Whatever next?

catinshed
One of the resident – or perhaps just visiting – cats explores the running shed after close of play. Ben at the back.

This reminiscence is called ‘Whatever next?’ because there were times when you didn’t know what would happen next at the LMLR. I really would like to hear other people’s memories, because there were some interesting goings on at times.

One charity brought a ‘Postman Pat’.   postmanpat

 

fireengine     Another brought a fire engine.

One running day in 2000, a troop of Morris dancers came and entertained.morris-troop

In the tunnel during one Santa special, probably in 1995 or 1996, trains were held in the shelter, rather than instructing drivers that it was signalling by sight of the tail lamp, waiting to visit Santa’s grotto in the main shed. It was drier than queuing just outside the running shed. I know about the tunnel stop, I was that intermediate block post; it’s also where my copy of the LMLR history went, as I used the red cover to make a ‘stop’ board. We had musical entertainment, with carols, to keep the waiting train of passengers entertained, and because it wasn’t difficult to hear a departing train from the grotto, delays were not that long. I promise I’ll write about a Santa Special weekend just before Christmas.

 

meg
Meg.

Do remember Meg? Meg was a big black pig whose sty was to the right of the Lost Line. Meg seemed to like apples and seemed unperturbed by passing trains.

horseanddonkey

There were other animals: donkeys, horses, cats and one day I had help as guard, as my folks brought the family King Charles spaniel ‘Paddy’ to help with ticket collecting. Paddy looked out of the footwell of the guard’s seat, and enjoyed watching the very adjacent greenery flash by. Paddy attended other 7¼” railways too.

paddyatpentney
The late Paddy while visiting Pentney.

I am convinced that there were other enjoyably eccentric things that went on, but I cannot recall them. On some days the weather added to the variety (wait for the Santa Special write-up), but there was something quite endearing as a brolly-roofed train rattled by.

One day, I think I was on gate duty when we opened a paddock for additional parking, a man in his late middle age was pushing a child in a push chair. He crossed the track and stopped, and from his pocket produced a tape measure, and measured the width of the track. I think we had a polite conversation over the width of the track, but I was so wrong-footed by his actions, thus I’m not surprised I’ve forgotten the content.

I recall attending the Hethersett panto in January 1996. I had a lift to and from the venue from Vine Cottage, but had to cycle back to my room on campus. I think it was nearly midnight. I’m pretty sure it was foggy. This was before the Watton Road had the main hospital added, so was not as busy as I assume it is now.

littlemeltoninthesnow
Running after snow showers, December 2000 or 2001.

I also remember meeting up with Bob at Don Witheridge’s railway at Hemsby. That was a mainly double track line, real signals and trains in proportion to the track size. I think Bob liked the loose coupled goods train, as one of the functions of the LMLR was that LMLR stock could also carry freight. I’m sure it did, as there was timber stored in the tunnel, in differing quantities, with no road access.

dscf6329
Inside the ‘Moinde Yaar Hid’ tunnel.

If anyone can remember anything, and if you have pictures, even better, but for any reminiscence, can you let us know through the ‘Contact’ function above?

If you belonged to a charity that came, did your group bring anything unusual? Let us know.

donkeysinstable
Donkeys in the stable, with decorations for the Santa Specials. It snowed. They were dry. The crews and passengers were not.
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A not for profit railway

itrainedsometimes

The crews arrive. That’s a puddle. Rain didn’t stop play.

The Little Melton Light Railway ran for fun – or at least I hope it was fun when the rain lashed down, or the snow fell, but time dulls that memory. It wasn’t always sunny.

The Little Melton Light Railway also ran to help local charities.

*** Here’s where I need your help – I disposed of most of my paper ephemera a long time ago: this included my LMLR history, and also the annual list of running days and charities. Yes, every month’s profit went to a nominated charity AND that charity was invited to use the barn for stalls and other attractions.

Without any of the annual list of running days, I am struggling to remember any of the charities EXCEPT for Musical Keys, and the only reason I remember that one is because I bought a pencil with the name of the charity embossed on it. I think I still have books bought from other stalls at other events.

coaster

Some of ‘our’ memorabilia from ‘our’ shop. A coaster. Photo taken July 2016.

*** If anyone has one of the lists please can you contact us using the contact function at the top of the page?

***Also if you have any ephemera – tickets, the history guide, book marks, other coasters, pens, pencils, erasers – please let me know.

I’d love to know what happened to the display of photos, as I have only a blurred screen shot of these, reproduced below, and they show the railway before I joined. The beginnings of the LMLR – anyone possess any original or even good photographic reproductions of this board?

the picture history

Picture history of the beginnings.

barn2

A charity sets up the stalls in the barn.

Some charities put a lot of effort into their day. The barn would be packed with stalls, the charity would tell their supporters about the LMLR, and both car parks would be ‘wedged’, to use an enthusiasts’ term.  One charity brought a fire engine. The running side would be busy. I recall many a day shoving Thunderbox’s train uphill to try to return to The Old Piggeries to collect more passengers, memories of snatched cups of tea whilst the train loaded and racing to uncouple, ticket check and couple again.

fireengine

Yes, one of our charities brought a fire engine to the railway.

I was on car park duty on one day when we had to open one of the empty paddocks as  overflow parking, because there were so many visitors. I became a temporary crossing keeper. Good weather helped, and so did marketing; I discovered the LMLR from a poster in the window of the Salvation Army shop in one of the alleys off the Market Place in Norwich.

Occasionally, and I never helped out on these, Bob opened the railway to provide a train ride for schools, which had to book in advance. I knew this happened because the tea room displayed many of the thank you letters and pictures sent to the railway by the children who had a ride.

So, please, I hope you can help fill in the gaps regarding charities and other LMLR related memorabilia.