Daresbury Gazette

2017 Daresbury Gazettes

10 July

Well another steam fair has passed and as a club we have performed brilliantly.
Prior to the event a plan was worked out to simplify the operations in
and around the steaming bays. I volunteered to work out the said plan.
Our traverser and swinging link were recognized as being the danger
spots as far as accidents were concerned. So I set myself the task of
being the only person allowed to operate the swinging link, and the
loco owners in sole control of the traverser, cutting out the number of
bodies moving trucks and loco’s around the site, and to my surprise it
worked ! The second part of the plan was to cut out all signals
between the distant for the swinging link and the starter signal at
the Daresbury Halt platform, in total three signals, leaving only the
swinging link protected.With drivers being called on manually by me as
Track Marshall enabled a smoother unloading of passengers.
Taking advice from Duncan Webster, the remaining signals protecting the
new track extension were kept in full use and they worked faultlessly
throughout out the weekend all praises go to DW, well done.

Saturday/Sunday started at 8am. All trucks had been pre marshalled into
their running order and moved over to the carriage siding in between
the two running roads, which left the steaming bays free of complicated
jockeying of trucks and loco’s. Whilst this was going on Brian Renton
did the pre run track inspection followed by a loaded test run, and
Brian Helsdon checked the operation of the signalling. With all the
loco’s in place before the start of the event, the unloading line was
secured and a variety of rolling stock was coupled up to Brian
Helsdon’s radio controlled battery shunter which played up and down
both days, amazing the kids who thought the little fella in the cab was
actually doing the driving. It turned out to be a really good
attraction no doubt attracting plenty of donations in the collection

Loco’s for the weekend were provide by Amy Parsons, Barry Purslow,
Brian Helsdon, Brian Renton, Henry Wood, Paul Caldwell and Roy Allen.
Also there were a variety of static exhibits on show. Other members
manned the cash collection , passenger loading and unloading, tea
making and all the other menial tasks around the site. It turned out to
be a wonderful team effort that worked faultlessly and above all safe
with no recorded accidents. Our new toilet block was kept in continuous
use throughout the weekend turning our lovely woodland setting into a
much fresher place to enjoy ourselves in.

I think I’ve covered everything and hope this makes for good reading,
giving you a good idea of how we can enjoy ourselves and still be
aware of the hazards that surround our hobby.

On a final note on Saturday we were treated to a surprise visit or
visits by the health and safety officer. On her first visit a copy of
the club’s public liability insurance was demanded and we produced the
copy. Later we were treated to a second visit where boiler
certificates were demanded these also were produced. Then the third
visit a copy of our Risk Assessment was demanded, this was also
produced and a recommendation it should be updated was given and we
received a full compliance to carry on operating.

Phew, against all odds the track performed brilliantly.  We entertained the
public who were more than willing to pay the increase in our fares and
everyone was most impressed with our beautiful track.

A massive thank you to all concerned.
Patrick Mullee


21 June

Tuesday 20/6 saw two members of the committee reacting to an email received by our Hon Sec regarding concerns to track safety, hours before one of our most important visits. On close inspection, and checking all rail joints and rail gauges, no problems were found.
Today Wed 21st we were treated to a visit from 3 groups of children from Daresbury School. Almost 100 children and staff had a really memorable day. Our loco owners were on top form, pointing out and explaining each individual part and their functions. Fully genned, up the children, in a very organised manner took their turn for a ride around the track, a scene reminiscent of St. Trinian’s, with children cheering and begging the drivers to do another lap. With a really hot day, tractors working in the field and well behaved children, it was a day to remember for a long time. Top marks must go to our Hon Sec Brian Renton and all our drivers and engines for a memorable day.


18  June

Saturday 10th June we had a party day for Paul Caldwell’s staff and
families. Paul held the party for his employees in recognition for
their hard work constructing the beams and associated metal works for
the construction of the track extension. Locomotives present were
Paul’s Duchess, Barrie’s Duchess, Roy Allen’s new Standard tank and
after lunch Ben Pavier arrived with Paul’s Flying Scotsman fresh from
complete overhaul.

Sunday 11th June was a track running day but we provided the track and
locomotives for a private birthday party for Malcolm Ross and his
family. All went well with everyone having a really enjoyable day out.
These two events were testers for further such events in the future as
we have no portable track and it could prove financially beneficial
for further improvements around the site.

