Category Archives: Narrow Gauge

Some Early Lines – Old Railway Companies – Brecon & Merthyr Tydfil Junction Railway

Some Early Lines

Old Railway Companies

Brecon & Merthyr Tydfil Junction Railway

An Act of 1 August 1959 authorised the Talybont-Brecon section only, but the rest was sanctioned on 15 May 1860 and 28 July 1862. The line opened from Brecon to Talybont on 23 April 1863, to Merthyr on 1 August 1868 and to Dowlais on 23 June 1869 – the Merthyr-Dowlais section was authorised jointly with the LNWR. Amalgamation with the Hereford Hay & Brecon Railway under an Act dated 5 July 1865 was ruled illegal as improperly processed, and was never re-made. On 28 July 1863 the Company acquired the Rumney Railway in an effort to reach Newport, a link being finally made on 1 September 1868. The Company became a GWR subsidiary in 1922. Beacon, or Summit, tunnel was once the highest in the UK at 1312 ft, with a 7 mile climb at 1 in 38 to the northern portal.

EPSON scanner imageBrecon Free Street station. View westward, towards Neath in 1962
Brecon Station. View westward, towards Neath; ex-GWR Neath & Brecon section. A scene just six months before the whole station and all lines were closed on 31/12/62. For more details, see SO0428 : Brecon Station: activity at the east end.
Ben Brooksbank – From geograph.org.uk  License details
Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike license 2.0

The line closed to passengers on 31 December 1962 and to goods on 4 May 1964, but it is not dead, for the Pant-Torpantau section now carries the Brecon Mountain Railway – the Pant-Pontsticill section opened 8 June 1980.

EPSON scanner imageEast end of Brecon Free Street in 1949
Brecon Station: activity at the east end. Viewed from the east end of Brecon station, an ex-L&Y 0-6-0, far from its origins ‘Up North’ but now employed on the ex-Midland trains from Hereford, is prominent, while on the left a stopping train leaves for Hereford (hauled by an ex-Midland 0-6-0). However, Brecon station was in the ex-GWR ambit, being the terminus from this (eastward) direction of the ex-Brecon & Merthyr trains from Newport via Torpantau Summit and of the ex-Cambrian Rly Mid-Wales Line trains from Moat Lane Junction, as well as the Hereford trains. Westwards from Brecon ran the ex-Neath & Brecon trains down to Neath. All these lines were closed in 1962 and on 31/12/62 this local metropolis had lost all railway facilities. See SO0428 : Brecon Station for primary picture of Brecon Station, taken on 15/6/62.
Ben Brooksbank – From geograph.org.uk License details
Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike license 2.0

The end of the Brecon and Merthyr

The line was amalgamated with the Great Western Railway following the Grouping. The ex-B&M system survived nationalisation into British Railways, but most were eventually closed during the 1960s, with all passenger services ending in December 1962. By 1980 only one short section of 10.5 miles (16.9 km) survived, serving coal traffic to Bedwas Navigation Colliery. With the demise of the coal industry in Britain the section between Bedwas and Machen was closed in 1985. The section between Machen and Bassaleg Junction (with the GWR Ebbw Valley line) remains to serve Hanson’s limestone quarry.

The line today

Partial resurrection of the Brecon and Merthyr
In 1980 a private company, the Brecon Mountain Railway, began to build a narrow-gauge steam-hauled tourist line on the existing 5.5-mile (8.9 km) trackbed from Pant through Pontsticill to Dol-y-gaer. The initial section of 1.75 miles (2.82 km) from Pant to Pontsticill opened in June 1980. Passenger services extended to Torpantau in 2014.

Only one B&MR coach has survived into the present day; coach No.111 stands in a private residence.  Only one goods wagon is known to still exist today; privately owned No.197 is currently at the Severn Valley Railway.

No locomotives are known to be preserved to the present day.

National Cycle Network

Some sections of the route have become part of the National Cycle Network. These routes are NCN 4 (Celtic Trail) between Machen and Trethomas, NCN 469 between Bargoed and Fochriw and NCN 8 (Taff Trail) between Torpantau and Talybont Reservoir. The section between Bedwas and Maesycwmmer is being considered to become part of NCN 468.

Brecon-mountain-railway

Welcome to The Brecon Mountain Railway.

