day off driving a small one to ride on a big one. (Our offer, "If we let you drive ours, can we drive yours," didn't work!) In case you hadn't realised, 2008 is the 70th anniversary of the 38 Tube Stock, and three return specials were arranged for the Northern line with the preserved four car set, from Morden to High Barnet via Bank. There was the usual mix of surprised faces on people who know that this is a preserved train, and to the other extreme, the number of passengers who tried to board the train at the station signal-checks! All good fun, of course!
(The journey home with SWT was interesting as the guard made a PA from one of the door-side intercoms, and couldn't remember where the train was due to stop. A number of passengers shouted them out for his benefit, and he finally managed to deliver his message. What a state when the passengers know more than the train crew!)

38 Stock at High Barnet   38 Stock at Morden
Click pictures for full size
Left - The full size 1938 Stock at High Barnet. [Photo: A. Allum]
Right - The 38 Stock at Morden. [Photo: A. Allum]

Video

The 38 stock is signal-checked at Camden Town, leading to some very confused passengers. (The indicator boards were showing it as a normal 'Morden Via Bank' train!) [Video A. Allum]
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23rd June 2008 The LRT made a return visit to Slip End Lower School (near Luton) on June 21st, despite the typically British summer weather! We carried just under 100 passengers, but at 75p fare (in agreement due to the high costs getting there). Train services were suspended whilst the field was host to a 'Birds of Prey' demonstration!
We took our new gazebo with us (in view of the weather), but it was not practicable to put it up at the end of the line, due to the trees. Therefore, from the station, the train reversed toward one buffer, then went through the station to the other end, and finally reversing back to the station. This is a somewhat different set up to the usual, but not the first time!
We have been asked to make a return visit to Slip End in July, but for a 'Village Day,' not a school event (although organised by the same very busy lady)! See the Events page for details.

The gazebo in use as the stationt   Train at Slip End
Birds of Prey
Click pictures for full size
Top Left - The station area with gazebo!
Top Right - A train-load of happy passengers.
Bottom - Some of the children got real close to the birds of prey!
[Photos: A. Allum]

14th June 2008 The LRT attended the Fair at Knowl Hill School on June 14th, and this event coincided with the Pirbright Village Scarecrow Day. We were inundated with staff, and there was plenty of opportunity for all to get involved, all to have a look around the event, and even to get some photos!
The new socket for the control lead is not very secure and this appears to be a design fault! We are going to make a modification when we get some spare time, but not yet; this, for the LRT is mid-season!

Adrian driving at Pirbright
Click picture for full size
Adrian driving at Knowl Hill School. [Photo: D. Hill.]

10th June 2008 On Sunday June 8th, Adrian and Daniel took the LRT to the Summer Fayre at Ashford Park Primary School. In the 3 hours, we carried over 250 passengers on a scorching hot day. With only the two of us present, we were too busy to take any photographs of the event, but we hope to be invited back next year, hopefully with a bigger team! If YOU were at the event and have a good photo that we could put on this website to shew the LRT at the event, please forward it to us as a JPEG attachment. Thank you.

25th May 2008 With the new control box wired up and ready to go, the LRT was taken to the Acton Miniature Railway on May 24th, during the Maintenance session there, for testing.
All appears to be well, but we are still not happy about the crimps in the large connectors for the 24v (high current) circuits. (At least five had to be re-crimped using mole-grips, because nothing else was strong enough!) We will rekindle our search for 2-way or 4-way plug and socket sets that are suitable for 24v and up to 75A.
Suggestions welcome to info@littleredtrain.co.uk - thank you!

Driving with new hand held unit
Click picture for full size
Daniel driving with the new control box. [Photo: A. Allum.]

18th May 2008 Work continued on the LRT on May 18th. Daniel's mother was able and willing to work with the small connectors that we were unable to work with, and had delivered a matching set. This gives us a plug on a short lead for the hand-held controller, and a socket on a longer lead for the plug to connect to. The other end of this latter lead was connected up to the 4QD controller. The socket has been mounted onto a small 'L' section aluminium plate, and this has been fixed to the side of the 'D' car chassis. The photos shew the socket in place, and how it looks with the body on and the lead plugged in.

The new socket   The new controller plug and socket
Click pictures for full size
Left - The new socket in place. [Photo: D. Hill.]
Right - With the body on, and the new plug and socket connected. [Photo: D. Hill.]

We took a break during the day, to visit the Ascot Locomotive Society's railway, and especially to see a model of an old Metropolitan Railway electric locomotive, of the type that pre-dates the better known Met-Vick. We are hopeful that this will one day join us in an event at the AMR!

