Posts Tagged ‘BTWT’

Congratulations to 555-3008 team…

Monday, 31 October 2011

for a job well done!

Looking more like a scale model than a full-sized locomotive, immaculately restored 555-3008 on 30.10.2011. From a photo on

(Click on the image to see the photo report on about 555-3008’s test run.)

BTWT likes railway heritage success stories ‘over the border’, because we believe that gradually there will be a ‘drip feed’ effect on railway preservation practice in Poland. So we were delighted to read on the Slowak railway portal – http://www.railtrains – about the successful test run of furnace fuel oil burner 555-3008. Reconstruction of the ‘kriegslok’ began in autumn 1999 by the Club of Friends of Railway History – Bratislava East. The work was officially completed on 30 October 2011 when the locomotive passed its technical and safety tests, which took place on the Bratislava Vajnory – Galanta section of line 130.

The engine is now certified to run on the ZSR mainlines and is no longer confined to the tracks of Bratislava MPD. During its run, 555-3008 achieved a speed of 80 km/h on the Seneca – Sládkovičovo section.  of TBS-ka. A fire extinguisher train was in attendance, but as the engine uses heavy residue oil as fuel, it is unlikely likely that this precaution will be needed in the future. Some wonderful photos from the test run by Bocco, XxXcompany, Eminem, Volod appear on the portal.

We congratulate all the members of the Club of Friends of Railway History – Bratislava East involved in the restoration and hope that 555-3008 will be hauling trains for many years to come.

Happy Birthday BTWT!

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Recipe updated, 22 December 2009!

Behind The Water Tower

Coffee cream version of the Babcia walnut cake.
Photo by Peter via Wikipedia Commons

(Click on picture to see original and details of licensing.)

On March 3 2008, one year ago, Behind The Water Tower was born. Today, at about 16.00 hrs. CET we also passed the milestone of 77,777 cumulative daily hits. We would like to offer our best wishes to all whose birthday falls on this day.

It is true that we had a brief gestation period on another blog engine, but when that crashed we restarted from scratch on Our sojourn here has been a very happy experience.

We have posted 356 articles, we have enjoyed reading your 361 comments. As well as writing about railway matters, we occasionally drift off topic. So today, as a mark of appreciation to all our faithful readers, here is a cake recipe the like of which you have never tasted before.

Babcia’s Walnut Cake

Ingredients (cake)

400 grams peeled walnuts
2/3 tea mug (250 ml) sugar
8 fresh eggs
teaspoon of baking power

Chop 16 walnut halves into two. Retain these to decorate the cake. Grind the remaining walnuts so that a smooth walnut flour results. (Grinding small batches in a coffee grinder works best. If using a hand grinder it may be necessary to remove any larger particles larger than 2 mm with a sieve.) Carefully separate the yolks from the whites and then put the yolks into a mixing bowl, and using a mixer, thoroughly mix in the sugar until the sugar and yolk has formed a smooth paste. (Note, if you have been mixing for less than 5 minutes, and the paste is still yellow rather than pale cream – keep mixing!) Add the baking powder. Mix the walnut flour into the egg paste. (The mixture at this stage becomes quite stiff.) Beat the egg whites till very stiff. Very carefully and slowly mix in the egg whites into the yolk-walnut mixture, by hand, until a homogeneous mixture results. Pour the resultant mix into a cake pan lined and put into a pre-heated oven. Preheat an oven to 150° C, bake the cake for ten minutes at 120° C and then for about twenty to thirty minutes at 100°. After some twenty minutes, a wonderful cake aroma will fill the kitchen. Check progress by inserting a wooden stick or knitting needle to check if the inside of the cake is ready. (If no cake adheres to the stick it is ready!) When the cake is baked, cover with a clean dishcloth and leave in oven to cool slowly.

Ingredients (icing)

400 grams peeled almonds
1½  x 8oz packets unsalted Danish butter (375 grams)
½ tea mug (200 ml) icing sugar

Grind the almonds to a smooth flour. Cut the butter into small squares and thoroughly mix in the icing sugar. Finally mix in almond flour and mix till a smooth paste is obtained.

Cut the cake into 2 or three layers. Apply the icing in between the layers and over the top and sides. Decorate the top with the walnut quarters. Put in a cool place or fridge for about 4 hours to allow the icing to set.


We love this cake, but no warranty actual or implied is given. If you bake this cake and eat it, please don’t blame us if you become violently ill or addicted.  It should not be eaten by people allergic to walnuts or almond nuts.


This cake is great for birthdays and Christmas. If you are a weight watcher, bake this cake just before Lent so that you can then put in a period of serious fasting to eat up the calories!

There’s nothing better than bad news…

Tuesday, 10 June 2008


Crash investigators at Grayrigg
(photo Owen Humphries on daylife ex AP)

First a bit of good news, our chief engineer’s worries about the tram track section of the WHR through Porthmadog apppear to have been misplaced. A medical gentlemen left the following comment on our Twisty Tale post.

Have no fear about our tram track. The gauge is widened by 10mm in the middle of the 50m radius curve at Britannia Bridge, and a suitable rail with an appropriate flange groove between the running rail and the check rail has been found in Austria.

There is a notice at the approach to the crossing saying CYCLISTS MUST DISMOUNT.

The class NGG16 2-6-2+2-6-2 Garratt locomotives traverse 58m radius curves elsewhere on the railway without difficulty, and of course the radii are even sharper at points (turnouts), check rails and all.