As for improvements around the site, on Wednesday 14th we took delivery
of the new toilet block built for us by Rosewood timber, Hatton who
made a fabulous job of it. So anyone wanting bespoke timber
buildings/shelters that’s the place to go mention your a member and
they will treat you very favourably. Lot’s of painting, track cleaning
and truck assembly was going on, a very productive day.

Sunday 18th Saw a really hot sunny track running day and a new 5ins
gauge Britannia belonging to Andrew and his son Jake arrived for
boiler test. Four steam and two diesel/battery locomotives ran and
entertained members and passing public alike with a nice crisp £5 note
being donated to the funds. As usual Tony Sturgeon’s wife rolled up
with the most scrumptious hazel nut fruit cake and I finished the day
with a impromptu barbecue washed down with lashings of Bob’s tea


03 June

Wednesday 31st. saw a really impressive line up of our members skills.
Four locomotives were up for hydraulic / steam test. Rob Gleave brought
along his very elegant Lancashire and Yorkshire tank for steam test.
Next was Roy Allen’s superb BR standard 2-6-4 tank and to top it all
Dave Long brought 2 identical 5ins gauge Achilles tank loco’s for
test. Our boiler tester, Henry Wood, was also training Andrew Marsh
as a stand bye boiler inspector. They could not have picked a better
day. The sight of the four loco’s was absolutely breath taking, a
credit to their builders.

After lunch Roy ventured out onto the track, taking two passengers for
his first run. Performing well, Roy decided to do a load test consisting
of three trucks and seven passengers and apart from the usual wheel slip
starting on the gradient she soon picked up and ran faultlessly. A really                                                                                                                                                       big round of applause for twenty five years of building such a
lovely locomotive, well done Roy.

For more photos and video’s of the day visit the clubs Facebook page.
Patrick Mullee


26 May

There’s nothing exciting to report this month on the running side
other than” Puffing Billy Atherton” has successful completed more than
one lap of the new track with his American 0-4-0 without stopping to
light his PIPE !!! So much so he is now regularly seen to be speeding!

Malcolm Ross after numerous attempts to vacate the steaming bays has
finally ventured out onto the big railway and had a run behind his
lovely 31/2 gauge Rob Roy. He hasn’t put his name on the roster for
the steam fair though.

As you are all aware a decision was made by the committee to sell off
the club’s portable track. Steve Hudson, former portable track manager, has received a firm offer of £1500 pounds for the two trailers and Phil Parker has purchased the track and one truck to add to his garden on the site of
the old Whitchurch steam shed.

All the proceeds from the sale have financed the purchase of two
portaloo toilets that are to be placed into a timber structure and
provide a decent toilet block for members and visitors alike, thus
enhancing the facilities that we can provide in the woodland setting. A big
thank you must go to Brian Renton for finding and transporting the
loo’s from Doncaster. Rosewood Timber, Hatton are building the new
shelter and delivery has been promised by the end of June just in time
for the steam fair.

The annual track survey has been completed and apart from the two
protruding beams on the derelict track (which have now been removed) and
all but essential maintenance to be carried out, everything is fine.

On the passenger truck dept, work is carrying on at a frantic pace to
have all the new and existing trucks up and running in time for the
big show. Another team effort has seen the installation of another
steaming bay many thanks to Paul Caldwell and Henry Woods for their

We are living in a world where new events are happening at rapid
speeds no more evident than our own little world up at Daresbury. If
we look back over the last couple of years we have made momentous
changes to our site, most of them in the face of adversity, but we have
pulled through and we can now sit back and enjoy the fruits of our

John Entwistle announced at lunch on Wednesday that John Waldron had
been taken into intensive care. We all sent our good wishes for a
speedy recovery and today Thursday we have been told he is now out of
intensive care and onto a side ward. Looking forward John to hearing
your really annoying voice once again. Love from us all for a speedy


Signal News
Habemus signa

or for those who didn’t have a classical education

we have signals.

After sorting out one mystifying wiring error which had really strange
symptoms it all works, at least ones near the pavilion and the first 4
at the top end do. These cover the worst of the blind bends, the final 2
can come along as and when. Fault finding wasn’t made any easier by the
fact that the works trolley does not reliably short out the rails, and
so doesn’t trigger the track circuiting. Probably because it doesn’t have
conventional axles joining the wheels together.
Regards, Duncan


07 May

Not a lot to report as regards running this month due to poor weather
etc. The Sunday track running has been a very relaxed affair in the
last month. Andrew and his son Jake being the most notable early
morning runners. Sunday 2nd May, saw Andrew arrive on site with a kit
built picnic bench and table which he had fabricated from recycled
timber. The build quality is really robust it looks as though it will
see out the century, along with the benches that he has put in place,
the woodland is now a place for relaxation. Our thanks must go to
Andrew for all his efforts.

