Narrow Gauge World
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    Andrew Charman
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  • Editor's Page

    Category: Narrow Gauge World | By Andrew Charman | February 18 2013 | 7:27 pm

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    Sneak preview of the cover to spot on the newstands later this week...

    Welcome back to the blog – it’s been a busy few weeks which is why I haven’t updated this blog nearly often enough!

    I’m writing this just as the latest issue of Narrow Gauge World comes off the presses, it’s out on Friday 22nd Feb and as usual crammed with fascinating features ranging from sugar cane in the Zambezi to new builds at Beamish and the product of a cartoonist’s fertile imagination at a London festival…

    There is also, of course, all the latest news, at least the news up to the point when we went to press on 8th February! It’s a frustrating fact that quite big stories will always break within a day or so of my signing off the final pages – when you are editing a bi-monthly magazine, this can be quite frustrating!

    So firstly we must congratulate the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway, which was one of three heritage railways, and the only narrow gauge one, to win a grant from a body called the Coastal Communities Fund. At Woody Bay they will soon have £150,000 to spend on rebuilding another heritage coach for the rapidly expanding line. The latest original carriage to be resurrected will be Coach 11, an all-third class vehicle later renumbered 2469 by the Southern Railway.

    'Caledonia' on the Isle of Man Winter Photography event. Photo: Norman Dowd

    Meanwhile on the Isle of Man the winter photography event over the weekend of 16th February mostly centred around newly returned-to-service ‘Caledonia’, the only 0-6-0T on the line and looking great in its original Manx Northern livery.

    Meanwhile there are some interesting loco movements going on in the coming weeks. We are used to the Ffestiniog sending its engines on tour and of course this year as part of the Steam 150 celebrations its England tanks will be traveling far and wide – in the month of March for example you will find ‘Princess’ sitting on the platform of London Paddington station, and later she’s off to Dublin…

    Ffestiniog Alco 2-6-2T ‘Mountaineer’ meanwhile will be coming out of storage to visit the National Garden Railway show in Peterborough on 27th April, where it will join  Leighton Buzzard De Winton 0-4-0VBT ‘Chaloner’ and ‘Topsy’, one of the oldest ever garden railway engines and we think on its first outing from the Ffestiniog’s Spooner’s Bar for many years. This show is well worth a visit – for more details have a look at

    'Sir Haydn' pictured at Tywyn Wharf station on the Talyllyn in 2005. Photo: Ian Drummond/TRPS

    Now it seems the Talyllyn is getting in on the act. Okay we know their locos have traveled before – especially to the neighbouring Corris, while ‘Dolgoch’ went to the Llangollen Railway last year – but now, Hughes 0-4-2ST ‘Sir Haydn’ is going to a venue not immediately obvious – the Great Central Railway.

    The loco will be displayed in the yard at Quorn and Woodhouse station as part of the Great Central Railway’s Swithland Steam Gala between 26th and 28th April. Why Sir Haydn? Because just up the road from Quorn and Woodhouse, in Loughborough, were once the Hughes Locomotive & Tramway Engine Works, where the loco was built as one of three identical 0-4-0STs for the Corris Railway in 1878.

    Apparently Sir Haydn, which is currently out of boiler ticket, will be visiting other venues later in the year – when we at NGW know where you will too.

    Last rites for the Abbey Light Railway. Picture by Michael Chapman

    Some sad news too – last weekend saw the demolition of one of those fascinating little private lines that add so much to the variety of the narrow gauge world. The Abbey Light Railway, near Leeds, has closed following the recent death of its owner, Peter Lowe. The three-quarter mile 2ft gauge line had been operating since 1974, but last weekend NGW correspondent Michael Chapman was present as it was dismantled, the rails going to a private line in Hampshire, the carriages to the North Ings Farm line and the diesel locos, for now, to the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway at Gelert’s Farm, Porthmadog.

    We’ll be reporting in full on the event in the next edition of NGW but Michael tells us it was a very sad occasion – you don’t expect to see lines disappear into oblivion these days…

    To end on a happier note with two dates for your diary, 6th-7th April and 18th-19th May. These will see two of the major events we at the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway have come up with to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the line’s reopening by enthusiasts. I’ll tell you more about that next time…