Loco's taken and run were 1 " Willi " , 5 " Spitfire " , 12 " Stephanie " , 13 "Jess" , 15 "Cyril" , 16 "Billy" , and the newly arrived BMW 46 "The Bubble " .
Spitfire ran perfectly until late afternoon, but struggled on her last run and hopefully, Matt can again give her the once over.
Ruston 235654 [ 1946 ] was the loco used on our visit, and our Andrew was kindly allowed to drive her , his first drive of a diesal loco, which he did very well.
The railway is located in Kirstall abbey park and the abbey ruin's are well worth a visit.
The 9th saw us having another great day at Bob Newtons rly, and was a bit of a test day for no 30 " Wolverhampton Wanderer ", which gave us a idea on how to get perfect running from her.
13th , was a late start day and we headed over to Chesterfield for a ride behind
" Puffin' Billy " the Severn Lamb built S/O 2-6-0DH at Queens Park.
On this trip, we found that the petrol tank was leaking on the pop, so a new 2nd hand one was purchased.
The attempted tank swap on sunday , was not a sucess, as this tank was blocked up with rust !
With the tank exchanged on monday, the new tank was fitted, but when i went to fill up with petrol, it was leaking badly from the sender unit and filling the boot with petrol !
A quick trip to a friends and the petrol was again taken out and tuesday saw the job finished, with the sender unit from my old leaking tank instaled and hopefully all is now well.
Sadly though, we missed sunday's and tuesday's 16mm visit's to Bob Newtons.
A new addition to the 16mm loco fleet is no 47 "Prince ", which is a 4w battery tram loco , purchased off ebay and now re converted to 4wd.
We set off at about noon for the long drive down to Dover, stopping a few times on the way for petrol and a break.
The speedo cable decided to snap in the M25 roadwork's near Dartford, but this was the only mishap and with a sensible top speed of just over 50mph, was not a problem.
After spending a few hours around Dover Priory station and a fish and chips supper, we joined the Norfolkline/DFDS ferry for Dunkirk for departure at 23.59 pm.
We arrived on French soil at around 3am and set off for the Baie De Somme, but the weather got so bad on the way , i was down to about 10mph on the motorway, and nothing passed me !
Visibility got so bad, i had to pull off at the first available junction , and we followed a small side road, which looked more like a river , into a french village called Peuplingues and found somewhere safe to park off road.
After managing a few hours sleep, I woke up around 8AM , to find I had parked on somebodys drive !
The weather was a lot better and after a steady drive to Le Crotoy, we decided that with how wet things were and the fact that it rained on and off for most of the day, we would not camp out, just for the one night , and booked into a small hotel at Favieres, a couple of miles from Le Crotoy.
A trip into Le Croytoy for breakfast and off to the station.
On arrival at the railway and the purchase of our 2 day ticket , we found loco no1 "Aisne" , the Corpet-Louvet 260t in steam ready for the days work. The 2nd loco in use today was no E332 , a Fives Lille built 460t , and the day was spent riding behind both loco's on every possible journey.
We had our French stick dinner at St Valery, walking around in between the heavy rain showers , which were a pain for most of the day.
During our last journey of the day at around 6pm , the sun came out !
We returned early evening to the hotel, and after a shower, I was fast asleep even before our Andrew, who was busy trying to find a English cartoon channel on the French television !
After a good nights sleep, we awoke to a lot brighter day and departed the hotel and spent a hour or so walking around Le Crotoy, before arriving at the station to again see "Aisne" waiting to take out the first train of the day.
The 2nd loco today was no15 " Noyon-Guiscard-Lassigny " another 260t , but this time built by Haine-St-Pierre .
After riding down to St Valery , we got our first chance in four visits to take a ride the full length of the line down to the coast town of Cayeux .
This train was diesel hauled from St Vallery Ville to Cayeux Brighton-Plage by no 351 , a 6w diesel, built by VFIL Lumbres and fitted with a Willeme 8 cylinder engine and sounds brilliant !
