Narrow Gauge Lines
West Lancashire Light Railway
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.
© Copyright Raymond Knapman and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
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.
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.