Group Leader: Peter Sparks
Email Address: railways@u3ajavea.com 
Meeting Venue: Jávea Players Studio
Meeting Day and Time: 2nd Monday of the month 15:00

If you are interested in joining the group, please send an email to the Group Leader on the above address.

27th January Open Meeting Report.

Preparations for our stand at today’s open meeting began in November. There then followed a site meeting in the Parador a few days later. After this meeting further arrangements were made to access the Parador lower foyer on Tuesday 26th pm to bring in the “00” gauge baseboard.

It was an early start (08:00) on the 27th at the Parador, to get all of the exhibits in place, also the computers and the lay-out up and running correctly before 10:00.

We were all in demand as a host of questions were fired at us from intrigued U3A members. I think all our throats were very dry by the end of the meeting. 

Our stand was impressive and everything ran successfully to after 12:00 when the meeting closed. It was then a case of dismantling and removing all the exhibits and the lay-out baseboard, back to where they came from.

At this point I must thank all of our members who were able to take part in the preparations, running and dismantling of our stand, I think you all did a fantastic job

Special thanks go to my friend Pete who used his large van to transport the baseboard and other items to and from the Parador. Not only did he not charge for fuel or his time but he is not even a U3A member!

I have posted some pictures and a video (in the gallery) of the open meeting for you all to enjoy.

Many Thanks once again,

Peter S.

11th January 2016 Update

Our first date of 2016 saw nine of us arrive for the meeting.

The first item was to firm up arrangements for the collection of the “00” layout to go to the open meeting on Tuesday 26th pm, also to update those members who could not come to the November railway visit. We also made arrangements for some of us to meet, on site, at the Parador Hotel on the 15th January to check the available space etc.etc.

One of our members showed us photos of his visit to and talked about the Catalonia Railway Museum.
From here we talked about when the Spanish Broad Gauge was adopted. (see below)
Iberian gauge (Spanish: ancho ibérico, trocha ibérica, Portuguese: bitola ibérica) is the name given to the track gauge most extensively used by the railways of Spain and Portugal: 1,668mm (5ft521⁄32in). This is the second widest gauge in regular use anywhere in the world.
As finally established in 1955,[1] the Iberian gauge is a compromise between the similar, but slightly different, gauges adopted as respective national standards in Spain and Portugal in the mid-19th century. The main railway networks of Spain were initially constructed to a 1,672mm (5ft513⁄16in) gauge of six Castilian feet, or two Castilian yards. Those of Portugal were instead built to a 1,435mm (4ft81⁄2in) and later railways to a 1,664mm (5ft51⁄2in) gauge of five Portuguese feet – close enough to allow interoperability with Spanish railways.[2]
Spain is building its High Speed lines to 1,435mm (4ft81⁄2in) gauge, even though the existing system is 1,668mm (5ft521⁄32in); new cut off lines are being built with gauge convertible sleepers for easy conversion to standard gauge when required.

Apparently in the days of B.R. new rolling stock was designed with the track in mind.
now a days the rolling stock is designed by various companies that have no commercial connection with Network Rail (railtrack) so it is possible for gauging and other problems to occur.
We talked about the Istanbul railway project being delayed by another 2 years.
Also another talking point was the new build in America of a Penn T1 4-4-4-4

Further discussions were about the Flying Scotsman’s rebuild and how the power from double headed locomotives is controlled.

Refreshments were then taken along with this month’s DVD.

Once again a most enjoyable afternoon.

Peter S.

14th December 2015

Ten members turned up today talking a break from the Christmas preparations.

Our main chat was to talk about the open meeting and the arrangements for collection of the “00” layout for the meeting.
The space station was the next talking point (well it does take a “track” around the earth)! 
One of our members brought to the meeting some operating Chloride Tricolour Railway hand lamps for us to test. This led to a chat on, how to stop a train in Hong Kong. The rule is to use a red lamp, if not available, use white lamp. If all else fails use your hands (by waving them)!!
We talked about the New Delhi railway museum because it has a steam 
mono-rail circuit.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Rail_Museum,_New_Delhi

The Denia-Gandia line was talked about at length, including the rebuilding of it. Over the New Year there is an exhibition celebrating 100 years of the line from Denia to Altea. This is being held in the old Denia station. 

