1 July 2020
28 August 2020
Work continues at Blythburgh Coal Shed retaining where, at all possible, the original materials. The roof has now been completed after much work to the cross rails, cladding, beams, the replacement of some purlin# and repair of the louvres. Wood preservative, wood worm treatment and wood hardener have been used where needed.
14 August 2020
Recently we have been working on the Coal Shed at the site of Blythburgh Station. It is the last remaining building on the Southwold Railway line and is now 140 years old. It was in pretty poor shape and was in great danger of falling down. We talked to the owner who agreed to us renovating it. Here is its condition as we found it
Here are are some photos we took as we started
Work has progressed steadily since then
25 June 2020
Here are some details about it.
27 May 2020
We welcome donations towards our latest project which is to rebuild Southwold Railway locomotive No.2 ‘Halesworth’. The original was built in 1879 by Sharp, Stewart & Co. Our two Co-Chairmen have kick started the project by ordering the number and name plates and paying for them out of their own pockets. All donations to this project will be ringfenced. Donations can be made by clicking on our Memberships/Donate page or by cheque or bank transfer.
23 April 2020
10 April 2020
The easiest way that existing members can help is by renewing their membership promptly: HSNGR are also very grateful for the donations that most people add to their membership fee. These two – memberships and donations – are the only income source at the moment, and the Society has some unavoidable fixed costs which continue whether or not work is in progress. Principal among these is the insurance cover (which is highly specialist, because most companies will not insure railways or even those who carry out some railway activity) – but there are also website and hosting charges, web address retention, annual fees for the companies owned, and so on. The Society knows that times are hard – very hard for some – but please don’t forget us!
9 April 2020
Our Society’s Achievements
1. Recruited 131 Members to date, with almost all renewing, and up to 10 working volunteers
2. Held two Members’ meetings to discuss progress and decide priorities
3. Recruited experienced and enthusiastic volunteers to become Treasurer, membership Secretary (David) and land negotiator (Michael)
4. Online Newsletter – the “Halesworth Headshunt” sent out approximately weekly to those Members who wish to receive it, with hard copies to those Members who do not have e-mail
5. Quarterly news round-up, “Halesworth’s Happening”, sent out online to Members, with hard copies to those Members who do not have e-mail
6. Re-laid part of the railway at The Folly, Halesworth: approx. 30 yards of track on each side of the original 1914 locomotive shed pits, using rails, track fittings and timbers obtained by the Co-Chairmen
7. Achieved 100% sponsorship of the 71 sleepers for the main line relay project at the Folly, and laid down approx. 60 yards of original track from the bridge to the junction, including the relaying of two original rails using original and replica fittings (forged by member Jamie): both sites maintained and kept clear, bridge crown protected
8. Achieved an agreement with Sir Charles, the owner of the last HSR building – the Blythburgh goods shed – to restore it. Several tonnes of fly-tipping removed, and the building secured – destructive vegetation on the roof and around the walls removed – main structure jacked up to level, special-cut replacement timber obtained, and some fitted – bricks obtained (from the same brickyard as the originals) to replace those missing
9. Applied to become full members of the UK heritage railway trade body – the Heritage Railway Association. Sponsored by the Mid-Suffolk and the Whitwell and Reepham, and accepted in March 2020
10. Extensive coverage in local press: the Bugle, the Halesworth Hoot, daily and weekly papers, and railway magazines: Steam Railway magazine, Heritage Railway magazine and The Railway Magazine have all published our news, and take our newsletter
11. Attended many Open Days at heritage sites – the Mid-Suffolk, Bressingham, the Long Shop, and the LWR
12. Made contact with many community organisations – HSNGR is represented on many committees by Co-Chairman James
13. Published our first book “Halesworth, a Suffolk Transport Hub” by Rob Shorland-Ball, funded and edited by Co-Chairman Ken
14. Commissioned merchandise such as caps, Halesworth fridge magnets, mugs, and HSNGR enamel badges. Ken has had printed facsimile 1914 Timetables, and 1879 Rule Books
15. Set up website and social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
16. Set up a workshop in Wenhaston, with two sidings, a staff facility, a range of tools, and a storage area
17. The two Co-Chairmen acquired a locomotive – RFS 0-4-0DH RS106 of 1989 – this is under restoration. Cleaning, painting, and the engine, are complete, and the compressor tested. In February 2020 the wheels turned under power, meaning that the hydraulic drive and final drives are in good order: the air brakes are now being worked on. This locomotive has equipment to fit train brakes, allowing legal passenger train operation
18. James acquired a wagon – 3.5-tonne Hudson skip – which is now converted into a typical contractors’ 3-plank dropside wagon for display and PW use.. Agreement with Millennium Green to display the wagon on the track HSR has re-laid at the Folly
19. Ken and James acquired an ex-naval wagon for conversion to a passenger coach – now substantially dismantled: body design completed, wheelsets and brake cross-shaft at the Mid-Suffolk for re-gauging
20. Ken and James also funded a nameplate and a number plate for Sharp Stewart 2-4-0T “Halesworth” thus starting the project to replicate this 1879 locomotive.
