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the Dorking Garden Railway


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Posted (edited)

Today's activity

Better to take the photos in historical order, although there's a story about the C21st images below.  So, we begin in the 1950s with the Jubilee taking its train through some idyllic parts of northern England in high summer.  Listen to the birdsong!

First, passing Throstlebeck Sidings




Crossing Foxdale Bank




Coasting across the girder bridge




and romping down Bamboo Curtain Straight



Moving on, the twentyfirst century proved to be most frustrating as the Bachmann intermodal wagons are particularly demanding in terms of track quality.  The aged and warped timber which constitutes the DGR trackbed really is not to their liking.  It proved impossible to get the rake to do anything like a complete circuit of the line without derailments left, right and centre.  There seems to be very little play on the bogies, so any vertical twisting of the track just sees several bogies bouncing along on the sleepers. 

Having tried things in both directions, eventually I gave up trying to run the intermodal train and just took photos of it.  At least they don't indicate the extent of the aggrevation.  Then, for consolation, out came the Jubilee and nine coaches - which somehow seem to ride much more successfully than those container flats - so the day provided some enjoyment after all.

We start with the Class 66 making an adjustment to the rake at Throstlebeck international container depot:




Then heading away down Bamboo Curtain Straight towards the coast




Powering across Foxdale Bank




and rattling the furniture in Foxdale Carr Hall




and crossing the Northern Viaduct


(really must add those fiddly hoses onto the front)


Having reached the port, the loco duly retraces its steps with another train of containers for Throstlebeck




Last seen returning across Foxdale Bank, soon to be home:







Edited by Andrew
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Posted (edited)

A glimpse of Dorking limeworks

Operating pictures of the standard gauge vertical boilered "Coffee Pot" engine that arrived at Betchworth near Dorking in 1871 are few and far between, so we are fortunate to have these which have just come to light, courtesy of Julian.




The engine was built on Teesside by Head Wrightson and spent the first 80 years earning its keep with the Dorking Greystone Lime Company Ltd.  It later found its way back to the North East where it has been lovingly restored at Beamish, the venue for celebrating its 150th birthday this year.  See: http://beamishtransportonline.co.uk/2009/01/1871-coffee-pot-no-1-rebuild/


The second photo suggests that the Greystone company was probably very particular about buying its coal from a reputable source, and on this occasion the fuel seems to have been delivered along the North Downs line from Reading by a suitably gleaming GW Pannier tank engine.

The Coffee Pot driver has probably gone off for a quick ciggy while the Pannier pops the coal wagon into the exchange siding.  Both crews would be hoping the foreman is having lunch so they can then chat in the sun for a bit.



Happy Birthday dear Coffee Pot!




Edited by Andrew
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Posted (edited)

Locomotive failures

Robert came to visit this week with a couple of new engines, the first (continuing with our theme of 0-4-0s) was a B4 LSWR shunter.  She was a good-looking lady as these photos of her shunting at Weymouth Docks show.  Sadly, despite being almost straight out of the box her performance was abyssmal and she will soon be wending her way back to Dapol's agents for repair or replacement.













Staying with the Southern, we then ran resident Hornby West Country Ottery St Mary, seen here in a traditional pose on Foxdale Bank:



But it wasn't her day either, as the second axle on the front bogie kept derailing.  Closer inspection showed that the metal tyre had separated from the plastic wheel insert:


so that probably needs careful application of superglue.


Last up here is tender-drive A4 Bittern, again by Hornby.  She ran very well but also had minor problems with one front bogie axle on which the plastic inserts seemed to have difficulty remaining in true alignment, although this didn't affect the ability to stay on the track.

First photo shows her with an express on the East Coast Main Line near Peterborough:



After that we submitted to the inevitability of the implausible fixed headboard sticker and ran her on the Tyne-Tees Pullman, although in some photos she seems to have wandered off the ECML into the wilds of County Durham or beyond:











In the interests of accuracy, it's only fair to point out that the tender drive didn't actually have sufficient adhesion to haul nine sluggish coaches all the way round the layout.




Edited by Andrew
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  • 3 weeks later...


Geoff and Josh came over yesterday, as usual bringing a whole range of exciting models to run.  Here by way of a foretaste is a shot of Josh's very detailed (and high quality sound fitted) "Clan Line" on one of the Surrey Hills excusions that are once again coming through Dorking every few weeks:



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A great day out

Lots of fun today at the Bluebell Railway's "Road meets Rail" working steam festival deep in the Sussex countryside on a scorching hot day at Horsted Keynes station (and that's not me covered in coal dust on a traction engine):







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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

Back on the DGR

It's spot the difference time:





OK, the real thing was running with black nameplates that day, whereas the model has red ones.  And the Peco track doesn't look anything like real track.


