|Buckland station has been redesigned, improving access to the through platforms from each of the five routes into the station. Each route can now access two of the three platforms, and platform 3 can access all five routes. Replacing the pointwork at either end allowed the fitting of electrofrog, instead of insulfrog, points to improve running quality.
|DCC convertion is now complete.
|The railway's DCC upgrade is nearly complete with just Buckland station the last to be converted. Rail services have been running from Grey Havens east to Tuckbrough, and from Bree to Staddle and Rivendell. The North Shire and South Shire lines will be fully operational soon, and it is hoped to have the network completed before November.
|Conversion of Michel Delving station to DCC has started with the west end substantially rewired.
|The Control Panels pages have been updated with more panels and now includes the designs for the converted DCC stations.
|Grey Havens station has been converted to DCC operation and improvements have been made to the local CBUS system to include Train on Track detection and point position feedback. Work to convert Michel Delving, the next station along the line, will start soon.
|The conversion of the layout to DCC has started, with Grey Havens station the first to be altered. The existing track wiring has been removed, the control panel striped of its switches and minor alterations made to the track.
|Eight locomotives have now been converted to DDC using Bachmann 8-pin 3 function 1A decoders. For the time being the layout will remain DC controlled until a comprehensive rewiring plan is ready.
|The CBUS network is now complete! All modules have been installed, powered up and programmed, and operable from both the control panels and computer.
|One locomotive, a Class 52 Western, has been fitted with a Bachmann 3 Function DCC decoder and tested on the railway with encouraging results.
|Buckland station has now been converted to CBUS and is fully operational again. In addition, the CBUS installation at Michel Delving has commenced and is almost complete. The CBUS network is now linked together and operational from one end of the layout to the other.
|A MERG CANCMD (DCC Command Station) has been built to evaluate the possibility of converting the layout to DCC operation. This module will be linked to the CBUS network and commands for locomotive control will be broadcast from a connected computer. DCC decoders will be fitted in a small number of locomotives for testing and, should this be successful, MERG DCC handsets will be built to operate the system.
|The conversion of Buckland station to the CBUS control system is progressing well and has included a near complete rewiring under the baseboard. Much of the original wire was of poor quality, affecting the voltage to the track and the reliability of the point motors. The control panel has been modified by replacing the probe-and-studs method of point control with buttons and the SCART plug connections to the baseboard have been simplified.
|Hobbiton station and the Bywater Junction have been converted to CBUS control, although there is a minor problem with electronic interference probably linked to the power supply.
|Under construction are four working GWR signals from Ratio which will be operated by a CBUS CAN_SERVO8 module.
|The CBUS control system has been fully installed at Bree and Rivendell stations. Conversion work at Hobbiton is nearing completion with the control panel requiring modification before its associated module is installed. On the panel the method of point control is changing from studs-and-probe to buttons. Bywater Juction and Tuckbrough station will be the next to be converted.
|The rebuild of Britannia class No.49 is progressing well, with most parts ready for reassembly. The locomotive will be finished without smoke deflectors and will have Westinghouse air pumps fitted in their place, portraying the locomotive as it appeared in 1953 during air braking trials.
|The installation of the CBUS control system is progressing and two stations have now been converted. Grey Havens and Bree are fully operational and it is possible to control the former using a computer (a feature that will be extended to all stations).
|The 'Electrical Systems' section has been updated to reflect the progress of the MERG CBUS installation.
|The railway is now in full operation again after the winter and a number of new trains have started running following the acquisition last year of a substantial collection of rolling stock.
|A major upgrade to the railway's control system is about to start. The existing wiring between the five control panels and the layout will be gradually replaced with the MERG (Model Electronic Railway Group) CBUS layout control system. This is a modular system comprising of input and output modules communicating via two wires, through which commands are sent to operate points, signals, lights, LEDs etc., as well as providing feedback such as point position and track occupancy. The system also allows for computer control and an easy upgrade path to DCC. The first modules (a control panel input module and a point motor module) have been constructed and tested and parts for more are on order. Grey Havens will be the first station to be converted.
|Efforts are currently focused on Staddle village and the neighbouring Army Depot. A platform for two coach trains is under construction at the depot with ballasting to follow, and the sloping ground surface of the village is being developed.
|A large number of locomotives, coaches and freight stock has been purchased from another railway. These include A1's, B12's, Britannia Class 7MT's, GWR Hall's and a SR West Country light pacific. More details shortly!
|The Shire Railway Museum is in the process of moving to a new location near Michel Delving station as its lease on its former site has expired. Disused industrial land is being redeveloped and the new museum should open in the Autumn with a 150m running track and purpose-built workshops. Click here to view the current progress.
