Saturday, 27 January 2018

Military Exercises

Another busy Saturday down at Apedale. The main project was locating a lineside hut. This had been provided to us a little while ago by our friends at the Midland Railway Centre. The hut has had some work done on it - more remains to be done - but needed to be in place before the start of the running season. The hut will be used for operations control (and engine crew tea room) at event days, replacing various slightly incongruous tents and gazebos which have been used in the past. We anticipated that moving the hut into place would be challenging, and so it proved. The whole thing was likened to one of those military training exercises involving oil drums, planks and imaginary chasms. But, with careful thought, the job was accomplished by lunchtime and in a safe manner. As if that wasn't enough, most of the party then went onto to digging and spoil recovery on the Field Railway near the re-graded section. This used the spoil from the re-grading exercise to extend and stabilise the low embankment on which the railway runs in that locale, including making a proper area for a point lever to stand. The previous point lever used to hover in air in a slightly strange and unnerving fashion!

Monday, 22 January 2018

Re-grading Loos Loop

A particularly physical job recently undertaken by a team of Moseley Railway Trust volunteers has been the re-grading of part of the field railway. This section, leading to an area christened Loos Loop (after the place in France), suffered from the gradient being far from ideal. In essence, the track dropped steeply in few places, and then levelled - there was not a consistent gradient. A careful level survey was taken on a pleasant summer's evening in 2017, and then a fair bit of spreadsheet work resulted in the calculation of an "idealised" gradient profile. On the Big Railway, this is the point at which laser-guided earthmovers would be brought in. Our team of earth movers weren't laser-guided, more tea and coffee-guided. But despite that, they have done a fine job. The railway is now bedding in for a while before final lifting and packing. Time will tell if the traincrews notice a difference, but the spreadsheet says it's OK, so it must be.

Friday, 19 January 2018

Tracks to the Trenches 2018

The Moseley Railway Trust is delighted to be able to confirm the details of the first guest locomotive for the Tracks to the Trenches 2018 event.
Tracks to Trenches 2018 will take place on Friday 13, Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 July 2018. It will be held at the Moseley Railway Trust’s Apedale Valley Light Railway at Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire. It is the third in a series of events held to mark the First World War centenary, and highlight how narrow gauge railways supported the fighting men of all nations.
With thanks to the North Gloucestershire Narrow Gauge Railway, their Henschel “Brigadelok” locomotive will make a very welcome return to Apedale. This locomotive was built in 1918 by Henschel at their works in Kassel, Germany – works number 15968. Nearly 2500 of this type of locomotive was built, by a variety of German builders, and they worked in light railways serving the German armed forces in many countries. The Brigadeloks also proved to be popular with industrial users after the First World War, and over 100 still survive, scattered through twenty countries on four continents.
Henschel 15968 worked on a railway serving a sugar factory in Poland until being brought to the UK in 1985. It was subsequently restored to its current immaculate condition, and can frequently be seen hauling trains at its home railway at Toddington, Gloucestershire.
Phil Robinson, the Moseley Railway Trust Chairman said “This is the first confirmed visiting loco for Tracks to the Trenches 2018 – but it won’t be the last! The organising group are putting together what promises to be a really good event, which will commemorate all the participants in the First World War, and the role which narrow gauge railways played in that conflict”.
Details of the Tracks to the Trenches 2018 event are available at Advance tickets will be going on sale shortly.
As always, the Trust would be pleased to hear from organisations interested in sponsorship opportunities at this high-profile event, and also from potential exhibitors of items relevant to the 1914-1918 period.

More details of the Trust and the Apedale Valley Light Railway can be found on Facebook or on the website

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Quiz Answers

Apologies for the delay in publishing this - entirely due to an IT crisis. 

Answers literally poured in, but Mrs Trellis had to cede first place to Mr Pumfrey of York, so a triumph of academia this time. Well done!

Anyway, here goes.....

You are sitting in a rectangular tent. It has four sides. Each side faces south. What Bagnall runs past?

Bagnall "Polar Bear" (because your tent is at the North Pole). Paid a transient visit to Apedale whilst in transit from the FR back home to Amberley.

 One imagines he likes Guinness.

Vertical Boiler "Paddy" - lived at Apedale for a few months, now re-named Howard and running at Statfold.

 Mrs Fawlty and someone looking for a maternity unit at this time of year.

Sybil Mary - Statfold-based Hunslet quarry tank.
Captain Beaky’s nemesis.

Hissing Sid - homebuilt compressed air loco.

 Mel Gibson’s road warrior, but not insane.

Max - Statfold-resident Orenstein & Koppel.

 As Manuel would put it whilst looking at the church tower “No, Mr Fawlty, isno a hooter, ………..”

Isabel - Bagnall from Amerton.

 Monarch in search of the Holy Grail (well, I never voted for him…..)

King Arthur - Baguley diesel loco from Wicksteed Park.

 French General in World War One

Joffre - twin of resident KS3014, visited from West Lancs Light Railway.

 Home of Rimmer and The Cat

Red Dwarf - Shropshire Mines Trust battery loco.

 According to Michael Jackson, this loco was dirty.

Diana - Sirdar Class Kerr, Stuart - which was anything but dirty!

Part Two:- Logic and maths puzzles. Some of these come from the weekly school newsletter from my daughter's school. She is 12, so you should be able to solve these in the blink of an eye.
In all cases, you must show your working. Professional mathematicians are excluded from the 2nd question.

 You have to cross a rickety bridge. Crossing the bridge is your only option. It is pitch dark, and you have one torch. Crossing without a torch is certain death. The bridge is weak, and can only carry two people at a time. Your group has four in it; one person will take ten minutes to cross, another will take five minutes, another two minutes and the last member of the party takes only one minute.
What is the minimum time to get all four members of the party across the bridge?