Mince pies were the order of the day with our refreshments, this was followed by an entertaining DVD.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all,

Peter S.

26th November 2015

Today a few of us visited the 7¼” railway mentioned above in the November news letter. (see photos/video in the gallery).

The purpose of the visit was to construct and complete an “00” gauge basic railway layout on a portable baseboard for the open U3A meeting at the end of January. 
During the construction work we took time out to enjoy driving the locomotive also the tramcar and riding on the railway. This was topped off by a great barbecue provided by one of our members. 
Another hour or so saw the layout finished and tested ready for the meeting.

I just like to thank those members who came and for the provision of the venue and equipment and the barbecue etc.

We all had a great day and look forward to the next one.

Peter S.

9th November 2015

Today six of us got together to talk about our favourite subjects of railway interest.

We discussed how little room there is in the carriages of the 2ft 6 in gauge Shimla railway in India. One of our members talked of his personal experience of this line.

The Madrid rail museum and other Spanish rail museums also were touched upon. 
The Vale of Rheidol Railway has very tight carriages and not much in the way of views. Also how the Fairborne railway is very good and how the Festinog railway is a fantastic run. Lastly how the Snowdon Mountain Railway is a very good trip (if the mountain is clear of mist /fog). All of these comments from personal experiences of our members.

One of our members has made a ticket board along similar lines to the old bus conductor’s hand held ticket rack and brought it along for us to see.
How do you make carbon black and what is it’s applications?
Go to:-http://www.carbon-black.org/index.php/what-is-carbon-black for all the information.

Lastly we arranged for some of us to go to one of our member’s private 7¼” railway line, to use his facilities to make up a baseboard and “00” gauge layout for the U3A open meeting in January.

As always our tea break and a DVD followed.

Which finished off a busy afternoon.

Peter S.

12th October 2015

Six of us met today for our monthly meeting.

The first talking point were the tunnels under the white cliffs of Dover which used during the last war. Also the fact that Queen Mother stayed in the castle at Dover at that time. We wondered if there is a tunnel link between the two?
We talked about train breakdowns, door closing and the differences between the old style seating and the modern seating. 
The Metro Train crash in Valencia was another talking point along with the Hither Green crash in the UK:- 
A discussion on what were the possible causes of these accidents and the railways of Dubai also came under our spot light. https://en.wikipedia.org/…/Rail_transport_in_the_United_Arab_Emirates

After a refreshment stop we settled down for our customary DVD.

Once again 2 hours well spent.

Peter S.

7th September 2015

Seven of us arrived today for what turned out to be a long chat session.

Subjects today were varied and interesting, the Alaska Railroad and the programs on the television, the South African Railway’s, Nairobi depot, and its current derelict condition. Indian Railways were also discussed.
Undergrounds worldwide and the 90 seconds headway on some systems.
Modern Railways were also covered along with the fact that all records are now digitised including CAD records of all of the infrastructure in and around the railway property. There are no paper records.

The opening of the new rail line (Sunday 6th September 2015) The Borders Railway from Edinburgh to Tweedbank (30miles). Very topical 
Also the strange fact that all the rails in Milan are painted white, why?
We came to the conclusion it was for crack detection.

Lastly we talked about “The Murdoch Flyer” see:- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Murdoch
A prototype steam locomotive built in1784 by William Murdoch.

After a shorten refreshment break we watched part of a DVD.

Unfortunately we were beaten by time constraints but still had a very enjoyable time.

Peter S.

10th August 2015

Today 6 of us were glad to get into the studio under the air conditioning unit.

As always a lot of chat on railway subjects followed. 
One of our members brought in an album of Honk Kong railway tickets including some which celebrated 150 years of the post office in Hong Kong(really 150 years of British rule). These were issued around the time of the Chinese take over of Hong Kong but everybody new what they really celebrated!

We talked about the South West area of Spain where the Rio Tinto (red river) Mining Museum is situated. You can take a museum train around part of the area to see the red river. It was all built between 1890/1900 by the British.

