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Just a reminder that we are running our model trains this Sunday 20th June. Unfortunately it will still be just electrics from about 10 until around 12.30.
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We are running our garden railway today from 2 pm.These are not the ride on trains, they are the small table top models.
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My thanks once again to all those who were riding on our trains this weekend. Our next track day will be Sunday 20th June.Some of our steam trains should have been tested by then but I’m afraid we still feel that whilst this covid crisis is still prevalent, We should carry on in the same format, using electric trains only.We have been talking to one of the parish councillors and there is a strong possibility that the new café will be open for our next running day. This will give parents an ideal opportunity to have a coffee out on the patio whilst keeping an eye on the kids in the play area.
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Just a reminder that we are running the electric engines on the track this Sunday. I realise that people were disappointed that we didn’t run on bank holiday weekend but unfortunately we didn’t have enough members available to run the track safely.
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I would like to thank all of the people who turned up today to ride on our trains.This was the best Sunday turnout we have had for a long time, even in non covid times.Our next Sunday running will take place on Sunday 6th June.I’m sorry for disappointing anyone wishing to see the garden railway in operation but unfortunately we didn’t have enough volunteers in attendance to safely run both tracks.You probably noticed that most members were kept quite busy and we all need the occasional break. Hopefully we will have the garden railway running next time.If anyone has any criticism or concerns regarding the way we are running the track then please let us know. If we don’t get any adverse feedback then we will be running the track in the same manner next time.Thanks.Mick Stirman.
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I’m sure that a lot of our regular passengers will be wondering when they can ride the Steam trains so I decided to let you know what the situation is regarding our future running.For the foreseeable future we will be using the electric trains for carrying passengers.All of our steam trains must comply with current legislation which means that they have to pass mandatory testing carried out by our boiler inspectors, this includes hydraulic testing of the boilers and a steam test of the engine.Whilst the covid restrictions have been in place, we cancelled our insurance which also covers indemnity for the boiler inspectors. Therefore, none of our engines have had their yearly steam test and some of these engines may also need a hydraulic test.We now have insurance in place and these tests can now take place and we will be starting with the club engines so that we can start to use them for passenger carrying when we feel it is safe to do so.Due to the covid rules, we have had to carry out a risk assessment on the way we operate. We have concluded that the safest way is to have the passengers in front of the driver, riding in clean air and have extra protection for the driver. (Masks and face shields).This is taking into account the increased airflow along the length of the moving train.Whilst we adopt this policy, we cannot use the steam engines for the carrying of passengers because the driver needs to sit at the front.I assure you that as soon as we deem it safe, we will revert to our normal operation. I’m sorry for the inconvenience but your safety is paramount to us.Mick
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Sorry for all of the posts about the same thing but this site is not completely user friendly and won’t let me edit my posts.We will be running our track on Sunday 16th May providing the weather allows. We will also have the garden railway working if we have the members available.Rides will be £1 a circuit with a ticket for a further ride. However all passengers must exit the train after one circuit and re-join the queue. Track and trace rules will still be in place so anyone over the age of 16 must provide contact information before riding.We are doing our best to maintain everyone’s health and safety but if you feel that we have missed something then please let us know.
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MayI have a little hobbyAnd it’s driving model trainsThe only time it gets me downIs when it damn well rainsWe’ve been shut down for ages nowThis covid’s certainly not funI’ve even been told to take vitamin DCause I’ve not been in the sunNo friendly kind of contactWith the human raceAnd even if you venture outYou’ve got to track and traceHolidays were out for sureNo places safe to goThen locked up tight in winterLooking out at the snowEven April showersGave way to the frostI’m hoping soon the sun will shineSo this year won’t be lostBut wait what am I saying?The future’s looking goodThe first Sunday in May for meWas the start of something goodWe opened up our track againWith covid rules in placeWith NHS QR codesTo satisfy track and traceOur drivers were protectedPassengers in clean airWe weren’t sure if we could do itWith the right amount of careBut the passengers got to hear of itThey came along to rideThey’ve been shut down as long as usAnd were glad to get outsideSo we’re looking to the futureWhatever comes our wayI never thought my favourite monthWould be the month of May Mick Stirman
