Archive for the ‘Projects’ Category

NEW 2017 Calendar



It is available from our Merchandise page, and our ALRS eBay site.

NEW Book Available!!!


This new book by Trevor L. Gosling is the first book to be published about the ALR in over 25 years and is the latest addition to the range of merchandise available from The Ashover Light Railway Society.


‘A collection of images leads the viewer through the history of the Ashover Light Railway, from its opening in 1925 to its dismantling and closure just one week short of its 25th anniversary in 1950′

Based on a compilation originally prepared by Ralph Gibbons, a former Trustee of the Society who died in 2014. It relies heavily on photographs from the collection of Robert Gratton, an author of the book ‘The Ashover Light Railway’ published by Wild Swan Publications Ltd and several other sources.

It contains 4 colour images and many black and white photographs portraying all the aspects covered by the 7 1/4 mile railway.

Please visit out ALRS Merchandise page or visit eBay to purchase your copy.


January 2016 – back at work with “only 3865 more to go!”

34 start shed erection jan16 (1a)  34 start shed erection jan16 (4)  34 start shed erection jan16 (3)  34 start shed erection jan16 (2)

Nuts on washers, that is……. not work days left in the year !

From Mike Lawton, who with Richard, Steve and Andrew braved sub-zero conditions to make a start on erecting the shed on the newly completed concrete base.

Mike writes ;

“It was quite quiet over Christmas, but before the break the concrete was finished and all the gutters were put in place (or not, as the case was), and fixed down using threaded bolts and nuts. We also took delivery of the scaffolding with thanks to Graham’s builder. 

Four of us met yesterday and erected the scaffolding before attempting to raise the first hoop. We partially succeeded, but unfortunately it decided that it no longer wanted to stay upright. There was very little damage done though, but it also helped us realise the bottom gutters were not placed in the correct order and that one of them was needed to be placed first. Once this little challenge was complete we proceeded to assemble 3 parts to each half of the arch which can be lifted into place. By the end of the day we have 6 halves ready for assembly, and ideally we would like to get them all assembled before the erection of the shed begins! 

 A few more days of half arch assembly is now needed, then we should hopefully get the majority of it complete shortly afterwards weather permitting. “

 Here are a few pictures of the work completed, including one of our esteemed chairman putting washers on nuts…he estimated  “only 3865 more to go!…”


November update

32 Elisabeth Bowden - Amber Valley Camp 2

Our thanks go to Mr.Barrie Sheard who sent us the following contribution……

I noticed the request on your website for anything that might be of interest to the ALRS.
May I introduce myself, I am the archivist of the Old Derbeian Society which was formed for all former pupils for the Derby Grammar School in 1911.

The picture here is from the archives of The Old Derbeian Society, and was taken in 1940.
You may not know this but on 2nd September 1939 a good proportion of the pupils and masters (a term used in those days for teachers) were evacuated first to Overton Hall and then in June 1940 to the newly built Amber Valley Camp. This remained for the whole of WWII as the school including dormitories, classrooms, dining room, kitchen for all the pupils at Derby Grammar School at that time. You can imagine every time a train went by all the pupils turned their heads and watched from the classrooms down below the camp, much to the annoyance of the masters!
The actual narrow gauge railway lines were outside the boundary of the school land but could be easily viewed from some of the classrooms.
They remained there until WWII came to its conclusion and that term ended in July 1945. The whole school returned to Derby and started at St. Helen’s House in King Street in Derby.
The reason I am writing is to enclose a colour photograph (sadly very much out of focus) for your attention. From records it appears to have been taken sometime from September 1939 to December 1940.
The reason we can date it is that we also have a colour movie film taken by one of the masters during those dates and on it there are a few separate movie shots for a few seconds showing the engine and wagons. Again not clearly but certainly better than nothing.

Mr Sheard goes on to mention ;

Derby Grammar School as a Boarding School was at Amber Valley Camp as evacuees for the whole of WWII and that the whole of the valley where the railway line and camp was situated are now all covered by the Ogston Reservoir built in the 1970’s by Severn Trent Water. The only building left that is still in place was the School Dining Room, Masters’ Common Room and Sweet Shop (now the Clubhouse of Ogston Sailing Club). All the dormitories, classrooms, stores having been demolished.

An interesting aside is that the school was evacuated on Friday and Saturday 1st and 2nd September 1939, WWII wasn’t declared until Sunday 3rd September 1939 at 11 a.m.

