Monday, 25 August 2008

Slogging with Stanhope

Way back in December, this blog had an update on the MRT's flagship locomotive, Kerr Stuart "Tattoo" class no.2395 of 1917 "Stanhope". At the time, she was in the throes of a ten year boiler exam and light overhaul. Fortunately, the care and expense of her original restoration paid off, and no major problems emerged during the overhaul, and she was back in business by Easter at her current home, the West Lancashire Light Railway at Hesketh Bank near Southport. "Stanhope" has recently embarked on an end-of-summer tour, and this weekend has seen her working at the Golden Valley Light Railway, part of the Midland Railway Centre at Butterley, Derbyshire. And working is the operative word; it's a 1 in 30 or thereabouts climb from the GVLR's terminus at Newlands Inn. "Stanhope" does not have an air compressor of her own, so it is necessary to run with an air-equipped loco to provide the air. This is normally a 60S Motor Rail. The passenger train is four substantial manriders, plus the five ton Motor Rail deadweight, so it all makes for a pretty impressive bit of climbing performance as she storms up the bank. It has been observed that this is one of the key attractions of the narrow gauge. On the adjacent MRT standard gauge line, there are locos like a BR Standard 9F; with the usual load of most preserved lines, the loco hardly notices. Not so on the narrow gauge. Believe me, "Stanhope" notices the load climbing from Newlands Inn! Learn more about the GVLR at their website here.
From the GVLR, "Stanhope" will visit the Moseley Railway Trust's Apedale base for the September 13 & 14 open days. Visit here for more details. Apedale will ultimately be "Stanhope"s home as and when the first phase of the passenger railway is completed and opened (hopefully during 2009).
After Apedale, it's on to Graham Lee's splendid Statfold Barn railway for their enthusiasts weekend, and then "Stanhope" returns to Hesketh Bank to fulfill its commitments on that railway - see here.
As ever, we'd love to here from you - contact us here.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Location, Location, Location

Last Saturday 16 August was another little bit of history for the Moseley Railway Trust; we vacated the storage location at Buxworth, Derbyshire, which has been the Trust's home for the last few years. There are probably few events as traumatic (or expensive) for an organisation such as the Moseley Railway Trust than the need to move base - and it's happened four times to the MRT! The trust has its roots in a 1969 project at the Moseley Hall Grammar School for Boys, at Cheadle near Stockport. In 1971, this school closed and relocated alongside a girls school about a mile away. This should have been seen as an omen for the future! What became the MRT developed and thrived at this new location, known as the Manor School, until 1998 when the organisation was compelled to leave Cheadle and move the collection into storage. The first location was the Mevril Spring Works at Whaley Bridge, near Buxton. Open days, with locos being demonstrated, were held in 1999 and 2000 at this site. However, once again, fate intervened and the site was sold for redevelopment. In 2001, the Trust decanted to a storage unit at Buxworth, also near Buxton. Meanwhile, the Trust located a permanent site at Apedale - and this time we own this one, so no more moves! Most of the collection slumbered at Buxworth until 2008 when they arrived in the splendid Aurora North storage shed. The set of pictures show locos at Cheadle, and at Buxworth and you've all seen plenty of Apedale shots. As you should know by now, there's open days at Apedale on 13 & 14 September - see here.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Open days will mark Storage Shed completion

The Moseley Railway Trust (MRT) proudly announces the completion of a key element of its continuing development of the site at Apedale. A large storage shed, known as Aurora North, has allowed the Trust to move its collection of narrow gauge locomotives from storage at a number of sites and bring them together -literally under one roof - for the first time in ten years.

Phil Robinson, the Chairman of the Moseley Railway Trust said "Since coming onto the Apedale site in 2006, the Trust has made great strides in developing the site. The completion of the Aurora North building marks a major milestone for us". There are now more than fifty locomotives on site at Apedale, mainly 2’0" gauge but other gauges are represented also. The locomotives are mainly diesel or petrol engined, but there are also steam locos, such as the 1916 Hudswell Clarke locomotive which the MRT imported from Ghana earlier this year. The World War One Hunslet locomotive owned by the War Office Locomotive Society is also now at Apedale.

Progress has continued with developing other aspects of the site, although construction of the main passenger-carrying railway has been delayed whilst issues with footpath diversions are resolved with the support of Staffordshire County Council. Nonetheless, the MRT still hopes to open the initial phase of the railway during 2009.

The public will get a chance to see the progress made by the MRT at Apedale when the Trust holds its first public open days on September 13 and 14. This weekend will also see the first operation of steam locomotives on site when the Kerr Stuart locomotive "Stanhope", part of the MRT collection, will visit from its normal base at the West Lancashire Light Railway at Hesketh Bank, near Southport. "Stanhope" and other locomotives will be used to haul demonstration trains. The public will be able to see the MRT’s collections, and there will be visiting attractions such as model railways, vintage vehicles, a miniature railway and sales stands.

The open days will be from 11.00 to 17.00 each day, and admission is £4 adults, £2 children under 16 and OAPs. The Apedale site is adjacent to the Apedale Heritage centre, near the village of Chesterton, Newcastle Under Lyme, Staffordshire. The site is 10 minutes from Junction 16 on the M6, and is just off the A34. Full directions and further information can be found here.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Remarkable Rustons

It is not generally appreciated that, in living memory, the production of locomotives for industrial and narrow gauge railways was BIG business in the UK. This week, we'll have a quick look at the Ruston & Hornsby (RH) locomotives in the Moseley Railway Trust's collection. RH did loco production on a massive scale - in total, 6500 locos were produced from 1931 to 1968 at their works in Lincoln. Their successors are still in business producing things like gas turbines and turbochargers. The locos were both standard and narrow gauge, of a number of standardised types. The vast majority of the production was for industrial railways - only a handful of (standard gauge) locos went to BR and its predecessors. The best known of these are the Class 07 Southampton dock shunting locos, of which a few are preserved. The production total dwarfs companies such as Brush (just over a thousand) and even the allegedly mighty North British.

The company has its roots in Hornsby-Ackroyd, who claimed to have created the world's first compression-ignition engine in 1892; one Dr Diesel did not create an engine until 1897, but posterity chose him, rather than the UK team. Perhaps rather sourly, Ruston stated that its locomotives were fitted with "oil engines".

The MRT has 12 Rustons on site at Apedale. These include examples of most of the major types. These include the large 48DL type (see top picture) and the second oldest surviving Ruston (see bottom left). You will have the chance to see all of these (and lots of other good things) at our open days on 13 & 14 September - see here or contact us here.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Wot, no Blog??

You should never start with an apology, so I'm not apologising for the late production of this weeks entry. We've all been rushed off our feet with organising the Open Day, so I may as well update on this Grand Event. It's all beginning to come together nicely now. We have a good selection of model layouts and trade stands booked, and hopefully there will be something to interest most tastes. We'll have live steam on three gauges - 2'0", a 7 1/4" miniature and 16mm model live steam. We're hoping for a smattering of vintage road vehicles. There are at least two visiting railway engines confirmed so far - the MRT's steam "Stanhope" from its usual West Lancs base, and a Lister diesel from a private railway in Gloucestershire. We're hoping for a couple more, but nothing definite yet. Above all, we hope the main attraction will be a chance for our adoring public (or perhaps just public) to come along and see what we're about. So clear your diaries, and head for Newcastle under Lyme on 13 or 14 September. More details are here and you can always contact us here. How can you resist? Amongst the other delights on display will be one of our newer celebrity arrivals - the WW1 Hunslet 4 6 0 (no.1215) owned by the War Office Loco Society - which is this week's picture.