A quarter mile length of the oldest and lightest section of track has been lifted between Lakeside loop and Hunthouse Wood and will be re laid over the next few months with new track panels. As at 22nd of December 19 two thirds of the 50 panels required have been re-laid. This will mean the whole railway will then have either 20lb per yard rail or good 13.5 lb per yard rail with extra sleepers. Santa Trains were sold out by 9th of December . The track bed has been scraped clean with a JCB before the new track panels are laid
Traffic for 2006 ended up by just under 10% after a mixed season. The weather and world cup had a adverse affect until improvements later in the season took us to comfortably beat the 2005 result. The final day of normal running was Halloween on October 29th when kids in costume travelled free and got a lollipop if they braved the spiders who guard them. Four engines were in steam and the railway decorated for the event.
The new shelter at Hunthouse Wood is almost complete. Double the size of the previous shelter it forms part of a plan to upgrade the station facilities. Clearance of the overgrown trees is also underway. A shelter over the platform at Rudyard is next on the list. Work on the track is progressing well to remove and upgrade the fishplates and re-fix the sleepers at the rail joints.
The steam gala was blessed with good weather and the best ever attendance. All 5 steam engines were in use on both days and a two train service operated.
August Bank holiday weather was variable- showers and sunny spells. A Two train service ran on Monday with three engines taking turns this worked very well and ran to time all day. The foundations for an enlarged shelter at Hunthouse Wood were put in over the weekend.
The lake festival broke the record for the busiest ever day by 25% on August 6th with all 9 carriages in use on two trains and with three steam engines taking turns on the trains.
A new coach is complete and is an enclosed 12 seat coach No.12 that arrived at the railway on July 22nd and was brought into service for the lake festival. It will be followed by two replacement semi open coaches. A special train was run for the children from Chernobyl on July 30th. A two train service ran for most of the day using King Arthur & Excalibur. Sources of railway parts are being developed by a local engineering company LTM Engineering Services.
No. 2 Mordred returned from overhaul on July 23rd and is back in use. Work is underway on the track to add ballast and change sleepers. Traffic is busy again with the good weather helping.
A new coach was brought into service to replace the first of the three articulated coaches. Given the number 3 it was first used on May 27th. It is wider and higher than existing coaches.
The very wet weather has driven down passenger numbers with disappointing traffic during May and the the bank holiday. An advantage of our smaller size and costs make us better able to overcome this than larger railways and tourist attractions which are now in serious difficulty.
Train services ran from Good Friday to Wednesday inclusive over Easter. Two train services ran on Sunday with two or three engines in steam most days. This was the busiest Easter yet for the railway. On Sunday a two train service ran using three engines and kept to time all day.
Train services started again on March 13th in snow and heavy winds. Pendragon and Merlin worked back to back to beat the weather conditions but passengers were thin on the ground in view of the very poor weather.
No.9 Pendragon was collected from the Exmoor Steam Railway on March 5th and delivered to Rudyard later that day. After minor changes to the air brake piping it was put into service on March 12th. The level crossing at Rudyard was also re-laid on March 5th after an excellent effort by a volunteer working party. Two new bogies were delivered to make it a busy day's work. All the railway's 5 steam engines are now in working order and will run in 2006.
Trains ran at half term with 3 engines in Steam on Sunday Feb 26th. Cold weather kept visitor numbers down. A rail bender has been borrowed from the South Downs Railway and used to start straightening some of our large stock of curved rail.
The main priority is work to ballast the track and pack it to level. A further stretch of about 50 metres was completed on 19/2/06. A mini digger was brought in to help with the work at Hunthouse Wood on Sunday February 12th. It made light work of making a space for a larger shelter and extended platform. Merlin was in steam to haul the works train. The extended run round loop was completed by Thursday 16th February.
Merlin passed its steam test on 2nd Feb 2006 and is back in service. Its the first engine to be overhauled at Rudyard.
Work continues on the track to ballast and level it and has moved to extend the loop at Hunthouse Wood by 30 feet. This involves moving then extending the waiting shelter and developing picnic facilities.
The next coach is being built off site and may be ready for Easter. It will be a covered 12 seat semi open coach.
New Years Day 2006 trains ran in bright sunshine and were well patronised.