Tag Archives: Narrow Gauge Railways

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

Some Early Lines Narrow Gauge – West Clare Railway, Ireland

Some Early Lines

Narrow Gauge – West Clare Railway, Ireland

Water Tower Moyasta_stationMoyasta Junction with water tower.  Herbert Ortner. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

  The West Clare Railway (WCR) originally operated in County Clare, Ireland between 1887 and 1961, and has partially re-opened. This 3 ft (914 mm) gauge narrow gauge railway ran from the county town of Ennis, via numerous stopping-points along the West Clare coast to two termini, at Kilrush and Kilkee (the routes diverging at Moyasta Junction). The system was the last operating narrow gauge passenger system in Ireland and connected with the mainline rail system at Ennis, where a station still stands today for bus and train services to Limerick and Galway. Intermediate stops included Ennistymon, Lahinch and Miltown Malbay. A preservation society maintains a railway museum, and has successfully re-opened a section of the railway as a passenger-carrying heritage line.

Construction

The Famine was over and there was a new growth in local businesses. The British Government determined that an improved railway system was necessary to aid in the recovery of the West of Ireland. The West Clare Railway and the South Clare Railway were built by separate companies, but in practice the West Clare Railway operated the entire line. The lines met at Miltown Malbay. In due course the entire line became known as the West Clare Railway.

The Slieve Callan, West Clare Railway, County Clare flickrThe Slieve Callan, West Clare Railway, County Clare –  flickr

West Clare Railway

The 43.4 km (27.0 mi) West Clare Railway between Ennis and Miltown Malbay was built a few years’ earlier than the South Clare Railway. The first sod was cut on 26 January 1885 at Miltown Malbay by Charles Stewart Parnell, M.P., although actual work on the line had begun in November 1884. The line was opened on 2 July 1887.

South Clare Railway

The South Clare Railway built the extension from Miltown Malbay to Kilrush, Cappagh Pier (Kilrush Pier) and Kilrush docks with a branch to Kilkee from Moyasta, with work starting on the extension in October 1890 and opening on 11 May 1892. The extension was worked by the West Clare Railway and was initially dogged by poor service and time keeping, but this later improved.

Amalgamation and nationalisation

In 1925 the company was merged into the Great Southern Railways. In 1945 the GSR was taken over by Córas Iompair Éireann. In the same year, a survey of local businesses was conducted with a view to the possible replacement of the railway by road services. Local campaigners urged that the railway be converted to the standard Irish gauge of 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm), but CIÉ rejected this on cost grounds.

Closure

Despite the dieselisation of passenger services in 1952 and freight in 1953 the system was still closed. On 27 September 1960, CIÉ gave notice of its intending closure with effect from 1 February 1961. CIÉ said that the West Clare was losing £23,000 (€1.2M 2006 equivalent) per year, despite the considerable traffic handled. In December it was announced that the line would close completely on 1 January 1961. Eventually the line closed on 31 January 1961 with CIÉ starting work on dismantling the line the day after closure on 1 February 1961.

By the time of its closure the West Clare Railway was the last narrow gauge railway in Ireland offering a passenger service; various lines operated by Bord na Móna continue to operate in connection with the peat industry.

Preservation and re-opening

800px-WCR_Slieve_Callan_at_MoyastaSlieve Callan a few weeks after return to West Clare tracks.  Herbert Ortner. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license

Starting in the mid 1990s, efforts were made by a preservation society to recreate part of the original route. This group succeeded in acquiring Moyasta station, and 5 km (3.1 mi) of track bed. Passenger services were resumed using two new steel coaches with bench seating, parallel to the direction of travel, built by Alan Keef Engineering and outfitted locally in wood by WCR engineers. A small but powerful diesel locomotive built for Channel Tunnel construction work hauled the trains.

On 5 July 2009 the West Clare Railway’s original steam locomotive No 5 Slieve Callan was returned to the West Clare Railway at Moyasta Junction following restoration in England by Alan Keef Engineering Ltd of Ross-on-Wye. This engine had previously been a static exhibit at the mainline railway station in Ennis. The locomotive was steamed for the first time on 14 July marking the return of steam to the West Clare railway after an absence of over 57 years.

