Dear Members

This week, while putting up the Christmas tree, I remembered this story
"One Christmas Eve, many years ago, Santa was suffering from a bad cold as he and his elves struggled to wrap presents with only fifteen minutes to midnight. The elves were in a bad mood and wanted their pay increased. If that wasn't enough, Mrs Claus was nagging him too and pointing out that he shouldn't be late and then the reindeer had eaten too much cake and were being sick all over the sleigh. There was a knock at the door and Santa yanked it open only to find a fairy standing there holding a Christmas tree and the fairy said "Where do you want me to put this?" And that's why, my dear friends, there's a fairy at the top of the Christmas tree."
Santa was also worrying about the Covid vaccine and Brexit but more importantly missing the weekly newsletter from his local model railway club. Fortunately, you do not have the same problem as here is your newsletter packed with articles, jokes and a quiz for you all to enjoy.

Stay safe

Phil and Nigel

Please do not spoil Christmas for Phil by telling him Santa is not real.


Please email all submissions to  or



The Ex Railway Porter They Could Not Execute


This true story is to be found in C. R. Potts’ 1988 book ‘The Newton Abbot to Kingswear Railway (1844-1988)’.

John Lee was born in 1864, the same year that the broad gauge railway to Kingswear was opened by the Dartmouth & Torbay Railway Company but operated by the South Devon Railway. He eventually  went to work for a lady called Miss Keyse who lived in Babbacombe, north of Torquay,  working for her as a ‘pony boy’. Presumably she had then owned a pony and trap.

Five years later he joined the Royal Navy, possibly as a boy sailor, and in 1883, at the age of 19, as a Naval Rating, he was invalided out with pneumonia. On discharge he took up employment in Kingswear. It is not clear which type of service he was in when he became ill but serving on a hulk would perhaps be the most likely. Hulks were ships that late in life were stripped of their masts and guns and permanently moored to be used as store ships or prisons. As their timbers aged these ships would become leaky and damp, whilst being permanently moored would not have the benefit of fresh air being forced through the decks as enjoyed by other ships when under way.

There were hulks in the River Dart, which river separated Dartmouth from Kingswear, mainly for the storing of coal reserves for Torquay gas works. It is unlikely that these would have Royal Navy personnel serving on board but there were two other hulks anchored nearby that were full of officer cadets being trained by a full time naval staff. They were linked by a gangway and constituted the ‘Royal Britannia Naval College, Dartmouth’. HMS Britannia herself was a former first rate, three gun deck, man of war and her companion was HMS Hindustan, formerly a second rate with two gun decks. The hulks were eventually replaced in 1905 by the shore built Dartmouth Royal Navy training college.

Following discharge John Lee joined the ‘Royal Dart Yacht Club and Family Hotel’, as a humble ‘boot boy’. The hotel was built at Kingswear two years after the railway arrived and on the site of the old ‘Plume of Feathers Inn’. The hotel was later renamed the ‘Royal Dart Hotel’ and recently has been converted into luxury flats.

It was the practice in Victorian and Edwardian times for hotel guests to place boots and shoes they wished to be cleaned outside the door of their hotel rooms before going to bed. The boot boy would collect these, noting the room numbers, and clean the shoes and boots in the basement, away from customers. They then had to be replaced outside the guests’ rooms before needed in the morning. This was certainly considered a menial job and was not much to John’s liking.



At the time of John Lee’s employment the hotel and railway were owned by the Great Western Railway Company. (At Kingswear even the steam dockyard cranes were owned and manned by GWR staff.) He readily became aware of better paid opportunities with the company and applied for the post of railway porter. He was appointed as such to Torre railway station, which was about nine miles further north up the line from Kingswear.

Unfortunately, after only a few weeks as a railway porter, he accepted a job as footman to a Colonel Brownlow of Torquay. Whilst the Colonel and his family were away on holiday John Lee pawned some of their silver. John was found guilty of this theft and spent six months with hard labour in Exeter gaol. He was released in January 1844, less than a year after leaving the Royal Navy.