Metropolitan Loco at Ascot
Click picture for full size
The Metropolitan Railway electric loco at Ascot. [Photo: D. Hill.]

13th May 2008 Following electrical problems (quite terminal at that) at the end of the Ottershaw event, we set to work rewiring the LRT completely; but in the event, after much running around, got very little done! We had decided that the 12v circuits were the more important, but the plugs and sockets that we got from RS Components are so tiny, that we just cannot work with them (their website isn't very clear with product information, we're sorry to record). Instead, we put new connections for the 24v circuits at the inner ends of the "A" and "D" cars, and made up some completely removable connecting leads. This eliminates leads dangling when not in use. These short connecting leads will be clamped to the coupling bar (in a similar way to the prototype 38 stock), once we have done the same for the 12v circuits; so that they can all be clamped in one go! The second coupling bar (to be used once the centre car comes into service) will also be done during the week, and this also needs the holes for the coupling bolts opened up slightly for M8 bolts to fit. We are now using Nylock nuts to prevent them from shaking loose when in service! Better 12-way connections will be searched for during the week also, and we're hoping that the solution to this problem lies with the S&T department at the Great Cockcrow Railway ... more about that later!

Connectors re-located
Click picture for full size
The red (from batteries) and grey (to motors) connectors for the 24v circuits are now attached to the chassis on each car. [Photo: D. Hill.]

6th May 2008 The LRT went to the Ottershaw Scouts and Guides May Fayre on May 5th, and despite the dreary start to the day, the weather was very nice and we were certainly kept busy. We had Matt Scrutton's "Livvy" with us again, working with a carriage loaned from the Great Cockcrow Railway, nearby; but no Steam loco (see last year's report)! For this event, we had new Edmondson tickets (which some of the passengers identified correctly), a new gazebo to act as a station (keeps us dry when it rains and unburnt when the sun shines), and we carried 444 passengers, which is our new record for a one-day event! We had five LRT Friends on duty, plus another friend who might enrol as a Junior.

LRT and Livvy at Ottershaw
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The LRT and Livvy, side-by-side under the new gazebo. [Photo: M. Scrutton.]

31st March 2008 On March 28th, Adrian and Daniel set to work with some running repairs to the LRT, mainly gluing in windows that had fallen out! However, the last of the old bogies (not in present service) were stripped of their motors and gears and matched (mostly) with axle-boxes. An estimate has been requested for wheel-sets to be made to fit! In our own workshop (or garage to be precise), we will make some new footboards and get something arranged for a seat cushion; and then we hope to bring the centre car into service later this year!
In order to keep up the momentum, the old motors are to be offered for sale (if not purchased locally or by enquiries to this website, they'll be offered on eBay), as well as the last bits of unwanted memorabilia. Adrian hopes to have a sale list posted on this website during April.

Center Car body
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The centre car body (on the A-car chassis) in use during 2006. [Photo: A. Allum.]

11th March 2008 The LRT visited the Acton Miniature Railway on March 8th & 9th for the Museum Depot's Modelling Weekend. We provided a train service alongside the Metropolitan 'A' class loco (banked by the AMR's own "Sarah Siddons") and a train visiting from the Spinney Light Railway, a SE&CR 'C' class and GWR 14xx complete with carriages. We had a derailment at Wesley's Halt due to the train being badly loaded, and this bent the coupling bar. Thankfully, not only did we have a spare, but the Museum Depot's workshop was able to straighten the damaged one! Towards the end of the Sunday, the train started to lose power, evidence of the batteries' age (three years) and faltering performance. This means that for the next 18 months to two years, we will have to recharge them between days at weekend events!

38 Stock and Sarah Siddons   1938 stock on the AMR
Click pictures for full size
Left - The LRT passes Sarah Siddons. [Photo: D. Hill.]
Right - The LRT about to pass signal RWN7A - The signals were switched off due to a technical fault, and Single Line Token Working was introduced instead! [Photo: D. Hill.]

The AMR's new loco, Sarah Siddons, recently re-gauged from 7", performed very well during the weekend, though this also suffered a loss of battery power on the Sunday. It has much smaller batteries (and only two of them), but was working as hard as the LRT, but with 'ancient' control equipment! Nevertheless, everybody was delighted to see it in action. On the early Sunday morning, she posed for photos alongside the 1:1 scale Sarah Siddons, although the latter loco has been repainted into the original Metropolitan Railway livery; the AMR's model is in the later London Transport livery!