The railway has since acquired a number of redundant diesel locomotives, mostly from the Irish Bord na Móna; these are being gradually restored and returned to service.

Rolling stock today

In addition to the steam locomotive Slieve Callan, the railway owns twelve diesel engines, of which two are currently in service, the others awaiting restoration. Those in service are a 4-wheel Channel Tunnel shunting engine and a four-wheel former Bord na Móna shunter. Awaiting restoration are a further nine such Bord na Móna shunters, plus a six-wheel mine shunting engine dating from around 1948.

Moyasta Stn 2 CarsN67 – West Clare Railway Moyasta Junction Rail Station – Two Railway Cars.  View is to the northwest from N67 railway crossing between Kilrush & Kilkee.  © Copyright Sue Mischyshyn and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

 Two passenger coaches are in service, and assorted maintenance vehicles including a tank wagon, four flat trucks, and four tipper wagons.

Narrow Gauge Lines – The Causeway Tramway – Ireland

Narrow Gauge Lines

The Causeway Tramway – Ireland

Bushmills StationBushmills and Giant’s Causeway Railway at Bushmills station, Co. Antrim

This 3ft gauge line is built over part of the trackbed of the former Portrush and Giant’s Causeway Tramway, a pioneering electric line similar in many respects to the still-existing Manx Electric Railway. The P&GCT was at least 100 years ahead of its time, as it planned to generate its electricity by tidal power, so having zero carbon footprint. This line survived until around 1951. It is a pity that the B&GCR was not built as an electric line to reflect this history. The steam locomotive shown here is No 3 ‘Shane’, previously at the Shane’s Castle Railway in Antrim City.  © Copyright Dr Neil Clifton and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Station Building

 The  Causeway Tramway was re-opened in Spring  2002, The locomotives and rolling stock which operate on the track  were once used at Shane’s Castle and include  a Peckett 0-4-0 WT ‘Tyrone’ built in 1904 for the British Aluminium Company, Larne, a Barclay 0-4-0WT ‘Shane’ built in 1949 for Bord na Mona (incidentally the same year that the old tramway closed) and a Simplex ‘T’ class diesel locomotive (Rory). An interesting fact –  ‘Shane’ was one of three locomotives built by Andrew Barclay of Kilmarnock for use on the peat bog rail by Bord na Mona at Clonast and was specifically  designed to burn peat.

Station Sheds

Prior to the initiation of the original Giants Causeway Tramway in 1883, there had been several meetings, engineer surveys and costing done to evaluate the feasibility of constructing a railway line along the coast  from Portrush to Ballycastle, the idea being to  link the commercial coal, bauxite, iron, limestone, liganite  and basalt industries along the north coast with the commercial harbour of Portrush. The ambitious  proposal was shelved due to a lack of finance and doubts about the returns from such an investment. A narrow gauge railway was eventually built from Ballycastle to Ballymoney via Armoy and Dervock.

shane

The Giants Causeway tramway  was brought into being by the vision and enthusiasm of  Col. William Traill of Ballyclough who himself was a keen advocator of the railway and kept well informed on technological development in engineering. It was this fact coupled with the Siemens Company showing the first electric railway system at the Berlin Trade Fair in 1879, that lead to that company being commissioned to incorporate their technology into the Giants Causeway Tramway system.  Col.Traill built the generating station at the Walkmill Falls (still there but minus the equipment) and installed water turbines to produce the necessary electrical power for the tram line.

Sir Macnaghten  of Dundarave was very opposed to the construction of the railway to the point that he diverted water from the river Bush above the Falls in an attempt to lessen the flow. However, the tramway opened in 1883 and was hailed as the world’s first commercially run ‘hydro-electric’ powered tram system. The initial electric cars were Midland Carriage and Wagons which were later followed by GEC and a Peckham car. Although hydro-electric power was used, most of the time two Wilkinson steam locomotives hauled the carriages. It originally ran from Portrush to Bushmills with a later extension added to the Giants  Causeway. In 1899 the live rail which ran alongside the track, was replaced by an overhead electric wire, steam haulage ended in 1916. The tramway ran for 65 years before finally closing down in 1949.

