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Discussion Starter · #142 ·
We submitted our new Pole Route and the recently established LED signal display as entries to this year's Heritage Railway Association annual awards, and have recently learnt that we are 'shortlisted' for a 'Special Meritorious Award' - we're up against the Gresley Society, Vintage Trains and the NRM's restoration of Flying Scotsman. So quite a feather in our cap to be shortlisted with such high-power competition!

We won't learn until February if we've won or not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #144 ·
A brisk start to the New Year - January's only Sunday Open Afternoon brought in 66 people, more than twice what we expected, and mainly due, it seems, to a 30second slot on Three Counties Radio the previous day. And despite the lack of such publicity, we had 61 during yesterday's Open Afternoon despite a very cold and gloomy start to the proceedings! But at least the evenings are lengthening out at last.

We also attended the Chiltern Model Railway Association's annual show held in January - relocated this year to Stevenage Leisure Centre from St Albans Arena. We had much more room than in the St Albans location, and raised over £300 for our funds as well as speaking to many new faces.

Slightly gloomy on the awards front as well - we didn't win in the HRA awards which were announced on Saturday evening. Also there seemed to be some confusion in some parts of the HRA about what we had entered; in the printed entries list handed out on Saturday we were down for something somewhat different to what we had submitted! Ah well, another time, perhaps.

John
 

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Discussion Starter · #145 ·
Back in November last year I posted pictures of wiring in our wood cable ducts that had been damaged by rodents getting in. I recently inspected more of the ductwork after further cutting-back of last year's growth and found this section:


At least that's fewer snails to be nibbling the plants!

The recent storm 'Doris' did not leave us unscathed - in daylight this week we realised our one wooden signal arm had been broken off by the high winds:


This was made by ourselves a few years ago from 3-ply sheet, modelled on an original Midland Railway arm we thought was too fragile to be used out of doors. A look at the break showed it must have already been cracked for some time:

Two of the three plys show considerable dirt and staining - only one ply shows the recent fresh break.

A replacement arm, in rather thicker wood, is already being constructed:

Seen here in its first undercoat.

A couple of years ago we were given various odd bits and pieces, including this signal:

On close inspection it was clear this was a road traffic rather than a railway signal. Circuitry found inside it suggests it was possibly in use with a similar unit to control traffic through a narrow gateway or other access road.
We recently decided to clean it up and reuse it in conjunction with our train dispatching indicators acquired last year. After dismantling and cleaning:

We now have to reassemble it and consider the best way of mounting it.

John
 

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The Mayor of St Albans Recognition Award
The box won it's third major award last week. We had been invited to send eight representatives to the Mayor's Annual Awards Dinner, held on the 28th of March. We were not told why we'd been asked to go, and when we got to the dinner, held in the St Michael's Manor hotel in St Albans, there was no mention of us on the evening's programme! The general scene:

(Several box representatives are on the right of the photo.)

Eight other people or groups received their awards, chosen by a committee, before, at the end of the evening, we were called forward. We then found that the Mayor makes their own special award separately from the committee - here is the certificate we were given:

It transpired from the Mayor's presentation speech that she had fond memories of her youth watching trains on the WR line by her village in Warwickshire, and as a consequence had visited our box on a number of occasions with her grandchildren.

There was also an engraved glass trophy for us to display:


Following the presentation, our Chairman in his acceptance speech was able to give our Open Days on the 1st/2nd April considerable publicity! And afterwards he was interviewed by Radio Verulam, who also sent someone along on the Sunday Open Day to record what was going on.
Makes up for not getting anything from the HRA 2016 awards!

From the elation of the above award, back to the more prosaic. Replacing the signal arm broken by Storm Doris:


And refixing the repeater switch to the back of the arm:


'The Big Weekend' - English Tourism Week event 1st/2nd April. We had extended opening 10am-5pm on both days. We were concerned at the seeming lack of publicity in the local press, and the attendance of only 117 people on the Saturday seemed to confirm our concerns. But on Sunday 253 visitors came, to our relief! Donations and sales were very good as well, making a success of the weekend.

