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Tag: Open Days

Open Days and public events at Lea Bailey; also related events at Clearwell Caves or the works of Alan Keef Ltd.

🌼 Spring Open Weekend — May 2018 ?>

🌼 Spring Open Weekend — May 2018

Hopefully you have been keeping up-to-date with what is happening at Lea Bailey Light Railway by reading the regular updates on this website and on our Facebook Page — but now is your chance to come and see for yourself. With a compressor wagon now on site, our resident Eimco 12B rocker shovel will once again be put to work alongside a rock drill on the open air demonstration line to show how these machines would have worked underground.

The Eimco compressed-air locomotive 401-216 and Motor Rail 21282 will be in operation, with four different types of Wingrove & Rogers battery-electric locomotives on display — all at different stages of restoration. We are also hoping to demonstrate the large Eimco 24 rocker shovel each day at around 3:30pm. Don’t forget to visit our sales stand where refreshments will be available including home-made cakes. 🍰

Flyer for 1028 Spring Open Weekend
Flyer for 2018 Spring Open Weekend
🗓 Save the Date — 19th & 20th May ?>

🗓 Save the Date — 19th & 20th May

Issing Sid and Eimco 12B in the loop
Issing Sid and Eimco 12B rocker shovel in the passing loop

Planning is under way for the next Open Day on 19th & 20th May 2018. We will have our compressor wagon on site. Our resident Eimco 12B rocker shovel will once again be put to work on the open air demonstration line to show how these machines would have worked underground. We are hoping that compressed air locomotive Issing Sid from Statfold Barn Railway will be able to visit again (subject to confirmation).

Resident locomotives Simplex № 21282 and Eimco 401-216 will be operating throughout the weekend, and four battery-electric locomotives will be on display along with a number of different types of wagons. Visitors can also try their hand at panning for gold. Refreshments including home-made cakes will be available.

For a taster of what to expect, you can watch Rob Needham’s YouTube Videos of the September 2017 Event:

Video Clips

Many other attractions can be found around the Forest of Dean, all within a half-hour drive of our site at Lea Bailey. A number of links can be found below.

Web Links

📹 September Open Day Videos ?>

📹 September Open Day Videos

Rob Needham has created two YouTube videos from our recent Open Weekend on 16th & 17th September 2017. Our new arrival, a wagon-mounted compressor, supplied air for the Eimco 401 locomotive and 12B rocker shovel, as well as a rock drill which was demonstrated to visitors. Our resident Simplex 21282 was also in action with four battery-electric locomotives on display in varying states of restoration.

Our Open Weekends are an important source of revenue for the Railway’s projects. If you would like to help us then please consider becoming a member of the Lea Bailey Light Railway Society.

Video Clips

🗓 Save the Date — 16th & 17th September ?>

🗓 Save the Date — 16th & 17th September

Planning is under way for the next Open Day on 16th & 17th September 2017. We will be welcoming a visiting locomotive in the form of Simplex № 8540 which was № 38 at Arnold’s in Leighton Buzzard before it was preserved. Update: Due to other commitments, the owner of 8540 will be unable to attend with the locomotive. We will have our new compressor wagon on site. Our resident Eimco 12B rocker shovel will once again be put to work on the open air demonstration line to show how these machines would have worked underground.

Resident locomotives Simplex № 21282 and Eimco 401-216 will be operating throughout the weekend, and four battery-electric locomotives will be on display along with a number of different types of wagons. Visitors can also try their hand at panning for gold. Refreshments including home-made cakes will be available.

For a taster of what to expect, watch Rob Dickinson’s YouTube Video of the May 2017 Event

Several other events and attractions can be found around the Forest of Dean, all within a half-hour drive of our site at Lea Bailey. A number of links can be found below.

Web Links

🗓 Save the Date — 13th & 14th May ?>

🗓 Save the Date — 13th & 14th May

Planning is under way for the next Open Day which will take place on 13th & 14th May 2017. We will be welcoming “Issing Sid” from Statfold Barn Railway for a return visit after our popular Running on Air event in 2015.

