16-17.06.12 Summer Steam Gala
Chris Hughes (Eggheads 2003–present, Mastermind 1983, International Mastermind, and Brain of Britain 2005) opened the Gala at 1pm on
05.05.12 Grand Opening of the 2012 Season
The Grand Opening of the season was held at 1300 on 5th May 2012 by the Worshipful the Mayor of Stafford Borough, Councillor Stan Highfield.
27.04.12 April 2012 NewsletterThis is in .pdf format, and so to read it you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. It is dated April 2012. It contains highlights on:
21.10.11 September 2011 NewsletterThis is in .pdf format, and so to read it you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. It is dated September 2011. It contains highlights on:
20.09.11 Isabel at the Apedale "Made in Staffordshire" WeekendShe ran continuously with three other locomotives, pulling two different sets of rolling stock (passenger and freight).
18 - 19.06.11 Amerton Gala 2011Here is the Gala Poster in .pdf format. To read it you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader: Gala 2011 Poster
Here are some links to YouTube videos of the very successful 2011 Gala. To see these you will need a suitable media player:
Jack and Statfold on freight
Jack light engine
Peter Pan on passenger (oakparkrunner)
Peter Pan on passenger (tordy64)
Jennie on freight
29.05.11 Jack in harness, and Isabel in refit
Isabel completing her refit in the workshop, showing progress on
re-alignment of her chimney (a digital spirit level was used to check
that the taper on the chimney did not cause optical illusions in the
confines of the workshop), and progress on the fitting of the tank.
08.05.11 Low Loader Movements
Preparation for the Gala: Jack arriving and being moved to the shed from the head shunt.
Hunslet Wren Jennie leaving for her trip to run at Hollycombe.
08.04.11 Some recent work carried out on site
Ballasting the carriage shed was a bit of a challenge but we managed to put our rail mounted bumper to good use to trickle the stone into the centre of the track.
The edges were even more of a challenge and we adapted our technique slightly by adding some corrugated iron sheets to a small wagon which we towed behind the dumper wagon and then trickled stone onto it. This was very successful and saved a lot of time and effort moving the stone around by hand. In this picture the all important drain we added to pipe the water out of the carriage shed can just be seen before it is buried forever.
As the carriage shed ballasting drew successfully to a close the next project was looming up and it was an even bigger challenge. We needed to put quite a lot of gravel boards around the track to prevent the ballast from being “walked” away from the sleepers by the sheep who we share the site with for a lot of the year. This was going to be pinned in place with lengths of Middleborough transporter bridge rail which is beyond use as anything else.
One load outside the workshop waiting to be sawn up into 1m lengths! There were another two loads just like it!
The sawing gang in action, I was pleasantly surprised to find that when it all was cut into 1m lengths it only wore out two saw blades using our workshop hacksaw.
Getting the 1 metre lengths of rail into the ground was never going to be easy! Plan A was to drive them in manually using a sledge hammer. This soon failed as the ground at the edge of the track contained a large amount of brick hardcore and the amount of effort needed was beyond most of us.
Plan B was to use our Dorman engine powered Monair compressor mounted on the dumper wagon to bang them in using a borrowed demolition hammer. This took a while to get everything together but in spite of the compressor working well and it all making loads of noise little was achieved.
So on to plan C. This was to hire a tracked excavator with a hydraulically operated post hole borer mounted on it, bound to work! So on the last Sunday (20th March 2011) before the start of the running season we assembled on site armed with the sturdy tracked excavator.
The boring method worked well we but the setting out seemed to get a bit carried away somehow, perhaps we had too many surveyors?
After a while the good old stick method took over and things speeded up dramatically.
No wonder Chris is looking pleased---that’s the last one!
“My little pony” came over to take a look but was not very impressed. The borer produced a nice sized hole and the rail was a fairly tight fit, however it was impossible to get them in a really straight line as the borer was deflected by unseen stone---but at least they were all in, well almost!
So over to the Wednesday gang to do the final leveling and put the gravel boards in.
So now what’s next on the list?
Don’t forget if you want to help on a Wednesday or Sunday just get in touch.
