Beech Hurst Park Miniature Railway
Operated by S.M.L.S. - Sussex Miniature Locomotive Society
Virtual Circuit Around the Track
Imagine yourself sitting behind a 5in gauge rebuilt RoyalScot in the station waiting for the tip, a good fire, the needle hovering around the red line, two thirds of a glass of water, you look back to see how many passengers you have this trip. The guard blows his whistle, you check the signal, a brief look back to check all is well, reverser to full forward, steam brake off, a quick blast on the whistle and the regulator eased open slowly, as the rails in the station can be greasy.
As the loco takes the weight of the train the regulator is opened further, cylinder cocks closed and hopefully the train accelerates without slipping up the climbing left hand curve. The reverser is wound back a few turns as you gain the straight still climbing, check signal aspect at the end of the straight, the three cylindered Scot chirruping as she works hard up the bank, before the Scot enters the right hand then left hand curve through the short tunnel. A whistle and a wave to the assembled children and you are quickly through the short tunnel. This tunnel replaced the original wooden footbridge after the long tunnel had been completed. As the train enters the straight again the gradient eases and the reverser can be wound back further.
After the hard work of the initial climb and the pull on the fire, the loco is near to blowing off so the injector is put on. Observing the signal halfway along the straight you enter the right hand curve into the cutting. Checking the next signal the Scot rounds the left hand curve towards the tunnel, looking back to check the passengers are all seated, you whistle and plunge into the darkness. The young passengers scream, the blower is cracked open, the regulator is eased, the water level drops, the summit is at the middle of the 170 foot tunnel. The signal in the tunnel is a distant signal only so you will not be stopped in the tunnel, except in emergency. The train leaves the tunnel on a left hand curve, observing the signal, the opportunity is taken to fire the loco. The fire is good and hot so the fresh coals soon catch and form a good fire bed ready for the next run. If this signal is showing a yellow aspect it means the next signal, which protects the point and transporter, is on and shunt movements could be taking place.
You have a green, however, so you skirt alongside the carriage siding under the footbridge past the clubhouse and over the transporter. As the train runs over the transporter, the loco whistle is sounded because the view ahead is hindered by the clubhouse building. If you had received a yellow aspect before the clubhouse, you must expect to stop at the steaming bay. The train rounds the clubhouse and you see the "call on" is off, so we drift down the gradient, past a couple of locos being prepared, to the station. A train is waiting at the far end of the station for the right away as we slowly stop behind for our passengers to alight.
Some passengers thank you, others walk past, some ask questions (what's that black stuff mister? How does it work? etc.) The guard signals that all have alighted and you pull down the platform ready for another train full of Haywards Heath natives and others. A quick chat with the Station Master, take water if required and sit and wait for the tip.
I hope this has given you a taste of our railway and hope to see you during our running season.
28 December 2016