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: 18th October 2019.
North Weald & District Miniature Railway - this new 7 1/4" gauge railway opened on Sunday 8 September 2019 at Blue Diamond's Harlow Garden Centre, not far from junction 7 of the M11. The railway features a station, with two tracks adjacent to the car park area, leading to a scissors crossover after which the track splits to form two prongs of what will be a full circuit. There is a curve affectively making a triangle. Trains leave the station and proceed to the left-hand prong, before reversing around the curve onto the right hand prong. A further reversal takes the train directly back to the station. Facing points in the direction of travel are all sprung. The full circuit should be complete by next Easter. The ride last about four minutes and costs a £1, with no tickets being issued. (18/10/19) (Report received & Site visit).
Burghclere Miniature Railway - the Railway has completed the full circuit of track around the Sports Ground. The 430 yard long circuit opened to the public on Sunday 25 August 2019. Trains ran clockwise from platform 2 at the station. Platform 1 is not directly connected currently to the circuit, ending in a head shunt behind the club house. (18/10/19) (Source: Site visit).
Gullivers Railroad - this 15" gauge railway has closed. It does not appear on the summer 2019 park map and Gullivers has confirmed the railway is longer there. Therefore, it seems to have last run at the end of the 2018 season. (18/10/19) (Source: Report received).
Evergreens Miniature Railway - having lost their original site at Stickney, this group now have a new permanent home at Dawn Bank, Keal Cotes, south of Spilsby - grid ref: TF369606. A little more than a 4 acre open field (with trees in the corners), this is now being developed with an elevated 5" gauge line and an extensive ground level 7 1/4" gauge railway. The 5" gauge elevated line was complete by Saturday 29 September 2018 and the first section of the 7 1/4" gauge line opened on Saturday 27 October 2018. This was merely a straight section of what will become a large outer circuit. The first proper public open day was on Saturday 25 May 2019, which saw the first inner circuit of the 7 1/4" gauge railway opened, formed of a circuit of 267yds in length. Currently, there is one station with one platform - but track beds are in place for two more tracks. The track bed is also mostly in place for another circuit running off the current circuit via flat crossing. Excellent refreshments are available on site from a mobile trailer, along with a small clubhouse. Normal public running is on the last Saturday of the month until October, from 11.00 to 16.00. (15/08/19) (Source: Site visit).
Royal Arsenal Narrow Gauge Railway - this new 2ft gauge operates at Crossness Engines at Abbey Wood (TQ483811). Crossness is the Pumping Station for the Southern Outfall Sewer built by Joseph Bazalgette. The railway will eventually transport visitors from near the Car Park to the Pumping Station visitor's gate. A visit on Sunday 11 August (an open day for the Pumping Station) found the line giving passenger rides over a 120 yard length from a temporary platform part way down the access path to another temporary platform outside the station. In use was 4wDH "Bazalgette" (SL/1986) with one bogie coach. Both once ran at the Stoke Garden Festival and later at The Village, Fleggburgh in Norfolk. Rides were free, but donations were welcomed. Track has been laid for some distance towards the car park end and trackbed preparations are mostly complete over the whole line, which will be around 490 yards in length. Heritage Railway 257 (2 August) reported the first passengers were carried on Sunday 23 June 2019. Dismantled in the shed is 18" gauge 0-4-0T No.1 "Woolwich" (AE1748/1916). A short length of track outside the shed is dual gauge 18in/2ft. Two other 2ft gauge bogie coaches are on site, which will require overhaul before use. Admission to the Pumping Station buildings is £6 - more when the "Prince Consort" beam engine is running. (15/08/19) (Source: Site visit)
Bridge View Light Railway - this new 7 1/4" gauge railway is located in the grounds of Russells Garden Centre at Baginton, near Coventry (SP337752). Some of the equipment came from the closed line just up the road at the Electric Railway Museum, which last ran on 8 October 2017. However, the group of volunteers building and operating the railway are newly formed. The first passengers were carried in September 2018 and by July this year it had reached an "E" run of 190yds. The line will be extended in due course to a full circuit - the earth works for this section are simpler than the section already built, which runs alongside a river, adjacent to the A46. (15/08/19) (Source: Site visit)
4 Kingdoms Adventure Park Railway - over the winter of 2018/2019, this 10 1/4" gauge railway was extended into a full circuit of 450 yards. The sole motive power here remains as steam outline No.3 "General Shirley" (K J Hemingway 1972). Admission to the park is £11.50 and rides on the railway are then free. Although this is primarily a theme park for children, there is no restriction on adult entry to the park. (30/06/19) (Source: Site visit).