Images and text by Peter Bell
24.03.11 February 2011 NewsletterThis is in .pdf format, and so to read it you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. It is dated February 2011. It contains highlights on:
18.12.10 The Big FreezeAll concerned are to be congratulated on the success of the Santa Special operations during a period of extreme weather when temperatures reached -18 degrees C. Wheel slips were commonplace, and whenever the locomotive water supply hosepipe was put down it froze solid! The photographs below are by Tim Cheeseman, Stephen Bell and Peter Bell. See also the YouTube video Isabel leaving Amerton Station during the Big Freeze. To see this you will need a suitable Media Player.
05.12.10 Santa in the Snow!
12.09.10 August 2010 NewsletterThis is in .pdf format, and so to read it you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. It is dated August 2010. It contains highlights on:
19 - 20.06.10 Gala 2010
YouTube video of the Gala 2010. To see this you will need a suitable Media Player:
The Amerton Gala 2010
25.04.10 January 2010 NewsletterThis is in .pdf format, and so to read it you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. It is dated January 2010. It contains highlights on:
06.04.10 Paddy moved to The Ffestiniog Railway for the May Day weekendPaddy was delivered to Blaenau Ffestiniog from Amerton on 06.04.10, in advance of the "Quirks and Curiosities" Ffestiniog Railway event (May Day weekend). This new Amerton loco passed the Ffestiniog fitness to run exam and arrived at Boston Lodge under steam from Blaenau Ffestiniog on a typical "soft" Welsh day (all photos by Ted Mcavoy).
01.04.10 Lorna Doone - The Restoration StartsWith our 25 year agreement for Lorna Doone, Kerr Stuart Wren 4250 of 1922, firmly in place a start was recently made on her restoration. Dismantling went without a hitch, as you would expect from a locomotive which has spent the last 50 years stored and displayed in dry conditions at the old Museum of Science and Industry in Birmingham (see 11.03.03 below) and at Amerton.
The start, almost intact!
We soon had the cab, tank and cladding off revealing the new wooden lagging which had presumably been added when she was cosmetically restored before going on the plinth in 1960.
Dismantling and removing the cladding
The boiler ready to go away for further investigation.
After removing the wheels we decided to turn the frames over using our newly repaired fork lift truck, to allow easy access to the horns guides and keeps which were showing signs of wear.
Turned over frames
A thorough analysis was made of everything as it was being removed and stored on racking specially bought and installed in our workshop for the purpose.
Checking the horns and frames for wear and damage
Mechanically everything is in fairly good condition and it all reflects a locomotive which has had a long working life and has been repaired as necessary but without suffering a lot of accidental damage.
Wear in frame caused by horns moving but before building up by welding
The horns were removed for machining and it revealed that in spite of being tightly bolted these had been moving in the frames. Fortunately the frames had enough unworn material to allow a datum point to be established and they were rebuilt with weld and carefully ground and filed to size.
Machining horns and keeps
Horns partly machined ready to be fitted to the frames before the next machining operations
27.03.10 First Train 2010Video of Guard's Eye View on the first train of the 2010 Season. To see this you will need a suitable Media Player:
Guard's Eye View 27.03.10
25.01.10 August 2009 NewsletterThis is in .pdf format, and so to read it you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. It is dated August 2009. It contains highlights on:
18.12.09 Isabel Recommissioned
Isabel has now returned into traffic after her two year overhaul. This included major repairs to the boiler, rebore of the cylinders with new pistons and rings and new slippers fitted to the crossheads. She has also been repainted and relined. However, after the first steaming some rivets in the boiler unfortunately started to leak slightly. The boiler cladding has now been removed for evaluation and the advice from our boilermaker and boiler inspector is that there is nothing seriously wrong, but the recommendation is that she remains without the cladding as long as there are leaks. She has now passed all the safety inspections but it is expected that she will be running without the cladding for a large proportion of the coming season.
Videos of Isabel with the Santa Specials in December 2009. To see these you will need a suitable Media Player:
Isabel arriving at Amerton Station with a Santa Special
Isabel departing from Amerton Station with a Santa Special
15.08.09 Visit of Nonuyuki Murayama from Japan with his model of Bagnall Isabel
A highlight of the summer was the visit of Nonuyuki Murayama and his daughter Kaoru to Amerton. Nonuyuki was visiting the UK to see his daughter graduate from her piano studies in London. He is an orthopaedic surgeon, and a member of the International Horn Society with whom he was playing in London. His reason for visiting Amerton was to demonstrate his 00 model of Isabel.
