Dear Members.
It is with sad news that we start Newsletter No 4.
As many of you know, John Farrow of UK Railtours has been in hospital since December after major surgery. Two weeks ago John contracted Corona Virus from which he tragically passed away in the early hours of Sunday morning. Liz his daughter, has given assurances that UK Railtours will continue to operate and be back on the rails as soon as we can. (which means me and Nigel still have jobs) and that we can still have some excellent club days out.
In the meantime, we hope you are all keeping safe and well, and enjoy this weeks newsletter. Please note many of the articles say click here where you will find more photos and information.
Please email all submissions to  or
Once again we look forward to hearing from you
Phil and Nigel



I have now received some superb photos from Trevor Jones of Hornby Magazine, Mike Worsley and Eric Fry have written the text which is about to go off the Mike Wild, Editor of the magazine. Mike tells me that all being well Middleton should appear in the July edition of the magazine, on sale at the beginning of June.




Julian's Bideford Update


Members may remember my Bideford Light Railway layout that has appeared at our exhibition a few times. I’ve recently sold that layout, but still have a garden railway. I also still have over a hundred G Scale (c1:24) road vehicles, for which I’m planning to develop an exhibition offering.
Linked with that I’m working on modifications and upgrades of some of them and attach pictures of a couple of recent efforts. Firstly there’s the addition of a Culin Hedge Cutter to a Sherman Tank.



The second shows a refurbished MG TC model, plus one refurbished and modified as a police car.




I have a real one currently for sale, it can be yours for £27k



Another car we imported from Virginia. To see more click HERE.





Some while ago I bought an IWATA neuTR2 airbrush with an AS18-2 compressor. Two years ago my grandson ‘borrowed’ it and used it once as part of a college project. I now have the equipment back BUT no air hose or 30cc syphon feed bottle! Obviously without the hose the equipment is useless. If anyone has a surplus air hose I am happy to buy it including p & p. My grandson has now moved away and my daughter recently had a massive clear out and not surprisingly denies all knowledge! Can anyone help please?
Barry Smith.





I have recently learned that Mashima motors are no longer in production. It seems Mr Mashima was unable to obtain magnets of the desired quality so decided to call it a day and retire. Good luck to him! Sorry if you already know this, but if anyone wants to stock up, now’s the chance!





One Foot in the Smoke Box 
The Trials of a Heritage Railway Cleaner

Number 3


17th August 2002 – number 3 – as you can see I was now doing quite a few turns and more to follow. This was as a result of my asking the roster clerk why I hadn’t had any turns during July. I had apparently been missed off as a new cleaner. I then completed my August roster availability for several turns and then got most of them! I was later to learn that whilst putting down that you were available for several turns it was wise to then add a note to the effect that you only wanted say two out of five to avoid getting them all. As you may gather there was a shortage of cleaners at that time. Indeed most of the time!

So here I was at Wansford for a 6.30 start. It was to have been 8.00 but a message on the answer machine from Gerald the roster clerk whilst I was on holiday had changed that.

I found the driver Bill and together we set about lighting up. Of Eddie the fireman there was still no sign. It transpired that this was a steam and diesel day with five trains. It had been intended that steam would work trips two and four. This was a change from usual when steam worked trips one, three and five. However it was then found that the diesel, an English Electric Type 4 No. D306 (later class 40), which was privately owned, charged by the mile rather than by the day and so the plan changed back to steam on trips 1, 3 and 5. Eddie arrived shortly after 7.30 having thought something may change but had not been told of the earlier start.

Today we were on 75006, a Hunslet Austerity 0-6-0ST ex Army hence the number. So for the first time I set about cleaning properly starting with the saddle tank and working down to the wheels. Once 75006 moved off of the pit I set about shovelling out the ash. I wasn’t sure where to dump it so I asked Bill. He said to fill in some of the low points around the yard and between us this is what we did. See the result of this later.

Finally off shed at 10.00 we took the 10.30 to Yarwell, back to Peterborough and then return to Wansford. Orton Mere signal box was open but this time I managed to exchange the tokens successfully!

