Tag Archives: Miniature Railway

Narrow Gauge Lines – Bicton Woodland Railway, Devon

Narrow Gauge Lines

Bicton Woodland Railway


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.


Old railway Lines – Miniature Railways – North Bay Railway, Scarborough

Old railway Lines

Miniature Railways

North Bay Railway, Scarborough

 Scarborough_North_Bay_Railway_-_2006-08-03Loco 1931 Neptune passes 1932 Triton at Beach Station, 3 August 2006.      North Bay Railway (NBR) is a miniature railway in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, England. It was built in 1931, to the gauge of 20 in (508 mm), and runs for approximately 7⁄8 miles (1.4 km) between Peasholm Park and Scalby Mills in the North Bay area of the town.  

Author This photograph taken by  Optimist on the run.  Permission  (Reusing this file)  This file is released under the following licences:  Creative Commons CC-BY-SA   GFDL Version 1.2 only

  North Bay Railway (NBR) is a miniature railway in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, England. It was built in 1931, to the gauge of 20 in (508 mm), and runs for approximately 7⁄8 miles (1.4 km) between Peasholm Park and Scalby Mills in the North Bay area of the town.

The grand opening

The opening ceremony took place at 2 p.m. on Saturday 23 May 1931. The locomotive, Neptune, was officially handed over by the Chairman of the North Side Development Committee, Alderman Whitehead, to the Mayor of Scarborough, Alderman J.W. Butler, for the Entertainments Department. Alderman Whitehead made a short presentation speech:

“On behalf of the National Union of Drivers, Engineers and others, I have to present you, the first driver of the North Bay Railway Engine, with your insignia of office, your oil can and your ‘sweat rag’.”

The mayor was presented with a peaked cap, an oil can (adorned with a blue ribbon), and a rag, before driving the train from Peasholm Station non-stop to Scalby Mills, at which point the engine was transferred to the other end of the train for the return journey.

800px-NBR-scarborough-scalby1Copyright (c) Timothy L’Estrange, 2006

Timetable & Fares


23rd February – 22nd March 2013

Saturday & Sunday

Open 11am -3pm

Monday – Friday  Closed


First train: 11 am from Peasholm Park

Then: On the hour and xx.30 from Peasholm Park and xx.15 and xx.45 from Scalby Mills.  Until: 3pm

Glass House Cafe is open everyday over half term 16th – 24th February from 10am until 4pm


Child Single £2.10

Adults Single £2.60

Child Return £2.70

Adult Return £3.30

Children under the age of 3 travel free – Season ticket and group travel tickets are available

N Bay Rly GeoNorth Bay Railway

Scarborough North Bay Railway is a miniature railway. It was built in 1931, to the gauge of 1 ft 8 in, and runs for approximately 3/4 miles between Peasholm Park and Scalby Mills, offering beautiful views of Scarborough’s North Bay.

The line is now operated by the North Bay Railway Company Ltd.                            © Copyright Nigel Chadwick and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

While in Scarborough, you could also ride the Central Tramway:

Central Tramway Scarbro KACentral Tramway – Scarborough

The top station and, one of the two cars of Scarborough’s Central Tramway. It is a funicular railway which was opened in August 1881 when it was steam powered. Conversion to electrical power was undertaken in 1910, with the current cars date from 1932. The incline is as steep as 1 in 2. Behind the station is one of the corner turrets of the Grand Hotel. © Copyright K A and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Central Nearly Half Way CJNearly half-way

Central Tramway, Scarborough. Despite its official name, it is probably better described as a funicular or cliff railway, as the cabins are not lifted vertically but are cable-hauled up a steep slope. Both cabins are in motion.  © Copyright Christine Johnstone and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Paignton Zoo – Including the ‘Jungle Express’ miniature railway.

Paignton Zoo – Including the ‘Jungle Express’ miniature railway.