Sunday 2nd May, a small group of our members took the club Black Five
to the Leyland Society’s annual international 31/2 gauge rally. Prior
to the day out the loco was collected from Sam Sims who is the present
custodian. On delivery to Roy Allen’s workshop it was given a thorough
inspection prior to a paraffin bath. It was found that the slide bars
on the left hand side were loose and in danger of coming adrift so Roy
did an emergency repair to enable the loco to perform. On the day the
loco ran constantly taking its turn in the passenger hauling ranks.
Alas, towards the end of the day all didn’t sound well with the engine
running off beat. A decision was made to fetch her off and have a look
at what was going on. A close inspection revealed the Walschaerts link
had come apart and the whole engine was in dire need of attention.

An appeal was put out to the members for a volunteer to undertake the
overhaul and partial repaint of the engine and tender. Pete Sutton
stepped up to the plate and volunteered to take on the task. Peter has
recently suffered the bereavement of his wife Jo who passed away
after a long illness, Our thoughts must be with Peter at this difficult

Today, Sunday 7th May, was a perfect day full sun and plenty of engines
on display. As part of my new duties as liaison between the track gang
and the committee, I approached Bruce for the results of the annual
track inspection that Bruce and his team had recently completed. First
and foremost, was there any jobs that must be completed before the Steam
Fair? Bruce pointed out that on the new extension, where the track was
exposed to the sun in two places, there was no expansion joint. On
inspection today it was obvious this job needs early attention, so work
will start on Wednesday to rectify it. Another concern is that the two
beams at either end of the old loop need removal as they are far too
close to the running road. Apart from those two points things are
looking quite good. The signalling is coming along nicely thanks to
Duncan and the new trucks are also looking good.                                                                                                                                                                                              (see following for signalling news from Duncan)

Signal News

As I arrived on Wednesday I could hear the sound of the Lesser Spotted Strimmer
Bird at work, yes spring has sprung. Unfortunately the LSSB has a habit
of destroying the cabling on the signals, so first job was to fit cable
guards to the new bit. Then completed the connection of track to
junction boxes, fitted the connection sensing resistors and insulated
fishplates (both made by Bruce, thanks). One more connection to make!
Next week we hope to fit the solar battery charging system, then we
should be able to test the complete system



Sunday 9th April was a really sunny day, ideal weather for a running
day. Disappointingly there was a very low turn out. Andrew and his
son Jake were early arrivals at the track site. Andrew had brought
along a new arm chair he had carved from a tree he had felled, it’s a
wonderful addition to the track side. The arm chair is positioned
between the two stations in the centre of the two running roads, giving
a wonderful relaxing view of the running roads. Up at the deep cutting
he has fashioned a further two benches, one overlooking the pond with a
good view of the new track running up to the tunnel and the other
giving a view of the track from Daresbury Summit along the deep
cutting. All in all a very good job and use of redundant tree trunks,
adding even more beauty to our wonderful track. Keith was running his
beautiful Darjeeling B class tank, Jake ran his Butch and three diesel
electric locos turned up.

Wednesday 12th saw two B1′s up for test.  Brian Renton’s  Springbok
passed its hydraulic and steam test with no problems at all. Up next
was a B1 boiler for hydraulic test, unfortunately there was a small
leak on one of the hollow stays. Duncan forged on with his project
wiring up the signals and track circuiting, it is coming along quite well.

Thursday 13th April was the first meeting of the new committee. After
re- electing Roger as our chairman (a job he relishes) Henry welcomed
the new committee members, Bob Lang , Roy Allen and Patrick Mullee.
Roger wasted no time appointing each member to their specific tasks.  A
number of issues were discussed and were dealt with accordingly, no
doubt they will be put to the membership at a future meeting.  All in
all it was a very good discussion on taking the club forward for the
next year.

Easter Sunday turned out to be a foul  day weather wise,  so I thought I
would just pop up to Daresbury to see if there was  anyone foolhardy
enough to turn out. When I approached the entrance there was around
six cars up at the track so I ventured across. Tea man Bob was there,
so that was a good start, and three engines, so all was not lost. Sam
had brought along the club Black Five, and as usual it ran superbly.



DG2    DG4


7  April

News from Duncan

Signal News.

