The First Annual Post Rally Road Run

On Saturday 8th of Aug a few of us brave souls gathered at the club track for what is hoped will become the first annual road run down to the Saxon pub in Weeting. Four engines made the trip, Michael B (4” little Sampson), Peter E, Andy G (4 1/2” Burrell’s) and Chris H (3” Minnie) Sandra B was our only passenger, keeping Peter company on the trip. The allotted time of departure was decided to be 12:00; high noon! And we were on time, no mean feat when you are relying on the unknowns of raising steam! Michael decided to cross the rally field as this was a slightly shorter distance, in the end however it was to be much harder going with the deep ruts on the field and the extra drag from the grass making progress much slower and more difficult. Peter E did the trip in reverse, leaving from his house and roading to the club and back again. We had to bring our own water for the outward trip however the friendly landlord was only too happy for us to top up from his hose, for the return trip.

On the whole drivers treated us with gracious curiosity, waiting patiently for our ponderous convoy to pass, it took I guess about 30 minutes to make the trip to the pub which is largely downhill, something you don’t even notice in the car. A quick pint a good chat and the usual B&DSME laughs, several people came and had a look at our strange conveyances, the landlord showed great interest and said we were more than welcome to come back, so I guess we will have to! The homeward journey was uneventful, except now the hill made its gradient felt, with coal and water consumption increasing, however Andy said he didn’t add any coal at all on the return trip. Total distance covered was about 2.5 miles, Michael had a grin from ear to ear and I must admit I really enjoyed the experience, best of all no one got crushed by a 20 ton lorry and none of the engines broke down, unlike at the rally when my back axle seized solid a long way from home requiring the assistance of Andy and the “Doom-bar”* I will definitely be having a go at the proposed run from Forncett St Mary to the Tank Museum this October. Why not come and enter or even come as a passenger, a lovely sedate way to see the Autumnal countryside.

*Andy’s son named the pole, his dad keeps safely stowed on his trolley for breakdowns, this has saved several of us recently, and was christened after the Ale “Doombar” served in the beer tent this year. You know you are in trouble after the “Bar of Doom” is unbolted!

Written by Steamfly – Aug 2015

Bressingham Models Weekend

I have visited Bressingham Model Engines Weekend many times over the years always as a punter, this year we decided to go as exhibitors and take “Scallywag” the date was the 8-9thAugust sadly the 8th was the allotted day for the APRRR* so we could only go on the Sunday. The weather gods were extremely kind to us and to say the day was bright and sunny was a huge understatement, it was one of those unusual days when you could see for miles and miles with little or no haze to blur distant objects, the sun shone brightly without a cloud in the sky all day.

All of the campers, caravans and day exhibitors were located in a separate field and some difficulty was encountered finding our way in! Eventually we asked directions from a couple of lads who were firing one of the narrow gauge locos, they instructed us to drive through the museum grounds past the bottom entrance and then into the field, this was done while expecting someone to start yelling at us that “You can’t bring that through here etc.” I have never been that confident or for that matter happy towing the engine and the thought of turning it round in a small area fills me with dread, you might imagine how much I enjoy towing our caravan?

Once parked, Norman (the organiser) came over requesting I produce the necessary insurance/boiler paperwork once we had lit the fire and had a minute or two spare, the fire was unenthusiastic, as there was little wind and although I have had all the bits to make an electric blower for about four years I still haven’t got around to putting it together, might be a good little winter project, it’s on the “List” as they say…….

Once in steam, you are pretty much left to roam as you wish, the only requirement is that you are present for the “Grand Parade” at two o’clock, this we made every effort to comply with and unlike other rallies where it’s a free for all into the ring, Norman asks you enter in numeric order, I completely failed this intelligence test and blindly steamed in between numbers four and five, our number was 26…….. You can’t account for stupidity! A small trophy is presented to the engine the organisers like the best, and this year it went to a gentleman who had visited Bressingham four years ago, looked the model engines and said to himself “I want one of those!” set to, machined it all up, this year his son drove it triumphantly around the ring! I believe he is now working on his second engine, can’t be bad! Other events over the weekend include, a road run on Friday night (too the local of course), a fish and chip supper on Saturday and if the weather permits RC models are flown in the evenings, at this year’s rally there was an excellent aerobatic display from a Pitts Special, this being an extra attraction, as it was cancelled from an event earlier in the year. A selection of photographs can be seen below.

It had to be said we thoroughly enjoyed the day and next year we may bring the caravan and make a long weekend of it, especially if the weather is as good as this year.

Steamfly – Aug 2015

*I hope you are paying attention and have read the report on the first Annual Post Rally Road Run (APRRR)

Forncett Model Engineers Steam Up

Having not been to Forncett Industrial Steam Museum for some time, we decided to have a trip there for their Model Engineers Day on 4th October.