Token Exchange at Wesley's Halt   Spinney locos on the AMR
LRT Crew with the Sarah Siddons locos
Click pictures for full size
Top Left - Token Exchange at Wesley's Halt, with the LRT and 'A' class steam loco. [Photo: A. Allum.]
Top Right - The two Spinney locos at Harrisons Crossing. [Photo: A. Allum.]
Bottom - LRT crew pose with both Sarah Siddons locos! [Photo: P. Furze.]

4th January 2008 Several Friends of the LRT spent a day at the Acton Miniature Railway on December 29th to carry out track repairs, and a full report is at the AMR website. We intend to do further work there at the end of January and February, before the March Open Weekend.

16th December 2007 On Sunday 16th December, the London Transport Museum's 1938 stock ran a special train to mark the upcoming closure of the East London Line (a former stomping ground of these trains).
Daniel travelled on this train; which started at Ealing Broadway, ran along the District Line to Aldgate East and then via St Mary's Curve (which has no scheduled passenger trains) onto the East London Line; where it shuttled between Whitechapel, New Cross and New Cross Gate before returning to Ealing Broadway.

1938 Stock at Whitechapel   1938 stock at Ealing Broadway
Click pictures for full size
Left - 1938 Stock at Whitechapel.
Right - The 1938 Stock after arrival back at Ealing Broadway.
[Photos: D. Hill]

3rd December 2007 The LRT made a return visit to FoSELS (Friends of Slip End Lower School) near Luton to give the children rides to and from Santa's Grotto. Despite the beautiful morning, we were attacked with hail (and oh boy, that can sting!) just before we started to run, and then it hardly stopped raining afterwards! Nevertheless, we carried over 100 passengers, most of whom had a special combined ticket (2.50 instead of our regular 50p) for the return ride plus the visit to the Grotto. There were a handful of regular tickets sold also, about half of them to a group of four girls who kept coming back for more rides. Just before Father Christmas departed off to Lapland, he managed to make a brief visit to the Little Red Train also.

Santa
Click pictures for full size
Father Christmas on the Little Red Train. We would like to wish all our hosts, passengers and other friends, all the best for the festive season.
[Photo: M. Scrutton]

28th November 2007 On November 25th, the LRT made a return visit to Christ Church Infants' School at Virginia Water for their Christmas Fayre. The weather was much kinder to us this year, and we carried over 150 passengers. We suffered an equipment-related stop for about ten minutes due to a 'crimp' working loose, causing the motors in the 'A' car to stop working. We are rewiring some of the electrics this winter, and the new cable for the 24v circuits is much more suited to the crimps that we use. Some of our members volunteered to patrol the side of the track as some children were making the most of a football, but it seems that they played a little also!

Stephen driving the LRT   Playing football
Click pictures for full size
Left - Stephen driving the LRT, with, in the background, the next train-load of passengers buying their tickets.
Right - LRT Friends and children having an impromptu football match!
[Photos: A. Allum]

5th November 2007 The LRT attended the Autumn Fair at Caversham Heights Methodist Church on November 3rd. Despite the time of year, we had wonderful weather, and in the three-hour period, we carried 87 passengers. The area available was so short, that we spent the previous week making further modifications to the point, and we provided a double return trip; out on the longer section, back on the shorter one; then return.

Chris driving the LRT at Caversham
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Chris driving the LRT as he approaches the point on the start of the return trip.
[Photo: A. Allum]

Video

Matt driving the LRT; Chris changing the point! [Video A. Allum]
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16th September 2007 On Sunday 16th Setpember, the LT Museum's preserved 1938 stock train ran three railtours on parts of the Piccadilly, Metropolitan and Jubliee lines. These were to raise funds to allow London Underground's Operational Apprentices to travel to Cumbria and carry out restoration work in aid of the Outward Bound Trust, an educational charity that inspires young people to fulfil their potential through challenging outdoor experiences.
Daniel travelled on the first trip, which ran from Ealing Common via Rayners Lane and the disused Jubliee Line platforms at Charing Cross to Stanmore, a quite appropriate destination given that it is shown on the LRT's 'A'-car.

38 Stock at Stanmore   38 Stock at Green Park
Click pictures for full size
Left - The 38 stock in the sidings at Stanmore, between the first and second trips.
Right - The 38 stock passes through Green Park on its second trip, with a familliar destination board.
[Photos: D. Hill]

10th September 2007 The LRT enjoyed a weekend at the Great Cockcrow Railways in September for their Gala Weekend. Being non-steam, it was not unexpected that we should give way to steam trains, but with the Model Engineering Exhibition at Ascot (not too far away), there were not many engines in steam on the Saturday morning, and we got a few trips in. Later, the LRT was stabled in the ballast siding before being brought out in the evening again, and fitted with small LED lights, it made a few trips around in the dark! On the Sunday, the General Public was admitted (in the usual way), so again, the LRT spent most of the day in a siding (well, this time, the bay platform at Hardwick station, where its use as a seat certainly seemed to be appreciated)! It did get one trip towards the end of the day.