After leaving St Vallery, the route runs under the only underbridge on the line and through a tree lined cutting, before passing the scrap dump, which contains the remains of 3 steam loco's , only one being visable in the undergrowth from the passing train.
A short stop is made at Lanchères-Pendé , before the train finishes it's journey at Cayeux.
As we were only there for the railway, we caught the return train back to St Valery to resume our trips behind the steam loco's.
We arrived on the last train of the day into Le Crotoy and bid farewell to the Chemin De Fer Baie De Somme for another year and set off back up the coast road heading for the Belgium border.
We arrived on the border very late and again got our heads down for another night in the Ford Pop hotel.
The campsite we used [ http://www.campingleperroquet.com/accueil-fr.htm ] is actually on the border and because we had not pre booked ,we were not able to go onto the campsite and put up the tent until 9am, but once this was done we set off for De Panne , about 2 miles away.
A 3 day adult ticket on De Kusttram cost 10 euro's and 4.50 euro's for our Andrew, brilliant value for money as this cover's the full 42 mile line, plus all the local bus services.
The day , sadly did not go as planed , as we were hoping to visit one of the few preserved railways in Belgium, but a combination of a later start and a lack of buses , meant we could not visit this time, but there is always another time . Instead, we travelled the full length of the line ,on the one tram to Knokke and then made a steady return run, stopping off as and when we wanted to . After a short stay at Knokke, we caught the tram as far as Blankenberge Station , photographing the loco,s of the SNCB.
Also on the station, is a model railway shop , which also contains a small but very interesting model railway exhibition [ http://www.minitrainexpo.be/en/index.htm ].
Today was also the annual flower parade, with lots of floats and bands, and was definitely worth seeing,with some really amazing floats all decorated in flowers .
On the way back , we stopped off at a wild west show, which had been in full swing all day , even though it was early evening, groups were still playing and the market stalls were still open. For a non railway day , we had a good time anyway. When we got back to the campsite we found the bloody airbed had gone down , but went to bed anyway !
Up at a decent time, we parked in De Panne and caught the SNCB train into Brussels' , the special offer summer fare of 15 euro's return, free for children, made it a nice cheap day out.
We arrived in Brussels' and had a good walk around the town , visiting lots of the local landmarks , Andrew struggling to understand how you can have a statue of a boy peeing !
After having a McDonalds , we set off back to the station and made the short run to Nord station.
There we stood on the end of the platform watching train after train , arriving and departing, almost as busy as Clapham junction, but more than 50% of the trains were electric loco hauled making it far more interesting.
The time flew by, and all too soon it was time to head home, but it is somewhere we will definitely go back to.
We arrived back into De Panne, and after dropping the bag off at the car, caught a tram into the centre and had supper.
The airbed was blown back up, and we settled down to sleep on our last night.
Up around 7am, and packed everything up for the homeward journey later on. Again into De Panne to catch the tram as far as knokke, stopping off a few times on the way and then working our way back , with our usual shopping visit to Ostend, also spending time on the station there. For the last hour, we walked around the shop's at De Panne, before catching our last tram back to the station, arriving just after 6pm. The short journey to Dunkirk, turned into a nightmare, as we struggled to pick up any sign's for the car ferry ! Getting lost and retracing our steps a few times, and we finally had a run of sign's, the only thing is the ferry is a good way out from the centre and by the time we got to the check in for the 8pm sailing, it was 7.48pm ! We were allowed to check in, but was told we would now be on the midnight crossing, but as we lined up, we were waved forward to join the end of the queue for the 8pm crossing . So we departed on time after all , watching the French coast disappear in the distance until the next visit. We landed back in England at around 9.20pm , and set off on the long journey home. After stopping for a break and filling the tank again, the last stage of the journey saw us arrive back home at around 4am in the morning. A long but well worth while trip, which made up for us not getting to France in may and june and at least on this trip, we managed to get back to the Baie De Somme and ride on what is probably , both mine and Andrews favourite railway.