Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Tales of the Andrew Briddon Loco collection

Elsewhere - www.andrewbriddonlocos.co.uk - you can see the "official" face of the locomotive collection my son has built up. Here on "Weekend Rails" you can read a blow-by-blow account of our work in restoring and improving them.

Christmas & New Year hols

3rd January 2011

Tuesday Dec 28th: For the first time in over 33 years, there is no Land Rover in the Briddon household, with the departure of the 1960 Series II which has languished in the garage since 1986, when I was given a company car. This has no relevance to a railway blog save that it explains why, as its new owner had first travelled from Sutton Coldfield to somewhere up north and was collecting it on the return leg, by the time I had eased the venerable Landy down the drive on its handbrake and on to his trailer, it was easily lunch time and 2pm before we arrived at Rowsley.

Of 08s and trawler engines

30th January 2011

I blame the Rev W Awdry. The portrayal of what we know today as a Class 08 as the evil, slimy ‘Diesel’ in the Thomas books must have had a profound effect on the young, impressionable me, and influenced my view of what a good shunting loco should be. Today I can rationalise it much better – and have done in a few places...

Of air filters and deadmans pedals

13th March 2011

Andrew had the day off work on Wednesday and we travelled down to Bicester to view the latest batch of MoD rolling stock that Ramco has on tender. I have many memories of Bicester, from commissioning brand new Thomas Hill locomotives, conducting training courses in old carriages, testing a repowered Ruston and being happily unaware that the brake van at the back of our train was no longer on the rails… They weren’t always happy days, but I knew people there and the place always seemed a hive of activity.

of G.Is and Rolls'

23rd January 2011

Saturday: Andrew was away again, but Mrs B (well, having earned her disapprobration by depicting her in last week’s blog, I had better henceforward refer to her as Steph,) and I had planned on a quiet day on the 14’s troublesome window frames. Rowsley was very quiet – save for two young men dressed as American GIs who appeared to be patrolling the station site. I was tempted to point out that it is still 7 months to the Warring 40s event at Peak Rail but concluded that there was really no reason to intefere. After all, they had guns.

Of jacks and priorities

6th March 2011

The run of bad luck seemed to follow me into the first few days of March.  A commercial job on Monday got delayed an hour after a chap in a 4×4 and a trailer succeeded in parking it at 45 degrees across the A1 southbound. Although I almost caught up with my plan, the knock-on effect was that when I pressed the button on my bit to make the customer’s bit function, the latter didn’t and I had no time to investigate.

Of Norway and No-way

27th March 2011

There is a long list – a page-and-a-half – of  “things that ought to be done” on 14 901 before it moves to South Wales and Andrew had graded them into priorities of Low, Medium or High. He and I might not altogether agree on some, and he, like me, had other things in mind that were not on the list. A couple he even crossed off the list on a “nice, but we haven’t the time” basis in the vague idea that we might get through a significant proportion in the course of the last remaining weekend. A weekend that just happened to be the last in the month.

Of plans and Planets

13th February 2011

There is a view that a blog is nothing more than a diary that exists on the ‘web, but there is one important difference. You can pour your heart out on paper, insult anyone you choose, outline your aspirations, all in the knowledge that only you – and perhaps your spouse – are ever likely to read it in your lifetime. The blog is a different matter, and there have been “things going on” which I could not report until all parties had agreed. Too soon would have screwed it all up.

Of Teak and trackbeds

6th February 2011

I used to try Google-ing myself out of curiousity and up until a couple of years ago you’d be hard-pressed to find anything of me. About the only reference on the ‘net was Andrew and me appearing on “Scrapheap Challenge” in 2004, but Channel 4 took that page down a year or two ago. Now though, you get all sorts of hits, with this Railnuts blog high amongst them.

Of Telford & Tata

January 2011

So, this is what 2011 looks like. Ah well, just the same as 2010 to me. During the week, I put a new page up on Andrew’s website, offering “souvenirs” from D9500. For what true Heritage Diesel fan’s home is complete without a genuine, certified piston or half-bearing shell, the latter even offered on polished wood plinth with engraved label?  What a shame he didn’t think of it before Christmas….

Of the countdown

20th March 2011

Deadlines have a habit of concentrating the mind. I mean, we knew that 14 901 was due out about the end of March, but with that air of not being quite sure when, comes that easy-going sensation that says that it’s close, but not that close. Then Andrew gets the snippet that John Antell is delivering a steam loco to Peak Rail on April 1st and is leaving with 14 901 for Gwili - and no, it is not a wind-up. Ah, that means two weekends to get all the outstanding jobs completed (and one of those the dreaded last weekend of the month). The comfortable sensation goes away and is replaced by one of considerable alarm.

Of the Last Weekend of the Month

27th February 2011

It has been a busy week at Briddon towers. I was out on a commercial job on Tuesday, and Andrew having packed the girlfriend back off for home, went over to Rowsley where there ought to have been a 6.5m length of tube delivered. But it wasn’t there. He rang me, I advised him where to find the supplier’s phone number and contact name, he rang the supplier, the supplier blustered, and it turned out the lorry was half a mile away and the driver “couldn’t find” Peak Rail, Rowsley.

Of time and screws

20th February 2011

The sudden return of the cold weather on Monday sent a chill through Andrew’s heart. We had, after all, added a considerable quantity of plain water to “Pluto” last Sunday when the cooling system appeared a touch low, so Antifreeze strength was not entirely predictable.

Of Plywood and sawdust

16th January 2011

Andrew was back at his girl friend’s for Saturday so Mrs B and I concentrated on some tidying up. A rare day indeed that we are not in some way working on the locos, so it was savoured like a rare wine. But Sunday it was back to normal, Mrs B and I loaded up the van and headed over to Rowsley where Andrew would later join us.


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