The Chairman's Dribble.

Hello everyone! March is here, so spring is just around the corner, so summer cannot be far away. So lets hope for some nice weather. As most members know there are several events planned for the coming year, so make notes in your diary’s. Norman H and Ralph R have refurbished the foot bridge with new wooden slats all the way across and it looks a very professional job.
The railway crossing, under the guidance of Mike S and Mick W with their willing crew of workers are well on the way, so things are looking good. So all in all things are moving for-ward quite nicely. So lets hope the weather is good to us so we can have an enjoyable year. Well that’s all for now, let us all make this another good year. DM Chairman

The Secretary's Report.

The new running season is about to start again. At the track we are working hard to get every thing ready. Our plan is to finish it as soon as possible.
As you will see in the calendar dates are being added and our first day will be the Apprentice day where we would like the junior members or members who would like to drive steam engines and perhaps have not had the opportunity, only back and forth, but some experience.
I need to impress on you all, I need the Hockwold forms filled in and returned as soon as possible. Hockwold Show is on Sunday May 31st, so if you want to exhibited then please do your form and let me have it. The FRIDAY May 8th VE celebration day, nothing concrete here yet but a celebration perhaps to be-hold!.
Remember our website www.brandonanddistrictsme.com. We still do Mondays and Saturdays and perhaps Wednesday when the weather is kinder. Will let you know MW

Annual New Year Lunch.

This year’s Lunch was held at the Santon Downham Village Hall on the 12th January 2020, the caterer’s provided us with a selection of dishes which made this meal for £15.00 a very special meal. There was a bar where you could buy what ever drinks you wanted and there certainly was not the hustle and bustle of our previous venue. We were all together and feel that it was somewhat special. The meal was served very promptly and it was hot and all very nice, and looking round the plates which were empty, perhaps meaning it was good, or everyone was really hungry or we were not served a lot and could have done with some more, very much a long way from the truth, but I did not have any complaints so, it would seem you all had a good meal.
It was certainly different all being together and it was I hope a success. This year we had 46 persons attend and we could probably have had perhaps another 16 so maximum 62, without being overcrowded, still that’s for the future. We had a few engineering jokes read out, not much laughter. But it put things in order for Dave M address, Thank You, Dave. Enclosed are three pictures, just to show you all, the ambience of the place. MW thanks to Gill F and John M for the pictures.

Track Report

During the last few months the lean too has been completed and is a very good addition to our storage problems. It needs some tinkering, Paul B is adding some lights and Geoff E is going to add some rails so we can keep our members trollies and the like, in a bit more se-cure place than in the tunnel, so watch this space.

The Crossing

The crossing is coming on a pace. The hard core and sharp sand has been purchased and delivered ready for making the foundations really solid. The metal has been purchased and being worked on, the crossing has been dug out to the chalk with the help from Shaun C, Dad’s digger, oh, so much easier than digging and wheelbarrowing the spoil away. The old broken kerb stones are being laid in the bottom of the footings and at present this is up to date where we are.
The rails are being made, but most days have been too cold, too wet and too windy to do any welding, but we will get there. Mike S is drilling and milling the 3.8metres rails for the crossing at home and when this is complete we will purchase the railway sleepers . All in all we coming on exceptionally well with a very good set of worker each working day. We are doing Mondays and Saturdays at present and hopefully when the weather is kinder to us, Wednesday will be back, but watch this space.
Below is a couple of pictures of the digging out process.

We dug out the crossing to the chalk, which was about 24” deep we then “Whacked “ it and laid all the broken kerb stones and blocks in the bottom, we then filled in the gaps with a fine layer of sand ready for the ballast to come next.

We are going to include a walk way or zebra crossing for people to cross on, run-ning next to the bridge, a me-tre wide, this will be block paving we have acquired , thanks to Norman H the crossing will be approximate-ly 12 feet wide, to our metric men about/ not exactly. 3.64m

The crosses are our levels, these horizontal pieces of wood are the rail hights from either side. Here Geoff B is “ Whacking “ the ballast down hard and flat. Still more to come but the weather this month has been a right Pain.

This is one of the longer sleepers being set up ready to mill the top and bottom slots in the side, this will give us a groove which we can bolt a piece of 60mm x 12mm x 1metre long bar on each side allowing us to join two sleep-ers together and butt up the kerb stones flush to the sleepers.

Another picture showing the road crossing between the blocks, the kerb stones will be laid flat side up and between the sleepers, with a centre section from the flat concrete slabs we have. On the left side will be a paved walk way made from paving blocks.

Ballast has been laid and we have been waiting for the sleepers to be milled with the side fixings to join two sleepers to-gether. This has now been completed and delivered to the track, along with the metal side straps and bolts.

The Bridge Repair

Following last year’s emergency repair, something had to be done with the bridge. We have purchased some very adequate timber for the job and this has been sawn up and painted ready to be fixed across the walkway of the bridge. We have also, well Geoff E has welded a strong central angle along the whole width of the bridge the make the tim-bers more stable, see below the pictures. This is an ongoing project so watch this space.

The Boating Pond

We still have a bit more painting to do on the posts. The wire netting has certainly done a fantastic job, as the water is very clear and clean. The rain continues to fall and we have had to keep the level of the water below the top of the frame so we have had to pump some water out to satisfy this. The grass has started to grow and all in all this now looks a picture, instead of an eye sore / trip hazard boating lake. When the sun shines it does look very good, especially when the new plants go in, so again keep your eyes pealed.

News update due to the Coronavirus.

As you all know we are in the midst of a global epidemic where the rules are changing every single day.
You will have all seen our latest email Sunday 22/3/2020, just to remind you that Brandon & District Society of Model Engineers is now in complete shut down on all aspects for the foreseeable future.
We will of course update you as and when we hear any more from the Government to tell us when things can be reversed.
As you all probably have realised, The Mardle was mostly written before the epidemic really started, so the dates in the calendar will probably not go ahead but we will advise you as and when we know anything definite. So, we will have to play it by ear so all we can say at present is keep safe, keep calm and carry on and we hope to see you all after this “ Virus” has run its course and gone away. DM & MW