John
 

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Well deserved! To anyone who hasn't taken the chance to visit this exhibit go for it. The stand out naturally is the box, it really is good because although out of system use it's right on a well trafficked main line so needs little imagination to appreciate what the signalmen had to be about.

Whereabouts did you make the impression on the Mayor? I'd suggest using one of the cast iron lever badges on the forehead on the next one...
 

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Discussion Starter · #148 ·
QUOTE (34C @ 4 Apr 2017, 11:59) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>........Whereabouts did you make the impression on the Mayor? I'd suggest using one of the cast iron lever badges on the forehead on the next one...
Cast iron indeed! The Midland Railway used brass - much higher quality!
Then BR changed things to engraved plastic........

But thanks for your endorsement,
John
 

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QUOTE (John Webb @ 3 Apr 2017, 21:51) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>The Mayor of St Albans Recognition Award
The box won it's third major award last week. We had been invited to send eight representatives to the Mayor's Annual Awards Dinner, held on the 28th of March. We were not told why we'd been asked to go, and when we got to the dinner, held in the St Michael's Manor hotel in St Albans, there was no mention of us on the evening's programme! The general scene:

(Several box representatives are on the right of the photo.)

Eight other people or groups received their awards, chosen by a committee, before, at the end of the evening, we were called forward. We then found that the Mayor makes their own special award separately from the committee - here is the certificate we were given:

It transpired from the Mayor's presentation speech that she had fond memories of her youth watching trains on the WR line by her village in Warwickshire, and as a consequence had visited our box on a number of occasions with her grandchildren.

There was also an engraved glass trophy for us to display:


Following the presentation, our Chairman in his acceptance speech was able to give our Open Days on the 1st/2nd April considerable publicity! And afterwards he was interviewed by Radio Verulam, who also sent someone along on the Sunday Open Day to record what was going on.
Makes up for not getting anything from the HRA 2016 awards!

From the elation of the above award, back to the more prosaic. Replacing the signal arm broken by Storm Doris:


And refixing the repeater switch to the back of the arm:


'The Big Weekend' - English Tourism Week event 1st/2nd April. We had extended opening 10am-5pm on both days. We were concerned at the seeming lack of publicity in the local press, and the attendance of only 117 people on the Saturday seemed to confirm our concerns. But on Sunday 253 visitors came, to our relief! Donations and sales were very good as well, making a success of the weekend.

John

Who bent the signal post ladder like that??? B)
 

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Discussion Starter · #150 ·


QUOTE (Bear 1923 @ 6 Apr 2017, 21:03) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Who bent the signal post ladder like that???

That's how we got it! It came from Network Rail when they cleared out their signal depot at Bedford not long after we moved into the box. We were told it had come off the ex-LNER branch between Luton and Dunstable.

John
 

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Discussion Starter · #151 ·
We've been consolidating things and carrying out spring cleaning and touching up paintwork as needed, with the warmer weather upon us. So not much to report on - preparations currently are in hand for a busy weekend - on Friday 2nd we're at the Abbey station in St Albans, and then two days at the St Albans Steam Fair, being held in the grounds of Oakland college off Hatfield Road 10am-5pm 3rd and 4th June.

Whether as a result of the Mayor's Award, or other publicity, we are averaging around 60+ people on our Sunday afternoon openings this year, significantly above the 40 or so in previous years; welcome, but it keeps us busy!

John Webb
 

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I MUCH REGRET THAT "PHOTOBUCKET", WHERE I'VE BEEN STORING MY IMAGES FOR SOME 7 YEARS, HAS, WITHOUT WARNING, CHANGED THEIR 'TERMS AND CONDITIONS' SO THAT MY LINKS TO MY OWN PICTURES (NOT '3RD-PARTY' ONES) WON'T WORK UNLESS I PAY A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT EACH YEAR!!!