Amongst the residents that we hope to have running will be the Eimco 401 compressed-air locomotive, Wingrove & Rogers WR8 battery-electric locomotive, and the Eimco 401 rocker shovel which will be operating on its own special display line with a public viewing area. For a taste of what is to come, see Rob Dickinson’s YouTube video from our 2015 event.

Several other events and attractions can be found around the Forest of Dean, all within a half-hour drive of our site at Lea Bailey. A number of links can be found below.

Web Links

🚂 Quirks & Curiosities II ?>

🚂 Quirks & Curiosities II

The Lea Bailey Light Railway Society has been invited to exhibit the Eimco 401 air locomotive at the Ffestiniog Railway for their Quirks & Curiosities II event in 2017. The first event took place back in May 2010 and a number of the more unusal types of narrow gauge locomotives and rolling stock were assembled in the yard at Porthmadog Harbour station. The event will take place over the weekend of 28th April to 1st May 2017.

One of the more unusual vehicles was a sail-powered rail car known as “Spooner’s Boat”, but we believe the Eimco will be the first compressed-air locomotive to run on the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways. The previous event also featured a Model T Ford and Series 2a Land Rover 109″ pickup, both from Statfold Barn Railway. Obviously a compressor will need to be provided on site to recharge the Eimco’s main air reservoir, but one interesting way of providing the air could be to couple up to the air braking system of one of the larger diesel locomotives. Any current or new members interested in coming up for the weekend please contact the Webmaster.

Web Link:

YouTube Video:

🛤 Rocks by Rail (Part 2) ?>

🛤 Rocks by Rail (Part 2)

During our recent September Open Weekend, our volunteers took the opportunity to work on the temporary track which extends on to the top of the old mine tip. With four locomotives in operation (Simplex, Lister rail-truck, WR8 and Eimco 401) there was plenty of activity for our visitors to see, including the first public run of the Eimco compressed-air locomotive. Saturday was the busiest day in terms of visitors due to the Steam Up at Alan Keef Ltd. in Lea, and much of the day was taken up with running trains in various configurations and with driver-training on the Simplex for new members.

Sunday was a quieter day and allowed more time for working on the railway, which nevertheless provided a number of interesting activities for our visitors to watch. It also allowed Rob, our resident photographer, to come out from behind the sales stand and take some footage (mainly video in this case) of the goings-on. With a higher-than-usual number of active volunteers on site, the Hudson v-skip was quickly loaded with rocks and transported to the far end of the line, where a second temporary track was laid, accessed by a new addition called an easy-turnout. Manufactured by Hudson, it is made from pressed steel and fits on top of the rails, allowing a wagon to ride up and balance itself over the central pivot, before being turned by hand and lowered onto another track at almost any angle — in our case 90° to the main line.

With the rockpile substantially reduced, there was space for another pair of rails to be added. Once laid and tested the wagon was refilled and emptied several times with the haulage being shared between all four locomotives, including the Simplex which is the heaviest currently on site.

On the following weekend we changed our usual working day from Sunday to Saturday, partly to allow a visit to The Brewery Tap afterwards to discuss the previous Open Weekend and to discuss plans for the next one (13th & 14th May 2017). Our volunteers split into two teams with one group shovelling silt out of the shed into a U-skip and hauling it off to be tipped using the WR8 battery-electric locomotive, with the other group loading rocks into the V-skip and using the Simplex. Two separate tip sites (one on either side of the main line) were accessed using the portable turntable.

Video Clips

Two videos were produced at the Open Weekend, the first from Saturday 17th September and the second from Sunday 18th. Both were filmed by Rob Needham.

Further Reading

🗓 17th & 18th September Open Days ?>

🗓 17th & 18th September Open Days

We will be holding our second Open Weekend of 2016 on 17th & 18th September at our Lea Bailey site. The main attraction is expected to be the first public running of our Eimco 401 air locomotive which is on loan to us for two years. Also running will be our Simplex diesel and WR8 battery electric locomotives, plus a visiting Lister rail truck. Three further locomotives in various states of restoration will be on display, plus we aim to give demonstrations of our Eimco rocker shovel.