Regards Barrie Sheard – archivist to Old Derbeian Society and at Derby School from 1945 to 1950.


September – a trench for the shed

30 trench 2  30 trench

Mike and Dave kicked off the digging of the trenches for the foundations of the new shed today. we really do need to continue the job with a digger !

10th July,The container arrives….Graham assumes the position !


29 container 07-15 (9)Graham assumes the position as soon as possible !






Report by Graham Ludlam


Container docked at 1.30pm today.
It’s in good condition. A couple of scratches on the fence side. It’s got a nice laminated floor the doors and hindges operate freely – I’ll grease round tomorrow.
It’s blue & white and despite it being in the club colours of both mine and Andrews’ team, we’d still better paint it green.
Tomorrow suggest we start a structured load of the container. We’ll need some boards off of our wagon to roll things over.
I’ve got a couple of spare double flourescent tubes which I’ll attach, via batons, tomorrow.
There is a electrical supply which we can hook up to using our blue 16a round pin sockets and adaptors that were last seen in Henry’s container. We couldn’t find these yesterday. Anyone know where they might be? They were easily accessible at the front of the container and with no lights working. I shall be more than a tad vexed if these have gorn awol as well.
Another task we ought to tackle is to make the fencing a little more secure; like double the height from the tree on the right to the fence on the left of the slope. I’ll bring sufficient hardware.

See you all tomorrow 08h30 onwards and possibly Sunday same time.

29 container 07-15 (1)  29 container 07-15 (2)  29 container 07-15 (3)

After much head-scratching, expert advice from GL and DM, and a few branches knocked off Graham was able to try out the container door for comfort and practicality.

29 container 07-15 (4)  29 container 07-15 (5)  29 container 07-15 (8)

Then on Saturday, joined by Richard and Harvey, we moved about half of what was littering the sward nearby and finally made it secure.

29 container 07-15 (10)  29 container 07-15 (11)  29 container 07-15 (12)

And a few days later everything is tidied away and the site tidy !

29 container 07-15 (14)




July-Rowsley site update


28 site 050715 (4)

By Richard Booth

What a day at Rowsley today!
I’ve missed 3 weekends because of my French holiday . Since the last two or three weekends before I went missing were spent shifting prodigious quantities of stone, I turned up happily this morning knowing that, in my absence, the team would have completed such heavy work, and I could look forward to a day of light duties in the sunshine.  Fat chance – I arrived to be confronted with another brooding 20 ton heap tipped slap bang where it had to be shifted before any further progress could be made on anything – oh joy!
Having forgotten my shovel and rake I was dispatched to the local farm equipment shop by my well-prepared colleagues Graham, Andrew, Mike and Steve to rectify matters, so the Society is now the proud owner of one shovel plus the biggest rake you’ve ever set eyes on!

Very soon our new neighbour at Rowsley, and fellow train enthusiast, Pete Waterman turned up and was introduced by Jackie where we all talked about our plans for the site.

All this talking, of course, had moved us on from the damp and dreary morning into the hottest part of the day with the sun climbing ever higher.  We thus returned and attacked the 20 ton heap with gusto; for the first five minutes!  Was it Tennessee Ernie Ford (or equivalent) who sang .. “You load 16 tons, and what do you get: another day older and deeper in debt”?  In this case you only need to change the last three words to read …”lathered in sweat”, and you’ll get some idea of what we suffered.  Stoically we managed another half an hour before we were forced to retreat for lunch and another cuppa.

Then back to the stone and the very slowly diminishing heap………we turned again to the heap of stone, which, under the blistering sun, was developing an almost malevolent air of its own.  Five minutes later we were drained again and back down to earth.  Suffice it to say that we did, eventually shift the lot, and here’s the photos to prove it !

Now we are genuinely ready to move to the next stage.  The sleepers are in position ready to receive the container which is due to be delivered towards the end of the week.  It will probably take us at least two more weekends to get it racked out, and loaded with all the ex-Sheffield stuff from under the tarpaulins, during which time, hopefully, Jonathan will have got a definitive steer from the Council planners as to what type of foundations we’ll need for the shed.  The ramp is ready (or will be after a whacking) for stone or concrete lorries to back up it so there ought to be nothing left to stop us cracking on.  We’ll need to hire a mini digger (and operator) for a day to do any digging required on the foundations before we stone/concrete them, and to cut the trench for the utilities, but we’ve agreed in principle to do this, and Jackie has given it her blessing today.

And, of course, a certain Jaguar estate owner just couldn’t resist trying out the slope……..