21. Ken and James acquired 12 tonnes of NG rails including three points, three point levers, and one facing point lock. Another 52 rails have been bought by the Society, and will be delivered as soon as practicable.
22. Now have agreement with Millennium Green to re-lay the original point components where they were used until 1929 – at the loco shed site – with additional rails to make up the loco shed junction – approx. 30 yards. The point has been substantially re-gauged
23. Our land negotiator has started the process of negotiating for sections of trackbed
24. Started to amass original HSR artefacts – loco parts, paperwork, point rodding, sleepers
25. Local architectural modeller Nigel has been tasked to produce a model of what a future Halesworth terminus could look like, based on the original – this is funded by the Co-Chairmen
26. Attended two meetings with the SR Trust: so far we have formulated technical specifications, and suggested a division of spheres of responsibility. A proposed agreement by HSNGR for a joint project to restore the Blythburgh Goods Shed was not taken up by SRT
27. Conducted talks and guided walks (for U3A, the Time out group, Lowestoft Methodists, and during the Halesworth Heritage Open Days) about the railway and our plans to restore it
29 March 2020
In compliance with current government advice regarding the Coronavirus outbreak, we have cancelled until further notice all volunteers workdays, local events and outreach meetings. Our last workdate was on Tuesday 20th March.
21st March 2020
The Bird’s Folly Loco Shed after we strimmed and tidied it up on Tuesday 17th March. The path to the left of the fence looks towards Halesworth and was the single track main line from Halesworth to Southwold.
We had another good turnout of four valiant volunteers at the Blythburgh Shed on Sunday 15th March. Bridget, Tony, Richard and James. All the cut-down vegetation around the front and both sides was burned, and the site tidied up and raked over. Most of the work required at the rear of the Shed is now done. Inside the Shed, the structure was jacked up to make the ridge level. It was a very long job. The temporary struts are now a little more simplified and there is now a much better (acrow) support for the West end of the ridge. The first bit of new timber is now in place. It is the rafter under the middle of the hole in the roof and additionally the rafter under the centre is now fixed temporarily, until it can be replaced. The place where the wall hole was, in the South East corner, is now jacked up to level as well, as it was sagging on two of the posts and this means the new baseplate can be inserted under the posts. So, in summary, the roof ridge is now level and the roof now has a lot more support. There is still a lot more work to be done though.
A good turnout of 6 volunteers on Tuesday 10th March. Harry (his legs are pictured here) ably assisted by Alan made great progress in solving the mystery of establishing how the air brakes work on our loco ‘Holton’. In Channel Tunnel days there had been a bodge of the Parking brake which had to be untangled and corrected and by the end of the day the parking brake was working and the main brakes were well on the way to working properly. To achieve this progress Harry had to spend most of the day under the loco. James, with help from Alan, made a rail carrier, which should make moving rail about a bit easier. Richard drilled out the hinges for the Blythburgh Shed, and all the hinges for the fencing modification at the Folly (to allow the wagon to enter onto the track): as soon as we have the coach bolts and machine screws, we are ready for both onsite jobs. James drill wire brushed the spokes of a wheelset from our ex Royal Navy wagon and similarly Ken drill wire brushed one of the coupling cases for our loco and then applied de-rusting paint to it. James later followed this up with the application of primer. Malcolm carried on with re-purposing the brackets (ex- garden-railway) for the BB shed and other uses, put two up in the bothy for future shelving, and mended the door into the other workshop for good measure.
Wednesday 4th March 2020
The track we laid recently at Halesworth.