ebay Mike’s expedition THE PICTURES. - Just the pictures please.

alcashj94

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24 Oct 2009
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Mike has travelled to the Wild West – well Devon – as he had heard rumours of a little-known private railway somewhere in the Dartmoor region that was serving some forestry and mining operations.
He didn’t know quite what to expect as the only information he had was what appeared to be a Telegram (thought those finished years ago?) from the ‘Superintendent’ saying simply ‘let us know what train you are arriving on and someone will meet you at the trans-shipment sidings’.
Having got off his main line train and asked for directions it all seemed a little vague – 'you’ll be looking for the WC & P, just walk half a mile up the road and look for the water tank' – was the best he could get.
Surprisingly it was that simple and he’d only been waiting a few minutes when an inspection trolley appeared driven by someone in unfamiliar dress, ‘Ello me dear, we got a bit of a problem with a washout and can’t run the engine down yer right now, hop on and I’ll take you up to Wolf Creek depot, we’m alright from thur’.

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Five minutes later Mike was at the depot looking for ‘the Clerk’ as pop-pop driver had instructed, Mike noticed that the loco’s and stock looked a bit different to what he was expecting and upon asking where he could find the Clerk the half sleeping figure in the chair mumbled ‘round thur’, that’s helpful thought Mike, I’ll try someone else.
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That’s better thought Mike as he spotted a guy with a peaked head shade, that must be the Clerk. Now he was getting somewhere, the Clerk explained that he had been instructed to send Mike up the line on a ‘caboose hop’ as the once a day passenger run wasn’t due out till much later so Mike went off towards the yard stopping to note the size of a log on wagon as he passed.

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Mike chose to ride on the caboose with the brakeman rather than on the loco as he wanted to stay as clean as he could, besides, the open platform gave a much better view of the line and countryside which again was not as he was expecting.

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The train stopped briefly to deliver pasties to a guy clearing washed down timber from a small bridge over a creek, Mike took the opportunity to have a chat although the local dialect did lead to some confusion!

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The line got steeper and the scenery more rugged and eventually they stopped at a small mine which was to be Mike’s focus for the afternoon, a tour had been laid on for his benefit. It was explained that they were mining for a rare mineral called Knowyouzatallieum which was only found in this particular rock outcrop. It seemed to Mike that most of the material lifted by the shaft went straight to the tip with very little going into the storage bin for onward transfer to the processing plant – ‘Yea, but it makes a nice splash in the creek when we drop it’ said the driver of the little loco moving the dump car.

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Mike went round to the top of the tunnel mouth to get a better view of the dump operation and didn’t notice at first the local wildlife nearby, when he did he surprised himself with his speed and ability to move quickly over rough ground !

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A mug of cyder in the office soon calmed him down and as it was late in the day he decided it was time to ride the next train back to town and reflect on what he had seen today, would he come back tomorrow to see more of this odd little line or continue on his way to the next railway on his itinerary?

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alcashj94

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24 Oct 2009
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Devon
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The weather turned out bright and sunny the next day so Mike decided to take up the Superintendents offer of a train to explore the West Fork of Wolf Creek where the timber operation was.

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Mike got his foot[late ride this time !
They stopped in a siding to allow Mike to change onto a timber train, he rode the caboose this time.

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Further up the valley Mike found the loading point for the log cars.

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Mike then rode the private train back to town chatting to the Superintendent about the line.

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At the transfer sidings they caught up with the log train which didn't seem to have picked up much timber during it's journey. Mike thought to himself, they seem to run trains for their enjoyment not for any commercial benefit, I wonder how they can keep it going?

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With that thought to ponder, Mike headed for his Hotel, tomorrow he would be on the way to his next railway visit!
 
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Paul M

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Mike thought to himself, they seem to run trains for their enjoyment not for any commercial benefit, I wonder how they can keep it going?
Well they don't want goods or passengers messing a perfectly well run line
 

Northsider

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3 May 2012
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Hmm, thought Mike: Kippers. I thought I had those while staying with Fezwig a few days ago. Mind you, they do repeat on you…

But on going down to breakfast, Mike found it was true: he was back in an imagined Isle of Man, having arrived very late the night before. He saw nothing of the railway on his taxi ride from the ferry, and his landlady seemed evasive about what time the trains might run. All the same, after downing his breakfast kippers, Mike sets off for the station. When he gets there, he looks at the track and his heart sinks. ‘I have left it too late: the railway must have closed a few years ago’. He wanders across to the goods dock, where the remains of an old E van once served as the goods shed. ‘This doesn’t look good at all’ he thinks, ‘to have come all that way, for nothing’.
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But just then he saw the engine shed doors were open and, to (mis)quote LTC Rolt’s Railway Adventure ‘an engine was standing in the shed and…the sound of a heavy hammer striking unyielding metal was followed by a spate of rapid Manx…’

