© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2011 Industrial systems always had a certain charm - especially the narrow gauge lines, with their invariably wonky trackwork, and locomotives that are aptly described by our cousins across the Atlantic as "critters". Here are three such systems in Yorkshire, long disappeared... On both occasions I was staying near York, and both trips were "shorties" (the Alne trip was combined with a spell beside the main line too). 8 December 1979: Hemingbrough Brickworks was a few miles east of Selby, not far from the Selby - Hull line. The attraction here was no less than six 2' gauge locomotives - the most recent arrivals being a pair of Motor Rails, ex-preservation, from the late Crockway Light Railway in Dorset. One of these, MR 8644 of 1941 "Druid", was clearly in regular use, though this being a Saturday, it was resting at the head of a rake of v-skips. The other five locomotives lay scattered around, off the rails, in varying states of disrepair... Druid is now a little better known (and quite different in appearance) at the Abbey Light Railway, Leeds. The green MR7494, top left, is now splendidly restored (left) and resident on a light railway being built in North Yorkshire next to the Esk valley branch line. Hemingbrough was definitely a working railway; our call on the way back was an ex-railway. Henry Oakland and Sons' Escrick Tile Works was still very much a going concern, but the railway was clearly no longer in use, and its two Motor Rails stood forlorn, one on a partly lifted length of track. I couldn't see their dismantled Ruston - I must admit I didn't try very hard. 11 August 1983: A few years later, I paid a visit to another mud-'ole a few miles north of York, at the Alne Brick Company. There was only one locomotive here - yet another Motor Rail, no. 8694 of 1943, which is now preserved at Bursledon Brickworks in Hampshire. I'd looked in here in May 1981, but nothing was doing. In August 1983, the railway was in operation, and I was able to make a fair record of this little railway. My last attempt to photograph a "mud-'ole" railway was at William Blyth's Far Ings Tileries, in the shadow of the Humber bridge, back in 1998. Sadly, the locomotive had failed. I'm not sure whether it ever worked again - today, it's classed as "out of use", and is unlikely to work there again. Far Ings was the last claypit railway in Britain. No more critters in the mud-'oles... Links: Industrial Railway Society Industrial Narrow Gauge Railways See also Rail Diaries entry "Abbey Light Railway" MR 7494 of 1940, oou at Hemingbrough Remains of MR 8746 of 1943, Hemingbrough Hunslet 2959 of 1944 oou at Hemingbrough Hunslet 2463 of 1944 oou at Hemingbrough Also from Crockway, MR 9778 of 1953 (formerly "Delilah") at Hemingbrough "Druid" MR 8644 of 1941 at Hemingbrough "Druid" MR 8644 of 1941 at Hemingbrough "Druid" MR 8644 of 1941 at Hemingbrough V-skips and "Druid" at Hemingbrough MR 9655 of 1951 oou at Escrick MR 7493 of 1940 oou at Escrick Nothing doing - MR8694 of 1943, Alne, 26 May 1981 MR8694 of 1943, Alne Brick Co, Aug. '83 Alne - returning from the mud-'ole Loading the wagons, Alne Another load of clay for the Alne Brick Co Alne - the critter and the mud trucks! MR7494 at its new home (photo  Jonathan Lloyd)