Some of the model was assembled from a kit for a similar loco, but most of the parts were made from scratch using the Amerton publication on Isabel and information gleaned from the website. The model took two years to construct, and is an exact working replica, down to the valve gear.
Unfortunately we were not able to give Nonuyuki a footplate ride on the real Isabel since she was undergoing a major refit. However, he ran the model in the workshop using track brought with him.
Nonuyuki Murayama with his model of Isabel
Close-up of the model of Isabel in Nonuyuki's hands
Photographs by Malcolm Garner
Mugs with pictures of Isabel were presented, and Nonuyuki went away with enough paint of the correct colour to paint about 100 models of Isabel!
20 - 21.06.09 Steam Gala 2009Video of the Steam Gala 2009. To see this you will need a suitable Media Player:
Steam Gala 2009
27.05.09 April 2009 NewsletterThis is in .pdf format, and so to read it you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. It is dated April 2009. It contains highlights on:
21.02.09 January 2009 NewsletterThis is in .pdf format, and so to read it you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. It is dated January 2009. It contains highlights on:
25.11.08 October 2008 NewsletterThis is in .pdf format, and so to read it you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. It is dated October 2008. It contains highlights on:
29.07.08 July 2008 NewsletterThis is in .pdf format, and so to read it you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. It is dated July 2008. It contains highlights on:
30.04.08 April 2008 NewsletterThis is in .pdf format, and so to read it you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. It is dated April 2008. It contains highlights on:
18.03.08 Bagnall No. 1 arrives at Amerton
New locomotive addition Bagnall No. 1 was collected from Cambridgeshire on 18th March 2008, and remains stored in Peter's lorry. Some minor parts have already arrived and will be stored in the crates obtained for the purpose. A more detailed description is given in Bagnall No. 1 by John Strike. This is in .pdf format, and so to read it you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader.
22.02.08 Ian Walmsley VideoVideo of The Amerton Railway by Ian Walmsley. To see this you will need a suitable Media Player:
Ian Walmsley Video
29.01.08 January 2008 NewsletterThis is in .pdf format, and so to read it you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. It is dated January 2008. It contains highlights on:
06.11.07 October 2007 NewsletterThis is in .pdf format, and so to read it you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. It is dated October 2007. It contains highlights on:
05.10.07 Isabel replaced by Emmet for normal steam serviceThe Amerton Railway is pleased to announce that the steam locomotive Emmet has passed all her tests for running on the line at Amerton - even the air brake pipes on the coaches are compatible with her - so she should be running for the rest of the season and for the early Santa Specials. The picture below shows her resting at Statfold recently.
Isabel has been withdrawn from service, and her boiler has been removed for rebuilding, see below. She will be replaced by Emmet for all steam services until further notice.
13.09.07 July 2007 NewsletterThis is in .pdf format, and so to read it you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. It is dated July 2007. It contains highlights on:
16.06.07 Steam Gala 2007Video of the Steam Gala 2007. To see this you will need a suitable Media Player:
Steam Gala 2007
23.05.07 April 2007 NewsletterThis is in .pdf format, and so to read it you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. It is dated April 2007. It contains highlights on:
23.01.07 January 2007 NewsletterThis is in .pdf format, and so to read it you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. It is dated January 2007. It contains highlights on:
01.11.06 September 2006 NewsletterThis is in .pdf format, and so to read it you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. It is dated September 2006. It contains items on:
06.08.06 July 2006 NewsletterThis is in .pdf format, and so to read it you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. It is dated July 2006. It contains items on:
17-18.06.06 The Amerton Gala 2006Following the huge success of previous events, The Amerton Railway held its 2006 Summer Steam Gala on 17th/18th June 2006.
Resident Bagnall Isabel was joined by visiting steam locos, including the new Quarry Hunslet Statfold HE 3903 of 2005, Kerr Stuart Peter Pan, and Orenstein & Koppel Montalban 6641 of 1913, visiting from the West Lancs Railway. All the Amerton Railway stock was also on display, including the newly restored Baguley 774 and Kerr Stuart Lorna Doone (both static). A variety of goods and passenger trains were run.
