Keef, Lea Bailey and Perrygrove Narrow Gauges in the Forest Back Contact Geoff
We started with Keef’s open day - what a lot of cars here already - and wow! there’s a wagon dangling from that crane... We’d intended to visit Perrygrove too - but the leaflet handed out as we went in suggested visiting “a whole forest of them”. I’m not sure three trees make a forest, but there are now three narrow gauge railways to visit in the Forest of Dean - the newcomer being Lea Bailey. More anon... Keef: It was much busier at Keef’s than on any of our previous visits - but there was more to see too. In action on the passenger shuttle were stalwart “Peter Pan” and (haven’t seen him here before) diminutive Barclay “Jack”. In steam, and  shuffling up and down their temporary metre- gauge track, were two superbly restored Krauss 0-4-0 well tanks - the same two that had been in the works when I visited in 2009. What a contrast between then and now! There was much going on inside the works. The frames for the new Falcon (Sir Haydn) replica have been assembled. The unique T Green “Barber” from Harrogate gas works, and Welsh Highland “Russell” were undergoing restoration. The bar frames of the WD Baldwin 44699 of 1917 stood beside the plate frames of Keef no. 94, which will be a steam-outline 15” gauge diesel for the Blenheim railway. Outside, a metre-gauge tram engine “RUR” (Henschel 5276 of 1899) awaited its turn for restoration. The hot pork baps were good too. Time to move on... Lea Bailey: The booklet on sale beside the former gold mine (it wasn’t a success) entrance bore the title “16 months at Lea Bailey”, which is how long the present operators, the Lea Bailey Light Railway Society, have been active here - reviving a scheme which began more than 20 years ago. They have a couple of working diesel
Geoff’s Rail Diaries 21 September 2013
locomotives - Motor-Rail 21282 of 1960 stood ticking over beside the shed, and Hunslet 7446 of 1975 sat quietly nearby. There was some track here already, and more has been laid, with the “main line” extending along the bed of a long-closed standard gauge line. We didn’t stay long - sufficient perhaps to get a feel for this little railway. With scope for a reasonable length of line, deep in the woodland, there’s surely potential for a successful undertaking. We’ll be back. And so to... Perrygrove: Keef’s was busy - Perrygrove was really busy! The railway was trying to operate an ambitious timetable, and a goodly number of visitors (far more than I’ve seen before) were trying to ride the trains. Three resident steamers (Ursula, Lydia and the Tasmanian Garratt) and diesel “Jubilee”, a re-gauged Hunslet, operated passenger and freight trains along the length of the line, and a steam shuttle ran to Rookwood and back using the Rhyl “Cagney” 4-4-0 at one end and a newcomer “Soony” at the other. A 15” gauge replica of a Baldwin 0-4-0 dating from 1902, Soony was completed last year by Joe Nemeth Engineering Ltd. “Blacolvesley”, the 1909 steam- outline Bassett-Lowke stood in the loco yard, but appeared to be taking no part in proceedings, though it did have to be started and driven back towards the shed to facilitate complex manoeuvres in the station area. The ability to operate the kind of timetable planned for today’s “Autumn Gala” stems from the development of a passing loop and siding at Rookwood, the intermediate station at the northern extremity of the line. The number of intending passengers may have contributed to a degree of slippage in that timetable... It was all great fun, though we chose not to ride. Just observing the comings and goings was enough. Links: Alan Keef Ltd Lea Bailey Light Railway Perrygrove Railway
...a wagon dangling... "RUR" "Jack" moves "off shed". Barclay 1871 of 1925 Frames for a new Falcon "Barber" T Green 441 of 1908 "Russell" Hunslet 901 of 1906 Baldwin and Keef frames ...and the steam chest for "LYN" The green one - Krauss 3142 of 1894 The black one - Krauss 5742 of 1908 "Jack" in action A fine pair Stalwart - Kerr Stuart 4256 of 1922 Perrygrove's "Jubilee" - Hunslet 9337 of 1994 A deceptively quiet moment at Rookwood. Ursula on the vintage train Lydia steaming well on the (normal) passenger "Lydia" Keef 77 of 2008 The Garratt on the freight "Soony" Busy... Lydia and Cagney - they both run on the same gauge! "Blacolvesley" BL steam outline petrol 4-4-4T of 1909 "Soony" at speed on the shuttle Lea Bailey shed and Motor-Rail The Hunslet and the mine Hunslet 7446 of 1975 The Lea Bailey Motor-Rail Shed and loop The main line
Alan Keef Ltd Open Day
Lea Bailey Light Railway
Perrygrove Railway