© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2011
I'd been vaguely aware of this little
railway for a while - and was reminded
by an entry in the Railway Magazine's
Narrow Gauge News - "Abbey Pumping
Stn, Leicester railway day". I tried some
web research. Not easy - there's very
little on the web about the railway.
The Leicester Museums' site explained that the station "pumped
Leicester's sewage to the treatment works at Beaumont Leys.
The grand Victorian building and beautifully decorated beam
engines were a cause of great civic pride". The Leicester City
Council's "What's on in Leicester" site promised a "Classics and
Railway Day...Enjoy a working railway day with steam train rides
and a display of classic road vehicles from private collectors and
the museum’s collection. Small charge for train rides." The IRS
13EL listed several diesels - and Leonard, Bagnall 2087 of 1919. I
thought perhaps we'd better pay Leonard a visit.
The museum is easy to find - just follow the signs for the
National Space Centre (yes, really - it's next door). Our first
sight of action was a bright yellow Motor-Rail
(SMH 40SD515 of 1979), bearing the name
"Dandelion", and playing with a rake of v-skips.
We followed Dandelion around the U-shaped
layout (shades of Cadeby, and not much bigger...)
to the other end of the line - and there he was.
One of the operating team explained that he was
none other than the Leonard I'd met more than 30
years ago - in the late Birmingham Science
Museum in Newhall Street. It's good to see former
"stuffed and mounted" exhibits in action again. Leonard is, of
course, a close relative of Cadeby's "Pixie" - and yet another
reminder of Cadeby was the green Lister by the entrance - "New
Star" L 4088 of 1931. ex-Teddy Boston's collection.
I did my best to record the movements of Leonard and Dandelion
- including a ride along the line. The bright sunny day was
rapidly deteriorating, and by the time we'd had a look at the
very fine beam engines, it was raining steadily. Time for home.
Link: Abbey Pumping Station
Leicester Museums’ website
Leonard and Dandelion...
Lineside action on passenger and freight,
followed by a ride along the line