Weekly Exhibit

Another nameplate this week. This one is from a contractor’s locomotive used on improvement works for the Lake Vyrnwy reservoir system which supplied water to Liverpool. Prior to World War II, a number of both steam and diesel Orenstein and Koppel locomotives were imported into the UK from Germany. The plate shown is from Orenstein and Koppel locomotive works no.12242 of 1930.

Following completion of the improvement works, this 3ft gauge locomotive was used on other contracts and eventually was sold to the Piel and Walney Gravel Co. on Walney Island near Barrow-in-Furness. The line at Walney Island closed in 1962 and the locomotive was scrapped.

Weekly Exhibit

A nameplate from Sentinel locomotive No.7701, built in 1927, which worked at the London Brick Company at Farcett, Peterborough. It was named “Nutty” after the driver and fitter “Nutty” Rowell who kept the loco in service for 30 years. The locomotive is currently on loan to the Leighton Buzzard Light Railway, where it is on display.

Weekly Exhibit

Two objects this week, albeit connected.

Bagnall locomotive works no.2062, an 0-4-0ST, was used at Briton Ferry Iron Works on the 2ft 4½in gauge system. The locomotive carried the nameplate ‘B.F.W.No.5’.

Weekly Exhibit

The North Wales Narrow Gauge Railways used a system of train staff and tickets for controlling its single lines. McKenzie and Holland provided signalling equipment including the Wise’s Patent Train Staff shown here.

The example in our collection is for the section from Tryfan Junction to Waenfawr. The staff houses two metal tickets at each end, which are released by a key.

Weekly Exhibit

The museum has several recordings of the Revd. Awdry’s Railway Series stories read by Johnny Morris, which were released by Delysé.

DEL153, released in 1966, has two stories which were included in Book 7, ‘Toby the Tram Engine’. The second tells the tale of Mrs Kyndley, who was bed-bound at the time, and saw a landslide on the adjacent railway line. She managed to attract the attention of Thomas and his train, and prevented him from running into the landslide.

As a thank you, she had a visit on Christmas Day when the line was able to reopen. The Fat Controller and friends brought a number of presents, and amongst these were tickets to Bournemouth, where she was able to recuperate.

Museum working party 16th Dec 2021

The year is waning and the Tywyn weather mojo is flagging a bit, but it still managed a dry, if overcast, morning for the last working party of 2021. We were a much reduced duo this morning as we lost team members to other ‘duties’, but Charles Benedetto and John Olsen had a year end goal in sight, the fourth side of wagon no. 146.

Hauling the wagon out of the Gunpowder Store was just about manageable and it wasn’t long before one of the new end angle pieces had been aligned with the bolts and secured with finger tight nuts to start building the East wall. We had almost reached the reached the top plank when Ann McCanna turned up with a bag full of her special mince pies and Max Birchenough arrived to take pictures of the progress and join us for coffee.

With Sue Benedetto and Keith Theobald on site John handed a bottle of mulled wine to the cafe staff to be heated up as a winter warmer with our festive nibbles. Sue had brought bara brith and John cinnamon flapjacks to go with the mince pies, and chocolate biscuit selections supplied by Max; a veritable feast. We raised our glasses of hot mulled wine to toast the efforts of the working party through the year and then got on with the chatter as Mike Green swelled our numbers. Our discussions encompassed possible COVID effects on Christmas, exporting our carbon costs (if we didn’t mine it then it can’t be ‘our’ carbon) hence why buying Russian coal is so much worse for the climate than keeping our own mines going. Did you know that next year marks the centenary of the Great Western Railways absorption of Cambrian Railways? This event upstaged the slightly later, but more famous, ‘Grouping’ in 1923; you learn a lot at our little chinwags.

Refreshed by the wine, and high on the sugar, we hardy pair returned to the task at hand and cracked on with fitting the second new end angle. This had one hole misaligned by nearly 1 cm so a bit of work with a chisel and file was necessary to extend the hole through the plank to allow the bolt to be threaded through. Then the two outer straps were added in short order as, miraculously, all the holes lined up and that allowed us to attach the topmost plank, completing the side. But we went one better by installing the angle strap inside the wagon to firmly join the longitudinal roof timber to the east wall; though this required both of us to push up on the beam to lift the rib enough for the holes to align. Tired but victorious we then eyed up the challenge of getting the wagon back inside the Store, over the small but significant hump where rail gives way to concrete. We gave it a big shove and surprised ourselves by very nearly sending the wagon careening into the pile of wagon covers and boxes of bits!

By the close of play six planks, two straps, two angles and one angle strap had been attached by two determined men on a mission!

So we close our year with best wishes to you and yours for a happy and safe Christmas, ready for whatever the New Year throws at us.

Photo by John Olsen

The working parties will restart on Thursday Jan 6th 2022, COVID permitting.

Weekly Exhibit

A reminder of the Southwold Railway in East Anglia. This 3ft gauge railway connected the town of Southwold with the Great Eastern main line railway at Halesworth. The plaque which includes a section of rail, commemorates the line which opened in 1879, closing 50 years later in 1929.

A postcard was also produced marking the closure of the line. It shows the locomotive Southwold with its train at Wenhaston Station.

The Southwold Railway Trust is working on preserving and reopening parts of the railway.

Museum working party 9th Dec 2021

After its recent poor showing in letting Storms Arwen and Barra soak Tywyn, the Tywyn weather mojo pulled a proverbial rabbit out of its hat with a lovely calm and sunny morning in Wharf yard today.

