Dear Members

A change in the weather this week but no change on returning to the club, continue watching this space.
We still have some interesting articles for you from far and wide together with the first of club members out and about, perhaps some of you may have more to share.
As always keep safe


Phil and Nigel

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Logging Locos
by Malcolm


I realized when looking through my photo collection that I had accumulated quite a few of logging locos in the USA. These rather ungainly looking machines seem to have been looked on kindly and a significant number have survived, some still in running order.
There were three types of loco, all having a geared drive in common to give maximum power with a low axle weight and a very flexible drive to deal with the uneven track and tight curves. These were known after the manufacturers’ names; the Shay locos had an offset boiler and vertical cylinders driving through cardan shafts to the wheels. Climax locomotives had cylinders either side of the boiler with a geared drive, and Heislers, which had the cylinders set in a V, again driving through shafts to the bogies. North American logging railways were often standard gauge to deal with the size of tree trunks they were felling and processing.
I will start with the Heisler loco with its twin cylinders in V formation.  This one is at the Pennsylvania Railroad Museum and dates from 1918. The drive to the bogies uses the conventional coupling rods to drive the other axles. The steam circuit is easy to follow on this one as the regulator valve is just in front of the cap on the boiler top, and the exhaust steam goes to the smokebox saddle to the blast pipe.




This photo is from the museum website and shows the general arrangement much better. The whole design is flexible and ideal for the logging railway.
Turning to the Climax loco, these were built by a company established in agricultural machinery and oil rigs. Their design was very light weight and simple, the two inclined cylinders driving through a bevel gear to the axles. This example was built in 1913.



And finally, the Shay locomotive, with its offset boiler and vertical cylinders driving through cardan shafts and bevelled gears. The loco at the Penn museum dates from 1906 and is considerably longer than either of the other locos. Interestingly the loco has air brake equipment so would clearly have been used on more established lines where fitted stock would have been available. Given the loads and gradients it is not surprising that braked wagons would be used.
The towing arrangements are interesting as they allow for different heights of couplings to be used. Maybe a useful modification for Mosquito falls locos?




The second Shay is at El Portal, at the end of the former Yosemite Valley Railroad, which closed in 1945. This loco, built in 1921, worked on the Hetchy Hetchy Railroad in the mountains where the O’Shaugnessey  dam on the Tolumne River was being extended. It was moved to El Portal for display. A number of other items have been restored and placed there including a wooden turntable of the bridge type. The Yosemite Valley line was worked by conventional locomotives and was built as a means of getting tourists into the national park. The railroad follows the Merced River and in places its bridges and trackbed have been taken over by the road.



The offset boiler and the non-working sides




The drive side and compressed air cylinder. Below, the water tank is articulated and continues the drive. Does anyone want to say what the wheel arrangement is? My guess is 0-4-4-4-0TT. The loco weighed around 75 tonnes.




And one for the loco drivers. The cab is quite cramped. I was standing where the stoker would be, the Engineer was on the right, directly behind the cylinders. That box is the cover for the third cylinder.






Those of us that are old enough remember 1966 for one very important reason which is of course that it is the year that England won the World Cup. But apart from that I remember 1966 for another not entirely unconnected reason. It was also of course the last full year of steam on the Southern region.

On the very same day the 30th July I and about a dozen scouts plus leaders set of for a weeks camp at Corfe Castle in Dorset. We were travelling by train which made a change from the then usual back of a removal van where we sat on suitably stacked boxes and tents which was not very comfortable to say the lease. What would health and safety have to say about this now.



We were living in Finchley at the time and the scout group was just around the corner. The nearest station was Finchley Central on the Northern Line and we duly met there at some early hour. All of our own kit was carried in rucksacks but the camping equipment had been sent in advance by rail. Something that you can’t do now. If I remember correctly a couple of the leaders had travelled to Corfe Castle in advance to retrieve the equipment from the station and deliver it to the farm site that we were going to camp at.

We caught the Northern line straight through to Waterloo and emerged onto the concourse, which of course was familiar with, having spent many hours there and at Clapham Junction catching the last of the steam services, as well as just about everything else around. My combined volume was pretty full of Southern region numbers by then. Having observed what ever steam I could see in passing we boarded a Weymouth bound train and settled into three or four compartments in Bulleid stock.

 When I look back on this I can’t believe that I missed this possibly last chance to travel behind steam out of Waterloo over a longish distance and missed seeing so much steam particularly around Eastleigh, Southampton and Bournemouth. I should have been hanging out of a window all of the way as I would have normally been doing.

When we arrived at Southampton it transpired the sliding door to the compartment had come off of its rail. This of course invoked a court of inquiry amongst those present to find the culprit and invoke a suitable punishment. This further prevented yet more observation of all that was happening around the station. A culprit was duly found although he denied any responsibility. He was ‘sentenced’ to do the washing up for the whole week. Justice was done (sort of)!

I don’t recall even passing through Bournemouth although we must have stopped virtually opposite the shed which was on the north side of the station at the west end and one of the few sheds any where that was clearly visible from the station.

In due course we arrived at Wareham where a change of train was necessary. We all piled out fighting through the narrow corridor with bulky rucksacks. The connecting train to Swanage was in the adjacent bay platform. If memory serves correctly this was usually only a two coach set but as this was a summer Saturday it had been strengthened to four coaches. At the front was I believe a BR Standard 4 2-6-4T.