© Copyright Lewis Clarke and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Welcome to Paignton Zoo…

Paignton : Paignton Zoo, Elephant House

The elephant house at the top end of the zoo, is home to the elephants and giraffes. Nearby are the camels, peccaries, red river hogs, and the Barbary sheep.  © Copyright Lewis Clarke and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

With more animals than anyone else in the South West you’re in for a really wild time. See them all – giraffes, lions, gorillas, cheetahs and thrilling crocodiles, plus our cheeky meerkats, colourful snakes and amazing monkeys. There are also indoor play areas, the Jungle Express train and uniquely, six habitats that mimic the animals’ natural environment. Come in and get close to over two thousand creatures. But you’d better leave a whole day – you’ll need it.

Come in and explore the big wild world !!

Paignton : Paignton Zoo, Sumatran Tiger

The Sumatran tiger is a carnivore clinging to life. It is being hunted towards extinction by the demands of Oriental medicine. It’s protected under law but the black market in tiger parts thrives. A few hundred Sumatran tigers remain in the wild in Indonesia – about the same number are safe in zoos around the world.  © Copyright Lewis Clarke and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

 If you’re going to the south coast, you could always try a miniature railway of my childhood (it has been going that long!!):

Paignton Zoo Jungle Express

Pic – agcthoms

Jump aboard the Jungle Express miniature railway and take a journey around our stunning lake to see areas not seen on foot!

Get exclusive peeps into the tiger and lion enclosures and ride past our gorilla island; see the gibbons swinging in the trees, the flamingos bathing in the pond and the beautiful birds of Brook Side Aviary.

The railway has been at the Zoo since 1940 when Reginald Goddard from Chessington Zoo joined us for a brief period during the war.

Trains run daily from Easter to October and there is a small charge.

© Copyright Lewis Clarke and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Miniature Railway, Tramway and Model Railways at Betwys-y-Coed


A trip up the A5 into Wales could take you to Betws-y-Coed and the ConwyValley Railway & Museum

Located in the beautiful village of Betws-y-Coed adjacent to the British Rail station Conwy Valley Railway Museum is a must for all who enjoy trains.  A miniature railway takes you on a 10 minute trip around the beautifully landscaped grounds. If you are lucky you may see wild rabbits grazing by the pond. There is even a tunnel for the train to go through. Trains run every day from 10.30am to 4.30pm. In the season and every weekend there will be a steam engine pulling the train – at other times a diesel engine will be in service.  For a different view of the site take the fifteen inch gauge electric tramcar – the only one in Wales. As this is a larger vehicle it is suitable for those with mobility problems.

Inside the museum we have model railways that you can operate by pressing a button. There are lots of railway artefacts and miniature railway engines including a magnificent quarter scale ‘Britannia’. The museum is accessible to the disabled.

Come and browse our well stocked model shop with a large selection of model trains including Hornby sets and accessories, die cast cars and planes, Airfix model kits and railway books.

Click on pics to enlarge



Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces 77 – June 1977

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces 77 – June 1977

The Railway Preservation Society Newsletter

Chasewater News 20

The Editorial pointed out  that the more active members of the RPS are just getting over the ‘Jubilee Weekend’ to be straight away flung into the run in to the ‘Transport Scene’ weekend – the same dozen or so have to carry on the normal operating season as well!  There followed the usual appeal for more help, but explained that ‘if the response to this appeal is the usual one, then I’ve been wasting my time, but unless we get more active support then the Chasewater Project will go backwards, not forwards, and disillusionment will set in amongst the members, ending in the folding of the RPS in the not too distant future.  I’m not being alarmist but unless we are able to purchase the loop line then the active membership will be decimated and that is fact, remember ‘Bridge that gap – buy a Yard of Track’.

News from the line

There’s been plenty going on at Chasewater since the last report.  On the locomotive front ‘Invicta’ passed its boiler and steaming tests and is in the final stages of a repaint, whilst ‘Alfred Paget’ carries on regardless, being smartened up in between steamings.
‘Asbestos’ has had its tank jacked up and boiler lagging removed in preparation for an ultrasonic boiler test, which will ascertain what, if any, repairs are necessary.  Depending upon what the result and cost is, it will be reassembled as a static exhibit or be returned to traffic, hopefully the latter.

The DMU vehicle has been professionally repainted in maroon livery at great expense.  It is to be lined out and have transfers added as and when time permits.  The repainting of this vehicle has, in my opinion, been the greatest step forward taken by the railway for some considerable time.  The interior of the vehicle is to be refurbished during the wintertime.

