Truly amazing progress with the re-railing project over the last few days, digging new route with plant one Thursday, followed by hardcore, new sleepers and rail for about 80% of the new track, now just the new crossover to build & ballasting to go!
December finds a lot of Santa's helpers visiting the railway to help prepare for Santa's visit.
The younger members of our Railway have taken on a project of their own. They are currently starting the re-installation of the turntable, having relocated it to the outside of the workshop. When complete, this will allow easy access to the workshop for the locos and rolling stock, rather than having to move all of the locos in the engine shed to gain access to the workshop.
May 2018 saw the whole country celebrating the marriage of Price Harry to Meghan Markle. It was a very hot sunny day, and we too celebrated the wedding with our own special headboard for the happy couple!
Regular visitors could not fail to notice the changes to Stopham Road Station. The water crane positioned between the tracks always concerned us, not just becuase of the risk of impact with one of the narrow gauge locos if it was not returned to position, but also the fact that passengers could easily reach the arm and grab it.
Extending the platform has been an aim of the Railway for many years. Initially it was impossible because of the old access to the swimming pools, but once this was closed there was room for about 15ft of extra platform. The next hurdle was the insulated joint activating the crossing and the starter signal. The track replacement programme in Feburary 2018 gave us the ideal oppurtunity for the insulated joint to be moved, which was easily achieved by the S&T gang. The final problem was the starter signal which was on a gantry with the inner loop signal. Simply moving the signal back was not practical becuase of the curve making for poor visbility. The S&T Gang put their thinking caps on and came up with the ideal of splitting the gantry signal in half, leaving the inner loop signal where it was and placing the starter signal at the end of the platform.
The Society's Annual General Meeting was held on Saturday 10th March 2018 at Hardham Halt. The usual statutory business was transacted with the adoption of the Directors' Report, the annual accounts and a resolution to dispence with a formal audit. The Treasurer reported another successful year with a healthy balance sheet and the Chairman was able to comment on another year of healthy traffic and good special events.
Steve Johnson was elected to the Board. He takes the place of Julian Chivers who has served the Society as a committeeman and Director from the earliest days. Thank you, Julian for your past service.
This years' Steam Gauge Trophy was awarded to John Holmes for his consistent hard work as the Socitety's Treasurer.
In the cold wind of February we started our work weekend. The plan was to replace 3 or 4 panels of the older track, starting from the new track on the front straight heading back towards the station.
Thanks to the "heavy gang" that work on Sundays for us, we managed to surpass the station and replace track all the way back past the level crossing to garden centre. It meant that we had to build a new level crossing, but we were happy to live with that minor inconvenience!
The plan now for the work weekend in October is to start at the other end of the front straight and work round Windmill Curve towards the diamond crossing.