On his release from prison he approached his former employer, the now elderly Miss Keyse of Babbacombe, for a job, which she duly granted. Whatever his new post was is unclear but shortly afterwards she was murdered. John was arrested for her murder and found guilty. Unsurprisingly he maintained throughout that he was innocent but surprisingly he remained calm during the entire proceedings despite being found guilty and sentenced to hang.

Remarkably, on the day of his execution something went wrong with the hangman’s apparatus. Presumably the mechanism which opened the trapdoor failed for some reason and the fatal drop never occurred. The hangman made three attempts to carry out the execution but the law precluded a fourth attempt and he was sentenced to life imprisonment instead.

Some twenty years later, in 1907, he was released from prison and thereafter became famous as “The man they could not hang”. One has to wonder whether his calmness was based on an expectation that the hangman had been bribed to fail in his duties.



Volunteering on The Epping Ongar Railway


Part 3


I thought that this week I would try to explain a little more about injectors and ejectors as they appear regularly in the way a loco operates. I am sure that some of you already know this but some may not.

The following is copied from the internet and is actually not a very good description:-

Lower pressure fluid is entrained in the jet and carried through a duct to a region of higher pressure. It is a fluid-dynamic pump with no moving parts, excepting a valve to control inlet flow. A steam injector is a typical application of the principle used to deliver cold water to a boiler against its own pressure, using its own live or exhaust steam, replacing any mechanical pump. When first developed, its operation was intriguing. An injector is a system of ducting and nozzles used to direct the flow of a high-pressure fluid in such a way that a because it seemed paradoxical, almost like perpetual motion, but it was later explained using thermodynamics.[1] 



The diagram has lost its various labels but no matter I will try and explain a little more. The first cone shown in red is called the steam cone. The steam will be at comparatively high pressure delivered straight from the boiler. If the pressure drops too low the injector will not work. The cone causes the pressure of the steam to fall but the velocity to increase. This then passes to the second cone which called the combining cone.

At this point cold water is introduced. If the water is to hot, as sometimes happens particularly if the water in side tanks falls to low and it is a hot day, the steam and water will simply become saturated steam and again the injector will not pick up.

Assuming all is well the water is forced into the third cone called the delivery cone. As you can see this cone faces the other way. Thus, the velocity of the water is reduced but the pressure increases.

The pressure would need to overcome the pressure within the boiler in order to lift a valve called the Clack. The water is then forced into the boiler to top it up. This will cool the boiler and reduce the pressure so this needs to be a carefully balanced process.

As I have mentioned before if there is too little water the fusible plugs could blow and against this if too much water is introduced the pressure will fall possibly too much. There is also a danger of water being carried over from the boiler into the cylinders which can result in the cylinder being blown apart.

Following on from injectors we have ejectors which perhaps not surprisingly work the opposite way in simple terms. The ejector is usually a cone through which steam is passed which causes a vacuum to be created in the surrounding pipe. The vacuum created is used to create a ‘brake’ in the train pipe with vacuum brakes. There are other variations on this such as the GWR type which blows steam across the top of the pipe(s). If the boiler pressure falls too low the ejector will not be able to keep the brakes off and they will start to drag and ultimately bring the train to a stop.

From this you can see that the fireman has to keep the fire just right and the resultant boiler pressure ideally just below the point of blowing off. Blowing off is a waste of steam and ultimately coal and water but as we have seen if the pressure drops to low both the injectors and ejectors will not work.

I will now introduce a few other loco’s that I have fired at the EOR over the last few years.

Below is a picture of N2 1744 at North Weald. This was based at the EOR for a couple of seasons and always steamed well and yes, the injectors always worked, although the position of the one on the fireman side of the cab resulted in a few burnt wrists! The N2, as with most other ex LNER locos, has a small firing flap invariably known as a ‘letter box’ for obvious reasons. As I have explained previously it is quite an art to direct a shovel full of coal through the ‘letter box’ and direct it to where you want it in the fire box.