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We will be opening our track this Sunday 16th May.If we have enough members then the garden railway will also be running.See you there but bring your big coat because there is good chance of showers.t
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After the successful re opening of our track today, we are ready to make this a regular occurrence and will be open on the first Sunday of each month from 10am until 12.30. Thanks to all of our members and passengers who helped to make the re-opening a really successful occasion.Our next event will be Sunday 6th June, weather permitting.We may be adding some extra events so keep an eye on this pageMick
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We are opening up our track next Sunday 2nd May. We will be running electric trains only with only 2 passengers on the train. The driver will be sat behind them and will be using both face mask and face shield. Our price is now £1 a ride.There will be barriers in place to segregate entry and exit.Seats etc will be cleaned after useEvery person over 16 years old is required to leave their contact details using a sign in book or our NHS QR code for smart phones.Our garden railway will also be open as long as we have enough people to handle it. This is a new experience for us and we may get some things wrong so if you have any concerns please refrain from using the trains and talk to one of our members. We may open the track up on a more frequent basis but this decision has not yet been made.Thank you for your support and co-operation
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We will be giving rides on our trains on Sunday 2nd May. We will be using electric trains only. Passengers will be sat on the train with the driver behind them. The driver will be wearing both mask and faceshield.We have increased the cost of a ride to £1. This is our first price increase in over 15 years. Our club is self financing and non profit making, we have no sponsorship or grants from any source and rely on external events with our portable track to finance the club. We spend a considerable amount of money on rent and 5 million pounds worth of public liability insurance cover. Non of our museum events are taking place yet so we are currently in a loss making situation, however we are biting the bullet and hoping for an end to these restrictions. Our garden railway will also be open for visitors to see what they could achieve in their own garden.
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It has come to our attention that there is an article in the Stockton and Darlington Times concerning our club with information regarding club meeting nights. We do indeed normally meet in The Grange on every Tuesday night but due to Covid restrictions this has not been the case for over a year now. I will post on this site when things get back to normal.We are looking into opening our track for rides on the first Sunday of May. We need to determine if we can safely do this and we are today attending the track to carry out some essential maintenance in order to make this a possibility. The first opening of the track will be using electric trains only because at the moment we do not have the facilities to carry out mandatory hydraulic and steam tests on our steam engines. We anticipate some queuing on the opening of the track due to covid limited seating arrangements so please bear with us.
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We are running our garden railway this Sunday from just after 10am.
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Good morning everyone, just a quick update on our model railway set up at The Grange Community Centre at Hurworth.Our Garden Railway track will be in operation on Sunday 2nd August. This is for demonstration only and is the first time of running since the Covid-19 crisis. You will be advised to keep a distance away from the track and from any spectators not in your family. If our advice is not observed then we will erect fencing or shut down the track.Our members will be limited to 6 in the confines of the track and any other members will only be invited on the track when one of these leaves the area. Our members will be on hand to answer any questions regarding the models and track layout in case anyone has any intentions of building one at home. The track boards have been varnished and ballast applied over winter but that’s as far as we got before lockdown.The ride on model railway will not be functional for some time yet.We are a private club with no backing or sponsorship from outside parties and although our membership nearly covers our rent we still require portable track events from local museums to enable us to cover £5,000,000 of public liability insurance to carry passengers. All of those events have been cancelled at the moment so when the events start up again, so will we. We have also been looking at the safety aspects of carrying passengers as the government rules are not stringent enough for an open moving vehicle in limited confines so how we operate will be very different when we start up again.Please bear with us and as soon as there is a change in the situation I will keep everyone informed.Mick Stirman.
