Our second August meeting proved that the rain has resumed its regular attendance at our gatherings, although the wet weather does show off the fantastic model buildings in the village of Llareggub, with the puddles on the tarmac and the reflections in the shiny flagstones. We were also fortunate that the worst of the rain fell whilst we were enjoying a delicious lunch inside one of the cosy sheds near the line, and after lunch we were fortunate that there was even a little sunshine which saw a very intensive service running. Among the locomotives making an appearance were two Roundhouse Dylans, one an original, and one from the recent limited reissue, with 40 years between their dates of manufacture.
For our first August meeting we returned to the Rhos and Betws tramway, and the rain returned too. Despite this, a couple of our group took locos out into the rain, and fortunately the rain then stopped for long enough for a great many more trains train – with battery electric, and manual and remote control steam doing circuits of the picturesque ground-level line. We enjoyed copious amounts of tea, cakes, and a delicious lunch, in the shelter of the conservatory. Then we managed to run even more trains before the rain resumed!
Our July visit, on another (mostly) dry day, was to the Dyffryn Llynfi & Porthcawl Railway, a compact out and back with a terminus and a tight loop, packed with detail and humous touches. The terminus is raised for easy access, while the garden slopes up so you can sit above the loop. We made good use of stations and sidings to have two or more trains running at a time, with others ready to go, and we had a mix of stock including battery electric and steam running. All of which was fuelled by copious amounts of tea and coffee, and delicious lunch, and scones and cream!
Our second June visit, on an incredible warm and sunny day, was to the Shearstream Light Railway – with its two independent circuits on different levels, joined by impressively engineered and steeply graded tracks, plus a further line down to a lower terminus – and a reversing loop at the top to allow out and back running. While the complexity of the line provided quite a challenge to the overheated operators, the clever design ensured there was capacity for four or five trains to run simultaneously – provided we took care on the two-way linking lines! This extensive activity certainly gave us an appetite for the delightful lunchtime spread, after which we even managed to make an excursion to the coast path to rest our brains and appreciate some local scenery.
There were perfect running conditions for the inaugural running session at the Preseli Mountain Railway, the first of the group’s June meetings. We were again lucky with the weather, particularly as we were almost as high above sea level as you can get in Pembrokeshire. A superb lunch was enjoyed, and running trains resumed. The following images show the visiting locos and rolling stock on the line.
Our May meeting took place on a beautifully sunny – even hot – day, at the end to end Railway in the Valley of the Mill, which climbs around a couple of metres to its current terminus (with further extension work currently under way).
On a dry – and sometimes even sunny – day we assembled at the Hoffnant Valley Railway. With two independent running circuits, challenging gradients, and a picturesque and well thought-out quayside with sidings and passing loops, it is a line with huge operating potential. Three or four trains ran almost constantly – mostly 16mm scale, plus a 1:32 Talyllyn loco, a mix of battery and live steamers. Constantly, that is, except when the operators took a break for a very delicious lunch of quiches, salads and cakes!
After our Christmas meeting was comprehensively derailed, it was wonderful to be able to get together again to run trains on the newly revamped Lambak Railway. For the second meeting in a row not only did it stay dry, the sun even came out again (even more astonishing this time given the time of year!) Since it was our Christmas meeting we had mince pies to follow an extremely delicious chicken curry.
Finally we were able to actually get together in an actual garden, and run trains together! That in itself was a cause for celebration; at this first meeting in 20 months we also remembered our friend Dennis. The R&BT tramway’s resident Double Fairlie has been named in his honour, and we ran a procession of trains in his memory.
With the easing of pandemic restrictions allowing meetings of up to 6 people in private gardens, a few of us participated in the first “mini-meeting” reintroducing physical meet-ups for the first time since December 2019 at the delightful end-to-end Railway in the Valley of the Mill, where we enjoyed distanced socialising along with coffee, biscuits and even a barbecue!