New for this event is our Driver for a Fiver: donate £5 (or more if you wish) and you will receive practical instruction to operate one of our locomotives. This includes complimentary membership of the Lea Bailey Light Railway Society until the end of the year.

Open from 11:00 to 16:00 with refreshments and sales stand available on site. Not been before? Here’s how to find us.

Other nearby attractions include the Steam Up at the works of Alan Keef just up the road at Lea Line. Locomotives and rolling stock are built and maintained here for use around the world including Lydia for the nearby Perrygrove Railway near Coleford which will be hosting its 20th Anniversary Gala with 5 steam locomotives running.

The video compilation below shows the Eimco 401 being hauled by the WR8 in readiness for its first test powered test run.

✂️ Clearance at Clearwell ?>

✂️ Clearance at Clearwell

As part of the Open Weekend of 14th-15th May, volunteers from the Lea Bailey Light Railway Society went to Clearwell Caves to service and run the Hunslet Flameproof locomotive No. 7446 and to take a look at some of the other rolling stock stored outside. Despite having not run since last year, the locomotive started on the first attempt, and performed several demonstration runs for visitors, much to the enjoyment of the café staff who had come to empty the bins.

Another job which was started was to cut back some of the hawthorn, brambles, and other assorted undergrowth on the elevated siding at the top of the incline to allow the rolling stock stored there to be moved for the first time for many years. We hope to be able to do a little bit of cosmetic restoration to prevent these items from deteriorating, with the eventual aim of a proper restoration in the long term, although some of the items may end up as static exhibits.

Of immediate interest however, is a compressor mounted on a 4-wheel bogie, which despite being outside for some time, has already been made to turn over freely. An end-tipper wagon will be very useful for track work here and at Lea Bailey, with an initial inspection showing that it will only need minimal repairs to some corroded platework. Of course more cutting-back will be required before these vehicles can be retrieved.

The single-bladed point leading to the siding had been heavily overgrown with grass and other greenery and a thin layer of turf had to be removed from the top of the rails. The resident artist-blacksmith MissFire was in the process of loading equipment into a large van as part of her move to larger premises, and so our work on this part of the track took place in between trips from the workshop to the van using a small 4-wheeled wagon.

Once the point was free to move — a process that also involved the removal of a surplus dog-spike — the Hunslet was summoned to push the W227 up the incline and onto the siding. Because this set of points is notorious for derailments, particularly of the WR5 locomotive, the final few yards was done by hand using crow bars and pieces of angle-iron as levers, and a not inconsiderable amount of brute force. The W227 is now clear of the running line and perhaps the sunshine will allow a coat of red oxide to be applied to protect it from the less pleasant weather that is sure to return soon enough?

Forest Narrow Gauge — September 2015 ?>

Forest Narrow Gauge — September 2015

Skippy leads the line-up
Skippy leads the locomotive line-up

The main site at Lea Bailey was open to the public from 11:00 to 16:00. The attractions included:

  • Our Simplex / Motor Rail 21282 and Wingrove & Rogers battery-electric locomotives in action
  • Our EIMCO 12B rocker shovel on display
  • Display of our two recently arrived battery-electric locomotives.
  • Freelance motorised skip wagon ‘Skippy’ from Alan Keef Ltd.
  • A Lister Auto Truck from Brian Faulkner

Alan Keef Ltd had announced that the planned ‘Steam-Up and Open Day’ would not be going ahead as originally planned on 19th September 2015 — however, the decision had been taken for the best possible reasons! Managing Director Patrick Keef explained:

“The culmination of a large project in Europe in conjunction with other major project work and the wonderful news that my fellow Director and sister Alice Basey will be having a baby around the same time as the Open Day, together with two family house moves, meant we had to review our priorities. The Open Day is a huge attraction for enthusiasts, customers and friends alike and we will of course miss seeing everyone, but we felt very strongly that if we couldn’t commit to putting on the very best show we could, we’d rather postpone it and instead plan an even better event for 2016.”