The extension to the platform continues and the lever frame is being installed with associated interlocking and track improvements.

Stop Press: it is hoped to acquire Hednesford No.3 signal box to house the lever frame, negotiations with BR are underway.  The station has been improved by the installation of two gas lamp standards and a few cast iron signs to give a more business like appearance.  The present terminus will be named ‘Brownhills West’ on completion of the platform.

Further up the line much packing and levelling, along with spot sleeper replacement, has gone on in order to finish off the present stretch of line and to give a smoother run.

Operating Days

As you may realise we are chronically understaffed on operating days with the brothers Curtis performing sterling work in the bookstall as well as being the usual guard/ticket collector crew and managing to be in three places at once.

Train receipts are down on last season, mainly due to the inclement weather of our operating days.  Easter Monday has been the most successful day, over 700 people taking a journey.

Over Jubilee weekend, another RPS first was notched up, with trains being run on the Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, all being hauled by the Neilson locomotive ‘Alfred Paget’.

No.11 Neilson 0-4-0ST 2937-1882 Taken at either Bedlay or Gartsherrie, still working for a living!

Receipts were poor and the Tuesday steaming was done mainly for good public relations, 93 people from the Hednesford Road street party being given free rides to strengthen relations between the railway and the local people.  This has also resulted in a good publicity plug, as we were the only railway to run in conjunction with a street party.

The TPO roof is now watertight and re-panelling of the sides will take place in due course, whilst its tarpaulins have been placed over the LNWR 3rd brake coach in order to hide it as it continues to fall apart!

The GWR brake van has suffered at the hands of some juvenile delinquents who set fire to it.  Fortunately damage was confined to the verandah but restoration will not be speedy unless someone volunteers to take it on – outside of the usual workforce.

Chasewater Light Railway Company notes

The Kraken hath awoke and the first AGM for eighteen months was held in April.  The Board are now trying to formulate future policy for the railway in conjunction with the RPS Committee and hopefully sensible plans will emerge in the next few weeks, details of which will be placed in the newsletter for members’ comments.

Track Fund

Only £120 has been raised so far, a pathetic reflection upon the concern about the future of the Society by the members.  Money is needed now as time is running short.

E1 Fund

Most of the money so far raised has been spent on advertising.  If you feel you can contribute anything to this fund contact us.

The locomotive has been inspected by Messrs. Barlow of Warrington, a reputable firm of boiler makers, who have given an extremely reasonable set of quotes for repair of the locomotive boiler.  Time is running short if this locomotive is to remain at Chasewater as the AGM two years ago instructed the committee to dispose of the loco as a last resort to buy the loop line, and unless someone pumps a hell of a lot of money into either the E1 fund or the track fund, then the Society will have to face what seems to be inevitable – the loss of our only ‘local engine’ which is also  our only ‘main line’ loco, and the  most interesting of all our locos.

Notes from Barry Bull Hon. Sec.

The arrival of a complete 7¼” gauge railway, with a steam loco, heralded a possibility of something being in steam every Sunday at Chasewater this summer.  Unfortunately the loco blew its superheaters on a trial steaming and has been relegated to a static display.  The loco is based on the Southern Region ‘Schools’ class of loco and was one of a pair built in 1934 and so is a worthy exhibit in its own right.

Items purchased or donated during the past few months include an LNWR ‘Beware of the Trains’ sign, a concrete GCR boundary post, a few items of LNER cutlery, a selection of Kent & East Sussex Railway paper work, a Wemyss Private Railway rule book and a sign of LMS origin.

Transport Scene July 23/24

Rapid developments regarding this event have taken place and the organiser sent the following note for inclusion:-

‘This event is aimed at raising money towards our track fund and towards giving our railway a publicity boost.  This is perhaps the most important event to have been organised by the RPS so far, so I would have thought that some of our armchair members would have offered their services to our already hard pressed stalwarts.  However, this does not appear to be so.  In fact, so far, I have received only three offers of help.  We are in our most critical year, which could literally make or break our Society, so please, please help us, even if it is only in a small way’.

‘Chasewater News’ is written by Ian Patterson, typed by Dorothy Ives and printed by Rob Ives.