Newsletter No 6 May 2024

Thompson Park Miniature Railway, Burnley, Lancashire UK.

May 2024 Newsletter

Narrative by Bret Harrison, Track Maintenance Dept. Pictures by Richard Walker, Society Chairman.

Weatherwise May has been somewhat up and down, some running sessions have been washed out and then warm sunny days followed, and we were very busy. Also Bank Holidays and school holidays when we run mid-week have made our maintenance days a bit scarce, but we have nevertheless been busy with maintenance when we have been able to.

    Our 3-car articulated coaching set has been augmented by the addition of a guard’s trailer at the rear enabling more passengers to be carried. This trailer has been constructed using a 4-wheel chassis we had in stock. Along similar lines we have also made an addition to our Works train using a 4-wheel chassis we also had. It has been adapted to carry a petrol mains generator. This will come into its own when we need mains power along the railway somewhere. We will only use it on the works train when we need it when it will be hooked on the rear behind our ballast wagon. The Works train incidentally is very important to the railway as we use it to do all the track maintenance.

     The tram rebuild has been completed and it is fully operational now however with the tram now being operational a further issue ensued as a result in as much as the driver sits sideways in the centre of it and his feet could find themselves in trouble at a particular point on the railway where a low earth retaining wall runs alongside the track for a short distance so some civil engineering work was necessary to move the wall further back. Quickly written but hard work in reality.

      Sunday May 12th saw a visiting steam engine in passenger service. Merlin owned by Tom Ignall was here. Tom, we are sure enjoyed his day.

  When I was in Secondary school if my memory goes back that far!!!  We studied Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, and it starts with Macbeth and Banquo returning from King Duncan’s army meeting 3 witches. Wonder if they looked a bit like this as they stirred their cauldron?? 

Anyway, returning to normality work has been ongoing on our electric HST power car and an onboard charger has been fitted along with new batteries. Some tweaking work is required but it has been in service and hopefully it will be back in squadron service very shortly.

      Saturday 18th May was the day Pendleside Hospice had their “Memories on the Lake” service where lanterns are floated on the Lake by people to remember their lost loved ones. It was thankfully a lovely sunny day, We offered, after our normal running session ending at 4 pm to open our railway to visitors for the 2 hours before the service at 8pm and they took our offer up. We all stayed on for the 2 hours and the Society provided a takeaway meal. We were very busy for the 2 hours which was good as we were pleased to donate all the receipts from the running session augmented by a donation from the Society to the Hospice. The evening running session was something different for us which we enjoyed.

      We had the suggestion from Richard to add some coal to the 2 coal wagons from our heritage stock and which we display in front of the large garden and welcome sign each running session, so we fitted them with a false bottom close to the top of the wagons and loaded some coal on, we are pleased with the result. The 2 pits named on the sides of the wagons are a reminder of Bank Hall pit which was very close to the park and Hapton Valley which has its own local significance.

       When we built the large garden behind the sign the Parks delivered to us 2 tonnes of topsoil in which we spread a lot of wildflower seeds. None of these have come up but plenty of weeds have sprung up around the plants which have been introduced so we dug the garden over around the new plants and got rid of the weeds, it now looks much better (for a while no doubt and then we will have to dig it again)

  As you will see in the volunteering part of the website we welcomed 3 new young members as full members of the Society, They have been attending the railway regularly for several months and have shown their mettle, and we are very pleased to have them. At age 16 members are eligible to carry out all the things we do at the railway including driving after they have been passed out.  Altogether we have 6 young members with us which is good to see as they are the future of the railway.

       So, we enter June and hopefully the weather is kind as we do have further projects, we have started to enhance our little railway. More on this next month.