First of several visits
8 August 2002  
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On a return journey from South Wales, I decided it was time for a detour - into the Forest of Dean, Coleford to be precise. Coleford is the home of the Perrygrove Railway, an interesting little 15" gauge line with a difference... The difference is only hinted at in the publicity leaflet (but emphasised on the railway's website) - "Minimum Gauge Steam....". Over one hundred years ago, Sir Arthur Heywood began his "minimum gauge" experiments at Duffield Bank in Derbyshire, and later the Duke of Westminster's Eaton Hall Railway was built, ostensibly as a "real" railway, according to Heywood's principles. At Perrygrove, the Heywood principle is being acted upon once again - it's a "minimum gauge estate railway", not a miniature railway. The usual working locomotive is a fine 0-6-0T, built in 1993 at the workshops of the Exmoor Steam Railway, and similar in appearance to the locomotives at the Rudyard Lake Railway which I visited last year - though somewhat larger. It is suggested that it is the first 15" gauge loco in which the driver can stand upright in the cab.... Also on the line - in the shed on this occasion - is "Ursula", a fine replica of Heywood's locomotive for
Geoff’s Rail Diaries
the Eaton Hall Railway. Other Heywood-type rolling stock has been built - replicas of the Duffield Bank dining car, and the dynamometer car, both in the carriage shed, and, on the service train, a fine replica of the Eaton Hall brake van. The line extends for about  ¾mile, in the shape of a squashed Z - there are plans for a further ¼mile extension - and runs through fields and woodland, with tight curves and one or two quite significant gradients which really tax the locomotive. As a light drizzle began (and I didn't think rain had been forecast...), the driver was careful to feed a trickle of sand onto the steeper parts in readiness for the next run. Sadly, that light drizzle grew into a steady rain. I had intended to have a wander about the woods and take a few more photographs, but we had to resort to the railway's tea room. "We'll have to come again" suggested the household authorities - which meant that she too had thoroughly enjoyed the visit. Well worth a look if you're in the area - plenty to hold the interest of younger visitors too. Link: The Perrygrove Railway
Oakiron terminus - ready to run round Oakiron Terminus - running round "Spirit of Adventure" at Oakiron terminus "Ursula" in the shed The dining car The dynamometer car!