|New ballast and ground cover has been laid at the east entrance to Michel Delving and the adjacent goods sidings. Work has also started at Grey Havens station to install a backdrop and complete the scenery of the locomotive sidings.
|This month the railway was host to 'Winston', one of the two World Wide Wagons travelling between the layouts of the members of the Your Model Railway forum. Winston is visiting the railways of the UK membership whilst Matilda is visiting the layouts of members across the world (including Australia, South America, USA, Canada, Africa, Spain, France and Ireland). Ultimately they will arrive together at the Kernow Model Railway Exhibition on the 4th & 5th of September 2010. Their progress can be followed here.
|The Permanent Way department has taken delivery of a Plasser Tamper Machine which has been put straight into service maintaining the line and level of the track.
|The railway is now closed for the winter, and will reopen in the spring. The only trains running will be permanent way services.
Three MK3 HST coaches have been returned to service following renovation. The exterior paint work has been improved and the coach numbers replaced.
|Work on the West Delving link has been completed and all services have resumed. The track has been either replaced or re-laid and the line capacity increased. Additionally, upgraded wiring circuits have improved the flexibility of train control in the Grey Havens region. The one remaining job is to upgrade the safety systems for the east end of the removable bridge which will prevent power reaching the track if it is not safe for trains to proceed.
|The website has been redesigned and the content updated.
|Track replacement work has commenced on the West Delving link and the line is currently closed between Michel Delving and West Delving stations. The tram route into Michel Delving station has also been affected. In addition, the power supply and track control on the route is being upgraded.
|Some of the locomotives have been fitted with Flushglaze windows (from South Eastern Finecast). Three Class 55 Deltics and two Class 43 HST power cars have been modified so far.
|Limited services have started again between Michel Delving and Hobbiton.
|The Shire Railway has purchased a third Standard Class 7 (No.47 'Idril Celebrindal') for use on fast passenger and freight services. The locomotive is now undergoing light maintenance in preparation for entry into service later in the spring.
|Tuckbrough up platform is progressing well with most of the platform buildings completed. About half of the platform surface and fencing is in place.
|The railway has now shut down for the winter. Services will restart in the spring, and only permanent way trains will operate until then.
|Work has started on completing Tuckbrough station. The Up platform is under construction and the short siding at the east end has been re-laid and extended to permit use by the shire freight services. Also, a freight store is being built alongside the siding.
|The Parts & Components page has been updated with new shops.
|The Bree engine sidings and point have now been replaced with new trackwork. Work to replace the double slip point with a newer version at the west end of Hobbiton has also been completed.
|B24 is back in service following the upgrade to the non-powered bogie to increase the number of power pickups on the wheels.
|A new building has been constructed for Tuckbrough station. Available as a free download from http://www.scalescenes.com/ a small goods store will be positioned next to the short siding at the east end of the station. Prior to this the siding will be lenthened and re-laid parallel to the mainline.
|A timeline has been added detailing how how the railway has grown and developed.
|The Permanent Way Department are finalising plans to replace trackwork at Hobbiton and Bree stations. The downline entrance to Hobbiton has a double-slip point which has been the cause of a number of derailments and will be replaced by a newer design. The work will also include the relaying of the approach to platform 1. At Bree the point at the entrance to the engine sidings has been causing problems and is also to be replaced.
|Western class B24 is currently in the workshops for an upgrade to the non-powered bogie. The addition of electrical power pickups to some of the wheels means that all six wheels will be supplying current to the motor. This should lead to much improved running, particularly at low speeds.
|Work on Staddle village is progressing well and the current emphasis is on the station platform and buildings.
|A very small wireless video camera has been bought and mounted on a truck, to give a driver's view of the railway. More updates soon!
|Experiments with the constant brightness lighting system are on hold following the discovery that the electronic track cleaner used on the railway interferes with and can damage the electrical lighting circuits.
1st August 2007 - Breaking News!
In keeping with the general trend these days of continuous corporate re-branding, consultants have been asked to turn their attentions to the Middle Earth railway companies. At the cost of the equivalent of £940,000 (which was to have been spent on the refurbishment of lavatories at all minor stations), Sackville Holistic Image Transformations have recommended that the railways change their names as follows:
|Buckland & Bree Railway:
|Kronic Westmarch Railway:
|The lengthening of platform 1 at Michel Delving has been a success and two new operating procedures have been tested, with encouraging results. Firstly, the platform is now long enough to store the stock of one complete Shire Passenger service, releasing space on the other platforms at busy times. Secondly, trials have shown that two local passenger services can stand in the platform at the same time, one behind the other. The only drawback is the restricted access to the adjacent storage siding when platform 1 is full.