On one occasion I was on a driver experience with the usual two customers in the morning and another two in the afternoon. Most struggle to fire at the best of times and of course the ‘letter box’ only makes thing worse. However, on one trip I handed the customer the shovel at Ongar fully expecting to have to take it from him at least a few times to make sure we made it up the gradients but he fired successfully all the way back to North Weald.  I asked him if he had ever fired before, but he said he hadn’t. Quite an achievement!



Above is a picture on an ex GWR pannier tank No. 6430 which was at the EOR for a while when it first opened and returned in 2017. Not being a GWR fan I have to admit that the loco steamed very well and I have no recorded incidents with it.

Next we have a picture of Jennifer. This locomotive was built by Hudswell Clarke in 1942 and it spent its working life as Samuel Fox & Co Ltd No. 20. Being an industrial this was never designed for running comparatively long distances and was a very rough rider leaving the crew with many bruises just from leaning over the side let alone being thrown around. It could be a little temperamental steaming and the injectors wouldn’t always pick up but it served a purpose for a while. I also had a photo of the first service train running towards Epping with Jennifer and yours truly firing. It appeared in the local ‘Guardian’ paper but I now can’t find it anywhere.



The next picture is of Met 1, which is as I am sure most of you know, is an ex Metropolitan Railway loco dating from the beginning of the 20th Century. It is usually based at the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre but was at the EOR from 2017 to 2019. Always steamed well but was light footed and prone to slipping particularly if the rails were wet. It was therefore limited to how many coaches it could pull, latterly only three.

The injectors were on the back head and were of the lifting type. This causes two problems. Firstly, as they are adjacent to the firebox they tend to get very hot and, as explained above, will not then pick up. Secondly, they are required to ‘lift’ the water from underneath and need to be primed by blowing steam downwards in order to create a vacuum before they will suck the water up. This is usually only required at the beginning of the day but not always. Needless to say, there is quite an art in this with the steam valve, water valve and blow back valve all to juggle at the same time before they will work.

They were always temperamental and on my first turn on Met1 I could just not make them pick up. Fortunately (or otherwise) a leaking pipe was found later which was stopping the ‘suck’ and causing the issue. At least it wasn't me!.

On another occasion we had somehow managed the first trip to Ongar with great difficulty as neither injector would work satisfactory. The only solution was to pour buckets of cold water over the casing in an effort to cool them sufficiently.



Me standing on the footplate of an Ex-GNR Class N2 0-6-2T No 1744 at Railfest 2012


Me as a railway enthusiast


So where do we start?


Let me start by introducing myself, my name is Daniel Turner and I’m 23. I was born in London with a heart condition called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome but I was raised in Hatfield. You have probably heard of it because it's known for its Aviation History and the University of Hertfordshire. Anyway, back to the main point, since being born in London it was necessary for me to travel to and from London Bridge Station, my hospital was right outside of the station. This meant I had to catch the train from St Albans, I can remember them being the original Thameslink Livery Class 319 in blue with a golden line along the carriages and I think this was one of the reasons why I got into the hobby, also growing up living next to the Railway. I was not the only one in my family who was a railway enthusiast, my uncle from my dad’s side of the family was as well.


Since I haven’t got an actual picture of the original Thameslink livery, I had to use the next best thing which is one from a Train Simulator 2021 game  


Growing up next to the railway

 Growing up next to the East Coast Mainline is where my passion for the railway kicks off. Ever since I can remember I used to sit on the kitchen side watching the trains going past for hours. There used to be a park right next to the house and I used to ask my sister to take me and my other sister to the park. The real reason why I wanted to go was just to watch the trains as the slide in the park backed on to the railway line. I remember seeing the Intercity trains going past at high speed and the stopping services slowing down for the station. There is one disadvantage about living next to the railway, you are probably thinking it is the sound of the trains going past but no you get used to the sound of them, it is  mainly the trees in summertime because of the branches blocking the view. But I do have a memory that haunts me to even to this day, ever since I saw it the date that is in question is 17th October 2000 which was the day of the Hatfield train crash. The reason why It haunts me before the crash the train was a London Kings Cross to Leeds service travelling at a speed of 115mph before coming to a stop at the crash site. I can remember seeing the Class 91 (91023 before being renumbered to 91132) in the upright position and the coaching stock lying on their side. At the time I was only 3 years old as I grew older I thought what If crash was further up the line.