Relax, sleep well; come and see us this time next year. Croeso i Gymru; welcome to Wales.

We have been to Poland and admired some of your narrow gauge lines – we were very taken with the marvellous museum at Sochaczew (pardon me if I spell it wrong). the branch line at Smigiel needs someone to go along it with a fishplate spanner to tighten the joints.


Dyspozytor has been going on long walks, relaxing and is already sleeping better. Our chief engineer is still muttering ‘NG 15s are 2-8-2s, 50 doesn’t equal 58, flangeway clearances, back to back flange distance’ and other such nonsense, but we have locked him up in a cupboard and will leave him there until he promises to behave himself.

Now the bad news, there will be no repeal of the decision to suspend the Wolsztyn – Poznan steam workings this summer. Howard Jones has been to Poznan this morning and met with Wielkopolska province’s Deputy Director of Transport. He was assured that the importance of the Wolsztyn operation was recognized by the Chief Executive and that steam trains will return to the Poznan route in October. Meanwhile Howard will be hiring additional special trains on the Wolsztyn-Poznan route to fulfill his existing agreements with customers. (He already has built up alternative footplating capacity in Wroclaw with recently restored TKt48-18 and Bill Parker’s GWR 45xx 5521, as well as on the narrow gauge Smigiel Railway with the Px48.) Howard says, “We have built up a special fund for capital projects such as restoring our own Ol steam locomotive. Now we will have to dip into this fund and buy extra trains so that we can still meet our customers’ expectations.”

It seems that the reason for the suspension of the steam services is based on more than just economics. If saving money was the object, the timetabling and rostering of the steam trains could have been arranged more economically. Rather, PKP is tied up in its own affairs – the removal of senior directors and the sale of parts of its business. Wolsztyn is no one’s priority. In spite of promises to the contrary, no new crews have been recruited nor trained, and licences to allow the depot to carry out boiler repairs have not been renewed. The basic problem is that there is no one at a sufficiently high level in the PKP hierarchy who really cares about heritage rail operations.

Still, as the proprietors of the popular press know all to well, publishing bad news boosts circulation. BTWT watches the number of daily hits it gets assiduously and we were surprised to see how much interest bad news generates.

Behind the Water Tower’s weekly-cumulative daily hit rate

Our biggest daily hit rate (which we have yet to beat) occurred on 2 April when we broke through the 100 hits a day and 200 hits a day barriers for the first time. At the end of the day we had registered 253 hits. What had generated so much interest – our articles on the closure of the Krosniewice Railway and the stepping up of our letter writing campaign to save the line. The Krosniewice closure gave us a daily-cumulative per week hit rate of 774 views (week 14 on the graph) as opposed to 236 hits the previous week. Readership then fell back to its previous steady growth and then began to level off at around 750 weekly hits – just over 100 hits each day. Over the last two days interest in our story about the curtailment of steam operations at Wolsztyn, and narrow gauge fans returning for the latest news about the Krosniewice Railway closure, boasted our daily hits to 220 on Sunday. This gave us our biggest ever daily-cumulative per week hit rate of 898 views last week (week 23).

Why this obsession with the numbers game? We know that for every 100 long-term readers, about 10 are sufficiently committed to respond to our calls for help. That means that the Ministry of Infrastructure received 10 more letters on its desk than it would of done if there had been no BTWT and no letter writing campaign. Can 10 letters make a difference? Quite frankly we don’t know, although we hope that taken together with the Fedecrail delegation’s visit to Poland and the threat of legal action, they will. But just consider if we had 1,000 regular readers each day. That would mean that the Minisister would have received 100 letters – a figure much more difficult to ignore.

So how can you help? First of all, you can sign up to our twice monthly mailing which contains links to our most popular articles. Secondly, ask yourself – are any of your friends interested in Poland or railways or both – whose names we could add to our mailing list? Secondly – and we apologise for nagging – please, if you have not already done so, do send that letter to the Mayor of Krosniewice and copy us on your letter and any reply that you may receive.

Our 100th post

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Cumulative daily visits each month in April and May

Today’s article is our 100th post. We have now been publishing Behind The Water Tower for three months in its present form as a campaigning blog. (An earlier test version was started a month earlier on another site.) In May we had 3,183 hits which averages out at 100 visits daily.

Rather than bask in out own glory we would like to dedicate today’s post to all the professional men and women who work on our railways and to all the volunteers who work to rescue closed railways and then keep them going. People like Moira Cross.

Moira Cross at Swanage Station (c) Andrew Wright

Moira took part in the original campaign, launched in 1968, to stop the Swanage Railway closing and helped petition the authorities. From 1972, she provided secretarial assistance to the Swanage Railway Society – the pioneers of the project to reopen the Swanage Railway. She was a committee member of the Swanage and Wareham Railway Group – the local resident’s campaigning group – without whose efforts the Society’s efforts would have come to nothing.

When the trains started to run she helped run the railway shop and helped set up the team that ran the refreshment stall. For over 30 years, Moira has been helping the Swanage Railway as an unpaid volunteer. On 6 September, 2002 Moira’s dedication was recognised by the Swanage Railway and Virgin Trains when she was asked to name a Virgin Voyager trainset – the first mainline train to travel down the Swanage line for over thirty years. To Moira, and the hundreds of thousands of men and women, who work our railways, whether as transport links, heritage lines, or both, our grateful thanks.