It’s all been a bit quiet for some time, but finally making some
progress. To save confusion, signals are numbered as follows

1 distant by carriage shed 2 swinging link 3 home before
Daresbury Halt

4 starter at Daresbury Halt (Amy Parsons’s signal)

5 distant before first bridge 6 multi aspect before first
bridge 7 multi aspect before conifers

8 multi aspect before tunnel 9 multi aspect before new bridge at
top end 10 multi aspect just after Daresbury Summit

!, 2, 3 & 4 should be working as they have not been altered in new
scheme. Similarly 5 & 6 are installed and cabled.

Posts for 7 was installed some time ago, posts for 8 & 9 installed last
week (thanks Paul), cable from 6 to 7 cable pulled today but not
terminated. The microphone cable we scrounged off Phil just fits between
steel beams and sleepers, so quite neat, the slightly heavier stuff I
had to buy won’t, so it will be cable tied underneath. The alternative
of burying the cable has been rejected (by me, no discussion!), trench
digging is soul destroying, that clay sets like stone in dry weather



A bit more.

When I were a lad you could get a bench mounted thing for accurately bending flat bar. Has anyone got access to such a thing to bend the stirrups for the new truck?


30 March

Wed 13 March saw the fallen tree across the cutting on the up side of
the track removed. It was a Herculean task by our landlord aided by
our Wednesday gang. This saw the track reopened for business, only for a
further scare at beam 200 where high treetop branches had snapped and
remained precariously hanging over the running track. Prior to Sunday
running 26/3, Andrew Marsh arrived early and removed the offending
branches. A big thank you goes out to Andrew and Jake for their effort,
allowing the Sunday frolics to continue.

Thursday March 16th was the annual AGM at the Stretton cricket club.
This past year saw the demise of our portable track activities and
loss of revenue therein. It was very pleasing to see the new club
subscription so warmly accepted and it was agreed by all that the value for
money we receive in return is fantastic. All in all, the club has come
out of the extension challenge very well, with no small thanks to our
treasurer John Entwistle who can still keep four balls in the air
without the aid of his batman, well done John.

It had been previously decided that the number of members serving on

the committee was too large and that a committee of 8 members

would be sufficient. The committee therefore stood down as a whole.

A vote was then conducted  to elect proposed members. Hon Sec was

re-elected along with the Treasurer and Henry Wood as Minutes Sec.

Five members were elected to serve   -  Roy Allen. Roger Hall, Steve Hudson,

Bob Lang (tea man Bob) and Patrick Mullee.  After all Club business had

been concluded, the new committee elected Roger Hall to be Chairman,

a job he does with pure joy.
Wednesday 29th March, well what can one say? The day we start informal
negotiations to exit the EU, tinged with happiness but the gloom set in
for one of our most eminent loco owners (lol) Sir Barrie Purslow’s Black
Five FAILED, I kid not, FAILED its boiler steam test !!  One would ask
where on earth did Henry pick up the courage ? Joking apart, it was only
a small steam leak on the regulator, no doubt fixed before the sun had
a chance to set on it. After waiting 24hrs for my brown envelope to
arrive, I can announce that Paul Caldwell’s magnificent, only for the
colour blind”BLUE”, Duchess performed faultlessly all morning with no
aerobatics. Maybe when Paul decides to perform another air show we
could arrange for this Duchess to land in a bucket of red paint.

Patrick Mullee.


Bogies and Chassis for new Truck


Bogies for new truck 1Bogies for new truck 2

New truck chassis


18 March 2017

Due to bad weather and the fallen tree, all due to storm Doris, there
wasn’t much activity up at the track on Wednesday 1st March.

Thursday 2nd March we were treated to a really interesting talk on the
Bloodhound SSC project. Bloodhound is Great Britain’s latest attempt
on the land speed record, with a car capable of traveling at 1000mph.
The aim of the project is to inspire the younger generation to pursue
a career in science and technology, engineering and mathematics. To
this aim the group are showcasing the project to schools and colleges.
Richard Noble and Andy Green are heading the team in this fantastic
adventure. It is proposed to run the jet/rocket powered car in South
Africa, the only place possible to hold the event. At top speed the car
will cover the measured mile in 3.6 seconds, a truly terrifying thought.

We all wish Andy Green the driver all the luck in the world.



Wednesday saw the club Sweet Pea loco brought out of hibernation for a
steam test prior to the loco being put up for sale on behalf of the
owning family, glad to say all went well. As for the permanent way
dept., they have now installed the new beams and the track is now in
place held by the key sleepers. We are reliably informed all work
will be completed by the end of Wednesday 22 Feb and running can
recommence. Hip Hip Hoorray

Thursday 16 Feb saw natter night at the cricket pavilion. Our
chairman gave a brief outline on the present state of the track work
and went on to reassure all the members present that there will be no
further breakages in the track until all outstanding work on the new
extension has been completed. We were also reassured that all
modifying track work must go through the committee before any
work commences.