Most popular wrong answer was 19. Correct answer is 17. Key is to get the 10minute and 5minute people to cross concurrently. Solution:-

1minute and 2minute people cross with torch. Elapsed Time - 2 mins.
1 minute person crosses back with torch. Elapsed Time - 3 minutes.
10 minute and 5 minute people cross together with torch. Elapsed Time - 13 minutes.
2 minute person returns with torch. Elapsed Time - 15 minutes.
2 minute and 1 minute persons cross with torch. Elapsed time - 17 minutes.

 At the school concert there were mince pies for everyone.  One huge tray I saw if the pies were divided into 2 equal piles there would have been one left over.  But if the same pies were put into 3 equal piles, there would have been one left over.  To my surprise, 4 equal piles gave a remainder of 1, five piles had one left over, and the pies when shared into six piles also had one mince pie left over. What was the smallest number of mince pies there could have been on the tray? 

Answer is 61. The answer must be the lowest common multiple of [2,3,4,5,6] + 1.  Using the prime factors method, this easily simplifies to [12 x 5] + 1

I have just moved to Chesterton, and need to get my hair cut. There are just two barbers in the village. Barber A is always smart and neat with neatly trimmed and cut hair. Barber B, by comparison, always looks dishevelled with a very poor hair cut. Which barber should I use?

Barber B. A barber cannot cut his own hair, so Barber B much cut Barber A's hair (and does a good job, it seems).

 At a party, there are eight children. Each child has brought a toy car with them. The cars get mixed up. At hometime, a parent randomely gives a car to each child. What is the likelihood that exactly seven children (no more, no less) get the correct car?

This is a Read The Question Carefully question. The key is "no more, no less", and the answer is "Zero". If seven children have the correct cars, then only car is left, which belongs to the eighth child. 

 My watch has broken, so I take it to be mended. But the mender is a fool. When I get it back, it shows 6.15 instead of 3.30, and when it’s really 4.45 it shows 9.20. What did the mender do wrong?

The watch mender swapped the minutes and hours hands over. The fool.

Part Three:- A few nice, easy, transport related questions.

 In which city is Flinders Street station?


The only station name common to the London Underground and the Paris Metro?


What links John Lennon, Lech Walesa, George Best, Charles de Gaulle and Bob Hope?

They are all airports.

I’m at West Street and want to go to St Enoch. I can travel in two directions and never change trains. What track gauge is the railway?

4'0" - the Glasgow Underground.

I used to be split, but not now. Some of me is large, some of me is small, but all of me is yellow. What am I?

The Berlin U-bahn.

Monday, 1 January 2018

2018 Events

A happy New Year from the members of the Moseley Railway Trust. The Apedale Valley Light Railway will open for the 2018 season on Easter Saturday, March 31. We will then be open every Saturday and Bank Holiday Monday until November 27. Additionally, we operate Sundays of Bank Holidays weekends, the Sunday of the second complete weekend of each month and every Sunday during May, June, July, August and up to 2nd September.

Steam traction operates on Bank Holiday weekends, the second complete weekend of each month and at most event days.

Events during the year are:-
31 March to 2 April - Easter Egg Hunt
5, 6 and 7 May - Teddy Bears Outing
9 and 10 June - Princesses & Superheroes weekend
13, 14 & 15 July - Tracks to the Trenches III
11 and 12 August - Teddy Bears Outing
26 August - Classic Cars and Steam Trains day
6 and 7 October - Diesel Delights
27 and 28 October - Halloween Specials
10 & 11 November - World War One Armistice Centenary
15, 16, 22 and 23 December - Santa Specials
29 December - Mince Pie Specials.

In general, the first train is at 1130, the last is at 4pm. On some special events, we start earlier.

The major event at Apedale in 2018 is the third of the Tracks to the Trenches events, and we expect to start announcing visiting attractions and further details for this event shortly.

Sunday, 31 December 2017


We have been taking advantage of the relative tranquillity between Xmas and New Year by giving a little attention to the Baldwin Tractor - not a loco seen on here very often. This loco was imported from Switzerland in 2016, but other projects have taken priority. Other projects will continue to take priority - this is very much a back-burner job. The current strategic objective is to dismantle the loco and remove the wheelsets. New wheel castings will be required, but it is hoped to be able to re-use the axles and hence the axleboxes. The flycranks are original. The loco needs to be lightened in order for our crane to lift it. As part of this, the superfluous standard gauge fittings are all coming off. A major step forward has been to remove the standard gauge buffers and their mountings (along with assorted birds nests). Consequently, we now have four Continental-pattern buffers available, all sensible offers considered. Removal of the buffers has allowed the loco to look a lot more narrow-gauge, and it's possible to imagine what the finished product will look like. The "after" photo, for comparision, is a similar Baldwin in the museum at Froissy.

Finally, a very happy New Year to all our members and supporters - and anyone else reading this!

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Santa Specials

Well, folks, that's it for the Santa Specials for 2017. The calendar allowed us to run for five days rather than the more usual four, and it was wonderful to see so many children bringing their adults along. We know that these trains are becoming a family tradition for many of you, and this is how childhood memories are made.
The five days have seen a remarkable spread of weather. The first weekend saw the Big Snow - the worst weather we've seen since the very first Santas in 2010. In weather which defeated even the mighty Severn Valley Railway, our volunteers battled on and nobody was disappointed. The second weekend was just wet and cold, and today has been almost spring-like. Today has also seen the last steaming, for the immediate future, of the loco Stanhope - we marked this loco's centenary back in May.
2018 promises to be an exciting year. Hopefully, we will be able to announce progress on the railway extension before long, and July will see the third Tracks to the Trenches event.
All that remains is to wish everyone reading this a happy Christmas.