Showing posts from 2011


On the 18th December we had a Special Delivery from Santa in the shape of Kennett signal box. We were given four days notice to arrange transport and a crane to lift the box at the CVR - quite a feat in the run up to Christmas. All went well though and the box arrived right in the middle of our busiest Santa day! It it now on the sturgeon, where it will remain until a base is ready for it at Drawell.


The Santa Specials have been running well. Santa and his helpers have been kept busy. All trains are being worked by Castle Donnington Power Station using our Pullman carriages. Numbers have been good, as has the weather although a little cold. One more to go on the 21st now


St Peter's church, Sible Hedingham had a Christmas tree festival on Saturday 26th November and a tree was decorated on behalf of the Railway. Thanks to Gay and Nick for doing this


We have had quite an active few days which included some members of the Hedingham Sidecars Owners Club spend a couple of nights camping on site as part of their Winter Warmer weekend. I don't know the exact number, but there must have been around 30 bikes, old and new and attendees came from from as far away as Belgium. Saturday morning we ran a Santa Special for a group of Brownies/Guides who met Santa on the diesel train. Saturday evening we had our Christmas dinner and awards evening at The White Hart, Great Yeldham, 34 members and family attended and enjoyed a lovely evening.


The oak trees on the platform were long overdue for trimming , the signalmen couldn't see past them and you had to beware of falling acorns. So, four fellers got to work and spent a few hours pruning - what a difference


The tank of Barclay 0-4-0ST 2199 Victory was placed back on today. Now it is really beginning to look like a working steam engine, not long now hopefully. Proud owners Dick and Tony Goulding are seen here with Victory on 5th November 2011


A very successful evening of fun and games was held on Saturday 29th October 2011. The Wizard Wanderer diesel train (manned by a skeleton crew) and the miniature and garden railways carried witches and wizards and all their friends. Ghostly story telling proved very popular as did the drawing competition being run as part of the Big Draw Campaign.


Late August saw the arrival of 1919 built Hawthorne Leslie 0-6-0ST Isabel. This engine is on loan to the Colne Valley Railway from the Epping Ongar Railway. Our volunteers are now working hard to get her into a working condition, having been delivered minus several essential components. It is hoped Isabel might be ready to work our Santa Specials. In the meantime, lots of cleaning and some painting has been done and she is beginning to look happier.


The Essex Tourism Awards were held at the Radisson Blu, Stansted on 12th October. The CVR was one of the three contenders for Best Small Visitor Attraction. After winning the title in 2010 we were runners up this year to Bridge End Garden, Saffron Walden - Congratulations to them.


Thomas the Tank Engine is with us again. Saturday and Sunday fans old and young came along to have rides with Thomas and Daisy, meet Sir Topham Hatt and enjoy all the other attractions. Thomas is with us again this Saturday, October 1st our next operating day then will be Sunday 9th for our new event - Victorian Sunday

September 2011

A busy month this. Evan and Sally spent 2 days at the Country Show at Barleylands, Billericay in the Visit Essex marquee. It seemed quieter than last year but was still very busy. This week we have three diesel driving experiences and are getting ready for a return visit from Thomas the Tank Engine - 24th, 25th September and 1st October. The following week we have our 26th Victorian education event. This year we are having a public day on Sunday 9th. All staff will be in costume and Queen Victorian will be in attendance


Evan, Ros and Sally attend the Clacton Air Show today with Visit Essex. Lots of people gathered in the hot sunshine to enjoyeverything on offer and of course to watch the aerial displays. The show opened with the unmistakable sound of a Spitfire and also included a Catalina flying boat, RAF trainer planes, a Brietling wing walker, Sea King helicopter and the RAF Falcons parachute display team.


Today we had our annual assessment by a representative from Visit England for their Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance Scheme - denoted by a red rose. All went well and we have been awarded accreditation for a second year.


Lots of visitors came today to see Colin, the Railway Bear, and to meet his new friend Andy Bear. This larger-than-life bear seemed to be popular and I'm sure he enjoyed his day at the Railway, though he did threaten to have the guard for dinner! Colin and Andy will be back again on the 24th August


24th July saw the first Colne Valley Bus Rally. 30 buses attended, ranging from a 1939 Bristol K of Westcliff to a 2010 Enviro 400 from local operator Hedingham Omnibuses. A lot of interest was created by 4 Bedford OBs, two of them being rare examples - one had been converted into a motor-home 40 years ago (complete with flock wallpaper, mock beams and artex ceiling!) the other was known as a toast rack - it had no glass in the windows and this was its first rally. . An ex-Southdown open-top bus proved very popular running to Halstead on a warm day For a first event it was a very good day, and it will happen again next year - 22nd July.