LRT at Everglades   Becky driving the LRT
Click pictures for full size
Left - The LRT pauses at Everglades Junction so that passengers can alight (not permitted during 'public' days).
Right - Becky driving the LRT; we appreciated her help in looking for the missing Motor Mount Bolt.
[Photos: A. Allum]

This event was not without problems (for the LRT). A very worrying noise came from one of the motors, and upon investigation, we found that one of the mounting bolts had worked loose, and the motor's gear was not meshing properly with the axle's gear! The motor was disconnected electrically, so that the journey could continue; but we were able to fix it with a correctly threaded bolt (too long, but packed with washers). One of the GCR's members walked the track, looking for the missing bolt, and we shewed our appreciation by offering a drive on the train (which was taken up and much enjoyed). We are also experiencing intermittent faults with the electrical couplings and ribbon-cable, so these will be replaced during the winter.

LRT at night   Blue Pullman
P2   Schools Class
Click pictures for full size
Top Left - The LRT at 23:00hrs in the evening (unfinished 'Compass-House' class 31 adjacent). The small glow of light at solebar level is the single LED indicator used as a headlight ... an experiment to be developed!
Top Right - This is one of the trains that we shared the track with; a Mardyke Blue Pullman!
Bottom Left - A P2 2-8-2 (not to be confused with an A4 (like the "Mallard") ... look carefully) awaits its next trip round.
Bottom Right - LRT Friend Stephen Trower driving the visiting "Schools" loco.
[Photos: A. Allum]

6th September 2007 On Thursday 6th September, all remaining track panels were uplifted from the trailer and brought to join the track that we have been using. Most of this track is in serviceable condition (much to our surprise), but the two big surprises were; first, to find that this doubled the amount of track that we have (we thought there was only 50% more); and second, we have three more curves! We also brought back the Ginny (body and chassis) as well as a couple of partly machined bogies ... whether or not we use these remains to be decided.

Ginny and the curves in the minibus!
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The Ginny in the minibus ... note the track panels to the left ... the central longitudinal baton means one thing ... it's a curved section! [Photo: D. Hill.]

1st September 2007 On September 1st, the LRT attended the Autumn Model Railway Exhibition at Redhill, organised by the North Downs Model Railway Circle. The exhibition was indoors, but we were in "the garden" outside. The number of children attending was low, and we did not cover our costs; which meant that for the first time, we claimed the shortfall (from the fares raised) from the organiser! Nevertheless, they are keen to have us back next year. During the many quiet moments, we took turns to look around the exhibition, and among us, we managed to buy H0 and 00 scale models representing two steam locomotives, a complete "Pendolino" train, and a goods wagon!

LRT carries an MP!
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Despite low patronage, the LRT did manage to carry the local MP! [Photo: A. Allum.]

26th August 2007 The LRT attended a new type of event on 26th August ... a Street Party. Originally, we were going to charge fares, but just as we were starting, we were asked to accept a payment to enable us to provide free rides instead, and this we did. The train was very popular with all age groups, and for much of the time, a five-year-old boy helped as station assistant, reciting the safety announcement before the departure of each ride. There was also some artistic face-painting taking place as well, as the photos shew!

Martin driving the train in Henley   Young helper
Face-painted passengers   Daniel's Grandfather driving
Click pictures for full size
Top Left - A fully loaded train departing the station area, Martin driving, Martyn as guard. [Photo: A. Allum.]
Top Right - Awaiting the next passengers. The little boy sitting on the train gave out safety announcements ... with assorted varieties! [Photo: A. Allum.]
Bottom Left - The train with some nicely face-painted passengers! [Photo: M. Marsh.]
Bottom Right - Daniel's Grandfather driving (under supervision without passengers). It was Harold's street that was having a party! [Photo: M. Marsh.]