Upon arriving back at Wansford we were asked to take the next train as there was no second man for the diesel. This was actually better as we would now work trips 1, 2 and 4 so finishing earlier. First though we had to unhook and go to the yard to take water. Hence we were late leaving Wansford. On the way to Peterborough the home signal at Orton Mere was hardly ‘off’ (possibly due to signal wire expanding in the heat) and then the outer home at Wansford was ‘on’ as the wire had broken. Authority was given by the guard to proceed. I believe this was because the guard had a two way radio and contacted the signal man for permission to proceed. However if we follow the rules correctly it is the drivers responsibility to contact the signal man and the signalman should enter this in the train register. Just one example of rules being followed! I can think of many others over the years. If something went wrong the RAIB and ORR would have a fit.

Once more back at Wansford we went on shed whilst D306 worked the next train. (no I don’t now where they found the second man either). We were then asked to shunt a low-mac (a four wheeled wagon with a low centre section for those of you that don’t know) from the shed yard to the engineers siding on the other side of the river bridge. This involved pushing the wagon out of the yard and then hand shunting it just part the yard point so that 75006 could then push it to the siding. We shunted the wagon into the yard and pulled another low-mac out. The whole procedure was then reversed so that the low-mac ended up in the shed yard. This took most of the time before the next train.

On our last trip of the day as we proceeded towards Ferry Meadows Bill spotted some kids (polite version – what he actually said is unrepeatable here) playing on the river bridge and jumping into the river (note this is not the same bridge that is at Wansford if you are following). On the return trip Bill lobbed a lump of coal at them whilst Eddie put on the slacker pipe to spray them suitably with hot water. Further on another idiot was laying down between the rails. However Bill took no notice and he soon moved. Not sure what Health and Safety and the accident chasing lawyers would have made of this if there had been any complaints. As we came back to Wansford we found that the outer home had now been fixed. (the one at Orton Mere had hardly been showing clear again despite the fact that the signalman had tried to adjust the wire).

Finally back on shed at Wansford we disposed of 75006. I cleaned the smoke box and front ash pan whilst Eddie cleaned the rear. Both really wonderful jobs. At least the smoke box is above ground although the fine ash flies everywhere but getting into the quite shallow pit with a long rake and pulling out the dusty ash is not pleasant. At least 75006 only has a small ash pan.

A chap from the permanent way department came across and asked who had put the ash from the pit that morning around the yard. I said that I had as instructed by Bill. He then said that the ash shouldn't be put there as it was spreading the track and that we would have to remove it. At this point Bill politely suggested where he should go. I leave the wording to your imagination. An exchange of words followed before he wondered off with the parting words “when your engine is off the track don’t expect me to put it back on”. (I didn’t know his name but found out later. Future meetings him were never pleasant. A most unpleasant and unhelpful man).

And so we came to the end of another fun day!




Under the Duvet Part Two



I had bought the MGB as a second car for everyday use but this idea changed later in the year. I thought it would be fun to go to the classic car show held every August at Knebworth House. Bank Holiday Monday arrived, and was surprised to see that it was raining – big decision - do I go or do I stay. I erred on the latter but my son who was coming with me said ‘it’s only rain let’s go!’  It poured with rain as we drove to the show, we arrived, were duly shown to the area for sports cars and there we sat. Sometime later the rain stopped we got out and leathered the rain off the car. By now more cars had arrived and their owners were all doing the same as us. The MG looked great; we got out the folding chairs and proceeded to have the obligatory bacon rolls and coffee.
It was then a lady asked if this was our car, she said it’s very nice, are you entering the concourse competition today, if so you haven’t finished. I asked why; we have leathered the water off the car. We were then advised to straighten the front wheels and brush the grass off all the tyres. Can you open the bonnet, get rid of those dead insects in the front of the radiator, wipe a cloth over the engine bay to get rid of dust and water marks etc. She then looked inside the car, remove the rubber mats and clean the carpets, empty the boot, tidy the seat belts. Centre the steering wheel and dust the dashboard. Finally, she was satisfied and then asked if this was Eric Simons car. She and her husband knew Eric and they were both judges but not at today’s event. She wished us good luck and off she went.
Later two judges came round, examining the MGB from every angle, giving each other knowing looks and writing on their clipboards. To us it was worse than waiting at the dentist!
In the afternoon, after wandering around looking at the auto jumble and about 400 other cars on display at the show we returned to find a note on the windscreen.
You are a winner, please bring your car to the showground at 3.30pm