The branch seemed to be worked by either the Standard 4 tanks or by Ivatt class 2 2-6-2 tanks, as I was to see during the week. These seemed to be used turn and turn about and were all based at Bournemouth shed having to travel light engine to Wareham and return every day. There was no shed at Wareham and the small one at Swanage, which is off of the short turntable, was out of use by then.

Getting onto the branch train with the rucksacks was even more of a trial then getting off of the main train had been. It was fairly crowded and we ended up standing in the corridor, which was of course totally blocked with the rucksacks by then, which caused much mayhem for other passengers, some of whom were not very nice to say the least. Needless to say we found this hilarious.

On arrival at Corfe Castle we once again fought our way out of the train past the majority of passengers who were of course travelling to the sea side at Swanage. The down platform then only had a board crossing at the north end by which to cross the line. The Swanage railway has of course now installed a foot bridge for safety reasons. Having exited the station we discovered that we a had a fairly long walk quite a bit of which was up hill to the campsite. This walk was one that we would become quite familiar with over the coming week, although we wouldn’t have to carry rucksacks at least not until the last day.

On arrival at the farm site that we were camping at we found that we were allocated what can best be called a ledge in the side of a hill, which was reached by crossing a large field on which another scout group were camping. It appeared to be quite a nice site. As we pitched the tents we found the first problem. Wooden tent pegs do not like being hammered into chalk. Most were blunted and some even broke. Short pegs were found to pull out of the ground in even the slightest wind of which more later. However some how the campsite was set up and we all settled in.

In the afternoon was of course the World Cup Final which we all of course missed. It was somewhat later that someone with a radio let us know the final result. From that day to this I have never seen the whole game, only the goals on TV.

I believe that it was on the Monday that we were given free time and allowed to wander down into Corfe Castle to look around and most importantly buy sweets. This is something that today would be unthinkable. Needless to say I headed to the station accompanied by a few others to see what was around. On the spur of the moment we bought return tickets to Swanage and boarded the next train.



Swanage station then was overall little different to how it is now with the Swanage Railway. However there was a double slip at the station throat from the run round across to the bay platform and there were two sidings in the goods yard that had rakes of coaches awaiting the return extras the following Saturday. This area is now a supermarket. I am sure that the Swanage Railway would have liked the extra space. The line was busy then with quite often two trains at the station, shunting between main and bay platforms. Extra coaches being added and quite often three or four engines around.

As I mentioned the campsite was on a ledge and in a windy spot. Over night the wind picked up and one of the tents blew down. Those in my tent were awoken during the night and we moved down to a barn in the farm buildings. The next morning the tents were re erected. My patrol made sure that the pegs would not pull out again by purloining every 12 inch peg we could find. The leader never did find out why our tent stood so solidly for the rest of the week!

On another day it was decided that everyone would spend the day in Swanage. So we walked down to Corfe Castle station again for the trip to Swanage. We didn’t let on that we had already been there. Needless to say for the middle of summer it was raining. We found a cafe along the seafront with a garden and table with parasols. We lowered the parasols right down and hid under them to stay dry whilst eating our sandwiches much to the annoyance of the owners.



Activity at the station on the return journey was much as we had seen before, although two of the leaders boarded a train in the bay platform which suddenly moved off much to our merriment and their concern. However they needn’t have worried as the two coaches were then shunted back onto the others in the main platform where upon we all joined the train.

On another day we visited Corfe Castle. Now those of you that have been there will appreciate the wonderful view over the town and more importantly the railway and station. It was at this point that I realised that I hadn’t got a camera. I only had a Kodak Brownie with a 127 black and white roll film taking 12 shots but it would have been absolutely better than nothing. Generally we were not encouraged to take cameras and the like to camps due to risk of loss or damage. It is something that I however regretted to this day since, although you can photograph the current Swanage Railway and recreate much the same scenes, it can never be the same as it was in 1966.

On the last day we all trooped back down to Corfe station with our even more bulky rucksacks. This time we were catching a through train to Waterloo which would save the change at Wareham. Unfortunately this was hauled by a Birmingham RCW type 3, probably better known to you now as a class 33. Until I believe 1965 a Bulleid light pacific would have done this duty but that would entail a light engine movement all the way from Bournemouth shed and vice versa on the incoming train to turn. Therefore a Class 33 was a much easier option. 



So a possible last chance to travel behind steam on the Southern Region was lost. The return journey was uneventful with little of note seen other than passing glimpses. So ended an interesting week with enduring memories.




This wonderful series from 1988 currently on BBC iplayer, much of the film shot by Ivo Peters and no music drowning out the sound of the steam engines.






Located in Northern California about 50 miles northeast of San Francisco and about 60 miles west of Sacramento, the Napa Valley is one of the top wine growing regions in the world. And the Napa Valley Wine Train’s route runs right through it.

Originally a rail line built in 1864 to take visitors north to the resort town of Calistoga, the Wine Train is a three-hour, 36-mile round-trip journey from Downtown Napa to St. Helena and back. After boarding the train at the McKinstry Street Station, guests travel through the old industrial section of Napa, crossing the Rural Urban Limit Line (RUL) about ten minutes into the journey. Then it’s nothing but the spectacular scenery of beautiful wine country, the famed agricultural preserve of Napa Valley, past some of the most expensive and famous farm real estate in the country, and through the charming towns of Oak Knoll, Yountville, Oakville, and Rutherford.








Suitable captions to be sent to Phil




Andrew with his macho shopping trolley.










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