Friday, 7 April 2017

We're there....

Message from our Chairman Paul Kemp

I am pleased to be able to report that the last few sleeper infills were fitted today and the 'missing link' rails over the traverser beam were completed. A works train had been in operation with a special headboard "CDMES Permanant Way Special" with which gauging and levelling trials were undertaken and at 17.00 this afternoon the line was declared fit to run by the Chief Civil Engineer Ernie Millard and Chairman Paul Kemp. There remains some fine tuning to be done on dressing some joints, re-gapping some expansion joints and fine tuning to levels but this work will be progressed on the normal Wednesday maintenance programme through the summer. There is also some painting and tidying up to do. To get the track settled it now needs some running and to this end it has been decided to go ahead with the previously published public running day this coming Sunday when hopefully the untested 3 1/2" rail can also be proven. As discussed at the AGM we will now be progressing with plans for a grand re-opening day on Saturday 27th May.

See attached pictures of the special headboard and our Chief Civil Engineer setting off on his inspection and proving run.

Finally my personnal thanks and appreciation to all those who have been so generous with their time and tools over this rather intense few weeks work, gentlemen I salute you, what has been achieved over a few short weeks is absolutely incredible. Ernie has been the mainstay of this project and without his enthusiasm, drive and determination we would still be looking at a pile of matchwood and rusty rail!

Best regards,

Monday, 27 March 2017

Message from Canterbury & District Model Engineering Society Chairman Paul Kemp:-

Update 28th March 2017

Having just received the very timely payment from the Just Giving Crowd Funding page courtesy of Chris Holloway, CDMES Chairman Paul Kemp sends the following message:-

Over the last week having taken delivery of the new rail and with all other preparations complete, laying the replacement track has commenced and is progressing well.  There is still much to be done but if the weather holds and we can continue at the current rate we will be well on target to be back up and running in May.  Whilst the rapid progress with the physical work has been down to a dedicated band of members it has only been made possible by the generosity and support of the local and wider community, other model engineering and model railway groups, individuals, Brett's and of course Chris Holloway who initiated the just giving page that became a focal point for donations from some incredible people and generated over £1,700.  We are extremely grateful to all who have shown support and made contributions towards the repairs.  The insurance claim has now been agreed but as yet has not been settled so the funds from the just giving appeal will be crucial in ensuring repairs can continue. Words of thanks on a web site or printed page seem a rather small thing in acknowledging the incredible generosity and support we have received.  Therefore based on the progress we have made so far we are provisionally planning an official re-opening of the line for Saturday 27th May where all can attend and see the new track, ride the trains and hopefully be entertained by some other attractions but generally to come and have a good family day out and allow us to thank you properly.  At present it is too soon to cast that date in stone but that is what we are working towards as a target and in the coming weeks, hopefully before Easter we will be able to confirm it as definite date.  So very many thanks to all who have supported us through this unexpected incident and we hope we can thank you properly in the way we know best on 27th of May.


Friday, 24 March 2017

A Major Milestone is Reached !

Update 24th March 2017....

Since my last update some very good progress has been made sorting out the fixing scheme, bending the first lot of rail and welding down the first length along the straight.  The various jigs were tested and proven in anger and we are ready to press on and get the majority of the rail bent if not laid.  Thanks to Ernie, Terry Jewis, Dave Pearson, Duncan Graham and Chris Davey for their efforts proving everything works.


The aim at this point has been to get the rails laid and welded to the newly designed and produced tie plates. The track in this state is still a long way off being able to be used in anger.

Major Milestone !

Shortly before five on 23rd March 2017 the rails were connected from both directions at Woody Curve so we now have a circuit again.  See below shortly after Duncan Graham and Mark Cox drove in the final spike that made the final join !

Whilst this is very good news it also marks the next stage of the work required which is adjusting the sleepers for height and the rails for alignment and of course the onerous task of fitting the infill sleepers, so while tonight may be a celebration, we are not there yet and are still some way off running trains again and help is still required.  Many thanks to those who have already made significant effort, you know who you are.
We should also mention at this point those that very kindly transport any tooling and machinary we need on a daily basis, and then of course transport it back to their homes at the end of the day.
From the financial point of view we have been funding this work from a small club reserve and donations very kindly made directly to the Society without which we would be unlikely to have got this far. We have still to receive the insurance settlement or the money very kindly raised by Chris Holloway and all those who donated on the just giving Crowd Funding page.

However as already noted we still have a very long way to go. Whilst progress has been greatly helped by some unexpectly good weather we are still looking at many weeks hard work by our small band of workers.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Update 8th March 2017

Rebuilding begins....

Following the removal of the last of the vandalised track, an inspection of the main concrete beams revealed minor frost damage to two sections. We are fortunate that we have spares  and this morning a good number of members turned out to help with the heavy lifting. There was a tea break before the new beams were lifted into position and the Chairman Paul Kemp ably assisted by Mark Cox made the final checks and adjustments.

