Category Archives: Narrow Gauge

Narrow Gauge – South Tynedale Railway

Narrow Gauge

South Tynedale Railway

STRSouth Tynedale Railway
Train departing Kirkhaugh on the South Tynedale Railway.
© Copyright Peter McDermott and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
The South Tynedale Railway is England’s highest narrow gauge railway winding northwards from its home at Alston in Cumbria for 3½ miles into Northumberland and the current terminus at Lintley Halt, following the route of the former Alston to Haltwhistle branch line which officially closed on 1st May 1976.

The South Tynedale Railway Preservation Society became a registered charity in 1983, but has its roots in a group formed 1973 with the intention of purchasing and preserving the entire standard gauge railway. When funds could not be raised in time a decision was made to build a narrow gauge line along the old track bed using redundant mining equipment, with the aim of once again linking Alston with Haltwhistle by rail.South Tynedale“Helen Kathryn” seen outside the shed at Alston, is a 70 horse power, 0-4-0 tank, Riesa class locomotive, built in 1948 by Henschel & Sohn, of Kassel, Germany, works No. 28035.

With the announcement of a £4.2 million Heritage Lottery Fund grant as part of a £5.5 million development project 2014 marks the start of the next chapter in the history of the South Tynedale Railway and this historic line. This funding will allow us to complete the extension and take the railway back to Slaggyford, major repairs and renovations to the station buildings at Alston and much more besides.
Come and join us and take a leisurely ride through the glorious scenery of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty!

S Tynedale linehttps://www.south-tynedale-railway.org.uk/

Foreign Lines – New Zealand Narrow Gauge – Driving Creek Railway And Potteries

Driving Creek Railway

And Potteries

380 Driving Creek Road, Coromandel

PO Box 87, Coromandel, 3543

Ph/Fax: 07 8668-703

 New Zealand’s only narrow-gauge mountain railway along with a working pottery and wild life sanctuary.ThreeTrains_600

Three trains at the No. 5 Reversing Point

The 1 hour return trip on our innovatively designed trains takes you through replanted native kauri forest and includes 2 spirals, 3 short tunnels, 5 reversing points and several large viaducts as it climbs up to the mountain-top terminus.

Called the Eyefull Tower, this handsome new building (shown below) offers great panoramic views out over the island-studded Hauraki Gulf with the forested valley and mountains behind.

The railway and pottery complex blends into the natural bush setting.

The train ride is one of the most popular in New Zealand. To avoid disappointment, please book at least a day in advance to reserve your seats.

You can either request a booking online or use phone or fax when booking ahead.

Eyefull-Tower_360The ‘Eyefull Tower’ at the end of your train ride

Building Driving Creek RailwayTrackLayingAtChipmans_220

Laying track at Chipmans Reversing Point

Track laying began in 1975 by Barry Brickell shortly after he established the pottery workshop on a corner of the 22Ha block of land he purchased in 1973. As a railway enthusiast he saw the practical and environmental advantages of having a narrow-gauge railway system through his rugged scrub-covered land to give all weather access to clay and pine wood kiln fuel. Yellow plastic clay derived from the weathering of the old volcanic rocks. The scattered pine trees are self-sown from original pines planted by the early Californian gold diggers of last century. New Zealand‘s first official gold discovery was made in this district in 1852. Most of the raw materials for the making of terracotta pottery garden wares, tiles and sculpture thus comes from the hills above.

Brickell worked for 15 years and poured a considerable amount of money into railway construction before it was licensed to carry fare-paying public in 1990. This huge gamble has now paid off, while returns from the pottery have been steadily diminishing. A recent move into the tile and brickmaking industry is an exciting new development.Elephant_300Work train with “Elephant” locomotion

Today, the railway carries more passengers than raw materials because it has become a major and unique tourist attraction. Unlike most other tourist railways, the DCR is newly built rather than being an old, line that has been restored. It is New Zealand‘s only narrow-gauge mountain railway. All earlier railways built to convey minerals and timber have been abandoned, some now made into heritage trails.

