St.Albans and District Model Engineering Society

Redbourn Museum Steam Day

Redbourn Museum Steam Day.

The day dawned as one of the nice days that confound the weather forecast, I joined our members who were already well set up in the grounds of the museum where we seemed to have our own enclave of warm weather. OK I was late and I had got lost! This was aided by my satnav I should really ignore that lady, I can usually get into enough trouble on my own. I had brought along my electric version of a toy workshop and room had been left for me to set it up.

The other activities were well in advance with several traction engines at 12 inches to the foot and descending down the scales to a quarter of this size. They were an entertainment on their own with cheerful drivers all with cloths wiping the brilliant brass fittings and the inevitable hint of water droplets forming. Here silence was golden even with my hearing aids turned up the mechanisms turned silently and powerfully in their conversion of heat into rotary motion.

All mesmerising to watch.
I returned to chat with some of our club members, some unseen for a year or two due to Covid and found all was well. I was there to help keep the steam toy workshop running. We have now changed over to using the correct steam and lubricating oil (thanks Neil) and all runs nicely and uses only half the water it did before. So wiping up condensate is very much reduced.

Entertaining little boys and some little girls with the mysteries of steam power whilst glancing up to see if these same mysteries were in the eyes of watchful parents is the norm now. We used every opportunity to spread the word about our forthcoming exhibition with the distribution of colourful flyers. I must admit that explaining precisely how the tin can hot air engine works, is a bit outside my comfort zone! Although a bit of bluff and going down the smoke and mirrors route helps. We do most things in the society and we all pick up some knowledge of other members interests, which works out nicely.

Rob had brought along his superb launches and many visitors were intrigued by the depth of detail there was to be seen in them. Malcolm had his steam launch powered by his own design of steam engine.

But the photos show all we had brought along.

The locomotive driving team were giving rides to the public and were to one side of us and were rewarded by the continuous stream of visitors waiting their turn, While I was there Alice had one of her 'moments' and was being attended to by puzzled society members.
They may have been puzzled but this was the happy time for them with tools out and opinions to the fore, were deciding if Alice was fit to continue. However the engine was put to oneside and we went electric, in the past electric locos were always thought of as 'the poor relation' but now are very much in the public mind.
The museum team supplied a constant stream of tea and coffee through out the day and with the pub next door most requirements were met. We had many good conversations and one of our newest members came along to see what we were about. Inevitably all good things come to an end and for us this was about 4 o/clock, which allowed for the hot things to cool down and enough light left in the day for the full size steam vehicles to depart.

A nice day out, good company and something to see, what else could one want?

Watch a short video of the event.

Roy Verden. May 2022