Steamy fun in the Forest of Dean
Rishra and Ursula
13 September 2003  
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In September last year I visited the open day at Alan Keef Ltd, near Ross on Wye. Once again, fine weather was forecast - off we went! This year "Rishra" the unique Baguley-built locomotive from the Leighton Buzzard Light Railway would visit, to share the work with local "Taffy" on the 2' gauge demonstration track. In the event, Taffy had been steamed, only to "fail" with a problem in the valve motion - so Rishra would have to work
Geoff’s Rail Diaries
single-handed. Does this tiny loco possess the tallest chimney in preservation? As usual, there was plenty of other railway interest to examine, and a couple of hours passed very quickly. The pork and stuffing baps were every bit as good as last year too, after which we decided to forego a visit to the bouncy castle and set off down the road to Perrygrove. Link: Alan Keef Ltd
At the controls of Rishra Out on the "Main Line" At the "station" Running through the works yard Posing At the engine shed On the multi-gauge track Ursula at Perrygrove station Posing at Perrygrove Backlit steam at Oakiron Riding shotgun! - out on the main line On the bank approaching Oakiron Archetypal English Estate Railway
The 15" gauge Perrygrove Railway near Coleford is home to two steam locomotives - "Spirit of Adventure", built at the Exmoor Steam Railway in 1993, and "Ursula", a 1999-built replica of the Eaton Hall Railway's locomotive of the same name. The original was built at Arthur Heywood's Duffield Bank works in 1916, for the Duke of Westminster's line which was built to the "minimum gauge" standards established by Heywood. And what a fine locomotive she is! Ursula does not see regular use - normal passenger trains, consisting of a Keef-built rake of bogie stock, are hauled by "Spirit". But today Ursula was in steam too - coupled to replica Duffield Bank dynamometer car and dining car, and Eaton Hall brake van. Ursula would follow the "service" train once the latter had reached the other end of the line - and while it would not be
available for the general public (and their sticky little hands?), the enthusiasts could travel on the train. We didn't need too much persuasion, and squeezed gingerly into the dining car - which is just as fine on the inside as it looks on the outside, right down to the etched glass and the copper kettle in the kitchen compartment. Just for a change, I chose to ride "shotgun" for the return journey - seat-belted into the outside seat of the brake van, now at the front of the train, for a clear view of the action. I think I ended the journey significantly dirtier than when I started.... Perrygrove is great fun (great for families too, I suspect) - check the website for opening times, then pay it a visit! Link: The Perrygrove Railway
Inside the replica Duffield Bank dining car