 Early surveying of the tortuous route was done using a home-made instrument and miles of survey tracks had to be cut through the steep scrubby land. A maximum workable adhesion gradient of 1 in 15 was decided upon but the average gradient of the line is about 1 in 26. Despite the narrow gauge of 15 inches (381mm) which allowed for sharper curves, there are plenty of heavy earthworks along the line which necessitated the use of a bulldozer contractor and the digging of some very deep cuttings.

The trains are wide enough to accomodate two adults per seat.DoubleViaduct_360The Double-deck Viaduct

 There are several major civil engineering features on the railway. Some of the big viaducts were built under difficult conditions, reminding us of the early colonial engineering feats. The three short tunnels were made by the cut and cover process. Ceramic art works complimenting the engineering can be seen from the train.

The specially designed passenger trains were built at the DCR’s own engineering workshop located beside the potteries. The “Possum” is a 14-seater twin-bogie diesel railcar built in 1994. The “Snake”, a double-articulated 3-bodied train-set, a truly ambitious project was built in 1992. Like a snake it can twist and turn around the sharp curves abounding up the line.

 A new train called the Linx is of more sophisticated design, completed in 2004, is similar in seating to the Snake. These units have special features possibly unique in New Zealand railway engineering such as the use of hydraulic transmission and special designs for safe operation on the sharp curves and steep grades. The trains are also fitted with modern air-type braking, air operated track sanding and centre-mounted diesel engines. The “Snake” and “Linx” can accommodate up to 36 people each, which is a modern tour bus load.

There are two older diesel locomotives and various wagons used for conveying clay, wood, native plants for the extensive forest replanting project up the line, and others for construction purposes.Dieselmouse_300Dieselmouse – the very first passenger train

There are five major viaducts and five reversing points up the main line as well as two horseshoe spirals, on the route to the present summit. The double deck viaduct is unique. In a return trip on the railway, trains pass over it four times in different directions on both levels. The two levels are connected by a spiral all in very rugged, forested terrain. The main span is 14 m long and total length of the upper level is 46 m. Its construction took two years.

The Terminal building, the “EyefullTower” at 165 m above sea level offers wide panoramic views over the island-studded Hauraki Gulf and valleys covered in native forest.

Train Timetable 2014

  • 10:15am & 2pm daily throughout the year
  • over the summer period, additional trains run at 11:30am, 12:45pm, 3:15pm and 4:30pm.
  • extra trains may be available at 11:30am, 12:45pm, and 3:15pm throughout the rest of the year for groups of more than 5 adults.

Train Fares 2014

  • Adults: $28
  • Children: $12 (up to 15 years)
  • Family: $68 (2 adults and 2 children)
  • Special Excursion Rates: $27 for seniors and $25 students (with ID)

Children under 4 years old can go free if they do not require a seat

WHEELCHAIR ACCESS AVAILABLE: PLEASE ADVISE WHEN BOOKING.

As well as touring the pottery complex you may also spend some time in the craft shop viewing the finished works. You can also find well-researched material on local history and ecology in our bookshop, as well as a variety of souvenirs.

Getting Here

2 3/4 hour drive from Auckland

Take the southern motorway to the bottom of the Bombay Hills, 30 minutes. Take highway 2 to Thames, 1 hour. From Thames take highway 25 to Coromandel. Driving Creek Railway is on Driving Creek Road 3km past the township.

http://www.drivingcreekrailway.co.nz

258 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces From Chasewater News – Autumn & Winter 2002 Part 4 Narrow Gauge – Early Days

258 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

From Chasewater News – Autumn & Winter 2002

 Part 4 Narrow Gauge – Early DaysCW NG 1CW NG 2CW NG 3Narrow Gauge

More up-to-date!