Unfortunately my records are incomplete but one other subject we did talk about was one of our member’s web site which makes interesting reading. www.smallrailwaysandme.weebly.com

Our normal format is refreshments and then a railway oriented DVD and today was no exception.

We all left feeling cooler than when we arrived!

Peter S.

13th July 2015

Nine of us spent a couple of hours or so for our usual get together.

We chatted about:-
“N” gauge railways, A program on BBC4 about the Transiberia railway and that a trip from Honk Kong to Peking and Moscow that originally took 28 hours.
There followed a discussion on the web site www.urbanrail.net (well worth a look when you are surfing the net).
We talked about electrical systems on railways in general also that currently there is not much evidence (yet) of overhead cables on the First Great Western. 
Threads of the UK,USA,and the metric system was another talking point, along with the “out of gauge” South African locos being supplied to the U.K.

After our usual refreshments we watched an enjoyable railway DVD.

A good afternoon was had by all.

Peter S.

12th June 2015

Today nine of us arrived for our monthly meeting.

One of our members who has recently been on an extended trip talked about the trams in Honk Kong and how originally part of the tracks they use ran alongside the seafront area but now with the reclaimed land that has high rise buildings along it’s length the seafront is out of sight for the most part. The other point that came up was that even with the excessive traffic, the trams still do not have right of way. In a lot of euro countries and worldwide, trams usually have right of way on the roads. This tends to keep the traffic flowing better.

We talked about the cable cars of SanFrancisco http://www.sfcablecar.com/ and how the gripper system works, also how the car operator has to disengage the gripper at cable crossover points and of course to stop. The gripper clamps through a slot in the road on to the constantly moving cable. There 3 braking systems:- 2 sets of conventional independent wheel brakes from each other, 1x set of hard wooden blocks that can pushed down onto the track and the emergency brake is a steel wedge which is lowered into the metal slot in the road and wedges so tight that it usually has to be cut out with a gas torch. San Francisco also has a very large trolley bus system which is complemented by a large tram system (running a lot of preserved trams). Finally it also has a modern tram system.

The next topic was the Somerset and Dorset Railway (S+D) Somerset_and_Dorset_Joint_Railway. One of our group’s father used to drive locos on the S+D. The line ran from Bournemouth to Bath via Midford and contained the longest single bore unventilated tunnel on B.R. 1,829 Yards, a little over a mile (2.6 km approx). The footplate crews used to lay on the cab floor covered with a sheet to protect against the fumes. Today it is a walk/cycle way as is most of the old line.

Our next topic was the projected costs of HS2. Costs of 50 billion pounds where as it is only going to cost approx 40 billion dollars (26 billion pounds) to provide water from Canada to the west coast of America.

We then chatted about a collection of Chinese Magnetic Transport tickets, which are very colourful. One ticket was issued as a collectors item, celebrating a 150 years of the Hong Kong post office, it was really meant to signify 150 years of British rule. Not possible with all the changes but everybody realised the true meaning of the tickets!

Our final topic was the mining area in South-west Spain and the Rio Tinto railway and mining museum(Rio Tinto means Red River which you can see if you visit the area). The railway was built by the British circa 1890/1905. It is well worth a visit today.

Tea break was taken quickly as we ran over on our chat time. The DVD was kept short because time was pressing and some JP members needed to access the hall at 5pm.

As always a good time was had by all.

Peter S.

11th May 2015

Firstly a p.s. from last month, 2 of our group went to U3A Satcine last Saturday night to watch….. The Titfield Thunderbolt. Great! I liked my favourite Whistle Up scene at the end where all the locos in the station whistle up, this was at a louder volume than normal especially turned up for my benefit!!

This month eight of us turned up for our normal meeting. The first talking point was about a relatively cheap sub miniature video camera, which one of our members has been experimenting with, on his “00” gauge locos. When perfected he will bring us some video. The question of how to get from the Sorolla High Speed train station to Valencia Norde station. We talked about the shuttle bus 4mins ride, runs every 10 minutes and is free. Also how eventually (this is Spain) how there are plans to combine both stations.

The subject of the Scottish preserved railways came into our discussions. A question was asked about the heaviest load that has been hauled by a class 59 diesel locomotive. The locomotive 59001 when nearly new hauled a record breaking 4639 tonne train.

