The Trust is still performing strongly at its new site in Southwold. The public were invited in through much of August, and seemed to enjoy what we have to offer – there was a lot of interest in Peckett “Scaldwell”, and the half-built miniature railway proved a very good draw. temporary café (in a small summer house donated by Stewart G) is attracting people who walk or cycle by on their way to Walberswick (where the station building base is still visible, after 88 years!). The shop, now moved, temporarily, into the onsite office, has been doing very well indeed, with lots of nice sales, many donations, and quite a few new members signed up. In fact, membership numbers are still rising fast, with over one hundred extra people joining over the last few months.
Onsite, we have been entertaining visitors (and ourselves) by running Peter Nicholson’s H-class 1969 Motor Rail locomotive “Mells” up and down the small amount of track we have. In the next week or so, we will slew the track (we don’t have any pointwork yet – if anyone knows of any 40lb, 45lb or 50lb pointwork [1 in 6, 7 or 8], we’d like it), so we can get this loco into the stock shed, for painting, fettling and tlc before winter.
Wagon 41 from the Heritage Train is getting on, with painting of (donated) timber preparatory to assembly of the large side doors, and the wagon ends being painted in GER freight grey topcoat – a nice contrast with Van 40’s GER coach crimson. Discussions are proceeding about using our newly-donated three RNAD underframes, with one possible idea being a Cleminson 6-wheeler MOY private owner wagon – VERY Southwold Railway!
Peckett “Scaldwell” is being cleaned up, ready for the major dismantling, which is due in autumn: only when we have the saddle tank, cab, and bunker off, can we raise the boiler/firebox and see how much work will be needed to get her to steam. The rolling chassis appears to be in quite good condition, but again, only dismantling will tell. Interested parties can become one of the “Friends of Scaldwell” (minimum Standing Order £10 per month), and help her in the direction of steam (contact James Hewett via this website if you are interested).
We are not neglecting the rest of the railway: there is an Open Day on Saturday September 2nd at Wenhaston Station – we’ll be working there (mainly on surveying for the railway), so come along to Blyford Lane to see us and talk about it (11 till 3). And the eight-mile railway to Halesworth is never far from our thoughts, with lots of work being done on feasibility and civil engineering.
Above all, we need cash, and Members, There are many Projects and Funds to which you can subscribe: the Bonds which benefit SteamWorks, the “Sponsor a Sleeper” fund for trackwork, the “2-4-0” Fund for replica locomotive “Blyth”, the Heritage Train Fund (for the complete mixed SR train), the Scaldwell Fund and Friends of Scaldwell, the Trackbed Fund which is raising monies to buy further trackbed land, several smaller funds such as tools and workshop – and the general fund, which benefits all Trust activities. Extra active volunteers (who must be Members) are particularly sought: we have a very good and loyal cadre of workers, who perform above and beyond the call of duty, but the work is outstripping us. Restoring the Southwold Railway will be an enormous endeavour, comparable with the Ffestiniog’s Welsh Highland, or the Lynton and Barnstaple. We have made a good start. Now we need your help to make it all happen!