The Bradford Model Engineering Society was constituted in 1908 and claims to be the fourth oldest model engineering society in the world! Their website is here. On Saturday, 23rd August 2014, the Society hosted the 2014 'Lionsmeet' at their picturesque site in Northcliffe Woods, Shipley. 'Lionsmeet' is the annual get-together of live steam models of the 'Lion' locomotive organised by the Old Locomotive Committee (usually referred to as 'OLCO'). The OLCO website is here. Having been associated with OLCO myself for more than 25 years, my own blog has quite a few posts. You can find all my posts about 'Lion' - both the full-size version and live-steam models here.
Until 2013 (when 'Lionsmeet was held at the Wirral Model Engineering Society track at Royden Park) 'Lionsmeet' had always included a not-too-serious competition to see which model could produce the greatest 'work done' in ten minutes. As an experiment, the competition was omitted in 2013 and, following a fairly favourable response, the competition was also omitted from the 2014 event.
I travelled by train to Shipley (as described in the post Day Trip to Shipley) and then walked to Northcliffe Woods where a plaque on the main gate records their opening on 12th June 1920, the gift of Sir H Norman Rae MP, as an open space for recreation and benefit of the public, forever. The Friends of Northcliffe are a local community group involved in managing the area.
A pleasant walk through the woods led me to my destination. Uniquely, the Clubhouse is a converted Bandstand! The flat area in front of the building, originally for the audience, now boasts a raised oval track around 440 feet long with dual-gauge 3½" and 5". This track was relocated by the society from its previous home and, unusually, the dual-gauge track is 4-rail rather than the more common 3-rail.
The Clubhouse. Far left, John Mills steps over the raised track.
I was not surprised that David Neish was the first driver out onto the track, with his extremely reliable 'Lion'. Later, his son Andrew (who had organised the event) took over the engine.
Lionsmeet 2014: David Neish with his 'Lion'.
A turntable is positioned in the raised track, giving access to three steaming bays. The picture below shows the turntable, the passenger loading and unloading area beyond (used when giving public rides) and the short tunnel. In the foreground, the four aluminium rail construction of the dual-gauge track can be seen.
The turntable on the raised track.
Later a number of drivers, including Jon Swindlehurst, David Wainwright and a local 'Lion' sporting a very nice 'Lowmac' well wagon as a driving trailer put their 'Lion' models through their paces.
John Mills and Jon Swindlehurst
David Wainwright prepares his 'Lion'.
Alan Bibby was particularly unfortunate - he waited until his grandsons arrived so that they could assist in preparation and receive some driving tuition but, by this time, it had started to rain quite heavily. To add insult to injury, having given the crew a good soaking, the rain stopped and the sun came out again. Only a few weeks previously I'd experienced something similar when driving at the Battlefield Line on the 19th July (described in the post Another Busy Week). Once again, I was reminded of my saying: "Anyone can work on the footplate in good weather. It takes an engineman to do it in bad weather".
Alan Bibby, before the worst of the rain.
The host Club made us very welcome throughout the day with beverages, a morning bacon bap and, later, lunch. With the drivers mentioned above, the Chairman of OLCO, John Brandrick, Magazine Editor John Hawley and OLCO member Keith Taylor-Nobbs present, there was plenty of earnest discussion. Jon Swindlehurst's 7.25-in 0-4-2 locomotive under construction was much admired but some were perplexed by his decision to fit Stephenson Link Motion!
An early live-steam model of 'Lion' stirred considerable interest - the maker's plate is marked 'Worthing Works 1953'. The owner hopes that it will be in steam again next year.
An early live-steam model of 'Lion'.
The Chairman of OLCO, John Brandrick decided that Keith Taylor-Nobbs should be the first recipient of the Charles Taylor-Nobbs Memorial Trophy, for his splendid 'Lion' model which was on display.
Keith Taylor-Nobbs museum-quality 'Lion' model was, appropriately, the first recipient of the Charles Taylor-Nobbs Memorial Trophy.
More recent developments at Bradford Model Engineering Society have centred on the construction of a ground level dual-gauge 5" and 7.25" track with a circuit of around 2,000 feet with a station area, turntable with steaming bays, carriage 'shed' (actually large concrete pipes) and a siding leading to the Store Room at the rear of the Clubhouse. The layout features dual-gauge points and diamond crossings.
Dual-gauge Diamond Crossings on the ground level track.
Seeing my interest, I was offered a ride around the track behind the Club's Petrol-Hydraulic locomotive (using a Honda engine). When we arrived at the station, which has three lines passing through it, I was shown the very professional signalling control panel. A small compressor is mounted below the control panel, providing air for the pneumatic operation of the main points. Very rugged colour light signals are provided where required.
Control panel for points/signals at the station on the ground level track.
Before people started to leave, John Brandrick gave a vote of thanks to Bradford Model Engineering Society for their hospitality - it had been a good event.
This rather nice Austin motor car was parked adjacent to the raised track for most of the day.