Trams and Trolleybuses were our next topic. Also in interest in a pre war GWR rail map.

I found a video of a Case traction engine in America doing a spectacular drag test which we chatted about which I was asked to include the link: https://youtu.be/EVxByLO_6cA.

After chatting about the Association Tren Alcoy-Gandia’s railway night run and al fresco eating and drinking (Drinks provided by the Association) along with music by Jukebox (yours truly on Bass guitar) at Almoines 14th August 8pm til late. Once again I was also asked to put this on this update and in the gallery.

Our normal refreshments were taken followed by a DVD which continued from last month featuring the various main line steam trips along with preserved railway action.

Once again we were beaten by time, leaving more of this fascinating DVD to see at a later date.

Peter (S).

13th April 2015

Today nine group members arrived for our monthly get together.

Our first chat was about music, this was followed by a chat about South African Steam of which some of our group members have first hand experiences.

The subject of electrical earthing on railways then became our next topic and about lightning strikes on trains. I recalled the newspaper article about a 306 (1500 vdc) emu being struck by lightning whilst standing Ilford station in Essex. The pantograph car being lifted off the track onto the ballast. I have included a photo in the gallery of a inaugural 306 emu leaving Liverpool Street in 1948.

There was an article and photo in the local paper but alas I cannot find it! Following on from this we discussed the bridge over the river Kwai as one of our group had just come back from Burma (now known as Myanmar) and Thailand with photos of the existing bridge (used mainly as a footpath) and surrounding area and railways etc. The 1957 film was filmed in Sri Lanka Bridge_On_River_Kwai to see the locations etc.

Somebody talked about the film: The Titfield Thunderbolt where it was recorded and if your a railway buff how it is always worth watching again. Amongst our ongoing chat was a discussion about the Istanbul Railway subsidies, railway points and model railways mainly Hornby. The subject of planes crashes also the Moorgate tube crash 28th February 1975 Daily Mail Article-1240625/

After the welcome tea break our DVD featured various main line steam trips along with preserved railway action. This DVD is part of a set but we could not see it all due to the time constraints on our venue. There’s always next month!

Peter (S).

9th March 2015

Hi all,

Today, 8 of us turned up to enjoy our meeting.

Topics covered this month during our round robin chat, were varied.
An interesting fact that came to light was that over the last 3 years there have been no deaths on UK railways due to a railway accident.  Also British Rail only existed for 20 years. Before that it was British Railways.
The damping system on B.R. HST bogies was also disscussed.

We then talked about Scarm www.scarm.info (Simple Computer Aided Railway Modeller) and it is a free download for you to try.  If you are interested in designing and building a model railway layout, then this may be an aid to check up on your ideas before buying  and paying out those ,€ / £ ‘s

Nuclear power came up in our deliberations ie Fission / Fusion how one day steam locomotives may return with a small Fusion reactor for heating the water.
The chat then moved on to the Dénia line and also the Edinburgh line that has been partly reopened.  
One of our members had a recent interesting experience on the Gandia / Valencia line when train broke down and he had to de-train, with all the other passengers, to another train, across a board between the carriages!!
Health and Safety??????????

We do cover a large range of topics in our chats, this never fails to amaze me!

Then as usual it was time for our refreshments, although the chat continued between individuals. No problem but time had to be called so that we could watch the DVD, a recent professional compilation of steam mainline rail trips and preserved action.

Peter S.

9th February 2015

Hi all,

Today, 6 of us turned up for what was a  leisurely meeting.

During our round robin chat we talked about model railway points and the plus and minuses of the various types also touching on DCC operation.
This led to a chat about Hornby and other model railways.

After our buffet stop we continued with the customary DVD.
As always  we enjoyed our meeting and look forward to the next one.

Sorry this is a shortened report but due to my wife’s enforced bed rest after 
being in hospital with severe pneumonia, my mind was elsewhere.

Peter S.

19th January 2015

Hi all,

I apologize for this delayed January report but thought it prudent to delay our normal report to include the 28th January open meeting report.

Our meeting in January was a week later than normal on the 19th. Due to circumstances beyond my control but this did not dampen our spirits or determination and 10 of us arrived (excellent) like drowned rats in the heavy rain that Jávea had been waiting for!