|An additional Class 55 Deltic has been acquired and delivered to the Buckland & Bree Railway. B25 is currently in maintenance while repairs to the gear box are carried out.
|Contouring of the ground has been progressing at Staddle village, with the area around the church nearly complete. The contours are created using vertical strips of card which, when viewed from above, resemble contour lines on a map. These will eventually support the raised ground surface.
|Trials are about to start of a locomotive and carriage constant brightness lighting system. One of the HST sets will be modified for the trial, which will involve running two wires from one power unit to the other via the carriages. This will power LEDs along the length of the train, will have miniature connectors between the carriages for easy uncoupling and will be connected to the carriage wheels so as to provide additional power pickups. The LEDs will be controlled by a simple electronic circuit to give a constant brightness regardless of the power being supplied to the locomotives. In addition, directional lighting using red and white LEDs will be fitted to the locomotives.
|An oversight of substantial ineptitude has meant that my email address listed on this site was one that stopped working about two years ago! Many apologies to those of you who have attempted to contact me. A new contact page has now been added.
|Much of Michel Delving station was closed for the Easter Bank Holiday weekend as track improvement work was undertaken on Platforms 4, 5 and the approach to the turntable. Most services from the east terminated at Hobbiton and frequent shuttle services operated on to Michel Delving, arriving at Platform 1 and the east ends of Platforms 2 and 3. Services from West Delving station were cancelled and the local tram service was also affected.
|Following the completion of this work preparation began to extend the track at Platform 1 and its adjacent siding into waste ground next to the Old Shed. This turned out to be a simple task as the platform itself already continued into this area and only minor modifications to the structure were required. The additional space will improve operational flexibility, particularly for the local passenger services that predominantly use Platform 1. Whilst the work was undertaken a reduced local passenger service was operated but InterCity HST services stopped at Hobbiton, maintaining capacity on the route.
|Staddle village and station, and the adjacent army depot are receiving much needed attention. This area has been in a permanent state of construction for the best part of the last fifteen years and detailed plans are at last coming together. Work has started on contouring the terrain as the village is sited on a sloping hillside.
The approach of spring has seen the locomotives return from their winter migration to warmer lands. In addition, two new locomotives, both Class 52 'Westerns' have arrived and have been accepted into service with the Buckland & Bree Railway. B23 and B24 have yet to be named.
Over the winter work continued at Grey Havens and the dock area at the west end of the station is now mostly complete. When work on the dock walls has been completed the lock gates will be opened, flooding the dock for the first time.
The railway is now closed for the winter. However, occasional maintenance trains may run over the next few months, particularly at Grey Havens and Michel Delving where station improvement work continues.
3rd August, 2006
Three videos have been added to the website. Please see the 'Videos' page for more information.
The last week of July saw much of Grey Havens station being ballasted, and of note is the completion of the passenger platform. The hot weather helped considerably, speeding up the drying of the glue/water mix used to fix the ballast.
The extension of the two sidings in the Michel Delving freight yard has been completed and both sidings are back in use. The rebuilding of the section of historic city wall that was demolished to make way for the extension is about to start.
B20 'Thranduil' is back in service following minor modifications to one of its boggie frames.
12th July, 2006
A new page has been added to 'The Railway' section. The 'Distances' page shows the distances in miles between the stations and along the principle routes.
9th July, 2006 - Modifications to Deltic B20
Deltic B20 'Thranduil' has entered the workshops for minor alterations to one of its boggie frames. This is a result of a recent derailment at Rivendell where the frame was found to be outside the loading gauge of the track.
7th June, 2006 - HST failure at Hobbiton
HST power car B6 'Shadowfax' suffered an engine failure today, stranding the train outside Hobbiton Station. Passengers were disembarked and walked the short distance along the track to the station. B2 'Rohan Rider' was dispatched from Michel Delving and towed the train into the Hobbiton Fast Up line for assessment, where it was discovered that a gear in the motor was loose on its axle. The train was then towed to Michel Delving for repairs and is now back in service again.
4th June, 2006 - Permanent Way
The locomotive storage siding next to Platform 1 at Michel Delving has been lengthened to allow the storage of two large locomotives, instead of just one. This siding is usually used to store diesel locos since there is rarely any space available in the engine sheds at the west end of the station.
Work has also started on lengthening two sidings in the Michel Delving freight yard. The sidings, which run parallel to the down line at the east end of the station, have been found to be slightly too short for some freight configurations, requiring more complex shunting maneuvers. Extending the tracks has required the demolition of part of the old town wall, which has been the subject of an extensive planning application. This has resulted in the requirement to rebuild the section of wall nearby and connect it back to the existing wall. To date, the wall has been carefully dismantled and placed in storage and the track extended to its new length. Rebuilding the wall will start shortly.