Statfold HE 3903 of 2005
Baguley 774 is on loan from NGRM Trust at Tywyn, and after the cosmetic restoration is completed she will be returned to Tywyn for display in the new museum building. See restoration history for a narrative of the restoration.
We are grateful to Graham Symms for his permission to reproduce the following photos of the event:
Statfold waits in the passing loop at Amerton Station with a goods train, with the Waterhouses Signal Box in the background
Brand new Quarry Hunslet Statfold immaculate and gleaming even under an overcast sky
Statfold waits by the level crossing while Peter Pan runs around a train in Amerton Station
Kerr Stuart Wren class loco Peter Pan performs shunting duties in Amerton Station while Statfold waits in the background
Amerton resident loco Isabel hauls a packed train into Amerton Station while Peter Pan waits in the loop with a goods train
West Lancs Orenstein & Koppel loco Montalban brings a goods train through Amerton Station
03.05.06 The new quarterly NewslettersIt is hoped to issue a series of quarterly Newsletters. These will be in .pdf format, and so to read them you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. The first of these is dated May 2006. It contains items on:
26.04.06 The New Workshop
The only site available for the new workshop was a wedge shaped bit of ground between the running shed and the carriage shed. This is a view of the site after it was cleared and before we started building. It had been earmarked for a workshop for a long time, but it became a bit of a dumping ground over the years, and it took a long time to raise funds for the new workshop. The usual dedicated team spent the summer of 2005 clearing the site.
It took ages to get planning and building permission. Because there were many underground services around the site, some holes had to be dug by hand, and this picture shows John Jones happily at work one Sunday afternoon in January 2006.
Work started in earnest in February 2006 when we used a local contractor, Nigel Hart, to level the site and to dig the holes for the foundations. Some of the excavated holes were quite deep at 2.7m, and were at the limit of the excavator backhoe reach!
Fortunately the weather remained dry and we were able to get the mixer wagon to reverse up to the holes to discharge its load. This picture shows Nick Curtis and Graham Lees carefully placing the retaining bolts in the fresh concrete before it went off.
Soon after the concrete had been poured the “Shed makers” (Paul Richmond Construction) came over and took exact measurements of the base, before the frame was constructed. The building is an awkward shape and we all waited to see how the frame construction would work out.
As soon as the steel erectors arrived on site the weather changed, and they had to contend with hail, sleet, rain and wind, in other words typical spring weather! We were all pleased to see that everything worked out with the frame, and it fitted really accurately on the foundations.
These shots show the shed on 23.04.06. The roof is on and the block walls have been constructed up to floor level.
The really big job we need to tackle next is the floor. Before this can be laid, the track needs to be set into the floor; here in late April 2006 John Smee, Malcolm Garner, and Frank Wildner start the excavations for the track, with Derek Luker just appearing around the corner to check progress.
06.04.05 Stanhope arrives for the 2005 GalaThe Tattoo class Kerr Stuart Stanhope arrived at Amerton from the West Lancs Light Railway on the 6th April 2005. She is expected to stay until around August and will be in operation on our regular Sunday steamings as well as at the summer Gala.
Unfortunately she could only be loaded onto the trailer facing the rear wheels, which meant that she would be running most of the time backwards at Amerton if she was unloaded directly.
To get round this a cunning plan was evolved where she was unloaded onto a track panel and then left isolated while the trailer was removed..
Lots of admiring looks here!.
Further track panels were then added and she was pushed along to eventually link up with our line where she was hauled onto the system by our trusty Ruston LBT..
She was quickly steamed, and crew training commenced before she was tried around the circuit. All was found to be well, and she was soon used to haul passenger trains, later easily managing our three carriages and the brake van with compressor that was necessary to provide the air supply for the coach and emergency braking..
Here she is at work on a Sunday: shame the driver turned round at the last minute!
Report by Peter Bell 6th April 2005
21.03.05 Activities in March 2005Sunday 20th March was our first day of the new season, a typical cool March day! Thanks to the tremendous efforts from everyone since Christmas we have managed to rebuild and install the point at Stump Siding in time for our opening.
