Members contributions

  Welcome to the Members Contributions section.  Here, you will find contributions from NDSME members, items that they feel would be of interest to others.  Please submit any copy/photos to

16 Oct 2016

Pete King’s visit to the 7.25″ Society AGM at Beer Heights Light Railway in Devon  30th. Sept. – 3rd. Oct 2016

We arrived in Beer, checked in and unloaded before lunch on Friday and then waited for the Hunslet to be pulled round to the steaming bays by BHLR “shunter” powered by a Mini engine.  We waited a couple of hours for this to happen due to the railway running their commercial operation but once on the steaming bay I wasted no time in getting the fire lit ready to try their wonderful track.

It didn’t disappoint, the whole site being superbly landscaped and planted and the views like no other miniature railway in the country.  The track is fully signalled which, due to the number of locos running, meant quite a bit of stopping and starting but this didn’t detract from the experience.  BHLR runs very large narrow gauge locos pulling rakes of toastrack coaches carrying around 30 passengers per train and at this time of year they run at 35 minute intervals.

There were only 25 7.25″ locos booked in to the AGM this year where normally we see 50 to 60 due mainly to the very limited storage/steaming bay area.

On Saturday & Sunday we had been allocated two-hour slots for running and luckily missed most of the showers to enjoy a good weekend with lots of good food and wine and catching up with many friends.  

I’ve added a few photos to give you a flavour of the weekend and some of you may recognise one or two of the drivers. [and some superb views, Ed]




12 Oct 2016

Monthly meeting report by Mike Fordham

At this meeting the speaker Ramon Wilson displayed this magnificent model of a working steam boat “Wide a Wake”. It had all started in the 1970s when Ramon had obtained a copy of the Model Boats magazine No1, which had full plans for “Wide a Wake”, a 19th century wooden steam boat used on Loch Earne, Ireland. He had started to obtain wood for the project an engine and the shell of the boiler, he completed the boiler only to find it leaked. Two years ago Ramon restarted the project first building the boat hull with the wood he had saved, old windowsills and wood from friends.

The boiler was rebuilt and a new 2cylinder engine constructed a copy of the original but with a  machined two bore block instead of two castings. It first entered the water at Eaton Park in September this year and preformed well.


08 Sept 2016

We’ve all probably wondered what other NDSMEers get up to when they’re not doing NDSME stuff.  Now, here’s a window into what one member has been up to, in photos recently sent to your scribe by a mysterious “Mr Kœnig”.  The photos show Barry Fane “somewhere in Norfolk” on the footplate of BR Standard 76084.  So, now we know what he does when he’s not in Madeira.  I’m sure that any one of us would like to be where he is in these pics…


26 August 2016

GWR autotrain at the Mid-Norfolk Railway Steam Gala

Three visiting locomotives joined the Summer resident Hawksworth G.W.R 0.6.0PT 9466 for the steam gala on 26-29 August.

Besides Met No 1,  and 0-6-0PT 1501, the stars were 1937 built G.W.R 6430 0-6-0PT push pull fitted to Collett design and G.W.R Autocoach 167 built 1929.  These had both been restored by the Llangollen Railway. On the Friday these worked non stop return trips between Dereham & Wymondham Abbey, on the other days they provided a shuttle between Hoe & Dereham.

The auto-train on its way to Wymondham, showing the drivers compartment for push-pull working.



This shows the regulator connection from autocoach to loco.  The whistle is connected by a chain out of shot.



How luxurious does this look compared to modern trains.  Spacious, airy, comfortable seats and windows you can open!   And, this is just second class!



The drivers controls are simple, regulator, whistle, gong, sanders, vac brake and handbrake.



Three panniers all in a row.



G.W.R  0-6-0PT 1501, the last one of 10 built by Hawksworth at Swindon in 1949 to work the empty stock from Paddington to Old Oak carriage sidings.  Note the outside cylinders.





16 August 2016

Pete King’s latest project, a much modified Romulus in 7.25” gauge

 Our webmaster asked me to do a short article on my latest engine and as it’s exactly four years since I purchased two “part built” locos from a model engineer in Chippenham, I thought I would show photos (below) of the engine on 19th. August 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 plus today’s picture.

