The Great Garden Railway Inspection Reports

Anything related to the garden railway world that is not catered for in another board
jim@NAL
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Re: The Great Garden Railway Inspection Reports

Post by jim@NAL » Tue Apr 30, 2019 9:11 pm

This is great fun keep it up .he is more than welcome to come visit the North avenue light railway

angr607
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Re: The Great Garden Railway Inspection Reports

Post by angr607 » Thu May 16, 2019 2:27 pm

Inspector's Report - Billington Light Railway

While I arrived a few weeks ago, I have only recently been able to view this short line. Why it has taken this long to gain access I do not know but I've been told most of the responsible people have been busy with another business. How you can run another business and a railway at the same time beats me but I've finally been able to gain access.

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First views of the railway didn't fill me with much hope. Despite being assured its only really a test track (no excuse really), the track is covered in weeds and there are many important features missing! Completely unacceptable especially if the railway is being used to test items of rolling stock and motive power!

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As the railway is in two parts, I started with the 45mm gauge section. I mean I've seen heavy rail section before but this takes it to a new level. Code 332 apparently which is far to excessive for the clear lack of use this line sees. That said, as the line has been so heavily built, it can clearly take a lot of abuse which as we will see later in this report, is a good thing! Bufferstops at the depot end which is excellent to see however no interlocking and no signalling! I mean, they assure me they only operate one engine in steam per system with all the points being sprung but that's beside the point. Such things are important to the safe operating of a railway!

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Time to move onto the main 32mm system. The track here is laid thoughout with code 200 rail which is more than enough for the use the line sees and is in fact a standard rail code used on 32mm gauge systems in my experience. They've clearly done their research when this line with laid. Ballast profiling is mostly good on the mainline and in the station loop. Pointwork is all the newer 38 inch radius points laid in a reverse curve. While I know in the smaller scales this annoys people, as only motive power works these sections or small wagons, I don't see any issue with these in service. However, not one sight of a point lever! How are the points meant to stay in position without any form of locking. Combined with no signalling at all on this line, I'm absolutely furious that this was once considered a public railway! Management said it was built as a light railway BUT this is still completely unacceptable. Apparently the next train to run won't be for a while which is a good thing as it means they can get the railway to a proper state!

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This sight completely shocked me. No buffer stops whatsoever on the entire 32mm system and one missing at the end of the 45mm system. They have been told to stop all operation immediately until this is rectified. Apparently buffer stops cost lots of money so they're on the todo list. I seriously doubt this although I know it does vary depending on what you end up purchasing. We'll have to monitor this railway remotely I feel! Also a lack of ballast at the ends of the railway although it has clearly been jacked and packed to get the correct running height.

What has always confused me since arriving, where do they store the rolling stock? I don't see any sheds or anything that could be used to really safely store the things they apparently test. Until they showed me the lowloader. I mean, I've seen big lorries in my time but wow! No images I'm afraid but its big enough to hold 4 13m coaches and a engine with ease. They use it to move all stock to storage off site for security reasons. I can't say that's a bad thing although the costs involved must be horrendous. Certainly explains why they can't afford something as simple as signalling and buffer stops!

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After a short walk, I had a look at the other end of the 32mm system. The track work is clearly well done abet covered in weeds and runs single track. I have been told they are considering laying a third rail to have a extended 45mm gauge system for testing. While I feel this is a good idea in the railway's main purpose as a test track, surely buffer stops is far more important to prevent any accidents. The other end of the line uses a shunt release method of running around the train needing two engines. Apparently they have got a suitable battery electric for this task abet its got a technical fault. Certainly explains why the line isn't in use if the shunt release engine isn't operational. Apparently, they plan to fit the required equipment to at least 3 of their own engines to allow them to be used for this role so we will see what happens in this regard.

Overall, not the worst railway either myself or my colleagues have visited in the past however it clearly needs some work. I've left my notes with the general manager and hopefully we will see some of the changes made from a distance in the near future!

Onto the next railway!
Bowaters Models:- http://www.bowatersmodels.co.uk
Narrow Planet:- http://www.narrowplanet.co.uk

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

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philipy
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Re: The Great Garden Railway Inspection Reports

Post by philipy » Thu May 16, 2019 3:35 pm

Excellent report from Mr Spectre. He is obviously keeping up with the best traditions of his calling.

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ge_rik
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Re: The Great Garden Railway Inspection Reports

Post by ge_rik » Thu May 16, 2019 4:22 pm

Very enjoyable report. I see he is expecting high standards - I think he must have used his blind eye on some aspects during his visit to the PLR.

Rik
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