NEWS 2019

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Community Rail at the City Station

The sigbox was at the centre of the recent promotion of the Community Rail Partnership at City Station on the 15th May. Across Britain, there are about 60 community rail partnerships, plus hundreds of station friends and other groups and social enterprises,  This promotion was part of the Community Rail in the City day.  The miniture signals, photographic displays and sigbox volunteers were on hand for a busy day meeting travellers and staff at the station.

Planters at the City Station

Volunteers were out in force on the 8th of May to set-up the new planters on the platforms at St Albans City Station.  Rain did not dampen efforts and all was completed in a timely fashion.  We trust that travellers will appreciate the floral displays over the summer and thanks to all who took part.


The "Big Weekend" is a "Big Success" - nearly 1,200 Visitors in two days!

Following the record number of visitors on the 10th of March to one of our Sunday afternoon openings, we wondered what the "Big Weekend" on Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th March would bring. To our amazement it brought 1,197 visitors through the gates. This is the highest number ever since regular public opening started following restoration of the box. On the right is Thomas doing his first circuits of our garden railway with young admirers looking on.

Near by there were smaller models and the larger steam-hauled passenger service.
The various lever frames were popular with our visitors:


  Also on display, next to our lit lamps, was our new 'On/Off' sign:







Refurbishment of the 1970s Colour Light Signals

The four-aspect colour light signals with banner signal are one of our longest-running demonstrations, having been operating since 2011. They have been repainted twice, and occasional repairs made to the wiring (particularly after being nibbled by rodents) or to the relay boards in each signal head.

These boards have proved more susceptible to climatic conditions than we expected and a couple have had to be replaced. In addition, we have found the carefully focused 5 watt car tail-lamp bulbs can only be viewed over a limited angle - and the plugs and sockets linking signals to the fixed wiring have also given problems.

So we are carrying out a major refurbishment - this will include:
1. new control system in a weather-proof Location Cabinet - the one that used to house our incoming mains supply;
2. complete re-wire using heavier duty wire to stop rodent damage;
3. new wires to run in flexible conduit from ducting to signals without plugs or sockets;
4. replacing the filament bulbs with LED lamps giving a wider angle of view.

In February and March we worked to relocate the Location Cabinet:


Record number of visitors attend:
The Open Afternoon on March 10th saw a new record set for the number of visitors attending a Sunday afternoon opening - 250 came, more than twice the previous record of 120 set in February 2018.

A Spring Planting:
One of our members has passed on the 30 Mile Post that once graced the Midland Railway's Hemel Hempstead branch.
Mile Post in place             Map showing location (the arrow)                       Restored and on display
The location was approximately halfway between Harpenden and Hemel Hempstead.



The unusual warm spell towards the end of the month encouraged a number of outdoor works, beside a display of early blossom:

                                     We were able to start again on preserving the fence and have replanted the 'T' sign.

Track work has taken place on the garden railway where fixed curves have replaced flexible track to improve running:


Courtesy of the Chiltern Model Railway Association, we were given space at their annual exhibition, now held at Stevenage Leisure Centre.

We had a good team on the stand, sold nearly £200 of bits and pieces,and spoke to hundreds of people over the two days of the show and gave out virtually all our remaining leaflets! (A reprint is being organised.)

Back at the box, the same weekend saw our first open afternoon of 2019 with some 75 visitors.