24th August 2007 On 22nd August, the LRT made a visit to the Great Cockcrow Railway. (During August, the GCR operates on Wednesdays as well as on Sundays.) It contributed to a "London Underground" flavour, as there was also a Metro-Vick Bo-Bo locomotive visiting (one of the new Compass House products). It made ten trips around the railway before the batteries started to groan, but being such a long run (roundly ten minutes each trip) there was very little "brake activity," and the batteries didn't get recharged as much as they do on short runs! We had one equipment-related stop, whilst the train was being driven from the "A-car" end, and this was traced to a dirty connector on the electrical coupling between the hand-held unit and the train itself. It is not often that this end is used for driving. However, after checking that the connections were 'sound,' they were coated with "Rail-Zip" a chemical cleaning (and conducting) product produced for model railways, and all was well after that. At first, there was also some squeaking, but a quick oil-round soon dealt with that ... this was probably also due to the long runs that the train is not used to doing! But the good point is that it bedded in OK and gave reliable performance for the rest of the day. Despite the ten trips, only 13 fare-paying passengers were carried, some of whom had especially asked to ride on the "Tube train."
Of the LRT's directors, only Adrian was present, but because he is not a qualified GCR driver, he needed to be supervised. Seven of the trips, though, were taken by Stephen, who is a GCR driver; and it was interesting for him to take the LRT around a railway upon which he is more accustomed to driving steam locomotives (such as the one that joined our portable track event at Ottershaw this year)! It is likely that the LRT will return to the GCR on September 8th & 9th for their Gala Weekend.

LRT at Everglades   Compass House Metrovick
Click pictures for full size
Left - Stephen driving the LRT through Everglades Junction, with the A-car leading.
Right - Alan Williams with the Metro-Vick loco, also at Everglades Junction.
[Photos: A. Allum]

Video

LRT passing through Everglades Junction on the GCR. [Video A. Allum]

The LRT climbs the steeply graded 'spur' line at the GCR, and restarts from a signal-check at the top! [Video A. Allum]
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14th August 2007 Directors and a Friend of the LRT visited the home of the AMR's manager, Jonathan Riddell, with an invitation to attend a BBQ. In the grounds of the house, there is a short 7" gauge railway, and it was certainly an interesting railway. We did not take the LRT because the curves are too tight; and here is its charm; it's like a typical quarry line (with plenty of flange-squeal on the curves)!
On the following day, Adrian's Swedish model railway was in use, and a TRT (Tiny Red Train) appeared ... an EFE 00-scale model "38 stock," retrofitted with Tenshodo motors!

Stephen on Bunny   Tiny Red Train
Click pictures for full size
Left - Stephen driving "Bunny" on a very 'different' garden railway.
Right - 00-scale "38 stock" on the FLMJ (Swedish Model Railway).
[Photos: A. Allum]

1st August 2007 On August 1st, the LRT took part in the 100th anniversary celebrations for the Scouting Movement. It provided free rides at the Walton Firs scout camp! LRT Friends were also running the H0-scale model "Steninge," a Swedish model railway; in recognition of the visit by a Swedish VIP, none other than His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf. His Majesty declined to take a ride on the LRT, but he did leave with one of our red LRT Baseball caps! Walton Firs Campsite is under threat of closure, and they are raising money to save it. Please have a look at their website.

Martin driving the train at Walton   Lunch break
Martyn shakes hands with the King of Sweden   LRT in front of Steninge
Scarf   Close up of logo
Click pictures for full size
Top Left - Martin driving with a lightly loaded train. [Photo: A. Allum]
Top Right - There was a specified lunch break; a time to relax. We carried roundly 400 passengers! [Photo: A. Allum]
Middle Left - Martyn shaking hands with His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf before offering him a LRT baseball cap!
Middle Right - The LRT in front of Steninge. [Photo: M. Marsh]
Bottom Left - All operators were given scarves for the occasion, here, Martin is seeing wearing his whilst working the "Steninge" layout. [Photo: A. Allum]
Bottom Right - A close-up of the scarf logo. [Photo: A. Allum]

28th July 2007 Friends of the LRT visited the Acton Miniature Railway on July 28th to assist with track maintenance there. Not much work would have been necessary if it wasn't for the fact that the track had been driven over by motor vehicles, and badly damaged in the process. The main station area needed track to be re-laid, but a section near Harrison's Crossing needed a new rail, as one was too buckled to be deemed safe! Both the LRT and Matt's "Livvy" were used to test the track, the latter pulling one of the AMR's coaches.

Working on the AMR   Test trains on the AMR
Chris on the AMR
Click pictures for full size
Top Left - The work-party near Harrison's Crossing.
Top Right - The two test trains at the main station.
Bottom - Driver Chris on the LRT at Acton.
[Photos: A. Allum]

Video

View from the cab-roof as the LRT runs along the AMR! [Video A. Allum]
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7th July 2007 On July 7th, the Little Red Train attended the Summer Fayre (and Flower Show) organised by 11th Finchley Scouts & 7th North Finchley Brownies, at Totteridge. With summer weather finally making an appearance, we carried over 200 passengers. The ground was very uneven, but until the end of the day, all went very well. (We had a derailment where there was a lot of packing; the packing had been adjusted, and was not quite correct! With the vibration of a train passing over, all packing is subject to movement, so checks and adjustments are a part of the daily operation.) We gave those passengers an extra ride by way of apology. Several of the children made many return trips, and it is always nice to be popular in this way. A return to this event next year has already been hinted at!