(Sorry to 'SHOUT' but I'm rather cross!)

John Webb
 

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Discussion Starter · #154 ·
As explained in the thread I've started about Photobucket, I received an e-mail which seemed to be a scam - but I found out it wasn't! I do feel they should have given at least a month's warning of their intentions, and given the option of opting out if you didn't accept the changes.
 

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Quite a lot has happened in June and July - we've attended a Family day at the St Albans Abbey station, organised by the Community Railway group associated with that line, immediately followed by two days at the St Albans Steam Fair, as mentioned in post #151 above.

We've then had two days at a local "Town and Country" show at a park in St Albans; we took some 700+ leaflets and returned with just 1! Whether as a result of this or other publicity, our last Sunday afternoon opening on the 23rd of July saw 102 visitors calling in on us.

On site we've started represerving the site wooden fence and have a professional painter giving the box its second major external repaint since the initial restoration in 2007/8.

All illustrated (or about to be) at our News 2017 page.

John Webb
 

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Still haven't sorted out the picture situation yet, so a "verbal" report only.

The repaint of the box concluded just a week before Heritage Open Days in September - these were well attended.
The site perimeter fence - wood in Midland Railway style - was given a coat of preservative on the outside; we've got to trim back the adjacent hedge before we can do the inside of it.

Visitor numbers continue to be high this year - with two more Open afternoons (12th November and 10th December, 2-5pm) to go we have exceeded our previous highest year's total of 2,400 visitors, and are approaching 3,000! The last open afternoon in October saw 103 visitors attend, a new record for a Sunday afternoon opening. Early next year we should have our 20,000th visitor since October 2008.

We have a new photo display of 150 years of the railway in St Albans - leading into the 150th anniversary next year of the opening of the 'London Extension' from Bedford to St Pancras. Elstree and Borehamwood Museum are also to commemorate this and we're assisting with the loan of a few of our exhibits for an exhibition they are running late January-late July 2018. Our main celebration of this anniversary will be centred around the Heritage Open Days in September 2018.

I'll soon be posting a list of Open Days in 2018.

John Webb
 

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Four hardy visitors made their way through the snow last weekend for our last open afternoon of 2017, bringing our total for the year to 2,709, a new annual record in visitor numbers. Not quite certain why we've been so popular; possibly through publicity generated by the Mayor's "Recognition Award" we received in March, also the garden railway seems to be bringing families with small children back for repeat visits as they want to watch the trains go round. We're doing our own extension by double tracking the railway so we can have two trains running at the same time.

We're attending the Chiltern Model Railway Association show in Stevenage 13/14th January 2018 with our publicity stand - if any of you are there do call in!

Open Days in 2018:
Sundays, 2-5pm:

January 14th
February 11th
March 11th

"The Big Weekend" (English Tourism Week conclusion)
Extended opening 10am-5pm

March 24th (Saturday) and March 25th (Sunday)

Sundays, 2-5pm:
April 8th & 22th
May 13th & 27th
June 10th & 24th
July 8th & 22th
August 12th & 26th

Heritage Open Days, with commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the opening of the Midland Railway's "London Extension":
Extended opening 10am-5pm
Saturday, September 8th and Sunday, September 9th

Sundays, 2-5pm:
September 23th
October 14th & 28th
November 11th
December 9th

Free Entry - all visitors get a traditional "Edmundson" card ticket as a souvenir. Garden railway, working signals in the garden, plus various old signs and adverts.
Railway signalling and other railway-related exhibits in our museum in the ground floor of the box.
Upstairs, on the restored operating floor, see how the box worked in the years shortly before closure.

More information at www.sigbox.co.uk regarding location etc.

John Webb
 

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Major update of our News pages on the website www.sigbox.co.uk covering the last few months of 2017 and kicking off the 2018 page with news from this month.

Met "34C" and a couple of other Forum members at the Chiltern Model Railway Show the weekend before last; nice to see you!

John Webb
 
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