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Unfortunately we are still unable to run our engines at Hurworth. We are not even letting club members use the track at present but when government guidelines change then we will re-assess the situation. When we re-start our Sunday morning sessions One of our main problems will be to comply with social distancing on the available seating arrangements. We are looking into how this can be achieved and when the time is right I will keep everyone informed.
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We are steaming this Sunday morning at "The Grange" at Hurworth, weather permitting. We had the trains out last month in a bit of rain and were surprised at the amount of people who braved the weather.Unfortunately we will not have "the garden railway" up and running. The track has been in the workshop for weatherproofing, adding ballast to the track and modifications to the track alignment joints to make it easier to assemble. We will have it ready for when the sun comes out.A few of our members have bought 3D printers and are using them to print some engines and rolling stock. We can’t find a great deal of items to do with railways so if anyone knows of any sites for free printer code for scale buildings, rolling stock, signals or engines then please let us know.See you SundayMick
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We went along to the Great North Air Ambulance offices at Urlay Nook on Tuesday to donate the proceeds of the Country Fair event at Hurworth. We raised almost £200 at this event and were invited to pose for a photo opportunity.The Great North Air Ambulance is in the process of moving their operation into this modern facility. The builders are still finishing off some work but we had a guided tour of the place. At the moment, they are spread around different places and this new complex allows them to integrate both the office staff and air crew into one place. When the change happens, the helicopters will be based at this facility instead of Teesside Airport, there is a large hangar on the site and the landing site is ready to go. They have 3 helicopters, one here, one over near the Lake District and a spare. The new offices will house the crew downstairs in the office complex and the place has a number of rooms for their training which will include medical procedures. Our thanks to Ruth and the rest of The Great North Air Ambulance staff for giving us an insight into their operation.
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We have contacted The Air Ambulance charity regarding the donation from last Saturday and they have invited us to a photo opportunity with a large scale cheque. Seems like a bit of overkill for a mere £200 but as they say "all publicity is good publicity" so we are setting this up.
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On Sunday, some of our members attended York Model Engineers club where one of our members had entered an engine in The Stephenson’s trials.This is an annual event where model steam engines compete, pulling heavy weights in a limited time where the distance and weight of coal used ism measured to determine the efficiency of the engine.This is the first time that York have hosted this event and they did an excellent job.They have excellent facilities including a ground track, a raised track and a garden railway. Check out their site or give them a visit and you will be well looked after.
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We were running on Saturday in conjunction with The Hurworth Country fair. Our new Garden Railway was officially opened and it received quite a bit of interest.We were celebrating our 50th anniversary and decided that all money from this event was going to The Air Ambulance. Thanks to everyone who supported us on Saturday, the total money from rides and donations amounted to £190 which will be on its way to this charity.
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www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10220284870131140&set=a.2467864655211&type=3&eid=ARBIWVPDWIAXqzRL…
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We have done some more work on our new garden railway track and we now have both the inside track and outside track complete with 2 sets of points to cross over the tracks if required.
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Update of our new garden railway with 2 complete tracks.
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Construction of our new garden railway. It is now in running order although extra work is ongoing.
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Our new garden railway
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We are running trains on Saturday 14th September at Hurworth Grange Country Fair. Takings for train rides will be donated to the Air Ambulance to mark the 50th Anniversary of our track at the Grange.
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2 years ago

