The Great Garden Railway Inspection Reports

Anything related to the garden railway world that is not catered for in another board
User avatar
philipy
Director
Director
Posts: 1959
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2011 3:00 pm
Location: South Northants
Contact:

The Great Garden Railway Inspection Reports

Post by philipy » Tue Mar 05, 2019 10:37 am

Ok folks, time to get the GRF Line Inspections underweigh again. The previous Inspector seems to have retired but we have been fortunate to recruit Mr I. N. Spectre who comes to us highly recommended. He has written his own introduction which he will post on here in due course.

The way this will work in practice is as follows: I have made a list of those members/lines who have asked for an Inspection visit, below. This list is simply more or less in order of application (subject to a couple of requests for delay) and the list will remain open-ended, so anyone can be added at any time by simply sending me a PM.

I will post the inspector to the first name on the list, which is Rik's Peckforton. When he has completed the Inspection and reports, Rik will contact the next name on the list by PM ( not openly on this forum please) to get a postal address to be able to send the Inspector on. This will avoid names and addresses being spread widely around the 'net, data protection, etc. This procedure will then be repeated until we get to the end of the list. If for some reason this breaks down at any point, please get back to me so that I can rearrange things and keep it rolling.
Ideally, we would like each visit to be for no more than one month on site before being passed on, and shorter is fine. However, clearly come winter this may not be practical. An answer to that could lie in the southern hemisphere, since I notice that none of our Antipodean members have put themsleves in the firing line, so far?

Having seen an advance copy of Mr Spectre's introduction letter, I know that he has mentioned that I have promised him some complimentary Forum luggage - what he doesn't yet know is that this is in the form of a travelling trunk to put him in, not hand luggage for him to carry! This is a lightweight ABS box, so hopefully this will avoid damage in the post which I believe the previous inspector suffered from.
DSC_0009 small.jpg



It occurs to me that this trunk could also do duty as a 'vehicle' to emulate the graffiteed box van which travelled round the world on a another forum, as Rik mentioned previously. I'm quite happy for the trunk to be embellished with painted labels/ID's for each line he visits ( like old fashioned travelling trunk labels), but please keep them small to allow as many as possible to be fitted on.

In terms of posting his reports, the previous inspector had his own forum ID and folks submitted his reports as 'him'. Quite rightly Tom doesn't want to allow the passing on of account details this time around, so each participant will need to post in this thread using their own ID but please try pretend that you are Mr Spectre and word things accordingly. Keep this thread for Mr Spectre's reports and allied subjects only - please don't go wandering off on your own holiday reminiscences, etc!

So, currently visits are planned to:

Screen Name - Railway Name

ge-rik - Peckforton Light Railway
angr607 - Billington Light Railway
Gralyn - Overdale Valley Light Railway.
Irish Peter - Far End Tramway
Keith S - TBC
Peter Butler - Brockhampton and Umbridge Railway
E.V. - Small Balcony Garden Railway
FWLR - Fairy Wood light Railway
RobRossington - Charlwood Light Railway
CSL - Clatterbach Valley Light Railway
philipy - Elderbury & District light Railway
Big Jim - Pentremogan Mountain Railway
markoteal - The Castle Hill Light Railway
Andrew -The (Windmill Hill) Welsh Highland Railway
jim@NAL - North Avenue Line
Last edited by philipy on Wed Mar 27, 2019 5:22 am, edited 6 times in total.

User avatar
philipy
Director
Director
Posts: 1959
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2011 3:00 pm
Location: South Northants
Contact:

Re: The Great Garden Railway Inspection Reports

Post by philipy » Tue Mar 05, 2019 10:44 am

Good day Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to introduce myself. My name is Mr I.N. Spectre and I have newly been appointed as the Inspector of Lines for the Garden Railway Forum.

I understand that the GRF is a loose association of predominantly Narrow Gauge railways with an international membership. Although previously I have only worked in the UK, I am looking forward to visiting overseas lines.

On the subject of my previous employment, I am afraid that due to a stringent non-disclosure agreement, I am unable to mention my most recent appointment by name. However, suffice it to say that the reason that I now routinely wear a hard hat rather than the more traditional Bowler, is that it is extremely difficult to tell which of the central brick platform columns at Kings Cross is the correct one to pass through, and it is extremely painful if one runs full tilt into the wrong one! However, that line does have a very fine restored ex-GWR Hall class locomotive, albeit painted bright red, and there is a very spectacular concrete viaduct on the line which it was always a pleasure to visit.