3rd June, 2006 - Permanent Way
After much procrastination by the Permanent Way department, the railway's longest ever signal failure has finally been resolved. The Home signal, on the up line into Michel Delving, has been out of use for nearly a year causing minor delays for trains entering the station from the east. New parts have been made to replace broken control linkages and the signal is now working again as normal.
Permanent Way teams have also been busy at Frogmorton on the North Shire line, linking two of the station's points to the Buckland control panel. The points giving access to the fast line through the station have been manually controlled since they were installed and the upgrade should bring improvements to the frequency of service on the North Shire.
May, 2006 - News Update
The railway was closed for one whole day this month for maintenance (track cleaning), resulting in a significant improving in running conditions.
A reduction in the number of freight waggons is being considered, with the withdrawl of some of the older, heavier items of rolling stock. The steep gradients on the North and South Shire lines are causing problems for some of the freight locomotives with resulting traffic delays, and the mix of old, heavy trucks and new, light trucks in the same train can lead to derailments of the light stock on corners and points.
March & April, 2006 - News Update
Opps! Very little has happened on the railway recently because of holidays and broken bones. Things returning to normal so expect more news soon!
February, 2006 - News Update
Deltic class B20 has been named 'Thranduil' at a ceremony at Bree.
Cold weather has meant that little work has been done this month, and the engineers are looking forward to Spring! The freight rolling stock page has been updated to reflect the arrival of new wagons on the railway.
January, 2006 - News Update
Of note this month was the arrival of a second Class 55 Deltic locomotive. B20, yet to be named, was aquired by the Buckland & Bree Railway for fast passenger services. On arrival the locomotive went straight into the workshops for an upgrade of the internal power collection and distribution equipment, including the fitting of additional power collectors on one bogie. Further maintenance has been scheduled to upgrade the power collectors on the other bogie, so that nine of the twelve wheels can supply electricity.
An update to the list of Coaches has been completed and the page now gives details of the allocation of each coach.
Coming soon: Live train arrivals and departures boards!
December, 2005 - News Update
The platforms at Bree station have been finished allowing use of their full length by trains. Also, the final touches are being added to the footbridge leading to the Staddle platform, which includes the installation of lights.
Little progress has been made with ballasting work at Grey Havens due to the cold weather (the glue takes a long time to dry), so a big effort to complete the station is being planned for the spring.
November, 2005 - News Update
Scenery and ballasting work has continued at Grey Havens with the eastern approach to the station almost completed.
B17 'Radagast' has returned to service following an upgrade of the electrical pickups on its wheels. Nine of the twelve wheels now supply power to the locomotive, improving its reliability during low speed running and traversing points.
1st November, 2005 - Track extension at Buckland
As a result of capacity problems at Buckland station one of the sidings has just been extended. The line, a spur off the rear of one of the down lines, now runs parallel to the South Shire line as it approaches the west end of the station. Previously capable of holding one locomotive, five large locomotives can now be stored here, or a full-length train. This new facility will greatly enhance the availability of Shire Railway and B&BR locomotives at Buckland as engine failures at the station have often resulted in a long wait while the Bree motive depot provided a spare loco.
October, 2005 - News Update
The Shire Railway has just taken delivery of a Rebuilt Scot No.46 'Dúnedain' for use on passenger services.
August, 2005 - News Update
This month has been quiet on the railway with only a few on-going projects, and these progressing slowly.
The passenger platform at Grey Havens station has been completed and ballasting work is progressing on the track.
A new passenger footbridge is nearing completion at Bree station linking Platforms 2 and 3 with Platform 5 (for the Staddle branch).
A power upgrade has been completed on one of the HST power cars. This involved the installation of two additional contacts on the front boggie so that all four wheels supply power to the motor. The locomotive now has six of its eight wheels supplying power which should enable smoother running at low speeds, especially over points. A further planned upgrade will see the fitting of additional contacts to the insulated wheels of the motor boggie so that power can be collected by the wheel flanges. When completed, all eight wheels will supply power.
July, 2005 - Major Website Overhaul!
The website has received a much needed visual update and is now making the most of funky web technologies such as PHP and MySQL databases. Obviously, the management have been seduced by some IT guru's sales technique, but fortunately it seems to have been for the best. I hope you find the navigation easier and the content clearer to read.
Feel free to point out any spelling / grammatical errors that you spot, and your feedback and comments are always welcome!