Edited by Andrew
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Continuing with the Southern theme

from Geoff and Josh's visit, here's a Class 73 on what looks almost like a Gatwick Express:




Never mind about the absence of a conductor rail.


After which we move to the Uckfield branch where this Turbostar, having left Victoria far behind, cruises through the Kent countryside on the single track section near Cowden:





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Moving away from the Southern Region...


and from much further afield is this DB Class 216 diesel:




Josh's sound fitted Class 66 looked and sounded good but his intermodal wagons were a bit of a handful to keep on my erratic track:




Finally, in the absence of any conductor rails to clean, it was time for a bit of weedkilling:







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Hi Andrew, nice lot of pics , if I saw right out  have a creek to cross, that is awesome, my ro ro ship sit well in it and I that old 0-4-0 little steam engine, something different of course the 66 stands out and the last pic epically  the track cleaning loco. UK,s track clearing service.

Take care Tony from warm down last week of winter 30 degrees today.

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  • 3 weeks later...

An engine, a few coaches and a bit of sunshine

Who could ask for anything more? 

In this instance, it's just the Black 5 stretching her legs after too long a break.  Seen here running off the Northern Viaduct onto Foxdale Bank:



On the Bank



further along



Passing Throstlebeck Sidings




And on down Bamboo Curtain Straight


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  • 3 weeks later...

Old French photos discovered

Yesterday, courtesy of my friend Philip, I came across these railway scenes which look as if they were taken around 1900 mostly on the Paris-Orleans railway:



















Edited by Andrew
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  • 4 weeks later...

Another very interesting array of locomotives and rolling stock on view during this year Andrew.

However, I must admit to thinking that your layout really does suit the Southern Region green liveried coaches and loco's better than anything else I've seen. I'm not sure why that is? Perhaps it's because there are few (if any) other layouts on the forum that operate them, maybe it's the bamboo backdrop that compliments them so well but either way they just look so good. I know I've mentioned it before, probably several times in fact, so you'll have to excuse me for that.

Away from the SR stock I always enjoy seeing your Black 5 in action. That's another model which, in my opinion, seems to fit in very well with your layout. It must be all to do with the surrounding landscape which makes these particular models look so 'at home'.

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  • 2 weeks later...

You can wait a long time for a train to come along...

so when it does, better have the camera ready.  Here, after a lot of maintenance work on clearing the track, is the 4MT on a local train, first heading along Bamboo Curtain Straight:




Catching the driver passing Throstlebeck Sidings:




Rounding Sycamore Curve




Three shots at different points on Foxdale Bank








And finally heading into the sun across the Northern Viaduct




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3 hours ago, Andrew said:

You can wait a long time for a train to come along...

You want to try sitting lineside on Worsley Dale!

The shots along Foxdale Bank are really nice. It's just so green and natural. It would be great to see that section of track ballasted. Is it something you might consider?

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Too true, Mick.  Ballast would be a great improvement.  As some of the trackbed timber needs replacing after nine years of service, ballast will have to wait for DGR Mark 2.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Memories of the Metropolitan Line

After the end of steam on BR in 1968, some of us were fortunate enough to live within reach of London Transport's ex-GWR Pannier tanks which were used on works trains on parts of the surface network.  In fact I used to hear one puffing along the Piccadilly Line towards South Harrow if I lay awake after midnight.  And I used to borrow my father's car to photograph the daytime services taking wagons of spoil to Croxley Tip near Watford.

Earlier this week Robert brought his Metropolitan engines for a run in the fresh air to recreate those days from long ago.  First we see L.97 taking a spoil train towards the delightful countryside of the Chilterns:








And here it is on the return leg:




Somewhat earlier, London Transport also ran the former Metropolitan Railway's electric locos for various purposes, and in this instance we see "John Hampden" on what looks like a railway enthusiasts' brakevan excursion:




...which on its return passed spoil wagons being shunted:




With a closer view here:




And here's John Hampden again with a train of (almost!) Metropolitan Railway compartment stock heading for Baker Street with an afternoon service from the outer Chilterns:




And here's one of my photos of the real thing - L.89 at Croxley Triangle on 19 July 1968:


Edited by Andrew
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  • 3 weeks later...

Two new videos

A couple of excellent compilations from Josh reflecting two separate visits to the Dorking Garden Railway by him and Geoff:




Edited by Andrew
links revised
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