My induction to your association has commenced at the Elderbury & District Light Railwway and the Director of the line has been most accomodating. He has arranged accomodation for me at the Station Hotel which is located directly across the forecourt from Elderbury station. As an hotel it can best be described as somewhat flat, although I understand that they do have a piano singalong in the bar on Thursdays evenings which I shall, rather fortunately, miss on this visit.
DSC_0011 small.jpg
Also, I don't quite understand why it has been pointed out to me on several occasions that the Post Office is conveniently located right next to the hotel. This may simply be due to the fact the Director seemed inordinately proud of the fact that the Post Office and Stores were once owned by his "first cousin 4 times removed", but I have a feeling that there is more to it than that?
DSC_0013 small.jpg

I had hoped to be able to start by inspecting the Elderbury & District whilst I am here, but I discovered that services have been suspended for some while due to major civil engineering works which have cut the line. It has been found necessary to install a new bridge to carry the line over a stream called the Cuttle Brook, and also to construct new retaining walls to the embankment which runs alongside the stream. I have taken the opportunity to walk down to the site of these works to get a feel for the quality of workmanship and design. I have to say that the retaining wall appears to be excellent from a distance, although I was unable to get close enough to really see any detail. Unfortunately absolutely no work was going on during my visit, for no apparent reason, although given the lack of safety barriers at the edge of the excavations, this could be a blessing in disguise. I trust that by the time I return for an official visit things will have improved somewhat!
DSC_0014 small.jpg

I must also say that I was somewhat disappointed by the general condition of some elements of the line, but, since this was not an official visit, I have pointed out these shortcomings to the Director in private. He assures me that all will be put in order prior to services recommencing. We shall see..!

I believe that my first official inspection will be to the Peckforton Light Railway in Cheshire, which I am really looking forward to. I have been told that my transport to this location has been arranged, although since the Elderbury line is suspended I presume that I shall be travelling by road. The Elderbury's Director tells me that I am to be presented with official GRF luggage before I commence my travels and I am extremely flattered by this little touch, my old briefcase and suitcase are both showing signs of hard wear.

I trust that this brief introduction has been of interest and I look forward to meeting many of you Ladies and Gentlemen as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely,
I. N Spectre
GRF Line Inspector.

User avatar
Gralyn
Fireman
Fireman
Posts: 293
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2014 12:29 pm
Location: Stockport, United Kingdom
Contact:

Re: The Great Garden Railway Inspection Reports

Post by Gralyn » Tue Mar 05, 2019 11:49 am

Better get a tidy-up in progress. I think that the OVLR is on his roster.
Regards Graham.

User avatar
ge_rik
Driver
Driver
Posts: 2816
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2009 10:20 pm
Location: Cheshire
Contact:

Re: The Great Garden Railway Inspection Reports

Post by ge_rik » Wed Mar 06, 2019 5:17 pm

As a former teacher, I do hope he's not trained with OFSTED ......

I will do my best to welcome him , though what the (1930s) locals will make of his bright orange jacket will be interesting..... :| :shock: :scratch: :dontknow:

Rik
------------------------
Peckforton Light Railway - Blog Facebook Youtube

User avatar
Andrew
Driver
Driver
Posts: 1638
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:33 pm
Location: Bristol, UK
Contact:

Re: The Great Garden Railway Inspection Reports

Post by Andrew » Mon Mar 11, 2019 2:41 pm

ge_rik wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 5:17 pm
what the (1930s) locals will make of his bright orange jacket will be interesting...
Yes, it's 1928 in my back garden, I fear we may have a similar problem... Period garden railway passengers may also wonder why he insists on jabbering away into his cigarette case...

Looking forward to reading the reports - thanks Philip!