As we don't keep any tools or machinery on-site each working party is preceeded by our members transporting all the required equipment which is then assembled on-site and then returned to their workshops afterwards, so each day is quite a long drawn out affair.

Work has started on the milling and drilling operations on the main steel ties which will hold the new steel rails in position and there is pleanty of hacksawing and other hard work going on in a variety of members workshops around the local area.

There has been a delay with delivery of our new rail but there is still pleanty of activity going on in the background.

We are grateful to New Romney Model Engineering Society who are kindly loaning us their railbender. 

Words and pictures from Granville Askham and Paul kemp !

 Everything stops for tea !

Many hands make light work !
Machining of the metal rail ties. You can see the locating slots which enable accurate location of the rail section which will speed up the build once on site. The rail will be welded to these on-site however transporting all the welding gear and other tools and equipment for each working party is a big job in itself as we don't keep any tools or machinery on-site. These have been machined by Granville Askham and Ernie Millard however threaded stainless steel rods and other items are being cut and prepared in a variety of members workshops around the area.... 

 There will be some wooden sleepers in between the metal rail ties. This jig made by Paul Kemp enables accurate drilling and the correct angles. Some slightly angled wooden sleepers have been machined by Ray Darvell to give the superelevation required on some curves. For the uninitiated superelevation is the slight raising of the outside rail on tighter curves to prevent the engines and riding cars tipping and counteract the forces of gravity as the trains go round a bend .... Just like the full sized railways....

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Update 28th February 2017

An update from last nights members meeting...

We now have a design for our new track that will make it more secure and resistant to theft. The donations received via the Just Giving page and directly to the society have made it possible to use a heavier cross-section rail in steel rather than the previously used aluminium. While aluminium has better running and riding qualities steel will be more secure as it can be welded to the baseplates although it will need a higher degree of maintenance due to corrosion but we will be painting the rail to help delay this process. Current thinking is Smoothrite but the cost of this is quite high so we will consider other options before we get to the painting stage. We should have received most of the materials within the next two weeks and we are assembling working parties to carryout the rebuild.

We have had meny offers of help from other Model Engineering Societies and we are very grateful to Romney Marsh Society for the allowing us to borrow their rail bender.

The first job will be to replace two sections of concrete beam that have suffered slightly over the past 30+ years due to frost damage. We have these sections available and this will be attended too within the next week.

We believe we have enough people with the right skills from within our members but we have not forgotten the many people from outside our Society who have kindly offered to help. However we do need to avoid people getting in each others way which would hinder progress so we will see how the first few working parties go and if we need more help we will put out the call on facebook and our news page .

We are currently working toward a stage where the track can be used (painting can happen later) in mid-May. Therefore we do NOT anticipate any of our major events being effected.

Again we are very grateful to all who have sent donations directly to the Society and donated on Chris Holloway’s funding page and of course to the many offers of help received. The kind messages of support have also been a great help and encouragement.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Update 27th February 2017

Tonight's club meeting will be a presentation from that well known double act, Chairman Paul Kemp and Ernie Millard, about the new track construction. I can now confirm that the stud material will also be available tonight for collection by those who have volunteered to assist with cutting. There should also be further details about the upgrades designed to improve track security. Meeting is at The Barn, Kingston at 7pm (for a 7.30 start)

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Update 19th February 2017

A remarkable act….

It is now exactly 2 weeks since our track was vandalised and I can report that this pointless and senseless act which will have left many of our members upset and disheartened has been replaced and outshone by a remarkable outpouring of support. This is indicated in no better place than the Crown-Funding page set up by Chris Holloway. Within the last few days the total raised has passed the £1500 mark and I’m sure I speak for all our members when I say we are incredibly grateful to Chris and everyone who has donated. It is a remarkable act of collective kindness.

As materials start to be ordered to replace the track the decision has been made to beef up the fixings and the costs are rising so this money will be very gratefully received to enable a more secure track to be used. As is reported elsewhere the insurance only pays out on a like-for-like basis and will be reduced by an allowance for depreciation. The rest we will have to cover from our own funds so these donations will be a great help and will be very gratefully received.

To answer a few questions that have been received our main event of the year, Trains & Traction, will NOT be affected by the damage to our track. We are working toward have the track up and running by June at the very latest with a target date for the end of May. This will entail a lot of hard work by our members but we believe this is possible.

People who had arranged to use the track for Children’s Parties and educational visits during the time the track is expected to be out of action have been contacted. However we will still be able to arrange these for later in the year.

Once again we are extremely grateful to all those that have expressed their support with such kind messages and donations to the funding page.

Very many thanks !

Barry Loraine
Web Manager and Newsletter Editor
Canterbury & District Model Engineering Society