24th June, 2005 - Shire Railway completes major service of 'Aragorn'
After a couple of years of storage, an overhaul and signficant repairs to its firebox, No.4 'Aragorn' has been returned to service by the Shire Railway. The first of the railway's fast passenger locomotives had suffered from poor steaming and was withdrawn and stored two years ago while engineers attempted to source new parts. The recent fitting of a new firebox (new motor magnet) saw the completion of the work, and the locomotive can once again be seen hauling passenger services between Michel Delving and Bree.
June, 2005 - Construction work at Grey Havens
Much progress has been made at Grey Havens station in recent weeks with the ballasting of the loco sidings almost complete, as well as other construction work. Importantly, the electrical safety circuits linked to the moving bridge are installed and operational so that it is not possible to move a train when the bridge in open and the safely barrier in not in position. Construction is now focusing on the passenger siding and the platform's supporting walls are progressing rapidly.
May, 2005 - Ballasting work and new car transporters
With the arrival of warm weather in Middle Earth ballasting work at Grey Havens has been progressing very quickly, thanks to rapidly drying glue. The locomotive depot is nearly complete and the contractors will shortly be shifting their attention to the main passenger platform. The KronicWestMarch management will doubtless be delighted at the contractor's progress as completion of Phase 1 will return much needed locomotive storage capacity to this western terminus.
Two additional car transporters have been supplied to the network as part of a program to provide a delivery solution to a car factory at Bree. Vehicles manufactured in Bree will be transported by rail to Grey Havens port for export via ship. Services are expected to start soon.
April, 2005 - Scenery construction starts at Grey Havens
With the arrival of warmer weather attention has turned to the ballasting of Grey Havens station and the locomotive depot is the first section to be tackled. This work is usually only carried out in the spring or summer when the diluted glue dries faster, hence the delay in starting. Work will progress one track at a time to minimise the impact on station operations and to maximise the available storage space for rolling stock.
March, 2005 - Website Update
Parts of the website have been updated, especially the Motive Power section which now has an interactive locomotive database and statistics section.
December, 2004 - News Update
The Class 50 locomotive, recently named 'Helm's Deep', has arrived on the network and will begin regular workings in the spring. Also, the Class 20 that was delivered during the summer has been named Brandy Hall. In a surprise move by the Shire Railway a Q1 was purchased during December for medium freight duties across the Shire network and has been named No.45 'Gollum'.
November, 2004 - News Update
The Buckland & Bree Railway has announced it has ordered a second-hand Class 50 locomotive for help with heavy freight duties. Currently unnamed B19 will be based at Bree and is expected to work mainly between Michel Delving and Rivendell.
The control panel at Grey Havens station has now been fully installed and has been operational for over a month, with great success. A new mains power transformer was installed in mid-August, replacing the existing unit, which increased the current available to the controller and the Capacitor Discharge Unit (for operating the points). Photographs of the completed control panel will be added shortly.
August, 2004 - News Update
A Class 20 B18 has been approved for use on the network. As yet unnamed, this Buckland and Bree Railway engine will be generally used for special freight services and as a specialist breakdown locomotive for the company.
The Grey Havens control panel has finally been installed and commissioned, and is working as expected. However, because of the low voltage AC outputs (15 volts instead of 18 volts) of the station's existing electrical transformer (which supplies power to the controller and control board) an upgrade is required. This should be completed within the next few weeks allowing the local hand-held controller to work correctly. Following this, work is expected to start on the scenery with track ballast being a priority (the watered down glue used in fixing the ballast dries much faster in the summer than winter!). In the meantime, the station is fully operational by importing power from Michel Delving.
July, 2004 - News Update
Most of the construction effort over the past few months has been towards the installation of the Grey Havens control panel. The front of the panel is complete as is most of the wiring beneath the baseboard. Remaining jobs include the installation of a mains transformer and capacitor discharge unit, and the wiring of the panel to the baseboard via three 21-pin plugs.
Work on the scenery has also been taking place at Tuckbrough with the construction of the station building.
June saw the arrival of a new locomotive for the Shire Railway. Streamlined Coronation class No.44 'City of Bree' will be working the Shire InterCity services and is the fourth of the class to arrive on the network.
30th April, 2004 - Grey Havens construction work progressing well
The final design of the Grey Havens control panel is nearly complete, with its construction being used as a technology demonstrator. The finished panel will include LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) providing feedback from the layout concerning the position of points and the selection of power switches. This should simplify the use of the station since an instant picture of the selected route will be visible on the panel.
An important safety feature will also be included in the construction. Grey Havens station is connected to the rest of the network via a moving bridge, with the added danger of locomotives and rolling stock attempting to cross when it is not in the correct position. Safety devices will automatically cut power to the track when the bridge is open and the safety barrier is not in position, thereby preventing any movement. An image of the completed panel will available here soon, along with an explanation of the wiring involved.