29 couldn't resist it







Coach No4 at GVLR


On Wednesday evening members visited The Golden Valley Light Railway for an open evening which featured The Ashover Coach No 4, superbly restored by Barry Lynam, being pulled by a Kerr Stuart “Joffre” class 0-6-0T no.3014 locomotive.

Thanks to our colleagues from GVLR for a very memorable evening !

June-Rowsley site update

26 Site progress june 15 (1)  26 Site progress june15 (2)  26 Site progress june 15 (3)

News update by Mike Lawton.

Evening all.  Steve and Andrew and I turned up and we went for a gander at Pete’s trains (not that exciting) then went for a brew (very exciting). After getting back, the main aim was to get all the pile of stone shifted. Following another tea break and lunch, I had to leave Andrew and Steve to it. Later this afternoon I got a message from Andrew to say all the stone had been shifted! Well done Andrew and Steve!!!

we are now pretty much all set to take delivery of a storage container, put all of our clobber inside it, and secure the site with new fencing.

Hopefully that helps set the picture a bit more, and it has been tremendous progress so far!!! Well done all!!!

Rowsley site update (with lots of tea)….by Mike Lawton

25 stone (1a)

Pic by Graham






Graham received the 3x 20 ton loads at Rowsley midweek, and two were dumped at the bottom of the field in preparation for the work today. Unfortunately I gather he ran his car battery down by listening to the radio and he had to call for assistance!!! Serves him right for leaving us with 40 tonnes of stone to shift with only shovels, wheelbarrows and tea!!! Unfortunately I hadn’t appreciated quite how heavy 40 tonnes is.
Steve, Jonathan, Richard, Andrew, Harvey, David W and I turned up with shovels, spades, ‘barrows and a rake ready to attack the mountains. Some of the earth was dug out to give a connection to the stone which was there already. The rest of the stone was then spread out and the sleepers, which were taken from the bridge, were placed to mark the edge of the path.
After a few cups of tea, and lots of very hard work, the two mounds had disappeared and a huge expanse of hardcore is now spread across the field. Andrew was then good enough to test it with his 4×4 and all seemed OK.
The plan is that another 20-40 tonnes will be delivered during the week to fill in the gap (which the container will eventually cover) and the ramp can then be started. Jonathan and Graham will be absent next week so it would be helpful if there are a few others around who are able to bring shovels, rakes, ‘barrows and lots of manpower. It will certainly be appreciated. See you there next weekend !

25 stone (2)    25 stone (4)  25 stone (11)  25 stone (5)  25 stone (8)  25 stone (10)

Words and all other pictures by Mike Lawton.

On site

24 PRs Athena goes by containers

Peak Rail’s Athena creeps past the site as we prepare for another days work tidying up the site and preparing the ground for the erection of the new workshop, sidings and facilities.

May update

23 site survey May 2015

Jonathan surveys the site before we start on the next round of work (as Steve practices his rail-balancing act on lots of rails, before he goes for the single rail performance).
Many tons of stone arrive next week to prepare the approach road so that we can get concrete lorries on site to make the base of the new workshop.

And that was that……


21 empty workshop  picture by our ‘last man out’ , Graham Ludlam.

The Team spent all day Saturday and Sunday emptying the workshop in Sheffield. This was in response to our Chairman, Richard, calling all hands to the pumps to achieve an emergency bale-out of the premises having received an email early in the week from the estate management company (at the Sheffield workshop) who informed us we had to have everything out by the end of this weekend!

So, Richard hired a flat bed lorry, Paul turned up with his van, Dave, Graham, Steve and Mike turned up with cars and it just happened !

having seen the picture (above), our ever-frugal treasurer, Trevor, commented :
‘Graham Are you telling me that you left the chairs behind? Well done everyone!  A magnificent effort’. Trevor.

And here is the scene at Rowsley as we unloaded at what is now ‘base camp’ .

22  moving in april 2015 (6)  22 moving in april 2015 (2)  22 moving in april 2015 (3)

22 moving in april 2015 (4)  22 moving in april 2015 (5  22 moving in april 2015 (7

Very soon upwards of 100 tons of hard core is turning up to create vehicle access to the site, and enable the laying of a concrete base for the new workshop.

Oh deepest joy !

the last word from the ever-observant Ludlam: ‘3 workers and 3 managers’ !

22 3 workers 3 managers

Our new base

z workshop comp  site new workshop-2  IMG_2745

this is an impression of what our new workshop will look like at Peak Rail, Rowsley

Here we will soon erect a new shed, complete with new sidings and facilities.