SDSME - South Durham Society of Model Engineers
A selection of members models
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We are running an electric train at North Road Station Museum at Darlington this Sunday (21st).They are having a "all the fun of the fair" event from 10 until 4.
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We are running on Sunday with steam and electric trains from about 10 until 12.30 at The Grange Community Centre, Hurworth
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We are having an open day today. We will not be giving rides but will have a larger than usual selection of engines on show as well as a small exhibition of our members other models.
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We are holding an open day on Sunday 30th June. We will not be pulling passengers on this day at it is primarily intended for other model enthusiasts from different clubs to bring their engines and run them on our track. There will hopefully be a variety of different engines to view and we are also exhibiting our members other models as well. We can sometimes get quite busy on these occasions so the inside of the track will be strictly off limits due to safety issues unless invited in by one of our members. Ask a member for a closer look and we will try to accommodate you.We are now in the process of building a small "garden railway" near our main track. Some of the support work has already been installed to elevate the track to a suitable working height. This will take quite some time to complete and the main track is being designed to be reasonably quickly assembled and removed to prevent any vandalism.We are trying to entice into the club new members and a garden railway is a lot cheaper to buy than the models that we normally run.Watch this space.
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During the summer months, we reserve the 3rd Tuesday of the month as a club running day. This means that our members are aware (without checking) that usually more members will be at the track. (We have a rule that means at least 2 members need to be in attendance to run ).This Tuesday we are extending our running day which normally finishes about 5 pm. We have asked the local cub scout group to come over to the track where we will briefly explain the principles of a steam engine and allow them free rides on our trains. We did something similar last year and it’s looking like a regular event now.
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We are steaming at North Road Station Museum (Head of Steam) this coming Sunday in conjunction with their Vintage Car Show. We will be on the field so we will be running both electric and steam trains 10 until 4.
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We are steaming on Sunday at The grange community centre at Hurworth. We will be using both electric and steam trains and supporting the Classic Car Show at the same venue 10 until 4
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Our club is 50 years old this year and we are planning some sort of event to mark this occasion. We have not decided what that should be but thoughts are around a combined open day for members from other clubs to bring their steam engines and a public running day with all monies taken going to charity. Watch this space.We recently had a problem with our new electric engine and although it took Kevin some time to actually find the problem, it turned out to be a rather simple failure of a connector block so the engine is now back in service.We are always on the lookout for new members so if anyone is interested then please pop down to the track on the first Sunday in any month or pop down to the basement of the Grange community centre at Hurworth on any Tuesday night from about 7pm.We could do with a few younger members in the club so that our more experienced members can pass on their engineering and driving skills.With the decline in engineering shops and factories in our area it appears that engineering apprentices are few and far between and it would be a shame to see these skills dry up completely.Our club is a model engineering club and our members have made a multitude of table top and scale models ranging from clocks, traction engines, hot air engines etc through to complete scaled down, working steam engines.It must be said that our main focus has been on steam engines because as a self financing club, we have to pay the bills and rent and insurance are quite expensive and running the steam engines at our home ground and at North Road and Shildon allows us a steady income to invest in the club.All of our events are manned voluntarily and any money taken goes into the running of the club.You don’t need to have an engine to join or indeed any engineering background. We have a fully functioning workshop complete with lathes, shaper, milling machines, rollers etc. and our members will be only too happy to train you in the use of this machinery if you so wish. You can also be trained to drive the electric trains and eventually the steam locos but these are a bit harder to handle and will take a bit of time to master.
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This year is our 50th Anniversary of the club.I can’t give you any detailed information regarding the origins of the club but it seems that a very few like minded individuals got together and formed a model engineering club.The club had very few members and no money and certainly no steam engines. At some point, it was decided that they would build a track to enable steam engines to be able to run around. These model engines are quite big and basically too big to fit in a garden unless you have a lot of land.The initial track and concrete and wood supports were begged, stolen, donated or bought by the original members and the track was built by them.This was in the days when there were many engineering companies in the area and a lot of mechanical expertise was available.The track was eventually built from mainly scrap material from discarded or demolished projects where the material was no longer required. The track performed well for many years but the ageing materials started crumbling away so it was decided to renew the track. A few members had their own engines by this time and to keep the track running, it was decided to split the oval track in half and renew it into two separate sections to allow the other half of the track to keep operating although the engines then had to go half way round and then reverse. A mould was made for the concrete pillars and the members took their turn to turn up at the Grange and mix and pour concrete into the moulds to form the pillars. There are a lot of pillars on our track so this process took an age and the renewing of the track took over 2 years to complete.What we have today is basically this track with a lot of improvements.
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This year’s events for our electric and steam trains
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Just a few of our projects
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Engines and more
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We are steaming on Sunday 2nd December on our home track at "The Grange Community Centre" at Hurworth from about 10am until 12.30. Hopefully we should be running the new electric train .