And so it was that Mike came face to face with The Charmless Nurk, who is in charge of the locomotive’s fine tuning, watched by Driver ‘Claggy’ Clugston, famed for being heavy on the regulator and light on the oil. ‘No trains today’ says The Nurk: ‘This was our best hope, but someone’s forced her cotters and there’s no steel for new ones’.
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Mike explains that he has travelled quite some way to see the railway. ‘You’d better see if the PW Gang can help you, then’ says The Charmless Nurk, before turning back to his work. Mike sets off, walking along the track; it is hardly a 'permanent way':
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After an hour of walking along the overgrown line, Mike finds the PW railcar. ‘Can I help you?’ asks Dave The Progressive Vicar, who is apparently providing the Mystery Welder with spiritual guidance from the safety of the running-board. Mike explains that he has had quite a long journey and is keen to see the line, preferably from a timetabled train. ‘Ooh, no!’ says Dave the PV ‘You won’t get a train this side of Easter now. If this old bus was running properly you might have had a chance, but we’re a bit stuck, as it happens’.
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Northsider

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Mike sees that they have brought some vital supplies, and his breakfast kipper is wanting a swim. ‘How about a beer?’ says Dave. ‘That’s the first good thing I have heard today’ says Mike. The afternoon passes most convivially, even if Mike sees very little of the Isle of Man...

The next day, Mike once again heads to the station. As he walks onto the platform, he is pleased to encounter Herr and Frau Glum. 'This looks more like it!' he thinks. ‘Are you waiting for a train?’ he asks hopefully.
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‘No’, they say: ‘Haven’t you heard? There aren’t any trains until April. We just bring our morning coffee down here to enjoy the peace and quiet’. ‘Oh dear’ thinks Mike, images of wild geese coursing through his head ‘And to think my ferry to the mainland doesn’t leave until this evening’. ‘I’ll tell you what’ says Lucky Joughin, foreman of the Auldyn Works carriage and Wagon Shop, ‘Why don’t I show you around? You can see our rolling stock, and I’ll see if Charlie Clugston can pull a few coaches into the yard with his steam lorry?’
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It is a generous offer, and Mike quickly agrees. He gets to see some of the line’s original carriages, including a rare Cleminson six-wheeler.

Just then, Stationmaster ‘Simply’ Devine arrives. ‘I’m terribly sorry Mr Mike, I have only just heard about your visit. If only I had known, but as you see, the railway is closed for the winter and we are busy with maintenance tasks. But I have an idea that might just save the day…’

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A crowd quickly forms: as ever, it is the three stalwarts from the bowls club that adjoins the station. ‘What’s afoot?’ they ask. ‘What’s going on?’ They are, in many ways, like a Greek chorus. ‘Well’, says Simply Devine, ‘here’s the thing: Mr Mike has come for a ride on our railway, but that isn’t really possible, so I have asked Charlie Clugston to pull the Royal Coach out of the Museum and give him a ride up and down the station yard in it’.
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Mike is very pleased: not many people get to travel in a Royal Train, and it is steam hauled, after all. He has a photo taken for the album.
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Northsider

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After all, it isn't every day that you get to travel inside a Royal Train, and when you look out of the window, who would know the difference?
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All too soon, the afternoon is over and the sound of the ferry arriving can be heard in the distance. Suddenly, he hears a familiar voice: it is Dave The Progressive Vicar: ‘I can run you to the Ferry Terminal in my car if you like?’ Mike takes one look at the vicar’s car and quickly declines his kind offer. ‘What is it with these places? Everyone seems to run old cars, there’s not a Tesla in sight’.
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A walk in the fresh Manx air seems rather appealing before the long journey in a small cabin. 'Thanks, but I'll walk, if it is all the same to you' says Mike.
As he is leaving, Herr Glum calls out ‘Make sure you visit Mr Peel’s Kipper Shed before you go!’ Mike is not sure if Mr Peel is real, or a statue; or if he really wants a pair of kippers packing in his suitcase alongside his nice clean clothes. 'Do you do mail order?' he asks, politely.