Andrew.

angr607
Trainee Fireman
Trainee Fireman
Posts: 165
Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2012 12:05 am
Location: West Sussex

Re: The Great Garden Railway Inspection Reports

Post by angr607 » Mon Mar 11, 2019 11:22 pm

I'm fortunate in that fact my line is run very much run similar as a private test track so I suspect I'm excempt from certain rules but I'm sure the inspector will find some issues with the line. The fact its missing a few bufferstops might be a 'slight' issue for a start........
Bowaters Models:- http://www.bowatersmodels.co.uk

Current Projects:-
Rebuilding the Railway!
Turning a Second hand 'Superior' into Bowaters 'Superior'

User avatar
ge_rik
Driver
Driver
Posts: 2816
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2009 10:20 pm
Location: Cheshire
Contact:

Re: The Great Garden Railway Inspection Reports

Post by ge_rik » Sat Mar 23, 2019 4:07 pm

Peckforton Light Railway

Summary Report
For my more detailed report please refer to the Inspectorate website and/or the Peckforton Light Railway website

My first impressions of the PLR are that it is like stepping back in time. I was picked-up from the Beeston & Tarporley mainline railway station and transported to the PLR's principal station by the railway's transfer 'bus'
DSCI1840-001.JPG
.
I then met the general manager, Marmaduke Fitzwarren and the line's benefactor, Lord Tollemache together with his charming wife, Lady Wynford.
DSCI1844.JPG
.
I politely refused the accommodation of the Director's Saloon, preferring a general passenger's experience, so I boarded the Down mid morning passenger train.
DSCI1845.JPG
.
I alighted at each station to meet briefly with the staff and gain a generalised feel for the line and its facilities. At Beeston Castle, I met with Sam Meredith, the station master-cum-porter-cum-signalman.
DSCI1857.JPG
.
The station building was adequate if somewhat basic and desperately in need of a coat of paint.
DSCI1859.JPG
.
I similarly met the staff and toured the facilities at each of the intervening stations until I reached the terminus at Bickerton, where I met with George Winton, the general factotum. I was struck by the disparate range of uniforms provided for the staff - some of which seemed to owe their origins to the postal services of various periods of history and nationalities.
IMG_9268.JPG
.
On the return journey, I was provided with a special train, and allowed to explore the line's infrastructure. The bridges seemed in reasonable condition.
DSCI1868.JPG
.
Though I was somewhat perplexed as to why the railway needed a swing bridge to cross a piece of meadow just outside Bulkeley Station. I was informed by the General Manager that Lord Tollemache had bought it on a whim when the Southwold Railway decided to upgrade their bridge when planning to change to standard gauge.
IMG_9272.JPG
.
Some of the lineside industries served by the railway intrigued me. Particularly the brewery at Beeston Castle, which I must say brews their rather fine tasting Beeston Best Bitter (I am told....!).
DSCI1854.JPG
.
I took the branch line to the Copper Mine, which provides the mainstay of non passenger traffic on the line. I made a recommendation that the explosives vehicle was in need of replacement as I felt it was no longer fit for purpose in the 21st century.
DSCI1852.JPG
.
A recent development on the railway is the opening of a sand quarry on the outskirts of Bickerton. I noted that the PLR was in the process of recovering and re-gauging some hopper wagons which ran on the Snailbeach and District Railway some years ago. The railway workshops appear to be refurbishing the wagons in good order.
DSCI1860.JPG
.
I returned to Beeston Market Station where I inspected the engine shed. I was particularly impressed that they managed to store the line's rather generous provision of fifteen locomotives in a shed which looked capable of holding no more than six locomotives. I was told they are employing something called TARDIS Technology which was explained to me but was beyond my comprehension.
DSCI1848.JPG
.
The goods rolling stock is generally in good condition, though some are in need of general maintenance and repair. The railway is in the process of fitting an experimental new coupling system, which appears to be somewhat flimsy but I am assured is stronger and more effective than it looks.
IMG_9273.JPG
.
My one major concern is that, on some parts of the line, foliage has been allowed to encroach on the railway and might impede forward vision of the drivers. I am assured that this will be attended to in due course.
DSCI1871.JPG
.
I am pleased to report that the PLR is generally in good order for a Light Railway and recommend that, with a few minor provisos, it be allowed to continue serving the needs of its local populace. I wish to thank Lord and Lady Tollemache for their hospitality and the staff of the railway for making me feel most welcome.

I.N. Spectre
------------------------
Peckforton Light Railway - Blog Facebook Youtube

User avatar
pandsrowe
Trainee Fireman
Trainee Fireman
Posts: 202
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2014 12:15 pm
Location: West Norfolk, UK

Re: The Great Garden Railway Inspection Reports

Post by pandsrowe » Sun Mar 24, 2019 7:47 am

A most comprehensive line report, I presume that written publication will be due soon in the form of a government white paper?
Seriously though Rik, your imagination knows no bounds.
Phil

User avatar
ge_rik
Driver
Driver
Posts: 2816
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2009 10:20 pm
Location: Cheshire
Contact:

Re: The Great Garden Railway Inspection Reports

Post by ge_rik » Sun Mar 24, 2019 8:05 am

pandsrowe wrote:
Sun Mar 24, 2019 7:47 am
A most comprehensive line report, I presume that written publication will be due soon in the form of a government white paper?
Seriously though Rik, your imagination knows no bounds.
Thanks
I tried looking online for an example of an inspectorate report such as those provided for new railways, but it looks like the only reports which are online are accident reports - several thousand of them!

