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....