The line runs from Pant, near Merthyr Tydfil. Travel in one of our all-weather Observation Carriages, behind a vintage steam locomotive, into the Brecon Beacons National Park to see stunning views of the peaks of the Beacons across the Taf Fechan reservoir.
At Pontsticill you can alight from the train and visit our lakeside cafe, see our new steam museum, admire the view or go for a ramble alongside the reservoir. There is also a children’s play area here. On your return to Pant you can visit the workshop where our steam locomotives are repaired and new ones are built. Our licensed restaurant is open for refreshment, gifts and souvenirs are available from our shop or you may wish to visit our new Traditional sweet shop.

Brecon

Some Early Lines – Old Railway Companies – Mitcheldean Road & Forest of Dean Junction Railway

Some Early Lines

Old Railway Companies

Mitcheldean Road & Forest of Dean Junction Railway

Dean Forest RlyA substantial stone overbridge near Drybrook (Mitcheldean Road & Forest of Dean Junction Railway). This section opened on 4 November 1907, but closed 0n 7 July 1930. Note the bridge-rail fencing, still extant in August 1988.

This was incorporated on 13 July 1871 to extend the Bullo Pill Railway ( an early British railway, completed in 1810 to carry coal mined in the Forest of Dean Coalfield to a port on the River Severn near Newnham, Gloucestershire. It was later converted to a broad gauge steam line by the Great Western Railway, and was closed in the 1960s) to the Hereford, Ross & Gloucester (both qv) at Mitcheldean Road, 4.75 miles away. Heavy engineering was involved and the line was never finished, despite the company’s absorption by the GWR under an Act dated 6 August 1880. The first 1.75 miles to Speedwell opened in July 1885, and to Drybrook on 4 November 1907, but the rest, though built and maintained, was not. Unused track went for scrap in 1917.
The Mitcheldean Road & Forest of Dean Junction Railway (MR&FoDJR) was a railway which ran for 3 1⁄4 miles (5.2 km) from the former Mitcheldean Road railway station on the Hereford, Ross and Gloucester Railway to a junction at Whimsey near Cinderford.
On 6 August 1880 the company was acquired by the Great Western Railway which completed the line but never opened it to traffic.
The line was later lifted beyond Drybook, although a small section between Drybrook Halt and Drybrook Quarry was relaid in 1928. Drybrook Halt was the northern terminus of a GWR railmotor service from Newnham which ran from 1907 to 1930. The line was closed again in 1952.
A short section of the trackbed at the northern end is used by the narrow gauge Lea Bailey Light Railway.

Loop and Shed at Lea Bailey Light Railway

Loop and Shed at Lea Bailey Light Railway

The Lea Bailey Light Railway is a 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge heritage railway in the United Kingdom. It is built on the site of a former gold mine which was started by the Chastan Syndicate in 1906. Having sold 75,000 shares at £1 GBP each, test workings at Lea Bailey and nearby Staple Edge concluded that the small amount of gold present could not be extracted economically. The syndicate was wound up in 1908.
The mine was later extended and some 3000 tons of iron ore were extracted — a small amount compared to the 150,000 tons extracted from the nearby Wigpool Ironstone Mine.
An attempt was made in 2003 by the owners of Clearwell Caves to open the mine as a tourist attraction, but this was ultimately unsuccessful. In 2012, a small group from the Royal Forest of Dean Caving Club discovered the mine and a quantity of disused railway equipment and proposed to the owners that a volunteer-led project could start work on restoring the site. As of 2014, two locomotives and a number of wagons have been moved to Lea Bailey from storage at Clearwell Caves or the nearby Hawthorn Tunnel.
In 2013 the Lea Bailey Light Railway Society was formed; its members act as volunteers, undertaking all aspects of work on the site. A regular free newsletter is produced and sent out by e-mail.

http://www.leabaileylightrailway.co.uk

Lea Bailey Railway

Lea Bailey Railway

Narrow Gauge Railways – Eaton Hall Railway

Narrow Gauge Railways 

Eaton Hall Railway

Katie‘New’ Katie

The 1st Duke of Westminster (1825-1899) commissioned Sir Arthur Percival Heywood to construct the narrow gauge, 15 inch railway at Eaton in 1895. Linking with the main line the new railway provided an efficient haulage service for coal and stores on the estate, as well as an enjoyable passenger service for visitors to the Hall including members of the Royal Family, local dignitaries and schoolchildren.
The first of several engines was named Katie, after the 1st Duke’s second wife, Katherine Cavendish, then in 1922 a petrol-mechanical locomotive replaced the steam-powered originals. In 1947, during the period when Eaton Hall was leased to the War Department, the railway was taken up and sold on the instructions of the 2nd Duke. Just short of half a century later, in 1996, the 6th Duke reinstated the railway using a replica of Katie to pull the carriages.