April, 2004 - News Update
Not much news of late, except that the railway is up and running again following the closure for the winter months. Track laying is taking place at Grey Havens, where locomotive storage sidings are under construction, adding much needed extra space. A control panel and power controller are also planned for this station because of the increased complexity of the track layout. Click here to view the new station layout.
20th October, 2003 - No.43 enters service
2251 class 'Collett Goods' No.43 has entered service following its purchase by the Shire Railway. The locomotive will primarily be used on light freight services within the shire and may occasionally be seen hauling local passenger services.
31st July, 2003 - No.39 enters service following repairs
Coronation class No.39 'Hobbiton' has today entered service with the Shire Railway following boiler repairs (new motor magnet). A naming ceremony was followed by a photo call of all three Coronation class locomotives outside the Michel Delving New Shed.
25th July, 2003 - Scenery added to Hobbiton
This month has seen a concerted effort to complete the scenery at Hobbiton station. Much work has also been done renewing the landscape between Hobbiton and Michel Delving. Photos will be added shortly.
7th July, 2003 - Website Update
The website has been updated for the first time in a few months. Changes include the addition of new locomotives to the motive power database and alterations to the track layout diagrams.
Third Coronation Class loco arrives on network.
Grey Havens station added to layout.
29th April, 2003 - Michel Delving - Grey Havens route completed
With considerable political, social, economic, environmental and engineering difficulties overcome, the proving run by the BRICK Class 90 train ('Lady Eowyn') from Michel Delving to Grey Havens was carried out successfully on 29th April.
27th April, 2003 - Shire Railway may acquire B&BR coach set
Following the addition of two Mk3 coaches to the inventory and the subsequent introduction of a second complete HST set by the B&BR, the Shire Railway has expressed interest in the purchase of one of the B&BR's InterCity rakes. Negotiations have started and the option of leasing the train is thought to be the most likely outcome. This would double the capacity of the Shire Railway's InterCity services.
26th April, 2003 - APT arrives on the network
This week saw the arrival of the KronicWestmarch Railway's latest acquisition, an Advanced Passenger Train (APT). This unusual five unit set will become the flagship service between Grey Havens and West Delving following minor engineering work on the power unit chassis. The service will make occasional visits to Michel Delving but has not been cleared for working over the Shire network.
20th April, 2003 - New loco ordered for Shire Railway
The Shire Railway has ordered a second Coronation class locomotive, due to be delivered shortly.
17th March, 2003 - New Feedback Controller Delivered
Following the successful installation of a hand-held feedback controller at Hobbiton Station in July 2002, and the subsequent system testing, a decision was recently taken to purchase a second unit for Buckland Station. This has been prompted by the poor performance of the home-built Bree controller which will be replaced by the existing, older, Buckland controller. The new control unit has now been delivered and will be fitted following the delivery of additional wiring components. Buckland was chosen to receive the unit since it controls many of the trains on the hilly North and South Shire routes, where steep gradients and curves vary the speed of locomotives. The feedback feature will ensure constant speed running.
25th February, 2003 - Engineering work at Hobbiton
Station improvement work has started at Hobbiton Station. Platform 2/3 is being extended to the east to take four coach trains, while reballasting of sections of the adjacent track will also be undertaken. To date, old ballast has been removed and the foundations of the new platform section have been completed.
18th February, 2003 - No.32 'Valandil' enters service.
No.32 'Valandil' was cleared for mainline service this morning following lengthy repairs to its wheels. Problems were encountered trying to find a source of traction tyres, which has only recently been resolved. Valandil is based at Michel Delving and can be seen hauling Shire InterCity and Motorail services.
14th October, 2002 - Class 52 arrives
'B17' was delivered this morning and has started trials before acceptance by the B&BR.
4th October, 2002 - Buckland & Bree Railway purchase new Diesel engine
The B&BR today purchased another Class 52 (Western) locomotive, bringing the total of this type on the railway to three. The new engine, currently unnamed but assigned the number 'B17', will be delivered within the week and to be used on InterCity services and occasional freight trains.
24th September, 2002 - Buckland-Bree mainline reopens
Completion of the new Bree control panel has led to the reopening of the mainline between Buckland and Bree stations today. The final wiring-up between the control board and the railway last night saw the Bree signalbox regain full operational control of the eastern region, allowing trains to run non-stop between the two stations. A normal passenger timetable is in operation.