Now the hardest part is out of the way I can now tell you another reason why I love living next to the railway. This is when I know a special working for example a Railtour is due past my house. Especially when I know there will be some decent traction hauling the tour. On these occasions I stand outside the door but if it is a class 66 then I don’t bother and stay in bed where its warmer in the wintertime
Writing the parts about the Hatfield Train Crash was the hardest part of the growing up next to the railway, every time I tried to write about it, I just have a flashback of that image with the Class 91.


91119 in the InterCity Swallow Livery Departing A sunny Doncaster on the 27th June 2019


YouTube Channel and Friendship

Like the rest of us I started off with a basic point and shoot camera just going down to the local station, taking pictures of the trains as they arrive at the Platform. Then I found the online video sharing platform known as YouTube. I would spend hours on the website mainly watching videos of the ECML. Then I found videos of the Class 55 locos and I just fell in love with them. Mainly because of the sound. Then I thought why don’t I make my own YouTube channel. On the 7th November 2010 I created my YouTube Channel called DelticDan900. You are probably wondering how I came up with name, it was quite simple Deltic Class 55 or the prototype, Dan is self-explanatory, the 900 part no actual reason.  I have been making video for this channel for over 10 years and have no plans on ever stopping.

Let’s now move to the next part of this section and that is friendship. Over the years I have met many people  who share this Hobby and become friends. I rarely speak to them, not because we had a falling out, just because they have their own life, they include platform staff, on board train crew and even a Croydon tram driver. There is this one friend who has stuck around even when I was in a dark place back in July  2017, the day my dad passed away. He is also a Member of the Club for just over a few months. His name is Lance McDonald and has been my best friend for just about 10 years. I can tell you some shenanigans that Lance and I get up to on our days out, but that is another story. Anyway, back to the topic, I remember the day I first met him, to be truthful I had seen his online videos before meeting him and used to absolutely hate them, ok hated is a strong word more dislike them. But anyway, one day I was filming on the WCML at a station called Bushey it’s just on the outskirts of Watford. I remember a person getting off the train and filming this London Midland class 350 Desiro, and he started walking up the Platform towards me, I could tell he was new to the hobby the way he looked at the passing trains. I walked up to him and introduced myself and he mentioned the Youtube Channel. We started chatting and I explained the different types of rolling stock to him and ever since then we have become very good friends
Plus he is my taxi driver on the club nights.


Lance and I on The Talisman Railtour being Hauled by A4 No 60009 Union of South Africa on the 15th September 2018 Sorry Lance


66176 working 6M70 Chesterton Redland siding - Mountsorrel siding sand train, I nicknamed it the sneeze express as its passed Peterborough on the 1st July 2017 the reason why I call it the sneeze express, as I was filming the guy in front which is Lance By the way did the loudest sneeze, I have ever heard, and I think the whole of Peterborough heard that sneeze as well.        


It's Model Railway time  

I started out with the basic Hornby oval train set and an 0-6-0 steam loco with four wagons. Then I got a Harry Potter Train set which I think my Dad paid about £10 at Bovingdon Market, then usual odd bits of track and rolling stock from friends and family.

 I remember one year for my birthday I got a Eurostar Train then for Christmas the Flying Scotsman. It was not till Christmas 2008 or 2009 that I got my first highly detailed loco which at the time was the Bachmann Class 66 in DRS livery with working lights. The collection just grew and grew and then I switched from DC to DCC so I started to collect DCC sound locos. I remember my first ever loco with sound was a Hornby A3 60103 Flying Scotsman with TTS sound. This was followed by a  Dapol Class 68 in Chiltern Railway livery with  Legomanbiffo sound, now I have lost count of how many locos and rolling stock I have.

