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Dragon Trainer
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Hi Graham…

592 was the first steam loco I had a cab ride on, doing the run around At Sheffield Park, a long time ago now…1970s too…I also helped to put her to bed, winterise her, incl greasing the insides of the cylinders, and fitted a dust bin lid over the chimney!

I have a part converted GBL version of the Bachmann C to become 592. :)
 

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Hi Graham…

592 was the first steam loco I had a cab ride on, doing the run around At Sheffield Park, a long time ago now…1970s too…I also helped to put her to bed, winterise her, incl greasing the insides of the cylinders, and fitted a dust bin lid over the chimney!

I have a part converted GBL version of the Bachmann C to become 592. :)
My first 'cab ride' would have been 'Bluebell' in the winter of 76/77 when my father's remodelling of the south end of Sheffield Park was installed. Bluebell was one of few locos which hadn't been 'stranded' by all the track being taken up and was used for shunting engineering/pway wagons around - mostly just the lowmac at the time coupled to the LMR brakevan, now long since left the railway. Bluebell's footplate was a nice warm place to be in that freezing winter weather!

IIRC the C was parked in the water tower siding along with the Dukedog, H, USA. Got to climb on all of them. 488 was there some weekends and ran services on others, likewise, the USA tank.
Those were the days, long before 'elf an safety'.

I was last in the UK in 2012. I visited Sheffield Park and at the time, the original single road engine shed was still extant (all the old temporary scaffold-supported shedding roof around it was removed at the renewal). I observed that the survey nails we stuck in the side walls of it in 76/77 and ringed with some old white household emulsion paint were still extant 37 years later!!! These were measurement points out to the S&C.

On our website in the souther locos gallery, Dad has a picture of the C when it was at Ashford before it came to the Bluebell. Also the H at Robertsbridge: Gallery - Model Railways On-Line. Navigate to United Kingdom / Rolling Stock / Steam Locomotives / Southern

There's also Blackmoor Vale's original restoration and test runs in 1975, complete with YouTube with original sound:
In that YouTube, there's a shot at 0:59 at the bridge just down the line from Freshfield Halt (both no longer extant). When my father took that film, P.Watson who took the famous OPC picture of Blackmore vale was standing right next to us. There's also a couple of kids heads popping up at the bottom of the picture. One of them is me!!!

Happy days!
 

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Dragon Trainer
Currently residing at Dragon’s Edge, living on The Edge! 😀
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1,299 Posts
There's also Blackmoor Vale's original restoration and test runs in 1975, complete with YouTube with original sound:
In that YouTube, there's a shot at 0:59 at the bridge just down the line from Freshfield Halt (both no longer extant). When my father took that film, P.Watson who took the famous OPC picture of Blackmore vale was standing right next to us. There's also a couple of kids heads popping up at the bottom of the picture. One of them is me!!!

Happy days!
I was there on that launch day in 1976….

Someone at Sheffield Park asked why there was a Diesel loco on a steam railway….they were referring to Blackmoor Vale! o_O

Pope‘s wood caught fire that day, not so surprising, 1976 being a bit dry, and an awful lot more fast running trains too!

Happy days indeed! :)
 

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I was there on that launch day in 1976….

Someone at Sheffield Park asked why there was a Diesel loco on a steam railway….they were referring to Blackmoor Vale! o_O
I remember hearing similar comments!
In those days, diesels were strictly forbidden on the Bluebell.

Pope‘s wood caught fire that day, not so surprising, 1976 being a bit dry, and an awful lot more fast running trains too!
In those years, virtually every crossing along the railway had a 40 gallon drum of water and a few leather fire beaters propped up next to it. They even had a fire train stabled at Horsted Keynes.

Memory may make the trains appear faster, but the Light Railway Order, under which the railway operated at that time, limited all trains to 25mph. I believe that there may be a different arrangement today which permits higher speeds.
 

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Dragon Trainer
Currently residing at Dragon’s Edge, living on The Edge! 😀
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Hi Graham.

Yes, the passenger carrying trains are limited to 25 mph.

But I think that light engines, and empty stock trains were not quite so limited…

Certainly, it seemed that the positioning moves of empty stock were running faster than the service trains with passengers…

But yes, being at ground level at Pope’s Wood as a double headed empty stock positioning train thundered up towards Horstead Keynes was quite a spectacle, especially as a few sparks escaped, and set a new fire going in some dry bracken!

I was part of a team dispatched up the line from Sheffield Park to fire watch at the wood. Due to the high amount of traffic, they decided that they couldn’t stop at the wood and drop us off, so we had to walk back down the line from Freshfield Halt, dodging the trains on the way. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that that weekend In 1976 had the most trains run up to that time. It really was busy!
 

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Hi Graham.

Yes, the passenger carrying trains are limited to 25 mph.

But I think that light engines, and empty stock trains were not quite so limited…

Certainly, it seemed that the positioning moves of empty stock were running faster than the service trains with passengers…

But yes, being at ground level at Pope’s Wood as a double headed empty stock positioning train thundered up towards Horstead Keynes was quite a spectacle, especially as a few sparks escaped, and set a new fire going in some dry bracken!

I was part of a team dispatched up the line from Sheffield Park to fire watch at the wood. Due to the high amount of traffic, they decided that they couldn’t stop at the wood and drop us off, so we had to walk back down the line from Freshfield Halt, dodging the trains on the way. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that that weekend In 1976 had the most trains run up to that time. It really was busy!
They were happy days!
 
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