Friday 17 Feb was a very busy day at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Oldham
where the MMEX exhibition was being held. We should as a club be very
proud of all our members who chose to exhibit their models. The stand
was a great sight with two built up freight trains as the main back
drop. The models on show attracted much attention from the press and
Joe public alike. Many many questions were answered about the models
on show and our track extension attracted many engine owners
expressing a desire to come and try it out. As for my ego I sent a
video clip of my Hielan Lassie to Paul Caldwell late on Thursday
night and he posted it on our Facebook page. By Friday 83 people had
viewed it,4 many of them present in the hall this weekend. All in all as
a club we stand amongst the best and our thanks must go to Steve
Hudson and our Hon Sec for a wonderful weekend.



















*** Stop Press ***

Missed from Thursday 5th January's gazette

Malcolm Ross brought along a fine 31/2 gauge William 2-6-2 T running chassis. 
Unfortunately due to other commitments Malcolm has been forced to put it up for sale, 
so anyone interested in making an offer contact Malcolm.

Wednesday 18th January saw the start of the latest “tweaking” of the
recently completed track extension. Six concrete beams have been
removed and supporting pillars demolished to remove the “hump” out of
the track.

Whilst this work was going on Henry was busy boiler testing. Up for
test was Malcolm’s 31/5 gauge Rob Roy unfortunately it was found to
have a problem in the hand pump. Next was Pete’s boiler from his 31/2
gauge Arfer ( half a Maisie and half a Bantam Cock) poor old Pete
there was a problem with the regulator. Next on line was my 31/2 gauge
Hiellan Lassie up for a steam test and to every one’s amazement it was
faultless. Safety valves acted dead on time the injector and hand pump
performed as well.

Thursday 19th January we were entertained by Roger Coasby from the
People’s Mosquito Ltd. Roger who was employed by De Havilland gave us
a detailed presentation on the group’s attempts to rebuild a Mosquito
from the remains of RL249 which crashed on take off in 1949. 7000
Mosquito’s were built and affectionately known as ” The Wooden
Wonder’s” Most of the work will be carried out in New Zealand and then
shipped to the UK for assembly. We look forward to seeing it in the
skies entertaining and educating the youngsters of today.

Wednesday 25th January work proceeds on the 30ft gap in the track.
Base pads and the first blocks are now in place and the work is
scheduled to take 2 more working weeks. As on the full sized railway
there will be heavy financial penalties involved if they do not meet
there target also the complete destruction of the “bendometer” so

Meanwhile back at the steaming bays we saw the return of the dynamic
duo Macolm and Pete back again for retest. Guess what they both failed
! sorry boy’s see you again next week.Happy Days the joy’s of model

P Mullee.

Thursday 5th January

Bits and pieces night Thursday 5 January.

What a show ! on a cold and frosty night the club house was packed.
Models of all description were on show,

First to present the fruits of his labours was Keith with his
beautiful skeleton clock complete with fusee movement and topped off
with a bell from the Whitechapel bell foundry.

Bruce had brought along a collection of parts he had completed for his
5ins Sterling 2-2-2 single wheeler. One of the most interesting
exhibits was the regulator, a really unusual design in the fact that it
is not fitted with a dome steam collector but dozens of 0.7 mm holes in
the top of the tube.

Next was Sam giving us an update on progress with his 3 ½” Rob Roy, not
so far off now.

Then Roy gave a talk on the construction of his very fine lifting
table complete with his 5ins gauge standard class 4 tank loco now
complete apart from the final assembly, a very fine loco indeed.

Now for something completely different.  Rob has built a very nice
single cylinder mill engine, but Rob went on to explain that almost all
model mill engines are mounted on a mahogany base. Not this one. Rob
sent away for hundreds of scale model “bricks ” he didn’t mention if
they came on a pallet !! a great deal of time and effort went into
laying each individual brick.

Last but not least was Henry with his latest version of his own design
a 5ins Emma Louise’ in a side tank form. Henry went on to explain the
construction of various fittings he had brought along, pointing out
that he never uses casting and everything present had been fabricated
from scratch.

All in all a very interesting evening and a wonderful show of
engineering skills.

2016 Daresbury Gazetts



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