This picture taken in early March shows the point with its new blades being worked on by our small band of determined volunteers. The new frog is in centre of the picture.
Same day but a bit later and we are now using our 1950s rail saw to cut the existing rail in situ to match the length of the new rail before drilling it to take the fishplates.
Some people seem to have more luck with their jobs though, and they reckoned it was hard work----really!
On the 20th March Roger Strike and helper Ray were working on the Leek & Manifold Waterhouses signal box and making good progress, although there is a fair way to go before it is finished.
Steve Bell was working on the brake van improving the fit of the axle boxes in the horn guides. This axle drives the air compressor that supplies the air pressure for the coach braking. The brake van then becomes a very useful accessory, allowing us to run locomotives that do not have a compressor with passenger coaches that of course require brakes. Last year we had Pixie from Leighton Buzzard that was without a compressor and this year's visitor Stanhope (arriving April) from West Lancs Light Railway will also need the use of the brake van compressor. The pit Steve is working on was constructed last year and really helps with jobs like this.
Nick Curtis and Peter Booth find time for a bit of gardening, stretching mesh over one of the retaining walls to allow the ivy and other creeping plants that Nick planted last year to continue growing to cover the concrete.
Finally, fireman Pete Smith is topping up the boiler on Isabel with the injector as he and Andrew Gully as Guard wait patiently for me to stop wandering about taking photographs, and they can then come and drive another train!
Report by Peter Bell 21st March 2005
20.09.04 The Waterhouses Signal Box RestorationWe have commenced the installation of the first new leg to the Signal Box which we were very lucky to be able to salvage from Waterhouses Station on the former Leek & Manifold Valley Light Railway/North Staffordshire Railway (The Knotty)/LMS. It had been used as a farm building, and after a tortuous journey through the very narrow lanes around Wetton, it safely arrived on 8th August 2001. It is positioned at the rear of the present ground frame, but levers will eventually be placed in the box. The box is in remarkable condition, and it is gradually being restored, so that it can once again perform its rôle of controlling a Staffordshire Narrow Gauge Railway! This is a significant and very important addition to our Staffordshire collection. The first leg has gone together very well, and there are only three more to go!
13.06.04 The Amerton Gala 2004YouTube video of the Gala 2004, with Isabel, Peter Pan, Pixie and Irish Mail in action. To see this you will need a suitable Media Player:
The Amerton Gala 2004
16.08.03 Baguley No. 774In August 2003 we had the arrival of a historic petrol loco, Baguley No. 774 of 1919, which has been loaned by NGRM Trust at Tywyn. The loco will have some cosmetic restoration work carried out by our members and is expected to be on site for two years before it returns to Tywyn for display in the new museum building.
Picture by Peter Bell
31.07.03 Pearl 2 Leaves AmertonAllen Civil has decided to re-locate his locomotive Pearl 2, RN van and Fauld wagon away from The Amerton Railway. Initially they are bound for the Golden Valley Railway, part of the Midland Railway Centre at Butterley, Derbyshire. Pearl 2 has been at Amerton for almost five years, where she put in regular appearances until recently pulling passenger trains, and at the times of the galas, freight trains.
The removal operation went very smoothly thanks to the GVR crew being well organised and having access to the right equipment. Pearl 2 was loaded onto a low-loader on 31st July 2003 by our Ruston LBT, and the van followed, after the front coupling was removed from Pearl 2. Once again our new loading siding speeded the job considerably, and it was a pleasure to see and hear the 1969 Scammell tractive unit, in the livery of Wrekin Roadways, powered by a silky smooth Gardener 6LX 150hp engine, lifting the load and then manoeuvering around the site before departing.
Before they left the SNGR chairman Peter Bell thanked Allen for all his hard work at Amerton and wished him well for the future at his new base.
All photos by Peter Bell
11.03.03 Lorna Doone
The Railway is pleased to announce that it has secured Kerr Stuart Wren 4250 of 1922
Lorna Doone on long-term loan from
the Birmingham Museum of Science and Industry. Lorna Doone arrived on the Railway on 28th February 2003, returning
to the county an after an 81-year absence! Send all comments, updates and queries for
The Amerton Railway News Page to Kris Douglas
Send all comments, updates and queries for The Amerton Railway News Page to Kris Douglas