Chris drives the train at Totteridge   Grandparents
Leaflet rack
Click pictures for full size
Top Left - Chris with a well-loaded train.
Top Right - Daniel's grandparents came for a ride, proving that the LRT really is 'for kids of all ages.'
Bottom - Adrian has built a leaflet rack to showcase the LRT's leaflets, along with those relating to the interests of LRT friends.
[Photos: D. Hill]

Video

Chris drives the LRT at Totteridge! [Video: D. Hill.]
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2nd July 2007 The LRT made a return visit to the 1st Hook Scouts Summer Fayre on June 30th. Unfortunately, with this date being so close to events at Wimbledon and Glastonbury, the weather was very wet! Nevertheless, there were a few dry spells and we managed to carry just over 70 passengers (a great drop from previous passenger numbers at this event). We were all amused to observe a walking lump of Candy-Floss, until we discovered that it was in fact a Poodle (see photo)! On a more serious note, we are reaching the decision that the bodies' replacements are much more urgent than we had allowed ourselves to believe, and we will spend the summer preparing the drawings for them, and then the winter, hopefully, building them! (The fibreglass ones now seem unlikely; we have been let down!)

Little Red Train at Hook   Pink Poodle
Building a kit
Click pictures for full size
Top Left - The LRT with two fare paying passengers, and one who "dogged" the fare!
Top Right - A pink poodle!
Bottom - At one point, one of our team made the most of the poor patronage to build a model kit!
[Photos: A. Allum]

26th June 2007 As part of the Centenary celebrations for the Northern Line, the four-car 1938 stock was taken out on a few railtours on June 24th, starting and finishing at Golders Green. The LRT's directors took the train that started at 14:30, but other Friends of the LRT were either on other departures, or were out and about, taking photographs of them! The journey took us down to Charing Cross. We reversed over the trailing crossover and went up to Mill Hill East. After a brief rest there (and a chance to stretch our legs), we went down to Kennington, around the turning loop there, and back up to Golders Green. We were a little amused by the number of people who tried to get on the train whenever it paused at a station, obviously not aware that it was a nearly-70-year-old preserved train on a tour. For those that did know what it was, the looks of surprise (and delight) on their faces was amusing, also.

Big Red Train at Golders Green   Welcome Aboard
38 Stock at Mill Hill East   Commemorative sign
Click pictures for full size
Top Left - The 4-car 1938 stock approaching Golders Green station from the south, about to pick-up the passengers for the 14:30 tour
Top Right - Welcome aboard!
Bottom Left - A bit of fresh air and daylight, as the train waits at Mill Hill East.
Bottom Right - A commemorative sign onboard ... some idiotic souvenir-hunter has evidently tried to remove it!
[Photos: A. Allum]

The LRT went to the Summer Fete of the Friends of Slip End Lower School (FoSELS) near Luton on June 23rd. It was a tricky situation here; being so far away, our minimum expense (the amount that we need to take in Fares before we split the revenue with the organiser) was quite high; and this coupled with the weather forecast, made it a big risk to go to. Nevertheless, we did, and as not unexpected, the forecast was wrong. We carried enough passengers to be able to give our hosts a little revenue towards their organisation. The ground was very hilly, but quite even, so the "packing" was used mainly to keep the railway level where the ground sloped away to one side. Many children came back for more rides, and it is a delight to be able to provide such appreciated entertainment.

LRT at Slip End   LRT at Slip End
Shauna drivers the LRT
Click pictures for full size
Top Left - Daniel withs a trainload of happy passengers. [Photo: S. Lowe]
Top Right - Daniel prepares to depart from the station. [Photo: S. Lowe]
Bottom - Shauna, a guest who assisted at the event, has a go at driving the LRT while Adrian awaits more customers [Photo: D. Hill]

16th June 2007 The Little Red Train made a return visit to the 8th Ashford Scouts Summer Fayre on June 16th, and what a washout it turned out to be! The weather fluctuated from wonderfully warm sunshine to heavy downpour complete with thunder and lightning! Several times, we had to cover the train and take shelter in our minibus (a more comfortable mess-room than the van we used previously)! Nevertheless we carried just under 90 passengers (in a five-hour period) and they certainly enjoyed the rides. We gave a free ride to a chap with one of the other activities, and one of our Friends got a reciprocated ride (see pictures)!