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Later, as he settles down to sleep in the darkened ship's cabin, Mike reflects on his time in the Isle of Man. 'Whatever way you look at it', thinks Mike, 'it has been an interesting couple of days, and I have met some very nice people...' and he falls asleep, to dream of cats without tails, kippers, and a railway run entirely by steam lorries...

He must remember not to have smoked Manx cheddar just before going to bed.
 
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penylanpip

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Mike was met off the train at Barry town station. After grumbling about having to change trains at Cardiff for the final few miles of his journey he turned, looked over to what was Woodham’s scrap yard and asked where were all the old steam engines? He was told that they had been cleared away some years ago and we now have the sad sight of more than a hundred redundant bogie coal wagons dumped around every available siding.

Mike arrived at his destination in pouring rain. He peered through the window at the bleak, deserted railway lines and announced that he had no intention of going out there in that lot, so where are his digs?

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A rare dry day arrived but with frost and, as Mike insists upon carrying rather than wearing his coat, there was a delay in proceedings while the sun warmed the garden countryside. Wishing to impress, the directors escorted him on his first trip out in their saloon. This vehicle was purchased from the Schull & Skibbereen railway and refurbished at great expense for their comfort, but only for the men of course. Their wives, however, were not pleased at having to travel with the rabble - er, fare paying passengers - and demanded their own coach. The railway coffers had been cleaned out by all the work done on the directors’ own vehicle and the best they could secure for the ladies was an open coach given away by the Glyn Valley Tramway.

The railway owns no buildings; passengers & freight just get cold and wet, so the only structures worth viewing are the three bridges and these were the focus of Mike’s visit. He was told that this little bridge is on its 3rd set of railings. The first were replaced even before erection by a welded (soldered brass) effort, of which the site engineer was rather proud. The local, and grossly over-scale, squirrels see the railway as hurdles to enhance their garden visit experience and mangled this handiwork within a few months, so a professional was brought in for the made-to-measure robust aluminium solution we see now.

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The directors were alarmed at the rate their beverages had disappeared during Mike’s first trip with them…

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… and they hastily arranged for him to have exclusive use of the old ex-Wisbech & Upwell coach.

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Mike was taken in this to see the aluminium lift-out bridge which enables access the grass area, where he had a close encounter as the Orient Express thundered past, hauled by possibly the only French Mikado in the UK not owned by his boss!

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Following this escapade, and dependent upon your source of information, Mike either wasn’t trusted to walk over the long bridge or had no intention of doing so and was given a footplate ride.

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From this vantage point Mike could see that the railway is merely an oval of track with a passing loop, created to let trains run around while the retired ones sit and watch.

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Having seen everything worthy of note out on the line, the directors were keen to show him the lucrative milk traffic carried.

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He queried the other freight wagons standing idle nearby?

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They skirted around this embarrassing moment by telling him to avoid the gap in the trackbed, assuring him that it does close up in the summer and quickly moved him on to watch the Wisbech coach being gassed.

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The Wonderful Welsh Weather then closed back in and so Mike was taken to see the secret indoor line in the shed. A simple loop, with a couple of sidings, which allows the male retired one to run & shunt trains when the great outdoors doesn’t appeal. It does, however, feature a large bridge for which no location was found outside but the management couldn’t bring themselves to sell, despite recommendation to do so from the finance committee. Mike was puzzled by his companion on the brake van veranda and it was explained to him that this van was normally assigned to run only with the livestock train…

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With this information, Mike seemed strangely eager to get away from this wet place and hurried off to his next destination.
 
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playmofire

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"the railway is merely an oval of track with a passing loop" - the classic all purpose layout, so never "merely".
 

playmofire

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Though "Merely" sounds like a great name for a station!
:):D
Nice one! We are just back from a stay in Norwich with a friend and on Sunday we visited Diss and walked round the mere there. As I pointed out to groans, it was not a trek, it was not a hike, it was a mere walk. Boom! Boom!
 

ebay mike

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Nice one! We are just back from a stay in Norwich with a friend and on Sunday we visited Diss and walked round the mere there. As I pointed out to groans, it was not a trek, it was not a hike, it was a mere walk. Boom! Boom!
Strange place that, Gordon. A bit X file-ish. If you were walking towards it Diss appears!!!!
 

trammayo

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Strange place that, Gordon. A bit X file-ish. If you were walking towards it Diss appears!!!!

I remember the question posed by a teacher when I was a primary school pupil - "Which town disappears the nearer you get to it?". Funny, I can't remember much about what I did an hour ago!