Now let’s talk about when I go to exhibitions. I have been going to exhibitions for years, I can roughly remember going to my first one, in fact, my first one could have been the club one in the early 2000s. I remember going to my first Ally Pally exhibition and being scared of the Gauge 1 Live Steam. I also remember my dad and I  sitting down having a rest when we bumped into my uncle who was at the show. He showed us the Class 33 in O gauge he had just brought, well I think it was a Class 33.  I stopped going to shows in 2017 after my dad died. The first show I went to after losing my dad was Royston in November 2017. It is where I brought my Hornby A3 60103 Flying Scotsman with TTS Sound from Lance who was with me at the time since it was his local show. When Lance and I go to an exhibition, we have a bit of friendly competition as to who can spend the most money, the loser has to buy lunch. You can tell who always loses, which is not me by the way. I think now he’s giving up on that competition since March last year at Ally Pally  when  I bought my pride and joy Hornby Live Steam Mallard which sits proudly on the bookshelf right next to me together with two other none Live Steam A4s.


  My three Bachmann Class 55s next to my Hornby Live Steam Mallard and Hornby DCC sound Mallard followed by the Bachmann DC 60015 Quicksilver


The Present Day

Since the first lockdown back in March I have travelled on the railways three times, twice for the hobby and one for a hospital appointment. Since wearing a face covering is now part of the laws with COVID-19, at first I didn’t want to wear one at the time as I don’t like my face being covered. Looking online I found a website where you can buy themed masks including railways. I ordered one with an LNER AZUMA on it and wore this the day it arrived just so I could get used to it. Now I love it and I know if I want to go back travelling on the trains again I knew it would be the only option to wear. Ok, well technically I can get away with not having one with my health condition but I chose to wear one and we just have wait and see if and when will we get back to normality.


Me wearing my LNER AZUMA face Covering while travelling on a Great Northern Class 700 to Peterborough on the 9th September 2020


So, as I draw this Article to a close I would like to thank all of the club members for welcoming me to the club as I have now been member for over a year. I have enjoyed every  minute of it and not only that it give me more iteration with other people  in the hobby.
 I have certainly learnt a lot of new things while at the club, the truth is I was not very sociable before joining I used to just stay at home. Now I have joined the club I can chat about real trains and model ones and somehow even aviation gets into the conversation. Maybe, my dad was an aviation enthusiast so I did learn a bit from him and I was In the Air Cadets. Anyway I would also like to say personal thanks to my best friend Lance who has stood by me for the past 10 years even when I was at my lowest point you somehow managed to cheer me up, so thank you for taking the time to read this and I’m looking forward to writing the next one .


Me standing in front of two Class 70s in the rain at the Crewe All Change Event
on the 8th June 2019


Stay Safe and Well in this current Situation.




Part 3





As I hoped for last week the wiring has now been completed. There are seven sections plus one isolating end. The three points are operated by Cobalt point motors and have live frogs with switching through the inbuilt switches in the point motors. This gives a total of eleven switches on the control panel. For the time being this can be used from the front of the board which helps testing etc.

Miraculously this afternoon I switched on for the first time and everything worked. I must have read my articles well!

The next job now is to tidy up the wiring under the board, as this is still just hanging loose, as I didn’t want it fix in place until testing was completed. After this comes the fiddle yard board which will have cassettes with track on and will therefore need a step between the main boards and the fiddle yard. I just hope that I get the drop correct!





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Answers next week.


1. What is the capital city of Switzerland?

2. Which country does the Peroni beer come from?

3. What is the key alcoholic ingredient of any daiquiri cocktail?

4. What are the secondary colours?

5. What is astraphobia a fear of?

6. This year's UEFA Champions League final is being contested by which two teams, on Sunday August 23?

7. When did the Vietnam War end?

8. What is the name of Wendy’s dog in Peter Pan?

9. In which sport would you use a shuttlecock?

10. Enchiladas originated in which country?



Answers to last weeks Quiz.


1. Tokyo

2. Taron Egerton

3. Portuguese

4. Justin Bieber

5. True. The famous US landmark was a gift from the French to celebrate the nations success as the American Civil War drew to a close in 1865

6. Elon Musk

7. Blue, yellow, black, green and red

8. Peaky Blinders

9. Hummingbird

10. The leader of the Labour Party