I drove the MGB into the ring following a very nice red Triumph TR4.Then asked to open the bonnet (they had just done the same to the TR4). A swarm of judges descended on our car, looking around it and then stuck their heads under the bonnet. After much deliberation we were given 2nd place and the TR4 1st place.  Quite an achievement since this was our first event and we had been judged from about 80 other cars in the same sports car class.
We drove home with big smiles on our faces and were met with how did you get on by Penny? We proudly showed her the engraved silver plate! we had won.
This was to be the start of a whole new hobby, the MGB now had pride of place in the garage and when I started covering the car with four old duvets!
Finally my MGB was no longer used as a second car, but that’s another story.

To see more pictures of Phil's MG click



Holiday Journey to Butlin’s, summer 1964
by Ian Bunting


Beyond, heading west, was Penychain station, Aberech halt followed by the terminus at Pwllheli. This station, opened in 1909, was the second site of Pwllheli station and had a single platform with two faces and a run round loop each side. The station buildings were single storey and might be described as Edwardian cottage in style.
This second Pwllheli station, the terminus of the Cambrian, was about half a mile further west than its original site. This was because in 1908 the harbour was rebuilt and the railway line extended further west so that the station was nearer the centre of town. I have an original engineer’s drawing (later stamped GWR Paddington) of the old station layout and goods yard with the land required for the extension outlined in pencil.
You may have heard that the West Somerset Railway have acquired and installed at Minehead the Pwllheli turntable. The Pwllheli engine shed and turntable had only been opened in 1958 and was slightly to the east of the previous engine shed. The Caernarvon branch closed in September 1964, as did Afon Wen station, due to the Beeching cuts. The new engine shed with its turntable was closed in 1966 after the withdrawal of steam.



   The new engine shed on extreme left, old sheds in centre, line to Pwllheli curving to the right, looking west, 1974.


After Afon Wen the line passed through the centre of Butlin’s holiday camp on an embankment and arrived at Penychain immediately on the western edge of the holiday camp. Most summer Saturday holiday expresses stopped here to disgorge the campers and save Butlin’s the expense of running coaches from Pwllheli. Campers thus had a very good view of the railway line, even in the dining hall at breakfast, but I was disappointed to discover that I had already copped  the engines as they were all BR class 4 standard tanks that been transferred from the Fenchurch Street line when it was electrified. Only on Summer Saturdays was any other type of locomotive to be seen.
At Butlin’s, as all rides, entertainments and most sport activities were free, Redcoats had to check that these were being used by legitimate campers. Consequently, each holiday camp had its own identifying enamel badge for the season which had to be worn by campers. Day visitors had to produce their tickets when using the facilities. These are our only two badges which have survived the years.
One of the attractions at this holiday camp was the wonderful coastal bay with very clear water, an attractive beach whilst surrounded by low cliffs which were very climbable but kept the winds away. Although not exactly a private beach it was virtually inaccessible to all but Butlin’s campers. It was also some distance from the camp but boasted its own miniature railway to transport campers to the beach. It started near the indoor swimming pool and had balloon loops at each end so that the whole line was operated by a single engine driver, the   points being spring loaded. The locomotive was of LMS outline but was diesel powered.



The locomotive on returning from the beach with open passenger bogie trucks.



           Derailed by someone placing stones so as to jam the point blades open.    


Due to the above form of vandalism we had to walk to the beach for the rest of the holiday. The locomotive was not badly damaged but needed some heavy plant to lift it in what was a most inaccessible place being on the seaward side of the surrounding cliffs.







92 Squadron is owned by the Battle of Britain Locomotive society and they have their own team to check the loco over and to clean the main body work for which they used car shampoo and hot water at a time when we used paraffin and oil. They didn't want us mucking up their nice clean body work! We were therefore only allowed to clean the wheels, frames etc. 
It is now at the Epping Ongar Railway the practice to use car shampoo only as well, as the thoughts are that paraffin and oil cause dirt and flies etc to stick to the loco. Car polish is also used as a finishing touch, something for which we rarely have time during loco prep. One down side of this is, that as I am sure the old railways found, paraffin and oil not only clean the grease of better they also provide a protective coat against water ingress and rust.