Each year, The Old Locomotive Committee (OLCO) has an event for live steam models of the 'Lion' locomotive.
In 2017, the event, called 'Lionsmeet', was held on Saturday, 22nd July at the Worden Park track of the Leyland Society of Model Engineers.
I travelled to Preston on an Edinburgh train which I joined at Wolverhampton. The journey, operated by Virgin using two 5-car 'Voyager' diesel-electric units, was swift and on-time (although it never ceases to irritate me that so many long-distance journeys 'under the wires' remain operated by diesel traction). I first spent a while exploring Preston city centre on foot - still strangely quiet as early morning shoppers started to fill the streets. I walked as far as the Harris Museum and Art Gallery, with its all-embracing, gilded, carved inscription
'TO LITERATURE ARTS AND SCIENCE'.
The famous Harris Museum and Art Gallery in Preston.
Then, I retraced my route back to the station and took a taxi south of the city centre to Leyland. The taxi dropped me at the Park Gate and I had a walk of a few hundred yards to reach the Club House and Steaming Bays but, fortunately, my 'railway homing instinct' did not fail me.
I was welcomed by Andrew Neish, who is currently the 'Lionsmeet' organiser for OLCO and the other early arrivals. Members of the host club were also there in force and I was soon drinking a welcome cup of tea in the clubhouse.
The club has established a 1617 foot continuous raised track for 3½ and 5 inch gauge models (arranged as a 'folded dumb-bell') and a ground level 7.25 inch track extending to one kilometre (laid out as a 'slightly-bent dumb-bell'). There are covered steaming bays, turntables and station facilities for each gauge.
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Worden Park, Leyland: Plan of model railway facilities. (Map: Leyland Society of Model Engineers).
'Lionsmeet 2017' at Leyland SME: View looking west from the Stock Shed towards the 3½in and 5in steaming bays with the 7.25in steaming bays on the right.
My eye was drawn to an impressive 7.25in model of 60809 'The Snapper', brewing-up in the steaming bays. I learned that this would be giving public rides during the day on the ground-level track. Soon, a 7.25in 'B1' was also being steamed.
'Lionsmeet 2017': 7.25" gauge locomotive 60809 'The Snapper' being prepared for service on the ground level track.
Although we've had 7.25in gauge 'Lion' models in steam at some previous 'Lionsmeets', none attended in 2017 and so the OLCO activities were confined to to raised track. Club members first extracted their battery electric locomotive 'Worden Ranger' from its 'garage' (where battery charging takes place) and marshalled a train of two passenger car and a 'tool car'.
'Lionsmeet 2017' at Leyland SME: The Battery Electric locomotive 'Worden Ranger' ready to perform a line inspection of the elevated track, with two passenger cars and a tool car.
After the line inspection was completed, I was invited to make a couple of circuits with 'Worden Ranger'. Driving was straightforward, with just a direction selector and a single power controller handle. The handbrake on the leading passenger car was used for train braking although there was also a 'parking brake' on the locomotive. I found the locomotive responsive and powerful. A (rather feeble) two-tone horn was provided. For part of the morning, the host club gave public rides with 'Worden Ranger' and its train but the raised track was generally reserved for OLCO members.
Models were steamed by David and Andrew Neish, Jon Swindlehurst and Adrian Banks. David and Andrew, as usual, alternated in driving David's model.
'Lionsmeet 2017' at Leyland SME: David Neish and Andrew Neish on the elevated track.
'Lionsmeet 2017' at Leyland SME: Jon Swindlehurst about to depart with his 'Lion' with John Oliver as passenger.
'Lionsmeet 2017' at Leyland SME: Adrian Banks pauses adjacent to the steaming bays whilst he 'fettles his fire', allowing his passenger, John Brandrick, to chat to John Hawley.
In addition, a number of part-built 'Lions' were displayed in the Club House. David Forrest's beautifully-built model (on the right in the picture below) attracted many favourable comments. He had produced a number of trial '3D-Printed' plastic components during the development of his design.
'Lionsmeet 2017' at Leyland SME: Discussions in the Club House: John Oliver, David Forrest, John Hawley.
The host club laid on a splendid buffet lunch and free-running of the models in steam continued into the afternoon. OLCO Chairman John Brandrick made a short address of thanks to Leyland S.M.E. for their hospitality, following one minute's silence to commemorate the death of Justin Garside-Taylor from the Museum of Liverpool.
'Lionsmeet 2017' at Leyland SME: During the afternoon John Brandrick, Chairman of OLCO, made a short address of thanks to Leyland S.M.E. for their hospitality.
Some of the OLCO visitors made their way across to the 7.25 inch ground level track at the adjacent Worden Parkway Station, where rides were given to the public throughout the day. In the morning, 'The Snapper' was the motive power but, by the time John Hawley and I went across, B1 'Reedbuck' had taken over.
'Lionsmeet 2017' at Leyland SME: Worden Parkway Station on the 7.25 inch ground level track showing 'B1' 61031.
John Hawley kindly ran me to Preston Station for my return train, so I missed the informal 'OLCO Dinner' held later in Euxton.
Related posts on other websites
Leyland Society of Model Engineers.
Related posts on this website
All my posts regarding the Old Locomotive Committee can be found here, with links to my pictures.
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