MINOR RAILWAYS online - News
Below is the latest news to hand. News items from previous years can be found on the archive pages. The most recent additions are shown in RED. Last amendment: 3rd October 2017.
News archive: 2010 - 2011 - 2012 - 2013 - 2014 - 2015 - 2016
Penteny Light Railway - this 7 1/4" gauge railway, which ran in the grounds of Pentney Park Caravan & Camping Site at Narborough has closed. Opened in 1985, it was formed of a "B" layout of 1,027 yards in length. The Park changed hands recently on the retirement of the owners and the new owners are taking it up market, moving away from touring caravans to expensive chalets. It was reported the track was lifted in early September and it was confirmed on 16 September the track had gone but the station building was still standing. The Park's web site, when checked on 24 September, still mentioned the "amazing miniature railway". (03/10/17) (Source: Report received).
Exmouth Express - the Fun Park and historic 10 1/4" gauge railway closed on Thursday 31st August 2017, on expiry of the site lease. Sadly, another traditional seaside miniature railway has gone. A motion was discussed at an extraordinary East Devon District Council meeting on Wednesday 13th September calling for that in order to prevent further unnecessary dereliction, and to save the current community and visitor offer, that the closures of the Fun Park is postponed and an extended lease granted. But after an hour-long discussion, councillors voted by 26 votes to 21 to reject the motion, and as a result, the Fun Park did not not reopen. The Council will now prepare the site for a range of new temporary attractions over the next year pending a long term planned development, which has faced massive delays. The contents of the Fun Park, including the railway, were sold on site at Exmouth by auction at 12 noon on Thursday 14th September 2017 by MST Auctioneers Limited of Marcus Road, Dunkerswell, Honiton, Devon. The auction catalogue described the railway (Lot 7) as "10 1/4" gauge diesel Loco type 4 WDM by G. Kilehanside 1978, two carriages, Lister diesel engine with associated spares incl. one carriage" [sic]. (03/10/17) (Source: Various web site).
Llanelli & Mynydd Mawr Railway - this railway, based at the former Cynheidre Colliery, opened on Sunday 3rd September 2017 offering passenger rides for the first time. Currently, brake van rides run north from Cynheidre station (6m 12ch) to the current operational limit (6m 19ch) by a foot crossing. Overgrown original track is then place to 6m 30ch. This is to be progressively upgraded and brought into use with a platform built at the north end. To the south there is a headshunt at 6m 03ch. There are two buildings on site - a small one road "steam shed" and an impressive three road shed. (03/10/17) (Source: Site visit).
Riverside Miniature Railway - this brand new 5"/7 1/4" gauge railway is located in Riverside Park at St Neots (TL179600) and opened on Sunday 16th July 2017 - although there had been some limited running on a temporary track from Easter 2017. Currently it is a "E" layout of about 150 yards - trains reverse out of the station for a short way, before reversing and running through station non-stop, over a level crossing and part way round what will be a circuit of some 310 metres. This is planned to be complete for the 2018 season, following which a second circuit of 350 metres will be added to make a figure of eight. The Park is a pleasant open area by the Great Ouse River and has a good café, with a car park adjacent. It is the opposite end of the town to the ECML station! (29/08/17) (Source: Railway's web site & site sisit).
Kingdoms Adventure Park Railway - this 10 1/4" gauge railway opened in March 2016 and escaped
notice until recently discovered! 4 Kingdoms Adventure Park is located at
Headley, just south east of Newbury, but lies in Hampshire (SU509635). The
entire railway came from the closed Thurleigh Farm, near Bedford, which
closed on 27 September 2015. It was sold to 4 Kingdoms in October 2015 and
first ran there on a short straight "E" temporary track at
Christmas 2015. Following this the railway was laid as a permanent
"E" run of 300 yards. Sole motive power is steam outline 4-4-0
locomotive No.3 "General Shirley" (K J Hemingway/1972) -
passenger stock is three open coaches. 4 Kingdoms Adventure Park is designed
for families with children between 2 and 10, but unlike other similar parks
there is no problem with adult(s) only admission. The line is a simple
"E" run and has no points, but is crossed by two footbridges. From
a simple terminal station (with no proper platform, but a fenced boarding
area) it runs out past some animal pens in a hook shape to terminate in a
Maize field - within which a maze was about to be constructed. Then
passengers would be able to alight and find their way out of the maze! Rides
are free once the admission has been paid. (29/08/17) (Source: reports
received and site visit).
