Latest News

June 2012 News

The trackwork on the café curve has been completed in time for our summer season with a new concrete surface where the original tarmac surface had been removed to raise the curve. The curve itself was raised 3½” in one place!

The driveshaft which connects the engine to the alternator on the railcar has been subject to some modification recently to overcome the effects of torsional oscillation. The engine cradle has been modified, and a new larger flywheel for the engine is currently being machined.

Both Lilian and Covertcoat have been used in the first week of our summer season. Although Covertcoat has run with no problems, Lilian has had two minor mechanical problems. The first was the discovery of a crack in one of her wrought iron coupling rods. When the rod was inspected with penetrative dye, it was found that, although invisible to the naked eye, a previous crack had been repaired poorly at Penrhyn Quarry by inserting rivets into the coupling rod. Both the ‘new’ crack and the old Penrhyn crack have been repaired. The second problem encountered was a hot running axlebox; however following some attention to the lubrication system the axlebox should run cool and Lilian will be back in service next week.

May 2012 News

The Jubilee Line Fun Day, held on the 21st April to raise funds for Launceston’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, was a great success with over £2,500 being raised. Hundreds of local residents to take a train ride to Newmills Farm Park where there was a wide variety of entertainment on offer. Trains were so full we had to run a few more trains to cope with the demand – originally we had planned to run four trains, but ended up running seven!

The alternator for our new diesel railcar has been delivered and fitted into place. It will shortly be wired to the power bogie, and control gear added at each end of the railcar.

The new air compressor for Dorothea has been tested succesfully and will be fitted shortly. Although a compressor could be fitted next to Dorothea’s smokebox, as has been done with Lilian, it was felt that this would spoil Dorothea’s original experience, and so the compressor is being mounted under her footplate – as has already been succesfully acheived on Velinheli. Work has also continued recently on finishing Dorothea’s cab roof, which was only temporarily attached for her appearances at Easter.

Visitors to the railway may have noticed we have a sharply curving section of track outside our café, which connects our main running shed to the museum and workshop. Over the years this section of track has gradually subsided, until there was a very pronounced adverse camber. To correct this the tarmac surrounding the track has been removed, the track jacked up to remove the adverse camber and then concrete inserted into the voids under the sleepers.

Builders digging foundations for some new apartments being built at the end of our lane have recently discovered a few remains of the medieval St Catherine’s Chapel. Fortunately they were happy to donate the few pieces of cut stone that were found to us, and we hope that they will be able to be publically displayed in the near future.

Dorothea steams for the first time in public!

Dorothea was steamed in public for the first time today – and hauled her first ever public passenger trains.

Dorothea worked in the Dorothea Slate Quarry in North Wales until 1942, when she was withdrawn from service. Her rusting remains were rescued from the quarry in 1970 by enthusiast Dave Walker, who sold her to Kay Bowman of the LSR in 1989. Since then Kay has carried out a painstaking restoration of Dorothea to working order – a task considered impossible by many experts!

Although Dorothea’s restoration is not quite finished, it was decided to steam her and use her to double head some of the Easter Sunday passenger trains with Lilian. Dorothea performed well, and was used on five passenger trains – it is thought that the 25 miles she covered today is the furthest she has ever run in one day!

The photographs and video below show Dorothea throughout the day. Her next passenger trains will be in the summer once her final remaining components, such as cab windows and air brake equipment, have been fitted.

New tubes for Velinheli

4th April 2012

Although three of our resident Hunslet locomotives – ‘Lilian’, ‘Covertcoat’ and ‘Dorothea’ – will be steamed over Easter, our fourth Hunslet ‘Velinheli’ is currently dismantled for maintenance work to her boiler.

At present Velinheli’s boiler tubes are being removed. As the old tubes require replacing, they are each being cut in half and removed through Velinheli’s dome. Once all the tubes have been removed, our boiler inspector will be able to thoroughly inspect the inside of Velinheli’s boiler barrel and recommend any work required to it before new tubes are fitted.