Industry Trains Day
LBNGR - Leighton Buzzard
24 June 2001  
Back Contact Geoff Jack drifts down towards Leadhills station
Here's another of those places I'd been promising myself a trip to - but never got around to. It was seeing one or two pictures of the "Industry Trains Display" that gave me the prod that was needed. We arrived at Pages Park a little after the day's first train had departed, so we had a look around, including a quick glance at the "Vintage Vehicles" display in the park. The first train had gone out behind "Alice", the rather pretty 99-year-old Hunslet quarry loco (HE780 of 1902). Our train would depart behind "Beaudesert", a 1999 rebuild, by Alan Keef, of a 1979 "Simplex" - SMH101T018. (I've just realised that this is the same loco which I snapped in 1980, when it was used by the National Coal Board on the surface line between Ledston Luck and Peckfield Collieries, in Yorkshire - see link below)). Meanwhile, at the shed, the fire had been lit in "Elf", an interesting 0-6-0 well tank built by Orenstein and Koppel in 1936. "We'll probably do a test run after the last service train". We joined the train - well-filled - and took a ride. The line runs mostly "through the houses" at first, later entering open country. There are numerous stops for the level crossings - flagmen stop the road traffic and protect the train, and a passing loop. We had a long wait here, before Alice, coupled to MR "Feanor" appeared (later it transpired that there had been problems with Feanor's braking, which had caused the delay). And so we arrived at Stonehenge works, where most of the line's collection lives (there are around 10 steam locos and over 50 diesels). On the occasion of "Industry Trains Displays", a cavalcade of locomotives and representative trains is operated in between arrival and departure of each service train. We had decided to stay at Stonehenge and wait for the next (steam) departure, giving us time to have a look around, as well as seeing the "Industry Trains" twice.... Taking the cavalcade in order, we were presented first with the clay pit train - hauled by RH 223692 of 1943, ex William Blyth. Next was the sand train - "topped and tailed" by "Arkle" MR7108 of 1936 and "Damredub" MR7036 of 1936. These local locos worked at Garside's, one of the companies which used the line in its former existence. Gresley's use of race horse names for his
Geoff’s Rail Diaries
pacifics was of course sublime. Garside's use of race horse names for these diminutive slow coaches was truly inspirational! Third train in the display was a peat train hauled by "Harry Barnett" - a typical Lister "flying bedstead", of a lightweight type widely used on the peat mosses (L37170 of 1951). We were now taken from the extractive industries to the destructive! Firstly came the very hefty-looking RH200516 of 1940 "RAF Stanbridge", with a train of bombs (!!) followed by No. 21 "Festoon" depicting a trenches trrain of the first world war. There were many other locomotives visible at Stonehenge Works - some easy to photograph, others tucked away in areas not open to the public. Depicted are just two - visitor "Woto" (WB 2133 of 1924) and yet another Motor-Rail, No 30 MR8695 of 1941, a representative of Arnold's, the other sand company which used the Leighton Buzzard line. It was time for our return trip, behind Alice, this time accompanied by Hudson-Hunslet "Creepy" (HE6008 of 1963). Clearly Feanor had been (temporarily) abandoned! Alice is seen arriving at Stonehenge. Also depicted is Beaudesert, in the passing loop as we approach Pages Park. Lastly, we had decided to try one or two lineside pictures. Much of the route lies between hedges, however, a little to the east of the passing loop, there is a more open stretch in the middle of a large housing estate, and it was here that the last two pictures were taken. First was (yet again) Beaudesert, heading back towards Pages Park, and last - a most pleasant surprise - Elf. We had noted that Elf was in steam when we arrived back at Pages Park - now here she was in action. We followed Elf back to Stonehenge, but the direction of the light and the hedges together conspired to prevent any more successful photography, so we took our leave of the Leighton Buzzard Narrow Gauge Railway and headed for home, after yet another good day out. If you haven't been, put it on your "to do" list - somewhere near the top! Links: Buzzrail SMH diesels on the Ledston Luck line
Alice (HE780 of 1902) and Feanor (MR11003 of 1956) Alice arrives at Stonehenge "Arkle" MR7108 of 1936... Beaudesert in the passing loop Beaudesert heads back towards Pages Park Beaudesert - AK rebuild of SMH101T018 ...and Damredub MR 7036 of 1936 on the sand train "Elf" OK 12740 of 1936 Elf heads for Stonehenge Works "Festoon" MR4570 of 1929 - the trenches train Lister 37170 of 1951 - the peat train MR 8695 of 1941 Pages Park - with "Matheran", "Elf", "Creepy" and "Beaudesert" RH223692 of 1943 - the clay train RH200516 of 1940 - WW2 bomb train! SMH 101T018 of 1979 at Peckfield, 31 March 1980 Woto WB 2133 of 1924