I decided to build the Romulus as it’s about the biggest 7.25” loco I could build in my workshop using a Myford Super 7 and small Centec milling machine, however, because I have never liked the look of the standard Romulus 0-4-0 I decided to add another axle to make it 0-6-0 and change the valve gear from Hackworth to Walschaerts.  

To be able to make these modifications I purchased and learnt QCAD.  I have all the necessary drawings available – so if anyone is interested give me a call.  

As you will see from the photos I am getting to the point where I will be stripping to paint it very shortly so hopefully we will see it in steam next year.

I have been taking photos all the way through the build and have about 200 in total so if anything in particular interests you please let me know and more will be forthcoming.

Pete King  August 2016


August 2012 raw materials and components



August 2013 frames and wheelsets



August 2014 rods and valves



August 2015, boiler and bodywork



August 2016, ready for painting


If this loco performs anything like Pete’s Elidir, it’ll be an absolute cracker!  We look forward to its debut at EP (Ed.)



31 July 2016

Mid Norfolk Interlude

While  the Eaton Park track is  closed on last Sundays, members have started informal trips out  to other locations of interest.  Here we visited the Mid Norfolk Railway, where the star of the day was Met 4-4-0 tank  No1 (formerly LT L44)

Below.  Metropolitan Rly.  No 1 and the heritage Cravens set at Dereham



Met No 1 awaiting the next turn



The charming wayside station a Thuxton.  On busy days both platforms are used.



The frame (from Seven Sisters) and the locking room at the new Thuxton box (rescued from Stratford).  There is no point roding, the blue levers control electric point motors.


Here we see Allan  Shirley busy with a passenger check on a train





















The penultimate train from Thuxton was the vintage DMU set


27 July 2016

Mike Fordham reports,

At Sheringham station on The North Norfolk Railway a new shop, tourist information and toilets have been built and are now in use, these have replaced the old ones and provide enhanced facilities.

The refreshment room is now being enlarged taking over the space used in the main station by the shop. A brand new footbridge of traditional railway design has been installed linking platform 1 & 2, this is in the same position as the one demolished by BR when the station was closed. The bridge now gives visitors and the photographer commanding views and new angles for photos.


The new footbridge and tourist information building (built in a sympathetic style)


A long lense compresses the view looking eastwards to the BR-built halt.


A wider view including Black Prince.


Here is a link to the original article of 2014 in the EDP, with a pic of the original footbridge, click here


18 May 2016

An Interval in France

Submitted by Mike Fordham.

I have just returned from the Fete de la Vapeur en Baie de Somme, a 3day Gala
based on the Somme estuary, it takes place every three years and this was my fourth visit.


From the map you can see how the two branches to the coast at Cayeux and Le Crotoy are joined by a dual gauge section between Saint Valery and Noyelles. Also in the High Street at Cayeux a 60cm temporary track was laid for the gala.







Around fifteen working steam engines two ex Parisien buses and a steam boat all helped to make it a very interesting Gala.



Work started on the construction of a standard gauge railway in 1854 linking Noyelles and St Valery with the French main line. A metre gauge line followed linking Le Crotoy with Cayeux, the section between St Valery and Noyelles was, and still is, dual gauge.





A dual gauge harbour branch at St Valery and workshops at St Valery Canal followed.
It became known as the Reseau des Bains de Mer – the sea bathers railway &  holiday railway that also provided a service for local people and products including pebbles and sugar beet.  All this was to change in WWI when thousands of troops and armaments were carried to supply the Somme battlefields.

WWII and the construction of the Atlantic Wall by the Germans saw the line extended with 60cm branches to new quarries where flint and silica pebbles were extracted in large quantities to supply construction sites. Large amounts of concrete was used to construct German defences including V1 rocket ramps. 230,000 Rommels were assembled made from six 1.5cm concrete lengths and were part of the defences.

The lines were set to close completely in 1972, but enthusiasts were ready to keep it running as a working line in preservation and it reopened with a new name – Chemin de fer de la Baie de Somme.  The trains were very full and everyone seemed to enjoy the event, the 3day ticket only cost 25 euros, the cost of a one day one on most preserved railways in the UK.






The pictures show only some of the engines that took part in the event and do not do justice to the beautiful countryside. I’ve already booked my seat for 2019.

Mike Fordham