15th September, 2002 - Local control returned to Bree
The installation of the new Bree controller was a step closer to completion today when the control of Bree, Rivendell and Fornosway stations was restored. The wiring between the control board and the track is complete and services have resumed between the three stations, with freight trains running into the new Rivendell sidings for the first time. However, signaling and control upgrades are still affecting the mainline to and from Buckland and services will not be operating between Buckland and Bree for at least another week.
9th September, 2002 - New Shire engine delivered
A new locomotive was today delivered to Michel Delving for the Shire Railway. No.36, currently unnamed, will be assigned to shunting and light freight duty following its acceptance by the railway.
12th August, 2002 - New layout diagram
A new layout diagram has been added to the 'Railway Map / Diagrams' page.
The 'Complete Track Diagram' shows the entire layout simplified into one image.
6th August, 2002 - New control facilities at Bree
Following the installation of a new controller at Bree it was recently decided that the station would also receive a new control panel. The new design has now been finalised and the imminent upgrade incorporates the Rivendell extension. The new panel is smaller and clearer than the current version, with a printed surface showing the layout of the track, platforms and relevant names and text. The image on the front has been created using Paint Shop Pro, with the design printed out, laminated and stuck to the panel. The control panels for both Michel Delving and Staddle have also been created in the same way. Click here to view the new design for Bree.
22nd July, 2002 - Installation of feedback controller
Following its recent acquisition a hand-held feedback controller has been installed at Hobbiton, restoring full control to the station and completing the upgrade of the railway controllers. Preliminary trials have begun, with steam, diesel and electric locomotives being operated across the layout under Hobbiton control, and there has already been significant improvements in speed control on both the North and South Shire routes.
16th July, 2002 - Engineering Update
After many delays a new power controller has been installed at Bree, returning full functionality to the eastern region. Technical problems with the design were recently resolved and further units may be built following the outcome of trials.
A specially designed power controller has also been ordered for installation at Hobbiton. The unit, which measures feedback from locomotive motors, will be a major upgrade over the existing controllers and will allow constant speed running over points, gradients and curves. Since trains running over the Bywater Junction and the steep gradients of the North and South Shire are often controlled from Hobbiton, this station has been chosen for the installation.
Elsewhere, the development of the Rivendell extension is progressing well, and engineers are currently awaiting the delivery of key components for the control panel.
7th July, 2002 - Engine naming ceremony and Union protest
Two of the Shire Railway's recent arrivals were named during a ceremony at Michel Delving this month. No.33 'Jessica' and No.34 'Pumpkin' were named after two mythical feline-like creatures famous for their battles against Orks.
The event was marred by a demonstration organised by the Union of Drivers & Firemen, protesting at the use of the names following an incident last year when 'Pumpkin' was reported to have attacked two trains near Bywater Junction (see press release). Damage was caused to a Shire Railway engine and a BRICK HST.
A spokesman for the Union, which represents engine crews from all the railway companies, said “We are shocked by the apparent disregard of the seriousness of the incident last year. It goes to prove the Shire Railway has little interest in the safety and mental well-being of our members.” A Shire Railway spokeshobbit urged calm, saying “These things should be looked at in perspective. Pumpkin, if indeed it was said creature, is new to these parts and may have been confused by the diesel noise of the BRICK service.” A BRICK railway spokesman said the comment was “unhelpful” and suggested smoke from the Shire locomotive may have triggered the attack.
June, 2002 - Steam locomotives acquired
Two additional steam locomotives have been acquired by the Shire Railway for express passenger services. The arrival of a King Class (No.32) and a Royal Scot (No.33), both as yet unnamed, will ensure availability of engines for Shire services during regular motive power maintenance programs.
April, 2002 - Ork problems
Track cleaning has been completed, but problems have been encountered at Bree with Orks (a.k.a. mice) on the Track, requiring regular recleaning. This has hopefully now been resolved.
16th March, 2002 - Track cleaning
The annual track cleaning has started, with the aim of checking all track by the start of the main spring season. First for the attention of Permanent Way is Michel Delving where the rail surface will be cleaned to improve electrical contact, ballast checked and repaired if necessary, and the whole area given a quick vacuum to remove grit and dust. When complete the work will continue by heading east to Hobbiton, then Buckand and eventually Bree.
24th February, 2002 - New controllers
New power controllers are currently under construction for both Hobbiton and Bree stations and are due to be installed in the Spring. The original controllers have suffered from age and electrical defects which has led to some sections being permanently controlled by neighbouring stations. The new design will be more rugged and compact.
12th January, 2002 - New Shire loco
The Shire Railway has taken delivery of the latest engine to join its express passenger fleet. Currently unnamed No.31, a 4-6-2 'Princess Royal' Class, is being overhauled at Michell Delving prior to entering service in the spring.