Narrow Gauge/Miniature Railways The Kirklees Light Railway Huddersfield HD8 9XJ

Narrow Gauge/Miniature Railways

The Kirklees Light Railway

Huddersfield

HD8 9XJ

Clayton WestClayton West, Kirklees Light Railway

© Copyright Gordon Kneale Brooke and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

 A Memorable Family Day Out

NEW for 2013 – Ride all day with one fare on all green and blue timetable dates!

Travel along behind Hawk, Owl, Fox, Badger or Jay, our five friendly little engines here at the Kirklees Light Railway the home of Yorkshire’s Great Little Steam Trains.

Climb aboard our little trains for a scenic journey along our 15” narrow-gauge rail through the beautiful South Pennine foothills to our Shelley terminus where you can enjoy the panoramic views of the surrounding area.

Visit the Shelley station Tea Room for selections of seasonal refreshments. Children can play in the outdoor play area and on a summers day enjoy our large picnic area.

Upon returning to Clayton West passengers can take pleasure in the many facilities available to them. The outdoor play area is ideal for children to ‘let off some steam’ whilst the adults browse our extensive shop. The Café serves hot and cold seasonal food and drink whenever the Railway is open.

We hold many special events throughout the year; take a look through our website and see what’s happening soon at the KLR!

www.kirkleeslightrailway.com

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKirklees Light Railway, Clayton West, Yorkshire

This narrow-gauge steam-hauled railway runs for about four miles from Clayton West to Shelley, where, unfortunately, there is no connection to the National Rail tracks adjacent, which could give a link into Huddersfield.  © Copyright Dr Neil Clifton and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

 The Kirklees Light Railway is a 3.5-mile (5.6 km) long 15 in (381 mm) gauge minimum gauge railway in Kirklees metropolitan borough, West Yorkshire first opened in October 1991. It runs along the trackbed of the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway’s branch line from the village of Clayton West to Clayton West Junction near Shepley on the Penistone Line from Huddersfield to Penistone.

History

The Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway opened their branch line from Clayton West Junction to Clayton West on 1 September 1879. The branch was built with bridges, tunnels and earthworks suitable for a double line, but only one line was laid. The line survived the Beeching cuts (in large part thanks to the mineral traffic generated by the collieries at the terminus and Skelmanthorpe) but was not adopted by the West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive unlike nearly all other passenger lines in West Yorkshire and so closed on 24 January 1983.

Construction of the narrow gauge railway started in midsummer 1990, following a joint application for a Light Railway Order between Kirklees Council and the Kirklees Light Railway Company on 22 February 1989. Construction was aided significantly by the amount of redundant materials available from a number of collieries in the area which were slowly beginning to end their mining operations. The Light Railway Order was finally granted on 27 September 1991. The line was originally 1 mile (1.6 km) in length running from Clayton West station to a specially constructed halt called Cuckoos Nest. This name is historic to 15 inch gauge railways as a station on the Eaton Hall Railway, near Chester, built by Sir Arthur Heywood bore the name. Trains to Cuckoo’s Nest commenced running on Saturday 19 October 1991. It was extended to Skelmanthorpe in 1992 and again to a station at Shelley in 1997 with a grant from ERDF for the regeneration of coal mining areas.

The journey gives fine views of the Grade II listed Emley Moor Radio Mast, passes through the ancient woodland of Blacker Wood which is mentioned in the Domesday Book and includes a trip through the 511 yards (467 m) Shelley Woodhouse Tunnel, the longest tunnel on any 15 in (381 mm) gauge line in Britain.

SkelmanthorpeSkelmanthorpe Station – Seen from a train on the Kirklees Light Railway.

© Copyright Christine Johnstone and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

 

Miniature Railways – Lappa Valley Steam Railway

Miniature Railways

Lappa Valley Steam Railway

lappa-plan

Lappa Valley Steam Railway – Track & Stations

Our steam railway is built to 15 inch gauge (350mm gauge) which is approximately one-quarter of the size of standard gauge railways. This gauge was selected in 1973 by the founder of the railway, Eric Booth, as being the most efficient gauge for a line of our length.

