© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2012
The drive to Toddington takes us
down the M5 as far as
Ashchurch, where the Dowty RPS
was formed in October 1962.
The site of the works, on the
curve connecting the main line
to the branch to Upton-on-
Severn and beyond, is no longer
recognisable, though trains still stop at Ashchurch (for
Tewkesbury) station, and the MOD depot to the west of the
main line is still rail-served, by the stub of the former line to
Evesham, Redditch and, ultimately, Barnt Green.
In the 1960s it was all standard gauge; I remember my first sight
of 6201 “Princess Elizabeth” in store there in 1968. Today
the descendants of Dowty reside a few miles further east,
operating the “Toddington Narrow Gauge Railway“. The
50th anniversary would provide a reason (if one was
needed) for a gathering and a steam up. We’d better go
and have a look...
Galas often mean visiting locos - this was no exception.
We’ve seen Jack Lane and Peter Pan in action many times
- but we hadn’t seen resident no. 1091 - the hefty
Henschel-built 0-8-0T (15968 of
1918) - working on our previous
visits, so if there seem to be
several photos of no. 1091, that’s
Another visitor is physically very
similar to 1091, despite the very
different livery - no. 15 (Henschel
14968 of 1917), which was used on sugar estates in Mozambique
after its war service. No. 15 stood on display, needing a boiler
certificate before it can be used.
The railway has a number of diesel- and petrol-engined
locomotives. Several were started up, and chugged up and down
the yard for our amusement, the greatest of which came from
the efforts with “Ivan”, a 1948-built Hibberd (3317).
Bump-started by Ruston no. 5, Ivan would rev freely,
showing quite a turn of speed when let loose - but didn’t
seem to be able to keep going...
This little railway is great fun - well worth a visit! Doesn’t
Toddington Narrow Gauge Railway