The SC&LL RR has had much good luck of late. As word has travelled around the miniature narrow gauge fantasy character fraternity, calling for those skilled persons who would like to restore and revive this historic and important line, various persons have leapt at the chance to help and make their mark.
General Manager Crystal Yokels has spent much time interviewing and employing those persons she sees as crucial to the success of the venture, not to mention the fact that Fuller D. Earthwurk the site engineer can be a somewhat testy individual to work with (his words), having particularly high standards but also understanding that there is a fairly tight budget to adhere to. She has lately employed Mr George Metro, a Gnome who has many years experience in laying and looking after track and whose timekeeping and planning are exemplary.
George and his small gang have been tackling Phase 4 and the track laying is well on the way to being finished. New crossties (sleepers) were sourced for the plain track in the yard and depot area and all have been replaced, over 350 at the last count. None of the original ties were serviceable but those out on the main line were able to be reused as were the switches (turnouts). Rebuilding the switches in the yard has been completed using the original flat bottom rail and components supplied by Tenmille products, with slight modifications to accept the deeper wheel flanges used. The most exacting restoration was to the ‘harp’ style switch stands that operate the switches, as they had been bent out of shape, mostly by wild animals who insist on using them as rubbing posts. They are now modified with removable flag posts that can be inserted when the railroad has running days.
Ballasting has started, together with final track alignment. Bill Flowers commented ‘Flobabibbity bob ajob’ (Trans. – We are very fortunate that the gravel workings at Lake Lenore have provided us with material to replace the spent ballast along the whole length of the line at minimal cost. A minor issue is that some of the rocks are little big but Fuller D. and George assure us that it will have little impact on the stability of the track.)
A couple of work trains have been successfully run using loco number 2, ‘Angel O’The North’. A statement from the engineer, Mr Wallace Aardman, will give a flavour of what needs to be done.
‘ I was happy to be given the go ahead to drive the first train down the line in the westerly direction. We had two cars on, a box car and a gondola in which Robert D. Bilder the guard, Fuller, George and Crystal rode to inspect the track and deal with any incidents. The track is mostly in need of lifting and packing to restore the cant and iron out the switchbacks that had crept in when it was derelict. The main switch at the yard entrance is a cause for concern in the easterly direction, which George Metro is aware of and says that it will take little effort to fix. On the whole the train kept to the track with little cause for concern from bumps, bruises and motion sickness by the staff riding in the gondola. My fireman, Gromit K. Nein, a colleague of some fifteen or more years kept us regaled with stories of when he was puppy at the opening of the line and how good the riding of the train was then.’
The next phase (5) has seen the original track plan simplified. The lake junction switch and spur have been lifted and the track bed removed from both banks of the lake. The lake shore has been landscaped and rebuilt with a slipway and it is proposed to give pleasure cruises in the motor boat owned by the Flowers once a jetty has been commissioned.