The track runs on a section of the trackbed originally built in 1849 for a minerals railway to serve the mine at East Wheal Rose.

We have one mile of track running through the Lappa Valley between our stations at Benny Halt and East Wheal Rose. Car parking and our ticket office can be found at Benny Halt while the rest of our activities are located at East Wheal Rose at the end of your journey by steam train. We run regular scheduled services in season and some special events. Click here for our timetable.

Lappa Valley Steam Railway – Rolling Stock

muffin5

We have ten 15 inch gauge carriages which were built for us in ‘toast-rack’ style by Jays Gates of St Newlyn East (now Mid-Cornwall Metal Fabrications of Newquay). Over the years we have made alterations to the carriages to suit different weather conditions – some are more open than others for sunny days and one, the ‘First Class’ coach, has been panelled in wood with upholstered seats – if available, you may travel in it at no extra cost!

 Lappa Valley Steam Railway – Locomotives

zebedee6Zebedee – 15 inch gauge railway

0-6-4 Pannier tank locomotive, coal fired. Designed by David Curwen, built 1974 by Severn Lamb of Stratford-upon-Avon.

muffin6-2Muffin – 15 inch gauge railway

0-6-0 Tender locomotive, coal fired. Designed by David Curwen, built 1967 by Berwyn Engineering of Chippenham.

EricEric – 10¼ inch gauge railway

0-6-0 diesel hydraulic Perkins 22 bhp. Designed and built by Alan Keef Ltd of Ross-on-Wye.

woodlandrailway-montage1 APTAPT – 7¼ inch gauge railway

4w + 4w, petrol, single cylinder 8 hp. Built by Mardyke Miniature Railways of Rainham.

http://www.lappavalley.co.uk/

 History

 Minerals Railway – Lappa Valley

The Lappa Valley Railway runs on one of the oldest railway track beds in Cornwall. In 1843 J. T. Treffry, a pioneer of Cornish railways, suggested building a tramway between Par and the growing port of Newquay, with a branch to East Wheal Rose mine which was then entering its most prosperous period.

It took Treffry six years to overcome local opposition to his scheme and modifications to the route were needed. The tramway was eventually built from Newquay to St. Dennis, with a branch to East Wheal Rose. The first cargo of ore from East Wheal Rose, weighing thirty tons, was carried in horse-drawn tubs to Newquay harbour on 26th February 1849.

In 1874, following an Act of Parliament, Treffry’s network of tramways, including the East Wheal Rose branch, was taken over by the Cornwall Minerals Railway and horses were replaced by steam locomotives.

eastwhealrosestation7

Narrow Gauge Lines – Evesham Vale Light Railway

Narrow Gauge Lines

Evesham Vale Light Railway

St EgwinSt. Egwin Evesham Vale Light Railway

© Copyright William J Bagshaw and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

   The Evesham Vale Light Railway operates in Evesham Country Park in Worcestershire, England, where it opened in August 2002. Constructed at 15 in (381 mm) gauge, the line runs for over a mile through the park, including a lengthy section through the fruit orchards. Passengers are conveyed throughout the year, although operations tend to be limited to weekends during school term time, becoming a daily service during school holidays.

DougalDougal, built 1970 by Severn Lamb of Stratford on Avon is about to be put to bed for the night. This site has four workable 15″ gauge steam locomotives.  © Copyright Chris Allen and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

 Route

Trains run from Twyford Station, opposite the country park’s main Car Park. The run takes around 10–15 minutes, through the Apple Orchard and around the Balloon Loop to Evesham Vale Station. Here, there is a few minutes break. Passengers can either break their journey here and enjoy a picnic or country walk (returning on a later train), or simply get out for a look at the locomotive. The EVLR staff are always on hand to answer questions. The train then carries on, out of the Balloon Loop, upgrade towards Twyford Station. The locomotive is then turned and run round ready for the next departure.