Honeybrook Railway - Chris Bullen, the former operator of the Poole Park Railway, has built this new line, which opened on Saturday 8th April 2017. The location is Honeybrook Family Farm & Riverside Park near Stanbridge, just north Wimborne Minster. The railway is 10 1/4" gauge – an "E" run of 250 yards. The main station ("Honeybrook") is at SU007029 adjacent to the River Allen and close to the main farm buildings. The line then runs roughly parallel to the river to terminate at "Springhill" station. There are no points and nor is there are cover for the loco and stock. Operating trains is: Steam outline 0-4-2T "Elizabeth" (in blue livery) with three open bogie coaches (This is all the stock currently on site). The loco propels the train from Honeybrook to Springhill and hauls it back. To gain access to the railway it is required to purchase an admission ticket to the Farm. This allows one return ride on the train. In time it is planned to extend the railway – there is scope in both directions to do this. (31/05/17) (Source: site visit).
& District Light Railway - replacing a much earlier line, this 5"/7
1/4" gauge line opened on Sunday 28th May. It is an "E" run
of some 300 yards along the eastern quay in the Devon Town of Kingsbridge.
(31/05/17) (Source: Railway's Facebook page).
Acton Miniature Railway - this 7 1/4" gauge railway - located in the grounds of the London Transport Museum Depot at Acton - has slowly been extending its running line. The railway now terminates at the two road "Ealing End" station. As of Saturday 22nd April 2017, passenger trains were using the straight (right hand on arrival) line there. There is no run-round loop - the line ending in two stubs. Passengers cannot alight or board here, but there are encouraged to turn round for the return trip! The railway has now reached its full extent. (23/04/17) (Source: site visit).
Lodge Farm Park Railway - a new railway! This 7 1/4" gauge line railway is being constructed by the Havering Miniature Railway Club in Lodge Farm Park, off Main Road in Romford. The park lies roughly mid-way between Romford and Gidea Park stations. Work started in 2016 and some running was undertaken on temporary track, which has been slowly relaid as permanent track. This year a new station has been constructed and was officially opened by the local Mayor on Easter Monday, 17th April at 12.00. This effectively marked the completion of the first permanent section of the railway. Currently, the line is formed of a balloon loop of 345 yards. From the one platform station, "Black's Brook", which is located on the balloon loop around a children's playground, the line follows the stream on the western boundary of the park and through some flower beds. Not long before the current end of line - at a to be built level crossing over the main path through the park - there is a passing loop. Beyond the prospective level crossing the line will cross into a fenced area, where another return loop will be built, along with a second station and stock shed. (23/04/17) (Source: Railway's Facebook page & site visit).
Statfold Barn Tramway - fhe first open day of 2017 was on Saturday 25 March and this saw the opening of the new 3ft gauge Tramway. In operation was the Burton and Ashby Tramcar No.14 (originally 3ft 6in gauge, now 3ft 0in gauge), repatriated from the USA and restored and converted to battery power (there is no catenary). Rides were limited to 450 timed tickets with a GBP1 donation towards the PC Keith Palmer fund and had sold out by 10.30. The Tramway runs from a purpose built Tram shed for around 540 yards parallel to the Upper Field line to Oak Tree Halt platform - it is not connected to the rest of the system. (23/04/17) (Source: reports received).
Brighouse & Halifax Model Engineers and Exbury Gardens Railway - at first, these two railways seem to have little in common! But, both have opened realigned sections of their respective railway's this year. Sunday 9th April saw the opening to passengers of the new Kitson Tunnel and The Dell deviation on the ground level 7 1/4" gauge line at the track site of the Brighouse & Halfax Model Engineers off Cawcliffe Road, Brighouse. The 7 1/4" gauge line now has its own tunnel under the entrance roadway and the deviation takes the line closer to Cawcliffe Road. While at Exbury, a new alignment around Dragonfly Pond opened to passengers on the first day of season - Monday 20th March. It only adds around 130 yards to the route length of the railway, as it replaces a section of the original route. The extension was officially opened by Dan Snow on 11th April. (23/04/17) (Sources: Railway's web sites & Facebook pages).
Cambrian Heritage Railways (Oswestry) - the railway opened another extension to their running line on Saturday 5 November 2016. This comprised another 10 chains further south, taking the railway to only 3 chains short of Shrewsbury Road overbridge (18m 61ch). The passenger line now extends to almost Shrewsbury Road overbridge, stopping behind the Shell petrol station - albeit on a lower level, and adjacent to where the footpath leaves the trackbed and starts to rise up to the bridge. This is the current head of steel and further extensions are planned over the next two years to Weston Wharf - almost another mile towards Llynclys station.
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