Giant's Causeway StationNo.3 Shane, arriving at the Giant’s Causeway Station from Bushmills

 This two mile stretch of 3ft gauge railway runs from Bushmills to the Giants Causeway and was opened in 2002. It utilises the old track bed of the Portrush to Giants Causeway electric tramway which closed in 1949. Most of the current track and rolling stock was used on the Shanes Castle Railway which closed in 1995.  © Copyright Wilson Adams and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

http://www.northantrim.com/TheCausewayTram.htm

Miniature Railways – The Swanley New Barn Railway

The Swanley New Barn Railway

Established in 1986 this wonderful 7 1/4″ railway runs over 950 metres of track through cuttings and over embankments to pick up passengers from the car par in New Barn Road. You will disembark at Lakeside station on one of three platforms and view the signal box, turn table and station building. The railway is operated by a group of dedicated volunteers that not only drive the trains but also build them and with 16 locomotives (steam, diesel, petrol and electric), 30 carriages and over a mile of track its a big job. See it all in action! For more information visit their link below.

http://www.snbr.20m.com/

The Swanley New Barn Railway is a 7 1⁄4 in (184 mm) gauge railway located in Swanley Park, Swanley, Kent, United Kingdom. It has eight steam locomotives, with five more currently being built on site. In addition to this it also has ten diesel locomotives. It is signalled throughout with the signals being controlled from Lakeside station which also serves as a terminus.

Swanley Park Miniature Railway

Featured engine is locomotive Sir Goss, a firm favourite with all visitors to this lovely park.  © Copyright Keith Cook and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

 The stations

Lakeside Station

This station is the largest on the line. It has three platforms, a turntable, a ticket office and a signal box. All trains stop at this station, so they can be turned around and be prepared to travel back along the line.this process will often be performed by the juniors giving the drivers a quick break. Passengers are required to go through the ticket office and obtain tickets before they board the train (in the case of those starting their journey at Lakeside) or get their tickets as they disembark (if they have travelled from New Barn Halt). The platforms have recently been upgraded to the same standard as New Barn Halt. Though this station has capacity for three trains at one time, this rarely happens except on gala days. There are three platforms and a loco line where trains can run around and hook back up to the train. the turntable is man powered and a signal point the operator to a centain line

New Barn Halt

Swanley: New Barn Railway halt

Swanley New Barn Railway goes round Swanley Park, and here we see the halt at the western side of the circuit.  © Copyright Chris Downer and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

 This station is a single platform station located near the car park. Passengers board the train here and then proceed to Lakeside station to disembark. The journey from this station to lakeside should take around 3 minutes. This station was made higher when the platform was redeveloped in 2006, making it easier for passengers to board and leave the train.

The signal box

Swanley: Lakeside Station, Swanley New Barn Railway

This 7¼-inch narrow gauge railway takes passengers on a fairly generous circuit of Swanley Park, from and back to here. The station buildings are to the right, with the signalbox the more prominent building to the left.  © Copyright Chris Downer and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

The signal box is located at Lakeside Station, which is the larger of the two stations on the line. During the first year of the railway, a signal box was created to help control the points and signals around the station area. The signalman can see where the trains are by using the track circuits which are installed throughout the line. The track layout has been changed several times, all of the major changes are recorded to the left of the track diagram.

The signal box has two automatic modes of operation which means that if there is a lack of staff the railway can still function. The signal box frame has 35 levers, all of which are fully interlocked. The interlocking works with the track circuits and point detection. Which levers are locked is decided by the signal box computer which receives points positions, Track circuit data and lever information to decide if it is possible to set a route that will not cause a train to be sent in the wrong direction or be sent on a route where another train is set to cross the track in front of it. The points are worked by 12 V Windscreen wiper motors which have been adjusted so that they stop in one of two positions. They are controlled by the signal box computer which is in turn controlled by the levers. The direction that the points are set to is detected by two microswitches located under the points.

The majority of signals are powered by a 12-volt AC supply. The main signal that everyone sees is the one that passengers pass on their way into the station. It has three 20 W bulbs which allow the signal to be seen clearly no matter what the conditions are. The signal located at the platform on New Barn Halt is powered by a 110 V transformer located in the signal box.

Swanley New Barn Railway Station

This miniature railway runs on a circular track in the park. This station is close to the main buildings of the park on New Barn Road.  © Copyright David Anstiss and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.