Front LeafletMap

Narrow Gauge – Bickington Steam Railway

Bickington Steam Railway

Trago MillsNewton Abbot, Miniature Railway at Trago Mills

The railway gives a real value for money ride as it tours the whole complex.  © Copyright Neil Kennedy and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

 Technical – Track length 11⁄2 mi (2.4 km)

Track gauge – 10 1⁄4 in (260 mm)

Located at Trago Mills Regional Shopping Centre, Newton Abbot, the 10 1⁄4 in (260 mm) minimum gauge Bickington Steam Railway was opened in 1988, using equipment recovered from the Suffolk Wildlife Park, which itself was taken from Rudyard Lake. It was built by Brian Nicholson, the headmaster of Waterhouses School in Staffordshire. Waterhouses was the junction for the Leek and Manifold Valley Light Railway. After being thwarted in an attempt to rebuild a portion of the Leek and Manifold Valley railway, Nicholson moved his railway, via Rudyard Lake and Suffolk, to Trago Mills.

Riverside Station, Trago MillsRiverside Station, Trago Mills

A narrow gauge railway with steam hauled trains is one of the attractions within the popular Trago Mills shopping complex.  © Copyright Richard Dorrell and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

 Originally the railway was a 1 mile (1.6 km) double loop around two lakes with one station, ‘Trago Central’, but in 2006 the railway grew over 1⁄2 miles (805 m), with an extension taking it to Trago’s front car park. A three-track terminus and turntable was built and named the ‘Riverside Station’. A third station was added in 2008, located at the far end of the Trago site on one of the original sections of line; this was named ‘Goose Glen Halt’. This was constructed in the hope that shoppers would use the ride to return to their vehicles, a near half-mile uphill walk from the main shopping complex.

Santa's Diese;Diesel hauled train – Trago Mills

A two loco service for trips to Santa’s Grotto. The line has both steam and diesel miniature locomotives. The diesel was sharing with the US style steam locomotive No. 24.  © Copyright Chris Allen and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

 Over a section of this line, the railway climbs one of the steepest inclines for any non rack railway in the UK. The railway is a member of Britains Great Little Railways

Min Rly Taking waterMiniature railway, Trago Mills

An excellent live steam experience with a two mile run, three stations, lots of scenery and a hop-on hop-off all day ticket is £2. Very popular on this particular day. The loco is one four steam engines – No.24 Sandy River 2-6-2 tender engine based on the Sandy River and Rangley Lakes railway in New England. Built by Clarkson, Vere & Nicholson and completed in 1991. See – Link  © Copyright Chris Allen and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Narrow Gauge Lines – Bicton Woodland Railway, Devon

Narrow Gauge Lines

Bicton Woodland Railway

main-train

Locale England, Dates of operation 1963–Present

Track gauge, 1 ft 6 in (457 mm), Length 1359 yards

Headquarters Budleigh Salterton

The Bicton Woodland Railway is a narrow gauge railway running in gardens in the grounds of Bicton House near Budleigh Salterton in Devon.

The line was built in 1962 as a tourist attraction for visitors to the house. Most of the rolling stock was acquired from the Royal Arsenal Railway, Woolwich, with two locomotives, Woolwich and Carnegie coming from that source, as well as seven goods wagons which were reduced to their frames and converted to passenger carriages. It opened to passengers in 1963. Originally locomotives and carriages had royal blue livery.

Bicton from Forum RPS Mag Summer 1964Bicton from Forum RPS Mag Summer 1964

Additional rolling stock was acquired from the RAF Fauld railway and the internal railway of the LNWR Wolverton works.

In 1998 the Bicton Gardens were put up for sale and the railway put into hiatus. The new owners sold the line’s existing stock and in 2000 took delivery of a 5.5-tonne diesel-powered replica tank engine. The line’s original equipment was purchased by the Waltham Abbey Royal Gunpowder Mills museum at Waltham Abbey.

