In the last few months we (the LM & WR board) have had several discussions and site visits with Terry and Andrew. Life is complicated by the fact that the museum is looking to site another two barns in the museum grounds (which is not cheap!) so the Museum Trust is actively seeking external funding to assist with the re-assembly of the barns. They will also, in all probability require planning permission.
So, whilst we have identified a potential route through the museum grounds, it can't be confirmed until the barns are sited which I reckon, allowing for the time to raise the funds, followed by an application for planning permission, is at least 24 months away. In the interim we are consolidating our position in the old "Animal Park"
I should really look this word up in the dictionary. I told everyone (friends, Lackham staff, my wife, my fellow directors) that 2005 would be a year of consolidation. We would put down the remaining 50 yards of track that we had and ballast all of the track. How come then Grahame and I have jointly purchased a 1/4 scale Hunslet steam engine (Elidir) and I have just bought 80 yards of track from Adrian at The Engineer's Emporium. (Doesn't sound much like "consolidation" to me J)
It is important to note that this railway is not just an "attraction" at the Museum of Agriculture and Rural Life, it has always been the intention that it be used as a practical application on some of the college courses. Already we have groups of students helping during the week with some of the manual tasks on the railway. Grahame is there as the LM & WR rep and there is always a lecturer (or two) with the students. They are really hard grafters. With their help we have been able to dig out the entire railway (together with the 50 yard extension) and fill it with ballast. Our intention is to set aside one day on which we will have the trains running so that they can have some rides on the railway as a "thank you". To see pictures of the students at work, have a look at the gallery section.
Both LM & WR and the college have been actively looking at developing further links with a view to even closer integration of future objectives. When you look at the various disciplines involved in designing, building, operating and maintaining a railway, there are lots of areas where the courses offered by Lackham can be augmented by practical experience on the railway. For example as well as the "hard" areas of mechanical and electrical engineering, there are the "softer" areas of tourism and commerce. Finally, I am an experienced safety engineer, so I can bring an appreciation of health and safety and risk assessment to the students (yes the railway does have an up to date risk assessment!)
So that is where we are at the end of January 2005. A very good 2004, 50 yards of extra track laid and awaiting permission from the college to lay a further 80 yards. We have 11 running days this year (2005) and with us in an identifiable position and getting "known" at Lackham, I am hoping for an improvement on the number of rides this year. With luck we will get a turntable installed, increase the size of the booking office and may put a roof over the station area. All dependant on a positive response from Lackham.
A complete circuit, loop line, two platforms, working signals and a carriage shed. No platform roof and I have no space (or need even) for a turntable.
Now where's that dictionary, "Consolidation", the definition is .......(who cares!)