First visit...
Statfold Barn Railway
18 March 2006
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I'd been aware of railway stirrings at Statfold Barn, near Tamworth, for a little while - then in September last year, the Railway Magazine ran a two-page article on the line. So when the IRS announced a visit to the line, I had to go... The Statfold Barn Railway is not open to the public - it is a private undertaking, the property of Mr Graham Lee, chairman of LH Group Services Ltd - which, last year, bought what remained of the Hunslet Engine Company. With fully equipped workshops at Statfold, the company has begun building a set of four new Hunslet steam locomotives - to the design of the Dinorwic "Port" class. In the meantime, a running line of perhaps a mile and a half, with a balloon loop at the far end, provides the opportunity to really run-in any new build - and to have a bit of fun too! (Yes, we had a ride...) Unusually, the main line is dual gauge (2' and 2'6") throughout - the longest dual gauge line in the UK? On this bitterly cold March day, four locomotives were in steam - resident Hunslet 3902 of 1971, the last "normal" industrial steam locomotive to be built in the UK, was in action. Now named "Trangkil", it was repatriated from Java a couple of years ago and has been rebuilt (and regauged) to a very high standard. Accompanying it would be the first of the new build, no. 3903 of 2005, making its debut today as "Statfold". Also in action were "Irish Mail" (HE 823 of 1903) from the West Lancs Railway, and "Lady Joan" (HE 1429 of 1922) from the Bredgar and Wormshill Railway in Kent. Although not identical, the latter display a vary close resemblance to their new cousin (but not to 3902, which was built by Hunslet to the former Kerr, Stuart "Tattoo" design - like another newly-built locomotive, the Corris Railway's no. 7). As well as the steam action, there were another six complete narrow gauge steam locomotives on display (as well as bits of others - including a remarkable line-up of three new saddle tanks - just the tanks, that is, in works grey, for nos. 3904-6
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presumably). One I had hoped to see in action was the former Harrogate Gas Works Peckett (2050 of 1944) - but it stood cold in the running shed in the company of a nice little O&K (no. 614). In another shed were four locomotives imported from Indonesia - O&K 10750 of 1923, Krauss 4045 of 1899, and two Jung Mallets,  0-4-4-0T 2279 of 1914 and 4878 of 1930 (in yet another building were the power bogies of another Mallet, this time O&K 1473 of 1905). What an amazing collection of locomotives! There were diesels present too - three in action, plus a couple of others. By far the biggest is Hudswell-Badger D1418 of 1971 (yes, same age as "Trangkil"), ex-Shotton steel works. This 2'6" gauge locomotive actually hauled a passenger train on the "field railway" - a mixed-gauge train on the dual-gauge main line! Making itself useful around the shed yard was a modern Hunslet, bearing the legend "Welsh Highland No 5" (I'm guessing that it's no. 6285 of 1968). And on the almost self-contained "garden railway" - a loop of 2' gauge track around a pool, just about big enough to be called a lake - Ruston 222074 of 1943 tugged an open bogie carriage around in circles! It had travelled down from the West Lancs on the same low loader as Irish Mail "there was room for one more, so we though we'd bring it". Meantime, in the garden railway shed stood a very original-looking Motor Rail - it was too dark to photograph or gather more details! And finally (I don't think I've missed any!) 2'6" gauge HE 2019 of 1939 stood posing with a line of wagons near the running shed. I mentioned the weather earlier - yes, it was bitter, and dull and overcast too - not exactly ideal conditions. Nevertheless, we had an excellent time - I'll certainly be keeping an eye open for any future openings of this tremendous railway. Links: Industrial Railway Society Statfold Barn Railway official website West Lancs Light Railway Bredgar and Wormshill Light Railway
The Indonesian imports No. 9 - Jung 4878 of 1930 No. 9 - Jung 4878 of 1930 "HE 2019 of 1939 stood posing with a line of wagons..." Irish Mail - self-made mist! O&K no. 614 Interesting trackwork (there's lots of it!) "Badger" HB D1418 of 1971 "Statfold", 3903 of 2005 Next in sequence... Statfold and Lady Joan on the bank Irish Mail at Oak Tree loop - halfway point Token exchange - Statfold passes Irish Mail Statfold at Oak Tree loop The Harrogate gas works Peckett "Trangkil" on shed Mixed gauge train 3902 of 1971 Trangkil - HE 3902 of 1971 RH 222074 on the garden railway RH 222074 on the garden railway (we had a ride on that too...) RH 222074 on the garden railway "222074 of 1943 tugged an open bogie carriage around" Irish Mail and Lady Joan prepare to work the double-header Trangkil returns from the field railway The double-header heads for the fields... Statfold heads for home Trangkil heads for the fields The double-header returns from the fields Three saddle tanks!