However, I suspect a full railway report would be fairly dense and detailed, and so tried to keep the post brief and focused. I might do something a bit more detailed on my blog - I've got a few more photos I could use.

Rik
------------------------
Peckforton Light Railway - Blog Facebook Youtube

User avatar
philipy
Director
Director
Posts: 1959
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2011 3:00 pm
Location: South Northants
Contact:

Re: The Great Garden Railway Inspection Reports

Post by philipy » Sun Mar 24, 2019 8:08 am

With this report, I think Mr Spectre is nobly continuing the precedents set by his predecessor, Rik, thank you.

User avatar
Andrew
Driver
Driver
Posts: 1638
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:33 pm
Location: Bristol, UK
Contact:

Re: The Great Garden Railway Inspection Reports

Post by Andrew » Sun Mar 24, 2019 6:50 pm

ge_rik wrote:
Sat Mar 23, 2019 4:07 pm

I am pleased to report that the PLR is generally in good order for a Light Railway and recommend that, with a few minor provisos, it be allowed to continue serving the needs of its local populace.
Absolutely! An excellent report - thank you Mr Spectre, and thank you Rik!

Cheers,

Andrew.

User avatar
Soar Valley Light
Driver
Driver
Posts: 1209
Joined: Sun Dec 08, 2013 5:18 pm
Location: North West Leicestershire

Re: The Great Garden Railway Inspection Reports

Post by Soar Valley Light » Sun Mar 24, 2019 8:01 pm

Thanks indeed to Mr Spectre for taking up this role. It must be a challenging prospect given the wide ranging nature of the railways he will be called upon to comment upon.

Thanks to Rik for sharing the highlights of this first full inspection. I'm sure the full inspection ran to several further pages of close type! The lack of any evidence that Mr Spectre carries a track gauge or investigates signalling installtions will no doubt be a rellief to some of us!

These visits (as did those of his predecesor) certainly provide a fresh view of lines which we may already think we are familiar with through this forum. It makes for compelling reading. :thumbup:

Andrew
"Smith! Why do you only come to work four days a week?
"'cause I can't manage on three gaffer!"

User avatar
markoteal
Trainee Driver
Trainee Driver
Posts: 728
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2016 6:23 pm
Location: South East

Re: The Great Garden Railway Inspection Reports

Post by markoteal » Thu Apr 04, 2019 8:45 pm

Yes - great report Rik - I think I may have to issue standard uniform for my new line based on Mr Spectres comments here!
Where did I put that uncoupler?

angr607
Trainee Fireman
Trainee Fireman
Posts: 165
Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2012 12:05 am
Location: West Sussex

Re: The Great Garden Railway Inspection Reports

Post by angr607 » Sun Apr 07, 2019 3:22 pm

Mr Spectre has arrived at his next railway! I'll write a report once I get a spare 5 minutes from dealing with orders at Peterborough!

Jon
Bowaters Models:- http://www.bowatersmodels.co.uk

Current Projects:-
Rebuilding the Railway!
Turning a Second hand 'Superior' into Bowaters 'Superior'

User avatar
ge_rik
Driver
Driver
Posts: 2816
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2009 10:20 pm
Location: Cheshire
Contact:

Re: The Great Garden Railway Inspection Reports

Post by ge_rik » Sun Apr 07, 2019 4:27 pm

markoteal wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 8:45 pm
Yes - great report Rik - I think I may have to issue standard uniform for my new line based on Mr Spectres comments here!
Thanks Mark
I agonised over whether to write a wordy and highly detailed report, but decided in the end that people would maybe prefer annotated photos. I did try to open a debate on whether people are likely to read long posts, I know I don't tend to, but the discussion somehow got derailed. Maybe I didn't phrase my opening remarks in the best way and so some people took offence. There was none intended.

Anyway - nice to see he's now at a new location and another report is imminent.

Rik
------------------------
Peckforton Light Railway - Blog Facebook Youtube

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests