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News from The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway MuseumWednesday, November 13th, 2019 at 4:29pm
Ticket Collection

Our narrow gauge railway ticket collection continues to be catalogued. We have now added 350 Isle of Man and Manx Northern Railway tickets to the collection, and these can be viewed at

There are many more to be catalogued from other railways, and these will be added when available.
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway MuseumSunday, November 10th, 2019 at 8:41am
Museum working party 7th Nov 2019

The best laid plans of mice and men; substitute working party organisers and you have the situation facing the team this morning. The 'plan' had been to cover over all our wagons and then start the winter work in the museum, but first a request last week from Stuart to remove our bright yellow wagon covers for a Photo Charter Train on Friday 8th Nov and then a phone call from Keith concerning the two wagons that were likely to be used for that same Photo Charter Train on Friday, scotched the first part of the plan. Then the Tywyn weather mojo pulled a 'rabbit' out of its hat and delivered a bone dry morning, which meant we could finish the touching up of the black Hammerite paint on the metalwork of wagon no. 101, and that kicked the rest of the plan down the road. So this mornings happy troupe of David Broadbent, Andy Sheffield, Max Birchenough, Charles Benedetto and John Olsen, later joined by stalwart Ray Brooks, got the covers off everything!

David and Charles got work with the masking tape to finish the rain stalled masking of last week and they were hotly pursued around the wagon by Andy and then Max applying Hammerite to the bobbins and other metalwork respectively. John folded up the yellow bags and then began a near constant search for bits to address the shortcomings, identified by Chris Smith, of the two museum wagons, no. 117 the incline wagon and no. 213 the splayside wagon. No. 117 needed attention to its draw gear, involving the complete replacement of one draw hook set and new split pins and washers for the other, plus it needed a 'new' cotter pin and length of security chain to replace the missing pin on the door. The latter was 'sourced' from one of the collection of wagons by the water column, and although not in the best condition was deemed adequate for the job under the circumstances. No. 213 also needed a replacement draw hook set and the other drawhook needed lubricating with the evil green grease. Fortunately Chris and a volunteer carried out all the heavy work of shifting the old bolts and pins, which had been badly bent at some time in the past, see photo, and used the replacement parts to bring the wagons up to an acceptable standard for use. Chris did mention other matters that he would like to see improved but these could not be dealt within the timeframe available, and were not safety concerns but rather mechanical improvements for continued safe usage in the future.

Coffee was brewed up a bit late as John was tied up with Chris and the two wagons but it coincided pretty much with Ray Brooks arrival at Wharf. We sat down with Don Newing and Mary Sheffield to fight over the last chocolate Hobnobs, which are definitely top chocs for some of the team! John brought Ray up to date with the winter works programme, which should start next week assuming it doesn't take too long to get all the wagons covered over (or its tipping it down with rain!). The grammar vs secondary modern school debate got another light hearted airing with a regular cafe couple; there is a rather large preponderance of grammar school educated old boys in the team....

Post caffeine, and three different types of chocolate biscuit, we headed back out into the yard where Chris pronounced the two wagons fit for duty and moved on to the two TR wagons; not long later he requested a replacement pin for the drawgear of one of them and John handed over the last one in the bag.

The painting squad was now three strong and Max helped John tidy up the covers into the loft of the Gunpowder Store and remove stray bits of timber that might detract from any photos taken in the direction of the Store on Friday. Just as the protective cover went back onto no. 101 the first rain drops began to fall, talk about timing!

By the close of play three of our wagons had been deprived of their attractive yellow protective covers, two of our wagons had been brought up to running condition, and one wagon had its painting completed.

Photos by John Olsen
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway MuseumSunday, November 3rd, 2019 at 8:30am
Museum working party 31st Oct 2019

The Tywyn weather mojo is getting pretty worn out after a long season and the cold east winds of change were blowing down the yard as the team assembled. David Broadbent, Andy Sheffield, John Olsen and his brother Peter cracked on with getting the cover off wagon no. 101 while it was still dry. With the cover off Andy started touching in the black paint on the bobbins while Peter began to mask off around the metal strapping to speed the job along. David and John brought out the pieces of the two ribs from wagon no. 146 that had been painted last week and laid them out to re-assemble, a deceptively easy looking job that involved more than a little taking apart when holes didn't line up!