This development will allow us to restore, renovate and maintain ALR compatible rolling stock at a location which is eminently  suitable for a rapidly expanding heritage rail organisation.

We leave our mark…….

The much-loved Ashover Light Railway leaves its mark in all kinds of places. Here it pops up on a beer pump in the marvellous Old Poets Corner, where they brew a beer with (almost) our name on it, and the hand pump is adorned with an evocative depiction of a Baldwin.
This is also the venue for our quarterly committee meetings, and we thank them for their hospitality and support over the years.

19 Light Rale pump at Poets 2



February 2015…. The Cafe

17 cafe moved for transportation 2

Some of the café components ready for removal to the new storage area at Rowsley

February 2015 at Rowsley

16 feb 15 rowsley  16 feb 15 rowsley-2

Richard and Steve study the plans for the new roof which will cover and make waterproof the two containers, and provide a dry storage and working area between.

January 2015….homework

14 jan 15 painting at Wheatcroft (2)

Roofing panels to be used to cover the two containers at Rowsley, being painted at Grahams house ready for delivery to the site.

January 2015… painting the shed in the workshop

Ashover Light Railway Society  Ashover Light Railway Society  Ashover Light Railway Society

The Magnificent Seven (centre pic, with myself behind the camera) painting the dozens of shed panels green (to comply with Planning Rules) .

From left; Jonathan, Richard, Mike,Roger,Graham and Steve.

January 2015… workshop activity

Ashover Light Railway Society

Graham paints with bitumen the base channels for the side walls of the new shed at Rowsley

October 2014….site of new ALR workshop at Rowsley

Ashover Light Railway Society  Ashover Light Railway Society

This is the site at Peak Rail, Rowsley, where the new shed will be erected, probably next spring. It will be joined to the existing track by the new rail we acquired

October 2014….the new shed for Rowsley

Ashover Light Railway Society  Ashover Light Railway Society  Ashover Light Railway Society

this is the shed at Dinnington (sourced by Jonathan) which is being dismantled prior to being moved for temporary storage to the current Sheffield workshop. then it will be moved next spring to a prepared site at Rowsley

September 2014….preparing rail

9-2 sept 14 preparing track (1)

Jonathan and Graham prepare rail for eventual laying down as our new track.

August 2014….ALR stand at Rowsley


Showing the flag at Rowsley !

Heavy lifting !

8-2 july 14 The track crane

Peak Rail’s track crane is brought into play to lift the tons of rail to where we need it…….. Phew !  (Picture by Graham Ludlam)

July 2014….new track arrives

8-1 july 14 new track arrives (3)

New track arrives at Rowsley

June 2014….Graham drives the line


Graham has fun driving a Lister loco on the narrow gauge line at Rowsley

May 2014 AGM


The 2014 AGM was a momentous event in that it set out the proposed plans for moving to Peak Rail’s Rowsley site. The wording on the powerpoint page being read out by Chairman Richard is ;

An Alternative (treasonable !) thought

The Rainbow Railway
Develop a clear understanding now with DDNGR and Peak Rail that we join forces.
Get the workshop established to implement stages 1-4.
Work with Henry to extend his line to create a loop and triangle.
Continue with locomotive and truck restoration and aim to build a Gloucester and Wembey coach.
Seek Heritage Lottery Funding to restore the Baldwin, and to rebuild the Café on the picnic area.
Plan for the Café to become a restaurant and a narrow gauge railway museum.
Work to develop enthusiast and children’s events to make the railway capable of a positive financial return.



April 2014…. Spondon & trucks leave Sheffield for Rowsley

Ashover Light Railway Society   Ashover Light Railway Society  Ashover Light Railway Society  Ashover Light Railway Society

April 2014…. Spondon & trucks leave Sheffield for Peak Rail site at Rowsley


Rowsley site visit

Ashover Light Railway Society  Ashover Light Railway Society

A preliminary inspection and evaluation of the Peak rail site at Rowsley was made last weekend.

Film crew visit the workshop

film crew at workshop

A TV documentary film crew visit the workshop…….Graham (in his freshly ironed white overalls !) gets to sit (snugly in the Spondon) in front of the camera.

February 2014….workshop activity

workshop activity

Work continues on restoring the rolling stock at the Sheffield workshop

February 2014….a wagon goes back on its wheels

Ashover Light Railway narrow gauge derbyshire uk