Bicton from Forum RPS mag Spec Spring 1965Bicton from Forum RPS mag Spec Spring 1965

A treat for all ages

A scenic ride around the park on Bicton Woodland Railway is a treat for children and grown-ups alike. It’s also something special for railway enthusiasts, because BWR runs on the only 18-inch (457 mm) gauge leisure line left in Britain. The train operates all year, making regular 25-minute trips, for which there is a small extra charge.

The train departs from Bicton Station and winds its way through the Pinetum, home to many of our champion trees, to Hermitage Station at the far end of the park. From there, it takes you back along the banks of the Great Lake to complete its journey of around 1.5 miles (2.4 km).

Custom built for us in 2000, our replica tank engine Sir Walter Raleigh was named after the 16th-century adventurer, who was born near Bicton. The 5.5-tonne loco hauls up to four 24-seater coaches, all of which are roofed to keep you dry on rainy days.

750px-Bicton_Woodland_Railway_285http://bictonparkgardens.blogspot.co.uk

Some Early Lines (Plus locos) Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway

Some Early Lines (Plus locos)

 Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway

Lough Swilly trains familiar in Inishowen

Lough Swilly trains familiar in Inishowen

The Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway Company (The L&LSR, the Swilly) is an Irish public transport and freight company incorporated in June 1853. Despite its name it operates no railway services. It formerly operated 99 miles of railways but closed its last line in July 1953. Its successor company, the Lough Swilly Bus Company, still operates bus services over much of its former railway routes between Derry and northern County Donegal, as well as some services in County Londonderry

toobanjcn Dr.J.W.F.ScrimgeourThe narrow-gauge Londonderry & Lough Swilly had proper signalling (albeit rather basic), as can be seen here in this view of a goods train leaving Tooban Junction. The box is a brick-based example of the Railway Signal Company’s standard architecture.  (Dr. J.W.F.Scrimgeour

History

Initially planned as the Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway Company when an application for incorporation was filed in 1852 after spurning the construction of a canal network to connect the two inlets, the company opened its first line, a 5 feet 3 inches (1,600 mm) gauge link between Derry and Farland Point on 31 December 1863. A branch line between Tooban Junction and Buncrana was added in 1864 and much of the Farland Point line was closed in 1866.

In 1883 the three foot (914 mm) gauge Letterkenny Railway between Cuttymanhill and Letterkenny was opened and the L&LSR connected with it by reopening the Tooban Junction – Cuttymanhill section of its Farland Point line. The L&LSR worked the Letterkenny Railway and in 1885 it converted its track from 5′ 3″ gauge to three foot gauge to enable through running. In 1887 ownership of the Letterkenny Railway passed to the Irish Board of Works, which continued the agreement by which the L&LSR operated the line.

Carndonagh was reached by an extension completed in 1901 and Burtonport by an one completed in 1903. Both lines were constructed as joint ventures with the UK Government, with ownership and liabilities shared between the two parties. During this period the company did not make a profit, and struggled to meet its debts.

Owencarrow ViaductOld piers of Owencarrow Viaduct

This railway viaduct stood on the Burtonport Extension of the Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway, a 3ft gauge line which ran almost 50 miles from Letterkenny, encircling the Donegal Mountains. On 31 January 1925 a severe gale sweeping down through the Barnes Gap caused a serious accident when part of a train was blown off the viaduct, causing the death of four passengers. The line was later repaired, but closed finally in 1941. If this line could ever be reinstated it would be a major tourist attraction for this part of Ireland.  © Copyright Dr Neil Clifton and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

 Loco Classes

1905  4-8-0 and 4-8-4T

No. 12 at Gweedore in 1937No. 12 at Gweedore in 1937

Both of these classes can be considered together, as one was in effect a tank version of the other.

There were two engines of each class: the 4-8-0s came first, in 1905, Nos. 11 and 12 in the Company’s stock, and the 4-8-4Ts followed in 1912, Nos. 5 and 6. All were built by Hudswell Clarke & Co.