4th October, 2001 - Track laying complete at Rivendell
Track laying has been completed at Rivendell and trains can now run into the two platforms and two freight sidings. The wiring of the track and point motors is on hold until a new, updated control panel is installed at Bree which will both cater for the Rivendell development and simplify operation of Bree station.
22nd September, 2001 - Rivendell service started
A limited service has begun operating between Bree and Rivendell following the completion of track laying between the two stations. Currently, only the InterCity platforms are in use as work is still progressing on the freight sidings.
8th September, 2001 - New railway maps available
New interactive maps have been added to the 'Railway Maps and Diagrams' page showing the geographic layout of the region of Middle Earth that the railway is set in. The content of the maps can be altered to show different features of the landscape, such as roads, railways and stations.
27th August, 2001 - The Rivendell Development
The Rivendell Development, the name given to the construction of a high speed rail link to Rivendell, east of Bree, is progressing as planned. The installation of points at Rivendell is complete and work continues with the power supply to the station.
15th August, 2001 - New Shunter arrives
A new engine was delivered to the Shire Railway today. The unnamed 0-4-0T industrial loco (No.28) will join the local service engine pool following running trials, although it has not yet been decided which station it will be based at. The new arrival brings to full strength the local service capabilities on the network and, more importantly, the Shire Railway. It also marks the completion of the 'Review of Local Service and Shunting Procedures' which earlier this month saw the return to service of No.1 'Rose' and No.12 'Tom Bombadil'.
9th August, 2001 - Refurbished locos back in service
Two locomotives were returned to service at the beginning of August after long running repairs had been completed. No.1 'Rose', the oldest engine on the network, and No.12 'Tom Bombadil', the first diesel engine acquired by the Shire Railway, have been fully restored at the Michel Delving workshops.
No.1 can be seen taking its turn hauling the Overhill & Tuckbrough services and is now based at the Michel Delving depot. Repairs included a replacement motor/magnet unit, new wheel insulating bushes and insulation to the internal electrical components.
No.12 has now been reassigned to Michel Delving shunting duties following repairs to the electrical pickup arms on the insulated wheels and the fitting of an electromagnetic suppressor. This means there are for the first time two shunters at Michel Delving (No.22 is being retained in its current role), reflecting the increase in goods traffic following the opening of the West Delving link line.
6th August, 2001 - Increase in freight capacity
Eight new freight trucks and a guards van were cleared for use on the network this week, adding important additional capacity. Two further trucks have been ordered for use on the army train following the annual Defence Capabilities Review. This will include a new mobile long-range weapons system and a second mobile helicopter platform.
ShireTrack have today announced they are looking into a major upgrade of the network's control facilities. Proposals have been advanced for a change from Block control (the current arrangement using isolating track sections) to DCC (Digital Command Control). This change would lead to significant improvements over the control of the network, increase the ease of use and enhance efficiency. However, the cost of system installation and modification to over forty locomotives is potentially prohibitive and no decision will be made until an extensive evaluation has been completed.
13th June, 2001 - Monster Attack on Railway
Two trains were derailed in a crazed attack by Felix Horribilis Niger between Hobbiton and Bywater Junction yesterday evening.
The two trains, an east-bound Shire Intercity and a west-bound BRICK HST from Rivendell were passing each other when the monster carried out the unprovoked attack. The rear half of the Rivendell train was derailed and the Shire locomotive was pushed over onto its side, sustaining severe damage to its tender.
Mr Drongo Gamgee, 41, of Overhill, traveling to Buckland, said "I was just settling down to a nice cup of tea when there was this terrible hissing noise, followed by a great crash. There was complete devastation". Mrs Lobelia Gumption, who lives in a house overlooking the crash site, said "Me and my husband, Bert, was turning the compost when the sky went black and hairy. Then all of a sudden, like, everything went whoopsy-daisy. My Bert said 'that's a right daft way to run a railway'".
The driver of the HST declared that he would not proceed West of Bree again until something was done about Felix. His Union representative stated "This is absolutely unacceptable. We have been telling Shiretrack (the consortium that manages the track and signals for the railway network) that Felix poses a serious risk to public safety. They have done absolutely nothing about it! I will be discussing what action should be taken with my members tomorrow. Shiretrack's whole attitude is totally unacceptable. The whole thing is an obscenity".
The Public Relations Manager of Shiretrack, Mr Sackville Bagwash, stated, "I think we should look at this incident in its proper context. You have to take into account that the people after whom the trains' prime movers were named ('Celeborn' and 'Galadriel') were husband and wife."
The Board of the Shire Railway regrets the incident and apologises for any inconvenience caused.
The footplate crew of 'Galadriel' commented in a manner unacceptable on the printed page.