But all was not well with the big sign on the Neptune Road face of the museum for John observed that it had acquired a banana-like bend of its western end due to the savage gusts out of the NW. Thus together with Max Birchenough he set about putting matters to rights; this required tools from the Gunpowder Store which led to him spotting Charles Benedetto idly chattering in the yard with Tim Wilkinson. Our third errant team member got his marching orders and joined us out on Neptune Road to re-hang the sign post de-bananaing, which is when we discovered that half the fixing holes did not correctly align with their ‘corresponding’ wall plugs. A bit of judicious opening out of the holes in the sign allowed it to be securely re-hung; with two new fixings at each end to curb any future tendencies to ‘go with the wind’.

Ann McCanna called us to coffee in the warmth of the cafe together with Sue Benedetto and treated us to her ‘Christmas Distilled’ cake, a delightful confection that included mince pies and cranberries – totally moreish but we kept one piece back for Keith Theobald as he joined us partway through our verbal meanderings. Naturally encounters with the wind featured in our discourse with Charles describing how some G scale wooden wagons were unseated from the rails by lesser winds than Arwen and Barra had thrown at us. Keith revealed that he had found the missing keys, not down the back of the sofa but actually suspended from the underpinnings of the sofa; how they managed this gravity defying transition without the aid of a dog or cat remains a mystery. With Andy Sheffield absent, all the members of the team felt obliged to eat the chocolate covered Hobnobs with his name on them, taking one, or more, for the ‘team’.

Refreshed by our chat, chocolate and cake we returned to our current project, wagon no. 146, which we hauled out of the Gunpowder Store under increasingly grey skies. This morning we attached the two vertical straps to the western end of the wagon, joggling the planks to get all the holes to align well enough to tap the coach bolts through and tighten up the many nuts. Getting the top plank in place allowed Charles and Max to secure the end wall to the roof beam with the angle strap, stiffening up the whole assembly. John ground off the square shanks from some more coach bolts ready for further work on the east end of the wagon. We were in the process of wrapping up the mornings activities when the first rain drops began to fall and quickly heaved the wagon back into the protection of the Store before collecting up the tools and stowing them too.

By the close of play three men had attached two straps, secured one top plank and rectified the wind damage to our museum sign.

Photos by John Olsen

Weekly Exhibit

Another recent gift of a model to the museum is this 7mm scale model of the Corris Railway station. The model was built by Tony Hill, and depicts the station as it was about 1930. Unlike most British narrow gauge railway stations, this one sported an overall roof. Attached to the passenger facilities was a two road carriage shed. The picture shows Tony with the model on display.

The main buildings of Corris station were demolished in 1968, leaving only the adjacent railway stable block standing. This currently houses the Corris Railway Museum. The Corris Railway are currently building a new station at Corris, which although to a new design, due to space limitations, will include an overall roof to give a flavour of what was once there.

Museum working party 2nd Dec 2021

The Tywyn weather mojo was on top form this morning, to atone for its ‘sins’ last weekend, and the team assembled early(!) in Wharf Yard to continue the 3D jigsaw puzzle that is wagon no. 146. Charles Benedetto, Andy Sheffield, Max Birchenough and John Olsen pulled the wagon out of the Gunpowder Store and reviewed our progress – two sides on. That was the good news, the less good news was that to fit the West end long angle plates, that had been painted many moons ago, many of the bolts had to come out again to be turned around, including the ones that helped join the top of the metal ribs to the vertical part, which were absolute swines to get all three holes aligned. Now as we all know square pegs do not make for a good fit in round holes and the metal ribs all have round holes, unfortunately the stainless steel coach bolts have square shafts…. The answer was to grind away the unwanted metal with an angle grinder so that the bolts could be turned round, and so began the game of musical bolts; John modified them and the rest of the team manhandled ribs and planks to re-insert them, with the assistance of the rubber headed mallet on occasion.

We were getting into our stride when Ann McCanna turned up to start decorating the Christmas tree and dragooned Charles and Andy to shift one of the red boxes for her to stand it upon. Shortly thereafter they returned and Ann was not happy, she had been rushed to get here this morning to do the honours, and someone had already assembled and decorated the tree. As none of the gang were responsible for usurping Ann she went away to get our coffees for us. Mr Green cast his expert eye over our endeavours and pronounced the coupling hook to be on upside down, a matter attended to with a Coventry precision hammer applied to the split pin by our resident Daimler engineer Andy; sorted.

We sat out on the platform in the bright sun and were joined by Keith Theobald and Mike Green. Before starting in on our coffee chat and chocolate we stood in quiet reflection for a minute as a mark of respect for Don Newing, a longtime museum volunteer and trustee who had just passed away. As Andy had cancelled his German Christmas Market holiday he was in need of an extra boost and was allowed to break into the dark chocolate Hobnobs; that put a smile back on his face. Subjects for discussion included arrangements for the Carol Train and past winters that were exceptionally cold; we all admitted to remembering the big freeze of 1962/3 but there was a general shaking of heads for the one in 1947….. For the benefit of youngsters out there we would routinely wake up in the morning and have to scrape the fantastical shapes of ice crystals off the insides of our single glazed windows before getting the coal fires going; domestic central heating was still only available for the well heeled!

Refreshed by our calories we returned to our re-assembling and succeeded in getting most of the West end planking in place and locating the brackets that secure the roof beam to the ends but we will need a supply of longer bolts to complete the work around the door as the bottom half of the ribs was much thicker than remembered..…

By the close of play four men had re-attached five planks and two end angle plates and rolled one semi complete wagon back into the Gunpowder Store.