John took the opportunity of the dry interlude to transfer the two pieces of the Giesl ejector wooden template into the museum; this should be a much better environment in which to store them long term and possibly display them.

Charles Benedetto turned up a little later and joined the masking and painting gang.

With the ribs correctly assembled and stowed away in the Gunpowder Store David and John lugged the freshly scrubbed wheelsets off the siding to allow a shunting of the wagons to take place. But before the moves could happen the slate waste tipper wagon was removed from the wagon turntable and pushed over to the lineside where its protective layers of polythene sheeting and yellow Hippo bag were re-instated.

There was a pause in proceedings to join other volunteers on the other side of the track as Stuart presented Tony Baker with a gold long service badge before he took his final turn up the line on the footplate; well done Tony. That was when the mojo ran out of puff and the rain started in earnest; we hurried back over the line to put the cover over no. 101 and then lined up to wave the train off.

John brewed up the morning coffees and we assembled in the cafe to enjoy caffeine, chocolate and chat in the company of duty platform inspector Max Birchenough. Andy was necking water from a very posh re-usable bottle (it had a lanyard sticking out of its cap) that only cost him £2000, the river cruise was thrown in for free! Talk turned to excellent railway museums that various people had visited; there's a very good one in St. Petersburg, but Andy didn't rate the railtour in Russia travelling 'comrade' class, ie no food or drink provided. Now you may have thought that we did little trade with the USSR during the Cold War years but apparently not so, our automotive industry was happily selling heavy duty combine harvester clutches to them; the tank production facility next door was purely a coincidence...

Back outside the rain had become drizzle but the team shunted the wagons around so that the frame of no. 146 is now on the turntable and the other two slat slate wagon, no. 117, is on the siding with no. 101, as neither are available for photo charter work at this time. It too disappeared under a yellow Hippo bag cover against the inclement weather.

By the close of play three wagons had been shunted, two ribs assembled, one wagon de-railed (on purpose guv) and two halves of a Giesl template relocated.

Pictures by John Olsen
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway MuseumWednesday, October 30th, 2019 at 7:59am
Photographic Collection

In recent weeks the NGRM Trust has been successful in acquiring a number of narrow gauge railway negatives taken by the well respected photographer H. C. Casserley. As well as a general selection of British narrow gauge images we were fortunate in obtaining negatives of the TR dated 1932 and 1948 amongst others.

The museum is getting the negatives professional scanned hopefully with the aid of a grant. The negatives are a mix of glass plates, large format and 35mm, all are B&W. More information to follow as this project develops.

The sample photographs below show a train at Dolgoch and locomotive "Dolgoch" at Wharf. The other image is of the bidding card and auction catalogue.
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway MuseumSunday, October 27th, 2019 at 8:09am
Museum working party 24th Oct 2019

Having had a week off to recover, the Tywyn weather mojo returned to duty ready willing and able. The early cloud dispersed to allow the sun to shine down on the yard as Neal Chapman, Peter White, David Broadbent, Max Birchenough and John Olsen picked up from where the rain had stopped us. We had been in such a hurry to get everything covered against the wet that we rather overlooked other 'covering' jobs, like putting the lids on the paint pots and cleaning the paint brushes; two brushes are now in intensive care to see if they can be resuscitated but another pair were as stiff as boards and consigned to the bin.

Our resident team was supported this fine morning by a group of Tracksider stalwarts who were given scrapers, wire brushes and eye protection and then let loose on six sets of crusty old wagon wheelsets, reversing decades of deposition of congealed tallow lubricant, grime and rust.

The cover came off wagon no. 101 and Neal and Max double teamed the painting of the topcoat on the slats and frame.

David and John re-assembled the two ribs, from wagon no. 146, that had been painted a fortnight ago, and then brought out the last pair to dis-assemble for painting with black Hammerite.

Peter took up the firms angle grinder and wire wheel combo to remove the old paint and rust from one side of the slate waste tipper wagon.

The first train of the day pulled out with a pretty full load of happy passengers, who happily returned the team's wave off, as they headed up the valley.

With the line clear John went off to the Guards Room to brew up, pausing only to confirm John Alderslades tea order, which was served in the cafe. With duty attendant John we sat down to put the world to rights; I mean what is the point of having a railway network if people will insist on strapping locomotives, old and new, to the backs of humongous trucks and then causing traffic mayhem? It was also reported that various TR drivers had been spotted having 2nd busman's holidays on loco footplates from Aberystwyth through Porthmadog to Llangollen. Then came the subject of electric and hybrid cars, their pros, cons and fuel consumption. Oh yes we sorted a lot out this morning.

Back across the tracks the painting of no. 101 came to a successful conclusion allowing Neal and Max to scale the heights and clean out the debris and detritus from the gutters of the Weighbridge House and Gunpowder Store. Much scraping, and 'rodding' of the downpipes ensured that the cleansing waters poured into the gutter at one end flowed freely down and out of the spouts at the other, hopefully keeping the buildings dry this winter.

David completed his painting of the ribs and re-assembled the other ribs, after a bit of bolt thread cleaning by John in between his other 'gophering', so that they could be put away.

Peter cleaned down the freshly exposed metal of the tipper wagon with white spirits and then applied a coat of black Hammerite to keep the metal worm at bay.

By the close of play two ribs had been re-assembled, two more dis-assembled and painted, two gutters had been cleared, one wagon had received its topcoat and one quarter (approximately) of the tipper wagon body had been cleaned and painted; and six sets of wagon wheels were still being scraped and brushed clean by the Tracksiders who were continuing their labours into the afternoon.

Photos by John Olsen.
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway MuseumSaturday, October 12th, 2019 at 7:02am
Museum working party 10th Oct 2019

The Tywyn weather mojo must have been running on empty this morning as it barely kept the looming rain clouds at bay. The team assembled a bit earlier than usual at John's request as he had an appointment at the medical centre at 10am. Andy Sheffield, Neal Chapman, David Broadbent and Charles Benedetto set to on continuing the repaint of the bits of wagon no. 101 and the ribs from wagon no. 146. John met Max Birchenough as he left the site and put him onto cleaning the vertical rising door of the museum as it was getting very grimy again.

John returned as the fumes ran out and the rain began to fall. So as it was near enough 10:30 he went to brew the coffees, and one black tea, while the team put the cover back on no. 101 and brought the ribs into the Gunpowder Store.

The team were joined by Mary Sheffield and John Alderslade, the duty attendant who was still awaiting his first visitor. As the coffee and biscuits worked their restorative magic the talk turned to the Great Model Railway Challenge once again as it seems to be drifting well away from railway modelling and into fantasy railway modelling. Other topics were the colour of TR engines and what was the correct term for the colours that number 1 and 2 are currently finished in, your scribe will say no more as he knows this can be a contentious subject. Future rail developments also came in for scrutiny, how do you achieve electrification of the Cambrian Coast railway? Batteries obviously but you also need charging points at the stations and new lightweight trains with solar panels on their roofs to allow the trains to have the range necessary without hauling excessive batteries around; and while you are at it redesign the trains to carry freight as well.

We looked outside, still raining, so we kept on talking. Eventually midday came round and the rain had relented but there wasn't time enough to do more than lock up, give the vertical rising door glazing a polish up with a chammy leather and call it a day.

By the close of play four dumb buffer caps had been fully painted, two ribs had been touched up, one big door had been cleaned and one half of a wagon had received its first top coat.

There will not be a working party next week as John will be out of Tywyn and the current wild weather makes any forward planning almost impossible.