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Any regular supporters of our club, may be wondering what has happened to our new model electric train based on the Hitachi Azuma which is due on the north east tracks next month. So here is the story.We have been using an electric train for many years on our portable track events and at our home ground at "The Grange Community Centre" at Hurworth. This has proved to be very reliable but it is looking a bit dated so Kevin, our electrical wizard, has taken it on himself to update our rolling stock by building a new electric engine based on the new Hitachi Azuma which is now running on some of the main lines, mainly down south and due on the east coast line next month.Our old electric is powered by 2 Sinclair C5 motors which used to power the C5 electric sit in tricycles. The electrics were also old technology and required modernising.With new technology available, the new electric now has only 1 motor and the latest electronics but still giving the same power.The train has been complete for quite some time but still regarded as being under test because it is to a unique design and the circuitry has been designed for this application only.The train worked well for some months but then we started to have failures.Does anyone know what a Mosfet is?Neither do I but it’s a type of transistor capable of switching current thousands of times a second I believe (don’t quote me ). Well we were experiencing a breakdown in these units which could fail in a way that the train would be unstoppable. However we insist on kill switches on any electric trains on our track so we could still kill the power.The problems regarding the Mosfets were affecting the dynamic braking system and caused a lot of head scratching. The solution was to strip the electrics and rebuild and test each component part individually, paying attention to heat generation to prevent them overheating. Modifications were made to the circuits and back up systems were designed for loss of circuit power. The train has recently been tested and the dynamic brake has been restored and the train is back on the tracks for further testing prior to being used at portable track events. Watch this space.
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The Comsol solder appears to have been successful. The boiler has now had its first pressure test at 2 times working pressure and has passed this test. The cladding, new insulation and fittings have now been refitted and it is now ready for its next test at 1.1/2 working pressure to test the fittings. If this is O.K. then the engine will be rebuilt ready for a steam test. Watch this space.
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The boiler manufacturer who made the boiler for "Lady Margaret" has declined to attempt a repair for the same reasons that we had anticipated i.e. it could cause leaks on the rest of the tubes and turn the whole thing into scrap.Plan "B" is now about to be attempted. That is to get the tube as clean as possible using an acid bath and lightly grinding the joint then to use "Comsol" solder to repair it. Comsol has quite a high melting point (296) but not as high as silver solder (420+) therefore we may be able to repair the small weep on the one tube without disturbing anything else.Watch this space.
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As well as our monthly meeting last night, we also had a guest speaker. We regularly have guest speakers at this time of year and the subject of the talks is quite varied and often has no implication to model engineering.Last night’s talk was given by a Physics teacher/tutor and the subject matter was regarding his visits to the CERN Hadron Collider. He has been there a few times for various activities with students and gathered a lot of information regarding this facility. I don’t intend to even try to explain the workings of this unit as anyone wanting this information can access the site to gain comprehensive information.Suffice to say that he kept the physics and science to a minimum and delivered a fascinating talk.Only one of our members was close to nodding off but he usually does.If anyone is interested in this subject and wants to book this lecturer for similar talks then leave me a message on here and I’ll get back to you.
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We had one of our regular monthly meetings last night. On the whole,the club has been running well and our bank balance is quite healthy. The only problem that we have at the moment is a hydraulic failure of one of our steam engines.Anyone visiting our home ground at Hurworth over the coming weeks or months will notice that "Lady Margaret" will not be available. This engine was due it’s hydraulic test and when the test pressure reached one and a half times its working pressure, a weep was noticed from one of the boiler tubes.We have a lot of experienced members in the club and a number of them have built their own boilers in the past and it’s hard enough to silver solder all of the tubes into the end cover with brand new,clean copper. This boiler is now 9 years old and although we could probably do a decent job of cleaning and descaling the exterior of the offending tube, it is impossible to clean the inside surfaces and the heat required for silver soldering will possibly melt the internal crud and contaminate the joint. We also know from experience that the temperature required to try and repair one tube can have a knock on effect on the adjacent tubes so that you are chasing leaks. Our decision therefore is to consult with the original manufacturers to see if they can repair and certify this boiler. If this is not possible then we may have to purchase a new unit, bearing in mind that nine years ago, this boiler cost £1500. Hopefully with new technology and techniques it won’t come to that. Watch this space.
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We are running an electric engine at North Road Station Museum (Head of Steam) this Sunday 28th October at their Halloween event.
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When you were a kid, did you ever want to drive a steam engine when you grew up?Time and technology probably passed you by and your dream was never realised. For most people, the dream will just be a dream but maybe we can bring a little bit of nostalgia into your life by allowing you todrive a model steam engine.We are a model engineering society and our members build a lot more than just steam engines.such things as "pulse engines" "static engines" and even a working "Skeleton clock".Hovever iy is fair to say that a good number of our members do build and run steam engines.We are always looking for new members and you don’t have to build anything to become involved. We do have a comprehensive workshop with lathes, milling machines, shaper,pedestal drill etc and as part of "The southern federation" we are allowed our own "Boiler inspector" so if anyone is up for the challenge, then you could theoretically build your own engine on the club premises but it would take you a long time.As a member,you could be trained up to initially drive our club electric engines and eventually our club steam engines. We are obviously looking for committed members who are willing to give up some of their free time to help us out on certain weekends with our portable track at certaib venues such as "North Road, Head of Steam" and "Shildon, Locomotion" museums.If you are interested then pop down to The Grange on the first Sunday of every month or come down on any Tuesday night from 7pm in the basement of the Grange for a chat and a cuppa.
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We are steaming on Sunday at our home ground, "The Grange Community Centre" at Hurworth.
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1 month ago