They were noteworthy in several respects. They were the first engines in Ireland to have 8-coupled wheels (and apart from two later 4-8-0 shunting engines on the GS & WR remained the only ones). The 4-8-0s were the only Irish narrow gauge tender engines, and the 4-8-4Ts were the largest and most powerful engines to run on any gauge as narrow as 3’ 0” in these islands:in fact from their massive appearance at close quarters they might well have been taken for standard gauge machines. In one other respect both classes were also unique, in that they were the only examples of a 4-8-0 tender engine or a 4-8-4T ever to run in Great Britain and Ireland. They were built primarily for working over the long 74-mile line from Londonderry to Burtonport, although in later years the 4-8-4Ts were not often seen on this section. No.11 was scrapped in 1933, No.12 remained to the end, but was little used after the closing of the Burtonport extension in the early 1940s. Nos. 5 and 6 were also retained until the complete closure of the remainder of the line in 1953, when they were cut up. The Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway Company still exists (1959) under its own name, but its railway ivities have now ceased entirely and it operates only road services.

4-8-0   Driving wheels – 3’ 9”, Bogie wheels – 2’ 2”, Cylinders (2) 15½”x 22”, Pressure – 170 lb., Tractive effort – 17160 lb., Weight – 37 tons

4-8-4T   Driving wheels – 3’ 9”, Bogie wheels – 2’ 0”, Cylinders (2) 16”x 20”, Pressure – 180 lb., Tractive effort – 17400 lb., Weight – 51 tons

Narrow Gauge Lines – West Lancashire Light Railway

 Narrow Gauge Lines

West Lancashire Light Railway

Shed & Locos

The West Lancashire Light Railway is a two foot gauge passenger carrying railway located in the village of Hesketh Bank midway between Preston and the resort of Southport. The line features a number of interesting locomotives and other railway equipment brought together from industrial lines in the immediate locality, from elsewhere in Great Britain and from overseas.

The Railway is a non-profit making organisation and is operated and supported by the West Lancashire Light Railway Trust. Volunteers are always needed to help maintain and develop the Railway as well as operating the trains. If you would like to join the Trust and lend a hand you will be made very welcome.

LocoLocomotive on the West Lancs Light Railway

© Copyright Raymond Knapman and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

   Brief History

In 1967, six schoolboys who were concerned by the rapid dissapearance of Narrow Gauge railway systems in the area decided to attempt to save some items of interest.

A site was located at Hesketh Bank and some equipment acquired and in September 1967 work began on layng the first 150 yards of 2ft gauge track, using redundant rails and a pair of axles on which the first item of rolling stock was constructed.

The first two locomotives soon followed, Ruston & Hornsby diesels were purchased from nearby Burscough Brick & Tile works at a modest price of £25 each!

The group continued to acquire more items of rolling stock from various nearby industrial sources, and work commenced on the construction of a engine shed and workshop.

In 1969 the group were fortunate in acquiring the remains of a steam locomotive, at an auction of equipment following the closure of the Dinorwic Slate Quarries in Llanberis, North Wales. The locomotive a Hunslet Quarry locomotive by the name of ‘Irish Mail’ was incomplete, having a boiler and several other vital parts missing.

However undaunted, the group continued to search for suitable parts to rebuild the locomotive and over the next 10 years acquired or manufactured enough parts to restore Irish Mail back to working order and in 1980 the railway saw its first steam hauled trains in operation.

Since those days the Railways collection has expanded and currently consists of some eight steam locomotives on site, although not all in working order at present.

In addition the search for additional diesel locomotives and rolling stock items also continued and today the railway boast’s a comprehensive collection,

The railway is now operated by a charitable trust, staffed by volunteers and you are welcome to visit us or join us every Sunday during the season (See Timetable for dates)

A more comprehensive illustrated history is available from our Sales Page or on sale in the Railway shop.

Returning trainReturning train at Becconsall Station

The West Lancashire Light Railway specialises in little industrial locomotives. See http://wllr.net for more details.  © Copyright Christine Johnstone and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.