LRT at Ashford   LRT under cover at Ashford
Martyn horseing around   Long day!
Click pictures for full size
Top Left - A drier moment, and a well loaded train sets off on its short return journey. [Photo: A. Allum]
Top Right - A wetter moment, and the train is under cover! [Photo: A. Allum]
Bottom Left - Martyn on horse-back! [Photo: A. Allum]
Bottom Right - On the way home after a long day! [Photo: S. Trower]

13th June 2007 Congratulations to three LRT Friends, who this year, have become Qualified as Drivers at the Great Cockcrow Railway.

The Troublesome Trio

GCR Drivers

11th June 2007 The LRT was taken to the Fun Day of the "Down Syndrome Extra 21" charity at Chelmsford on June 10th, and what a delightful day out it was! Many of the children had lots of rides and they certainly enjoyed the train. We were certainly made to feel very welcome and the three LRT Friends assert that we had a great time. We had about 180' of track in use, and before we extend much more, we're going to need to buy some more "cones" for the cordoning!
We have added a new category to our links page, for "Organisations that we have supported;" and we will bring this up to date as details are confirmed.

LRT at Chelmsford   LRT at Chelmsford
LRT at Chelmsford
Click pictures for full size
Top Left - Daniel driving the LRT past the minibus. [Photo: M. Scrutton]
Top Right - Adrian drives the LRT, with a trainload of happy passengers. [Photo: D. Hill]
Bottom - Matt driving, with another fully loaded train. [Photo: D. Hill]

2nd June 2007 On June 2nd, at short notice, the LRT made a visit to the Spinney Light Railway in Farnham. It was certainly nice to give the train a good run and we still didn't need to move the regulator all the way up. Starting from rest on a 1:30 curved gradient was no problem whatsoever, and it was certainly nice to see it perform this well! Unfortunately, a hot axlebox needed attention, but after about five minutes of down-time, we were back in service. At the end of the day, it was found that a nut had shaken loose; one that secures the bogie to the chassis ... not a problem when running, but when we lifted the chassis to put it away, the bogie didn't come up also! Our especial thanks go to Alan Ainslie for allowing us to run there again.

LRT at Old Oak   LRT at Dingly Dell
Royal Scot class loco departing Dingly Dell
Click pictures for full size
Top Left - Stese brings the train into Old Oak.
Top Right - The train on standby in the bay at Dingly Dell.
Bottom - Royal Scot class loco departing Dingly Dell.
[Photos: A. Allum.]

20th May 2007

Wesley Quilty
(1972-2007)

Wesley Quilty

The Acton Miniature Railway is a regular "Stamping Ground" for the LRT, and owes much of its existence to Wesley Quilty. Becoming a Friend of London's Transport Museum was quite a logical step forward for Wesley. He had been a member of his local model railway club before getting involved with the Tram collection at Crich, where he had eventually become fully qualified to drive the trams; but at the time of transferring his interests from the smaller scale models, told his father that he was still modelling, but in a bigger scale!
Wesley was actively involved in preparing the many vehicles for their move to the Museum Depot, and never shied away from any job that needed doing - even vacuum cleaning the insides of the various exhibits. He took a great interest in the construction of the Museum Depot's miniature railway (the Acton Miniature Railway), and no doubt must have been pleased with the naming of Harrison's Crossing, after a close friend of his at the Museum. (It has been said that these two gentlemen would sit and discuss, with a bottle of Ginger Beer each, how the perfect museum should be arranged, and they designed it in discussion, in every detail. At the end of the day, they would feel that it had been a productive day!)
Wesley was taken from all who knew him after a brief illness, and as a fitting tribute, the passing loop at the AMR (conveniently close to Harrison's Crossing) is to be renamed, "Wesley's Halt."

8th May 2007 The LRT went to the Ottershaw May Fayre organised by the Scouts and Guides. The weather was assorted ... a torrential downpour (and people were still demanding rides) followed by glorious sunshine! We carried over 300 passengers, and had a special attraction in the shape of a steam locomotive! For this, we brought our point into service, only to find that the back-to-back measurements were too fine, and an on-site modification was necessary before we could begin running. A further modification will be necessary before it is used again.
To get to and from the event, we have our new minibus, which was available from Saturday, quite fine timing! (This is not the one that we mentioned in a previous update; we're still awaiting a refund on that; but this is one from an organisation of good repute!)

LRT and the new minibus   LRT and River Itchen
River Itchen at Ottershaw   Livvy at Ottershaw
Click pictures for full size
Top Left -Daniel driving the LRT, with the new minibus behind. Originally a 17-seater, this now has 7 seats, giving room for LRT personnel and stock!
Top Right - The two trains side by side, not long after the rain had stopped.
Bottom Left - Stephen driving 1803 "River Itchen" with plenty of atmosphere!
Bottom Right - Even Matt's "Livvy" made a few trips (after the steam loco had been taken out of service near the end of the day).
[Photos: A. Allum.]