Eaton Hall Rly 2‘Old’ Katie

Eaton Hall Rly 1Shelagh

For further information about the Eaton Hall Railway, including open days, go to:

http://www.eatonestate.co.uk

http://www.eatonestate.co.uk/Events/Garden+Open+Days.htm

Railroad Glory Days – Glen Brewer G+

Railroad Glory Days – Glen Brewer

Sonoma-2

The lovely little Sonoma at the California State Railroad Museum is one of three locomotives built in 1876 by Baldwin Locomotive Works for the narrow gauge North Pacific Coast Railroad.

The NPC operated in the northern California counties of Marin and Sonoma that carried redwood lumber, local dairy and agricultural products, express and passengers. The NPC operated almost 93 mi (150 km) of track that extended from a pier at Sausalito (which connected the line via ferry to San Francisco) and operated northwest to Duncans Mills and Cazadero (also known as Ingrams).

The NPC became the North Shore Railroad (California) (NSR) on March 7, 1902. In 1907 the North Shore Railroad became part of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad (NWP). Southern portions of the line were standard gauged and electrified by the North Shore for suburban passenger service, though tracks north of Point Reyes Station remained 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge until abandonment in the late 1930s.(Wikipedia)

Via G+

Gambian Deaf Children Charity Weekend – Amerton Railway

Gambian Deaf Children Charity Weekend

Amerton Railway

DSCF7890

The Amerton Charity Weekend is on 12/13 July 2013. Trains will run each day from 11.30am – 4.30pm and all proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to support the ‘Gambian Deaf Children Support Project’ (GDCSP).
On both days the ‘Gambia Express’ will be hauled by the 117 year old locomotive ‘Isabel’ and for this weekend only passengers can have ‘two rides for the price of one’!

gambianexpress
Malcolm Garner, driver of ‘Isabel,’ is the founder and Chairman of the charity which has now been working to support the education of deaf children in Gambia for nearly 10 years. Some of their achievements to date and photos and details of the work done by the GDCSP in Gambia will be on display on the platform and they can also be viewed at http://www.gambiandeafchildren.com.
Also running on both days will be a second train pulled by ‘Paddy’, an interesting vertical boilered locomotive built by a member of the railway in 2010. One ticket will buy two trips around the line and you will be able to do this on two different trains!
Deaf pupils in Gambia are mainly taught using Sign Language and on Sunday 13th, as a very special highlight, we will have two performances (at 1.30pm and 3.00pm) by a Signing Choir! This is made up of pupils from De Ferrers Academy in Burton on Trent who have learned British Sign Language (as used by a number of deaf pupils attending the school) and will perform well known songs, not by singing them, but using British Sign Language!

gambianexpress2The Choir is the brainchild of Steve Tucker (father of another Amerton Railway volunteer) who is a Sign Language Interpreter for the pupils at De Ferrers.
Sign Language is a key part of the educational provision for deaf children in Gambia so it will be good to demonstrate how effective and attractive this can be as a means of communication. Please come and support these pupils who have so generously given their time to support the work with deaf children in this part of Africa.
The Amerton Railway Charity Weekends have so far raised more than £7000 for the work of the GDCSP and last year was the best with just over £1000 raised over a single weekend! It would be nice to better that this time!
For further details and any other information please contact Malcolm Garner direct on 07811 333373 or at malcolm.garner@yahoo.co.uk.

Amerton Railway Steam Gala 2014

Amerton Railway Steam Gala 2014

Video clips and still photos from the Amerton Railway Steam Gala 2014. Other attractions included a traction engine and a coach shuttle service between Stafford Station and Amerton Railway.

Some Early Lines – Ireland – Arigna, Cavan and Leitrim Railway

Some Early Lines 

Ireland

Arigna – Branch Terminus from Ballinamore

Arigna railway station opened on 2 May 1888, but finally closed on 1 April 1959. It was part of the narrow gauge Cavan and Leitrim Railway.

Arigna 1Arigna – Branch Terminus from Ballinamore with 2-6-0 locomotive No.3T. The line was opened in May 1888 primarily to meet the needs of the countryside. The settlement was however three miles from the station and the mines were served by an extension to the 1888 branch opened in 1920. The local houses had no running water, and water for baths was made available from the footplate by agreement with the fireman of the locomotive who would fill the necessary tin baths and buckets with hot water.

Arigna 2Turning the locomotive at Arigna was a very exacting task as the locomotive turntable was short for the Tralee and Dingle engines. The locomotive had to be properly balanced on the pivot otherwise the fireman would not be able to move the engine. The driver is pushing from the rear.

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!