One of the things which many non-engineers find difficult to grasp about railways is the need for the system to fit together and work as a coherent and safe whole. The wheel-rail interface is probably the single most important interface in the railway system. All of the traction and braking forces from locomotives have to be transferred through what is known as a Contact Patch – for a large main line locomotive, these are typically the size of a five-pence piece. If you fancy working this out for yourself, try here. This is just as important for narrow gauge railways as it is for our larger and faster brethren.
In other words, getting the wheels right matters. A lot. The Hudson brakevan, which will form a staple of the Moseley Railway Trust’s initial passenger train, had wheels which were not quite right – not quite right enough to matter. Therefore, after some head scratching, a method of machining these wheelsets using the facilities available to the MRT at Apedale was developed. In the photo, you can see the first wheelset receiving attention from the Machine Shop Supremo. Slightly slow (and noisy) going with the first one, but it’s a learning experience, and doubtless it will down to a fine art by the time the fourth one is done.
Meanwhile, the Apedale Elite Fencing Squad have been interfacing wooden poles with holes in the ground. Three members were seen to be testing the fence. I think they are waiting for the first passenger trains. Not long to wait, now, gentlemen. Find out more by contacting us here.