WD 190

The boiler for WD190 was returned to the CVR today after having essential work carried out away from the site. The boiler has been placed in the cradle vacated by Victorys boiler, ready for the tubes to be put back.


The frames and boiler of Barclay 0-4-0ST Victory were reunited today as restoration continues steadily. The pics show the frames ready to take the boiler, the boiler on its way and finally in place. She still looks a tiny engine!


The CVR went to war on the 10th July with 1940s re-enactors, military vehicles and lots of period costume. Again the weather was very good, which helped in making this the most successful CVR at War event so far


On the 26th June we had our annual Model Railway Exhibition. Featuring trade stands and layouts in all shapes and sizes this event proved to be very popular.


Thomas visited the CVR during June along with other Friends, including Daisy and Sir Topham Hatt. There was lots of fun and games to be had and we also had steam on the 7 1/4" railway. The re-enactment involved Fireman arriving in their Fire engine - great fun. Lots of hard work and we do it all again in September.


After a lot of hard work by a small team of Colne Valley Volunteers, the model railway shed has been officially opened by Mrs Radford, daughter of the late Mr Tierney. There are still tasks to be finished - the boards surrounding the model need to be painted and not all the wiring is finished, but there are now 5 working circuits on the layout. Displays of railways items are also being installed in the shed.


Brooks Newmark, the MP for Braintree visited the Railway this afternoon. He spent time learning the history of the Railway and listening to our plans for the future.

Teddy Bears Day

Colin the bear was joined by his friend Paul, the panda today. They spent the day travelling on the trains and talking to our visitors.


At long last Syd has the shed he has waited many years for. What started out as an engine shed has been moved over the hedge, extended to contain a full length of carriage and widened to include a walkway around all sides. No more squeezing down the sides being harnessed to the framework for Ashley either. We will probably find the pair of them in their harnesses swinging from the roof celebrating the fact that have room to work (and play)


Lovely sight today - Victory in steam for the first time in about 10 years. It may have been coming out of the front end of the boiler and not the chimey but it is a positive sign that hopefully this little loco will be back in action within months rather than years. The frames of WD190 have had the scaffolding removed from around them and they look shiny and new.


Work has started this week on replacing some of the timbers on the footbridge. It is hoped to get the first stage completed so we can open the bridge in time for the Thomas events in June. The toilet block on Halstead platform is also being refreshed. This Sunday, 15th May we have a Diesel Gala. Expected to be working are Classes 03, 31, 121 and 141.


This week J72 Joem left us for the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. Her final day with us, Monday 25th, saw her working a freight train alongside Castle Donnington No.1 on a passenger train. The Steam Crews have enjoyed having this loco, and hope it's not another 17 years before she returns! Peckett 2000 had a test run today and has its first full day of work tomorrow.


Peckett 2000 arrived today from Barrow Hill. This 0-6-0ST used to work at Ipswich sugar beet factory and will be with us for the next few months. J72 Joem will leave us next Tuesday, looked highly polished in the sun today.


J72 Joem was 60 years old today. Coming out of Darlington works as no.2151 she was based on a Wilson Worsdell design of 1895. Joem only has 8 more days left at the Colne Valley Railway, we shall be sorry to see her go.


Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th April we have our vintage rally, stationary engines, military vehicles, cars, bikes, lorries - a good mix will be in attendance. This year sees the introduction of trade and craft stalls. Gates open at 09.30 both days


We are now two weekends into the operating season. Joem is an added attraction and has been working on driver experience and steam days. Pullman Carriage Gresley is undergoing a repaint and is looking good. Meanwhile, the model railway has had the final section put in place, just needs a bit of tweaking to ensure the correct alignment. Saturday 2nd April we have driver experiences with Joem and a diesel unit running, whilst on the 3rd (Mothering Sunday) Joem will again be working.

J72 69023 JOEM

J72 Joem arrived on Tuesday 15th March for a 6-week visit. It is hoped that she will be operating on our first steam day of the season on Sunday 20th March.


