Keef, Lea Bailey, Clearwell, Perrygrove
In the Forest
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© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2014
It’s the annual open day at Alan Keef Ltd - and there will be other railway attractions in the Forest of Dean today... The field beside the works isn’t available for parking today - instead, there’s a free park-and-ride from the village hall at the other end of the village, nearly a mile away - and there, on a low loader, is Lynton and Barnstaple replica “Lyd” - a good start! There’s another noteworthy locomotive inside the works, “Barber”, the locomotive built for Harrogate gas works by T Green in 1908, ready for the journey back to Alston, to enter service on the South Tynedale line.
Geoff’s Rail Diaries
20 September 2014
Outside the works are Woto and Peter Pan, taking turns on the passenger rides - along with some of the stars from “Tracks to the Trenches” last week - including the 1918 Baguley and 1916 Motor-Rail 264 (oldest surviving MR).
Lyd Barber For the Volks Electric Railway Woto and Peter Pan Dads and lads Cough splutter What's happened to Graham's cap? MR 264 of 1916 Loco line-up Lea Bailey - main line-to-be HE 7446 of 1975 at Clearwell HC mines loco In the jungle Hunslet mines diesel Lydia rounds the loop Light(ish) engine movement Soony shuttle St Egwin on the loop St Egwyn at Rookwood The Garratt departs with the freight
We move on to the Lea Bailey Light Railway, where a “traditional industrial railway” is being developed. The one-time gold mine is beside the trackbed of the railway from Puddlebrook to Mitcheldean Road, along which a running line is being established. Motor-Rail 21282 (1957) shunted assorted wagons around the sidings, and a pneumatically-powered bucket loader (is that what it was?) demonstrated its ability to throw stones over its head. A little four-coupled battery loco (WR
L1009 of 1979) should have been in operation, but was indisposed. The long-term aim here is to run passenger trains (should be an interesting ride through the depths of the forest), and to reopen a part of the mine.
Down in the forest something stirred Industrial Railway An industrial scene At the mine entrance WR L1009 Throwing stones
There was a suggestion that there would be railway demonstrations at Clearwell Caves  today. Hunslet 7446 (1975) was standing inside the shed, effectively on display, though there were no signs of movement. The hefty Hudswell Clarke diesels, all ex-mines, obviously hadn’t moved (and probably wouldn’t) for some time.
Last port of call is the 15” gauge Perrygrove Railway. Despite “Spirit of Adventure” and “Ursula” being conspicuous by their absence from service (I didn’t look in the shed), there was plenty going on. Freight and passenger trains were running up and down the line, hauled variously by the Garratt, Lydia, St Egwyn (visiting from Evesham), and diesels “Jubilee” and a
Ruston (”Cromwell” from Evesham?). Another steam locomotive, the diminutive “Soony” was operating a shuttle running along the lower part of the line to Rookwood, where a passing loop and siding enable multi-train running. I could have stayed longer, but time was getting the better of me - I’d better head for home.
Jubilee Cromwell? Lydia