The meeting progressed along our normal lines (no pun intended) with the round robin monthly input from those of us present. This was followed by a discussion on our plans for the open meeting which we finalized.

Ever mindful of the time our refreshment break was conducted with military precision by John, who in the absence of Deanna stepped in and did the honours. Thanks John.

The DVD player did not like some of our discs even though they were not scratched and were of a professional origin. Never mind the 3rd disc was ok but had to be cut short because of time but will be available next meeting if required.

As always an enjoyable time was had by all.

Wednesday 28th January Open Meeting

It was an early start to get our  rail group table set up. This involved Glyn setting up a small demonstration circle of  “oo” track sidings wagons and locomotives, first panic no locomotives! While Glyn went home to get some locomotives to run I set up the laptop and large screen to show a DVD containing YouTube videos about “oo” gauge layouts. Second panic after my late night stint compiling it etc. it would not play*. I had to upload into the laptop and play it from there, it played OK then. (*due to no menu).

On another table Vic had set up his laptop and was busy streaming videos from the in house wi fi and was showing New Zealand Steam.

Thanks to John for bringing his picture and easel for display. Thanks also to Neale for bringing a loco and coaches to represent the Lemon Express. For part of the meeting this was run on the demonstration line. 

The Railway interests stand was a tremendous effort by all concerned which was rewarded by the group gaining two new members plus a lot of interest being shown by the U3A members who were browsing the stands.
We all could be found chatting to new and old friends alike. Deanna was to be found chatting to the interested Lady members.

Stephen Burke (Jávea U3A President) caught up with myself whilst he was going around the stands. Stephen was very complimentary about our stand and group also the interest being shown in what was going on.

It makes it worthwhile for us all to be recognized

There are some photos in our gallery but my Samsung mobile does not like low light conditions even with its flash so I’am sorry about the quality. If anyone has photos of our stand I would gratefully receive them and upload them, with your permission, for inclusion into our gallery.

Thanks to all of you who were able to attend the meeting and anybody that I may have inadvertently overlooked.

Just a quick reminder that our February meeting is in it’s normal slot, the second Monday (next Monday) 9th February 15:00 at the J.P. Studio.  Also that under the rules I will need to see your latest membership card.

Peter S.

8th December 2014

Hi all,

Firstly it is with sadness I have to report the death of Philip Holmes a member of our group. Due to increasing severity of his illness he was never able to attend. I have already expressed our commiserations to his wife, on the group’s behalf. 
R.I.P. Philip. 

Our attendance to this meeting was still lower than normal but with Christmas drawing near and some members already in the UK, along with the various functions that seem to come all on the same day(s), I can understand why.      

This month we went back to our normal round robin chat with with an update on the foreign railway system that has opted to run as a national service(s). Various other topics were forthcoming to which we all could and did comment on.

Also there was an update on our abortive trip to Altea and the 100years exhibition of the Alicante-Altea line. For those of you who could not come on the Tuesday trip, on arrival in Altea we found that the exhibition and engine shed was only open on Sundays throughout November, not open all November as the various papers reported. It only goes to show that you must not take what is written in the press as gospel! I for one will double check next time. Sorry folks…….

Having said that, I did return on the following Sunday and took the tour of the exhibitions in the Marina Hoteland the engine shed (which housed a superb HO railway layout of Altea station and sheds etc / see gallery). In the near future I will compile a DVD of the hundred or so HD photos and film clips I took during my Sunday visit. This we could watch during one of our forthcoming meetings.

Next month we have our (now revised for January only) normal meeting on the 19th January and the open meeting on the 28th January at the Parador Hotel.

Plans are in hand for a working basic layout, a large screen for videos and a display board for photos etc.etc. So we will need some photos of your layouts  for the board, could you please bring these on the 19th January.

Our meeting continued with seasonal fare with Mince Pies, Chocolate Sponge cake slices, supported by the usual biscuits, tea, coffee etc. Thanks Deanna.

We were then treated to a home grown DVD of various preserved railways presented by David in his own style.  This was very enjoyable.

Because of time constraints the DVD had to be cut short but still there is always another day.

Peter (S).