9 months ago

1 year ago

We are steaming this Sunday morning at "The Grange" at Hurworth, weather permitting. We had the trains out last month in a bit of rain and were surprised at the amount of people who braved the weather.
Unfortunately we will not have "the garden railway" up and running. The track has been in the workshop for weatherproofing, adding ballast to the track and modifications to the track alignment joints to make it easier to assemble. We will have it ready for when the sun comes out.
A few of our members have bought 3D printers and are using them to print some engines and rolling stock. We can't find a great deal of items to do with railways so if anyone knows of any sites for free printer code for scale buildings, rolling stock, signals or engines then please let us know.
See you Sunday
Mick

1 year ago

We went along to the Great North Air Ambulance offices at Urlay Nook on Tuesday to donate the proceeds of the Country Fair event at Hurworth. We raised almost £200 at this event and were invited to pose for a photo opportunity.
The Great North Air Ambulance is in the process of moving their operation into this modern facility. The builders are still finishing off some work but we had a guided tour of the place. At the moment, they are spread around different places and this new complex allows them to integrate both the office staff and air crew into one place. When the change happens, the helicopters will be based at this facility instead of Teesside Airport, there is a large hangar on the site and the landing site is ready to go. They have 3 helicopters, one here, one over near the Lake District and a spare. The new offices will house the crew downstairs in the office complex and the place has a number of rooms for their training which will include medical procedures. Our thanks to Ruth and the rest of The Great North Air Ambulance staff for giving us an insight into their operation.

1 year ago

Update of our new garden railway with 2 complete tracks.

1 year ago

Construction of our new garden railway. It is now in running order although extra work is ongoing.

2 years ago

2 years ago

This year's events for our electric and steam trains

2 years ago

2 years ago

2 years ago

Any regular supporters of our club, may be wondering what has happened to our new model electric train based on the Hitachi Azuma which is due on the north east tracks next month. So here is the story.
We have been using an electric train for many years on our portable track events and at our home ground at "The Grange Community Centre" at Hurworth. This has proved to be very reliable but it is looking a bit dated so Kevin, our electrical wizard, has taken it on himself to update our rolling stock by building a new electric engine based on the new Hitachi Azuma which is now running on some of the main lines, mainly down south and due on the east coast line next month.
Our old electric is powered by 2 Sinclair C5 motors which used to power the C5 electric sit in tricycles. The electrics were also old technology and required modernising.
With new technology available, the new electric now has only 1 motor and the latest electronics but still giving the same power.
The train has been complete for quite some time but still regarded as being under test because it is to a unique design and the circuitry has been designed for this application only.
The train worked well for some months but then we started to have failures.
Does anyone know what a Mosfet is?
Neither do I but it's a type of transistor capable of switching current thousands of times a second I believe (don't quote me ). Well we were experiencing a breakdown in these units which could fail in a way that the train would be unstoppable. However we insist on kill switches on any electric trains on our track so we could still kill the power.
The problems regarding the Mosfets were affecting the dynamic braking system and caused a lot of head scratching. The solution was to strip the electrics and rebuild and test each component part individually, paying attention to heat generation to prevent them overheating. Modifications were made to the circuits and back up systems were designed for loss of circuit power. ... See more