We are very pleased to announce that we recevied two more awards from HIT Entertainment for our Thomas events during 2010. One was for the Best Day Out With Thomas Website, the other for the Best Imagination Station. Our thanks go to the Rainbow Childrens Centres for providing such an excellent facility.


Peter and Tim have also been working hard on the Garden Railway over the last few weeks, the main job being replacing the whole outer track with new G guage track. This means there are now 6 different guages to be found at the CVR - N, G, O, OO, 7 1/4" and standard. Quite a variation. Other routine work has been carried out - bridges painted, fences repaired, push buttons to operate the lighthouse, fire engine and the Garden Railways own Waterside Railway have been re-installed. The new platform has been finished with a wooden fence and now means that visitors will look down onto the Garden Railway so hopefully they will see even more.

Model Railway

The 'OO' gauge model railway layout is now forming a complete circuit. Now its the job of connecting controllers and all the necessary items needed to make this a fully working layout once again. It is intended to install some items for visitors to operate via push-buttons.


On 24th February Evan and Sally attended the Tourism and Leisure Show at Five Lakes Country Club, Maldon. With around 100 exhibitors this show was open to tour organisers and the general public and was a very busy day. It was also a chance to show off our new pop-up banner which was collected that morning.


During the closed period the S&T gang have been making changes at Nunnery Junction, this has entailed the removal of a ground signal and a new post being installed.


On the 19th February Paul, Sally and Vinny attended this exhibition. In spite of the awful weather there was a constant stream of visitors, and we met many interesting people. Meanwhile back at the CVR, the model railway layout is taking shape, more panels have been put on their legs and attached, only about four more panels to go. It's hoped to have this up an running during the Summer.


Andy Wallis, CVR Chairman, has written a book on the CV&HR. It takes an in-depth look at the forming of the Railway in 1860, the stations and locomotives. It also includes its absorbtion into the LNER and subsequent passing into state ownership and the ultimate closure of the line in 1965. It then covers the formation of the CVR and the work undertaken by the volunteers. A soft-back book with 96 pages, this book will be released on 28th February at a price of £14.99. To purchase a copy please phone the office 01787461174 (if no reply please leave your name/number and we will get back to you)

J72 69023 TO VISIT CVR

J72 69023 'Joem' is due late March on hire from NELPG. This 0-6-0T will be staying until late April and as well as working on steam days, will be operating on some Driver Experience Courses (limited spaces available) Joem visited the CVR in 1994, its boiler ticket expired in 1996, and the engine returned to service in June 2010.

January 2011 update

The first sections of the model railway have been fixed to the back wall, the panels have a lot on them besides the track - buildings, people animals - there is so much to see. Most of the panels for the new platform in Newmans Sidings are in place, its hoped to have this completed by the start of the season in March. Pullman Coach Gresley is in the shed having a makeover. S&T and P/Way have been working hard at Nunnery installing new signalling and sleepers.


Today saw a gang of willing workers get all the large baseboards into the new shed. They have been put roughly into position on dustbins and pallets, ready for the legs to be fitted and the first boards fixed to the back wall. Hopefully it will all fit together nicely but there may have to be a bit of tweaking here and there to get it to fit. At the same time the electrician was busy installing the rest of the ceiling lights and more sockets, and this afternoon the power was connected.


This morning the boiler for Andrew Barclay 2199 'Victory' came back after having essential work carried out by Mervyn Mayes at Dereham, Norfolk. Hopefully this loco, now in private ownership, will be back in steam later this year. further details can be found on The lorry then took away the boiler for WD190 which is also going to Mayes for work.


Another year gone and what a busy one it was - changes took place around the site including re-building one end of Aquila, getting a new toilet block and demolishing the old one, new fencing around the site, new steps at Nunnery signal box, improving the level crossing - all of which were helped by the Railway being awarded Liferaft Trust funding. The footbridge is also due to have steps replaced soon. Two of the main highlights of 2010 were obtaining VAQAS Accreditation - this is the Visit Britain Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance Scheme which means we can display the red rose. We were then voted Best Small Visitor Attraction in Essex. October saw the 25th Victorian Schools Special, this event remains as popular as ever with schools already booked for the 2011 event. The Santa Specials ran well until the 19th December - so much snow and unsafe conditions meant we had to cancel the days trains. An extra day on the 23rd helped accommodate passengers booked for the 19th. On a s