Burghclere Miniature Railway - the railway was further extended to 250yds for the Village Family Fun Day on Sunday 26th May 2019. Earthworks for the full circuit have now been prepared over the entire alignment. (30/06/19) (Source: Site visit and Railway's Facebook page).
High Legh Miniature Railway - the railway, located at High Legh Garden Centre near Knutsford, reopened with new owners on Saturday 13th April 2019. (08/05/19) (Source: Reports received).
Colne Valley Miniature Railway - a new road entrance and car park opened with the start of the 2019 season on 23 March. This is to the south of the site, closer to Sible Hedingham. The previous road entrance to the north is now closed. There a new entrance building where tickets are purchased, which also contains a small shop and toilets. The 7 1/4" gauge miniature railway has been reconfigured to accommodate changes at the railway. The previous return loop and station has been completely removed, to be replaced in due course by a new building - the "Cubitt Skills Centre". The line now runs to a station behind the new entrance building, via tunnel with sheds either side. There is a triangle here, which on this day was used to turn the train before returning to the station - there is no run-round loop. This new station and station opened on 23 March. The other end of the Miniature Railway is unchanged. (08/05/19) (Source: site visit and Railway's Facebook page).
Lodge Farm Park Railway - this 7 1/4" gauge railway is owned and operated by the Havering Miniature Railway Club and runs in Lodge Farm Park, between Romford and Gidea Park. The line opened as a balloon loop on Easter Monday, 17th April 2017. The club completed the line in 2018, adding a second return loop around a former bowling green, forming a dumb-bell of 600 yards - this opened to public passenger trains on Sunday 12th August 2018. (08/05/19) (Source: Railway's Facebook page).
Merseyside Live Steam & Model Engineers - this Society operates both elevated and ground level lines off Harthill Road, adjacent to Calderstones Park in Allerton. The site was under threat from development planned by Liverpool City Council. However, the Council has suffered a dramatic defeat in its high-profile battle over Calderstones Park. The fight surrounds a plan by Redrow Homes to build 51 luxury homes on the Harthill Estate close to the Park. Redrow was granted planning permission for the scheme in February 2017, but campaigners argued that the land is part of Calderstones Park and should not be built on. The Council and Mayor Joe Anderson have always argued that the land in question, which is home to a riding school, as well as the Merseyside LS & ME tracks and an ex-Council Depot, is not accessible to the public. Joe Anderson said the new homes would have brought in more Council tax cash, which would have paid for improved facilities for those organisations that use the land. The Save Calderstones Park petition amassed more than 50,000 signatures and campaign group Liverpool Open and Green Spaces (LOGS), which has been strongly backed by the City's Liberal Democrat councillors, raised enough cash to allow them to take their battle with the City Council to the High Court for a Judicial Review. That review was heard in November and the results were announced in London on 18 January 2019 resulting in a defeat for the Mayor and his Council. (20/01/19) (Source: Liverpool Echo web site).
Glenfinnan Station Museum - the Museum, located at the West Highland Railway station, has decided to build a 7 1/4" gauge miniature railway. It will hug the contours and will be 180 yards long, with two turntables, a run-round loop at each end, three bridges (one being a three arch concrete viaduct, based on the acutal Larochmore viaduct near Arisaig) and two level crossings (not bad in 180 yards!). The steepest gradient will be 1 in 60. By early December 2018 much of levelling work had been completed and a locomotive shed/workshop had been built. However, the Museum was looking for assistance from anyone with knowledge of track laying, which is expected to start in early this year. (20/01/19) (Source: Museum web site and facebook page).