Located in some of the deepest parts of Norfolk, this museum of myriad stationary steam engines large and small is living proof of what can be achieved when you put your mind to it. Begun by Dr Rowan Francis and thanks to his determination and at times quick actions, it now houses a large collection of stationary industrial steam engines that would otherwise have been scrapped and lost forever. The engines are kept in two well presented purpose-built engine houses, with a separate boiler house with line shaft-driven workshop. All of these engines are of historic importance, but they include at least one engine of iconic national importance. Namely one of the compound engines from Tower Bridge in London that used to provide power for the bridge’s bascule mechanism. It is seen here at Forncett in beautifully cared-for condition and fully working.

In one engine house you can find the large Dover engine; a Worthington-Simpson triple expansion engine that was used for pumping water for Dover and the surrounding area. A fine machine that was viewed running; very impressive! In this same engine house can be found two other distinctly different examples of steam engine. There is a compound beam engine of the late 19th century at one end, and a rare and small example of the Parson steam turbine at the other; a huge difference in technology between them. You have to keep pinching yourself that all this lovely stuff is housed in this tiny village, miles from a good main road! The task of getting all this here must have been a truly mammoth one!

Above the main engine house was a varied exhibition of models including rail, stationary, aircraft, and road steam. Some very good work was to be seen here.

Outside in the glorious autumn sunshine were around sixteen miniature traction engines in steam and chugging about. Among them were no less than four club members’ engines.Thee was a good variety of engines present ranging from a 3” scale Aveling tractor, through to a 4” Burrell Scenic showman’s engine, right up to a 6” scale Burrell agricultural with accompanying traction wagon.

There were also a couple of full size engines present; an Aveling roller and an Aveling tractor. The Aveling tractor had roaded over that morning from nearby Wymondham. Ray also had his steam car there and steaming around.

The full size and the miniatures engines had a small road run of about a mile to a nearby tank museum and back again. All those who took part enjoyed their trip and I believe all entrants returned successfully, (We did, Ed)

A large array of classic cars was also on display, together with a couple of classic motorbikes, and a small steam launch.

If you haven’t been to Forncett Industrial Steam Museum, you really must! It is a well presented and fascinating place to visit. See their website www.forncettsteammuseum.co.uk for more details of steaming days and other events.

Kev B – Oct 2015

Ed’s Note,

While we were at the Tank Museum of all things a Delorean drove into the carpark, caused more interest than all of the traction engines, mind you I have never seen one either. I have since found out that October 21, 2015 (a few days from when this was first published) is one of the dates entered into Marty McFlys time machine in the film Back to the Future! Where’s my “HoverBoard”? Science and Hollywood has seriously lied to us!

Friends & Families Invite Day

The grey and dreary weather was not a promising start to our Invitation Day held at the track at Weeting. The showers persisted on and off throughout the morning, but happily they subsided after lunch. True to form the dodgy weather failed to deter many members from bringing their engines along, and we had a good turnout of road and rail engines. Mike H’s expression below sums up the determination of members to play with their engines whatever the weather! His 3″ Burrell agricultural was enjoying one of its first outings since he acquired it a subsequently set about turning it in to the beautiful engine we saw today. Serious work on the crank and other components now mean that it ticks over like a Swiss watch.

Another 3” Burrell seen below was present, this being owned by Mike’s nephew I believe. This was running very well, and always had a good head of steam whilst chugging around the site.

The road steam contingent was also made up of Norman’s 4″ Foster agricultural, Andy’s 4 ½” Burrell agricultural, Mike B’s 4″ Savage tractor, Chris’s 3″ Minnie “Scallywag”, Stephen’s 4 ½” Burrell (on display though not in steam) and Ray’s Lykamobile steam car.

There was activity on the track, including Pete, our regular visitor from the Peterborough club with his 5″ gauge Wisbech & Upwell tram. Pete had also encouraged a few other Peterborough members to visit us today, and we all hope that their enjoyed their visit.

Jason was also seen with his latest creation, a 7 ¼” gauge Sentinel shunter. This was one of the engine’s first trips out, and looked very smart indeed, with very crisp and neat bodywork. He certainly seems to be well pleased with his efforts!Paul S had brought along his 7 ¼” gauge Sweet William “Sambuca”, and a lovely train of narrow gauge slab wagons to compliment this cracking engine. You can see that he has learned from the best and was fully equipped with willing “staff”! Very handy!!

Paul B had brought along one of the Simplexes he is working on, and his half-size Gardner gas engine. The Gardner runs so smoothly and is a joy to watch, with its soft rhythmic exhaust. Young Sam had his model boat on the pond, and like some of the other youngsters present, had a plethora of radio control vehicles to play with. This just goes to show that we are all just playing with toys, no matter what our age is!

The BBQ was expertly tended to by Stuart and members of his family, and was very popular indeed. With our now traditional High Tea served later in the afternoon, I think it is fair to say that everyone was well fed and watered. Our thanks go to all those who provided cakes and nibbles, and to those who worked so hard in the catering department to help make this day so enjoyable.

It was a delight to see life member Eric among us again. He chatted with many of those present, and was chauffeured up to John’s boiler house by Andy’s Burrell to see the big stationary engine in steam.

All in all it was a great day, despite the iffy weather in the morning. Once again our thanks go to all those who helped make today such a successful and pleasant event.

 Kev B – May 2015