The "Thursday Gang" have been working hard over the winter building the new carriage / steaming bay siding. The traverser has been fabricated and is ready to be painted. The ground work has been started ready for the sleepers to be put in place. The signal cabling has been re-routed via a new cable duct. Despite all the hard work, we do not think the siding will be operational for the start of the running season.
Other work over the winter has included:
Improvements to the pedestrian crossing over the drainage ditch.
The planting of some hedging around the track so that we can remove all the temporary roping, once the hedges have got established.
We have also created a large turning circle by Cherry Tree halt to enable the traction engines to run up the side of the garden railway, This will increase the ride time for passengers.
Sunday the 15th October saw the last publicised public running day. The day was well supported by both the public and Club members. The weather also played it's part with clear blue skies and higher than normal temperatures.
Over the weekend of the 29 & 30 August, the Club ran two tracks at the first Eastbourne Balloon Festival. Richard Brown’s raised track with steam locos and Brian Chessell’s ground track with battery powered locos.
Unfortunately the wind was very strong over the whole of the weekend, which meant that the hot-air balloons were not able to fly. However all the other events went ahead despite the heavy rain on the Saturday afternoon.
Thursday 1st June 2017
Work gets underway with the extension to the tunnel. Once completed it will make the tunnel 6M longer.
The Thursday Gang take a well deserved break after a full day cutting grass and starting work on the tunnel.
Thursday 9th March 2017
Spring finally arrives at Polegate Oaks!!
Thursday 23rd February 2017
The work is progress well with the leveling of bend 2 and the back straight. 75% of the support pillars have been leveled, with 1 pillar needing to be re-built as the subsidence has caused the pillar to lean at a very acute angle. Work has started with the relaying of the track and the replacement of the sleepers where necessary.
With some of the 16mm lads increasing the length of their trains (guess what they had for Christmas) it has become obvious that there is a need to increase some of the sidings in the steaming area. Work started today on these two new sidings.
Thursday 24th November 2016
Work gets underway with the leveling of bend 2 and the back straight. Medium density blocks are being used to bring the track back up to the correct level.
Friday 11th November 2016
We have been approached by the "Save Polegate Signal Box Group" with a view to PADMEC taking ownership of all the artifacts currently being saved from the signal box. The Club Council are currently reviewing this proposal and any implications associated with it.
Thursday 10th November 2016
Over the past two Thursdays, we have been inspecting the condition of the straight section between bends three and four, known as "the back straight". It was this section that had to be removed when Southern Water installed the storm water tank. Surveying this section revealed that all the pillars have dropped by about 100mm due to the concrete pad, installed by the storm tank contractors, breaking up. To rebuild all the pillars effected over this winter ready for next season is not possible. Therefore it has been decided to temporarily pack up the pillars this winter, with full corrective action being carried out during 2018 and 2020.
Sunday 16th October 2016
This was our last public running day for 2016. Despite heavy rain at the start of the day, it turned out to be a warm and sunny afternoon. There was good public support all afternoon with queues for both the railway and traction engine. Four trains were needed to keep up with the demand. The garden railway also attracted a great deal of interest, as is usual.
A big thank you to all of the Club members who have helped make this the best season on record.
Thursday 18th August 2016
The final part of the new public access path is now completed. This now means that the public have a hard surface to walk on right up to our garden railway and hopefully the front wheels of Wilf, Les traction engine, will stay on the ground!
Sunday 14th August 2016
We now have 5 new banners. These will be put out in Polegate High Street and on the gate to Brightling Road recreation ground on running Sundays.
Thursday 4th August 2016
Work gets underway laying the new public access path to the Garden Railway.
It is also hoped that our traction engines will be able to run along the path, looping round at the garden railway end and running back to the loco steaming bays.
Wilf says "Thanks to Polegate"
For years Wilf sat under my work bench gathering dust.
But then my sons started to take an interest in him. I was talking to a model owner at Hellingly’s festival of transport show about getting a boiler test, and he advised me to join a model engineering club.
As a result, I joined Polegate model engineering club, and started talking to Dave Newman about boiler testing and how I had a few leaks at present. He offered to bring along the clubs hydraulic pump and give the boiler a quick test before taking it to the club for the official test.
Well – as my wife would say – poor old Wilf had more leaks than a colander, so after a lot of discussions with Debbie and advice from club members, we decided to buy a new boiler for Wilf.
Dismantling Wilf was easy; putting him back together again was a nightmare. So I would like to thank the Thursday gang for all the ribbing they gave me about wilf not existing! This helped spur me on. And I’d like to give an even bigger thank you to Dave Newman for all the actual help and support he gave me, like truing up the horn plates and many other problems I had.
My dear old dad suffered from asthma and I had always said he puffed along like the traction engine, hence me naming it wilf after him. He did get see it run and had some rides behind the engine, but he would be over the moon now to see wilf running with a new boiler test certificate.
"They say dreams don’t come true..."
When I brought the new boiler it was my ambition to steam him up on what would have been my dads 100th birthday, and on 20.10.15 me and my brother Colin achieved just that – steaming up wilf and chugging around my close for about an hour to celebrate this day.
They say dreams don’t come true, but they do with a little help from padmec. Thank you again to all members who advised and helped me.
From Les White & family and, of course, both Wilfs.
Editors Comments: Les, Debbie and family, thank you for your comments. Dave and
the club have helped many budding and struggling engineers / loco builders over
the years, it is part of the reason why we do what we do.
I will never forget the day of the boiler test when Danny took Wilf out on to field
and seeing how proud and relieved Les was.