2020 started with the WMR team heading off to Yorkshire on a busman’s holiday!
A number of us went off to dismantle the Orchard Farm Lakeside Railway, which sadly had closed. However this has yielded some useful equipment for us here in Watford, which we have detailed below.
New Diesel Locomotive
One of the most attractive parts for us is a bogie diesel hydraulic locomotive, of a similar size to Conway Castle. To keep the trains running reliably all summer we really need a third working diesel as back up to Conway Castle and Nikki Louise, and this will provide exactly that.
It was part dismantled and removing it from the garage it was stored in was, shall we say, challenging! However there is not much work required to get it running and therefore we plan to have it running down the park this summer; work is already underway in our workshop.
You can read further details about the diesel here.
New Steam Locomotive
We have also gained another steam locomotive, based on those used on the Ffestiniog Railway in Snowdonia.
Marri has worked very hard over the last two years and we do need another steam locomotive to help take the strain. Although we do have Pilgrim and Chiltern Shuttle, these are privately owned and therefore will tend to run a little less. Therefore a second railway-owned steam locomotive will help ensure we can keep steam in regular operation all year round.
The new steam loco is currently in parts and does need quite a bit of restoration/rebuilding work, which won’t start until Chiltern Shuttle has returned from her restoration later this year, so it will be a year or two before she is running down the park.
You can read further details about the steam locomotive here
As many know our station is very open and therefore at the mercy of the elements – when it rains (even a little) everyone gets wet! Some form of shelter to keep waiting passengers dry is part of our plans to improve the station (more details of our plans here), so this canopy proved a perfect acquisition.
We have also been offered (from another location) a station building, which we hope can be sited to provide a small shop and event space, adding to our station facilities. Both the canopy and station building will require a number of permissions to be gained, so we expect it will be next winter at the earliest before we can erect them.