Railway on the Air - 2012.

Using the same aerial, mast and feeder as the 'Churches on the Air', we erected them againphoto for the third time in a fortnight, this time alongside West Shed at Swanwick.  Once again, the Princess Royal Class Locomotive Trust had agreed to host our putting on the GX3ERD/P club callsign for this weekend, and what a good weekend it was too!

Forty metres seemed to be the ‘band of the moment’ and we bagged 75 other radio stations in total.  Yes, other “ROTA” stations may well have got more into their logs, but one of those we worked was someone who was pleased to hear that the ‘Duchess of Sutherland’ locomotive was back in the West Shed, her ‘home’, as he was keen to tell us he was actually a fire-man who had worked on the footplate of this Royal locomotive.  A definite case of where radio can bring a situation to life – and that gives someone a little lift in life too.  Good contact there; in fact all the contacts were good, nearly every station coming in at 59 on the meter with just the occasional 57 and similar reports coming in regarding our signal too.  As one station put it, “one of the strongest on the band” – and that was with the Society’s FT-897 as the FT-990 wasn’t available.  We must be doing something right! 

Again the “A” team were out – Clive 2E1HVZ, David G7GJI/G8QZ, and Chris G4AKE as well as Yours Truly so thanks are due to them for their assistance.  Thanks guys!

Since the event I’ve been in touch with the Trust who were pleased to hear the story of the fire-man and have also given permission for us to use a picture of theirs as a QSL card, so that must mean they want us back again in 2013.  Good news indeed!   (Photo - Clive 2E1HVZ and Chris G4AKE)

Railways on the Air - 2011

Railways on the air (ROTA) weekend takes place every year on the weekend closest to the 27th September. This date celebrates the anniversary of the first steam powered passenger railway which took place on 27th September 1825 - the first passenger train ran on a line in the North East of England from Darlington to Stockton. Bishop Auckland Amateur Radio Club coordinates this event which, it insists, isn’t a contest, but a way for people interested in railways who are also short-wave listeners or radio amateurs to find out a bit more about the various preserved railways across the UK.


West Shed - Midland Railway Centre (Click to expand)

How many people visit some of the railways after hearing or working these radio stations is an impossible figure to fathom, but at least there is more probability that people will visit if they know it exists!

DWC supports this event mainly because it is fun and we like trains! Besides, if a Derby-based Club can’t put on a radio station when the history of the town and city are steeped in railway history, then there’s no hope!

The Club put on a station in 2011 with our friends at the West Shed, the home of the Princess Royal Class Locomotive Trust (PRCLT) located within the Midland Railway Centre at Swanwick. We used the club call-sign GX3ERD/P again this year and contacts we made with 27 other radio stations on either 80m or 40m. The bands were in a good shape and it was very busy so whilst trying to work stations we also had visitors to the PRCLT to talk to when they asked what we were doing. All part of the public face of amateur radio– talking to the public, after all they may become radio amateurs or short-wave listeners themselves one day!

A good weekend, nice weather, and a good number of visitors. The only regret is that we were actually inside the West Shed museum so we couldn’t operate outside of their opening hours, but who knows – maybe next year we could be working out of one of the Royal carriages instead!

We couldn’t close by recording our thanks once again to the PRCLT trustees for giving us permission to operate from West Shed, and finally to the people of the Bishop Auckland Amateur Radio Club for organising what is becoming a “must-do”event in the radio amateur calendar.

So, will we be speaking with you over the air next year? Hopefully! Listen out for GX3ERD/P and give us a call!


Duchess of Sutherland

ROTAWest Shed Operating Position

Midland Railway Centre

The Midland Railway, Butterley is the home for all the things related to the Midland Railway. There is a standard Gauge line which has steam and diesel hauled passenger trains. The main site at Swanwick has a museum devoted to the Midland Railway as well as a large collection of steam and diesel locomotives. It is a day out for the whole family with model and miniature railways and a country park as well as a host of other attractions.

The Midland Railway Centre is on the B6179, one mile North of Ripley, sign posted from Ripley town centre and from the A38, M1 Junction 28.
Put DE5 3QZ into your SatNav.

West Shed
The West Shed is home to the Princess Royal Class Locomotive Trust - a voluntary charitable organisation formed in 1993 to look after and promote the historic locomotives in its care. In addition to the active locomotive workshop, the West Shed includes museum display areas for a static collection of locomotives and historic railway carriages with interpretive display boards, audio commentary domes and a mini-cinema where you can select a short film to watch. The 'Patrons Club' supports the Trust financially and practically, whilst the Trust operate mainline steam charter trains with the 'Duchess of Sutherland', aided by a dedicated force of volunteers.