29th April 2007 We wish to advise people about a rogue trader, to warn against dealings with him or his organisation, given the extreme difficulties that he has caused the Little Red Train to suffer. Bill Edwick fronts an organisation called “T. F. Minibuses,” and after paying him for a minibus (which would be available after being got through the MoT), the Little Red Train ended up with no vehicle, just a continual flow of excuses and lies. Efforts to get a refund were just as difficult, and we are having to resort to professional assistance. He is based in Merwood Yard, Stonehill Road, Ottershaw (near to one of our regular events); the phone numbers that appear in his advertisements (especially "Auto-Trader") include 01932-874899, 07786-570275, 07961-555054 and 07766-353660. Our advice cannot be any clearer: don’t go there!

5th March 2007 The LRT ran at the AMR during the Museum Depot's only Open Weekend for this year, March 3rd & 4th. Despite the rain, the railway carried just under 1,500 passengers over the two days, and the queue (for rides) was continual! We provided a revised signalling (a new 'distant' signal for the 'home' as it is on a down gradient, and a starter signal from the Passing Loop) complete with a "Train Arrived" plunger for the Passing Loop (as that area could not be seen by the signaller) and a point detector, which in effect gave an indication that an Up train had passed the starter signal (a treadle was ruled out due to the different flange depths)! After some initial teething problems, it all settled down and worked very well. The LRT worked very well over the weekend, and shewed no sign of slowing down despite the batteries not being recharged overnight! We had three guest operators, one of whom has become a Friend of the LRT, and the other two likely to 'join' also.

Chris on the LRT at Acton   Martyn with the LRT at Acton
Livvy banking the A Class   LRT & Metrovick in the new loop
New signal panel   Detector on the point
Click pictures for full size
Top Left -The LRT's new driver, Chris, arrives at the Passing Loop (aka Museum Loop) and is seen operating the "Train Arrived" plunger with his foot! [Photo: A. Allum]
Top Right - Martyn about to take out an ECS working. [Photo: A. Allum]
Middle Left - Matt Scrutton's "Livvy" banking the 'A' class ... the towel was to protect the non-lacquered roof from the elements! [Photo: A. Allum]
Middle Right - The LRT and Metro-Vick loco pass at the new loop. [Photo: D. Hill]
Bottom Left - The revised signalling control panel, with the "Train Arrived" lamp illuminated (seen in this image, on the workbench under test). [Photo: A. Allum]
Bottom Right - As the train's wheels push the point blades across, the micro-switch sends an indication to the signaller that the train is on the move! [Photo: A. Allum]

24th February 2007 Three Friends of the LRT went to the Acton Miniature Railway on February 24th to iron out any problems with the track there, following our major work carried out last month. Much to our dismay, we found that the track in the new passing loop nearer to the road has been driven over and was "listing" quite badly! So, we got the section out and re-laid it. Two lengths of rail have been bent, but they are not beyond use, and when we tested the track later, we were impressed with the quality of the ride given the nature of the damage. There is no cause for concern.
Measurements were taken for the placement of two new signals and the relocation of another; and a point detector was fitted at the Passing Loop! The AMR's new coaches had also arrived very recently, and we were able to test them (and test the track in doing so) and get a few photos. They have resin bodies, and the painted-on wood effect is superb! We used Matt Scrutton's "Livvy" for motive power, and this will be in service during the open weekend there, March 3rd & 4th.

The re-laid loop   Livvy with new coaches
Detail on the new coaches
Click pictures for full size
Top Left - Nicely re-laid track (left) at the Passing Loop following motor-vehicle damage!
Top Right - Matt (with loco) testing both the track and the new coaches.
Bottom - Detail from one of the new coaches.
[Photos: A. Allum]

27th January 2007 On January 27th, some of the Friends of the LRT visited the Acton Miniature Railway to assist with track maintenance that was very much needed there! Four 'humps' in the track were lowered (by lifting out the track panels, removing the ballast, and then relaying it all), and a few areas had 'dips' brought up, especially where they were adverse cambers on the curves! Matt brought his tram along, and this was a great loco for testing it all, because it tends to bounce on poor track ... its performance by the evening was very smooth.

Shovelling ballast at the AMR Track work at the AMR
Livvy on the AMR
Click pictures for full size images.
Top Left Shovelling the ballast away once the track had been lifted.
Top Right Packing the ballast.
Bottom Jonathan Riddell on "Livvy."
[Photos: A. Allum]

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