© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2011 This is, without a doubt, the smallest gauge railway to merit a full page in the "Rail Diaries" - at 7¼" gauge, it's at the lower limit for reasonably realistic passenger-carrying capability. Go down a scale, to 5" gauge, and the elevated track, sitting astride type of setup is necessary. And the Weston Park Railway has the length and distinguished pedigree to merit the "Rail Diaries" treatment. The pedigree is the late lamented Hilton Valley Railway, a lovely little line which ran beside the brook at the village between Wolverhampton and Bridgnorth. Subsequent to the death of its owner, the line closed in 1979, and some of the redundant equipment was used to create the railway at Weston Park. On this occasion, a number of visiting steam locos would be present and in action - after neglecting the line for far too long, I felt a visit was required - here are the results... The plan for the day seemed to be based around the operation of a public passenger service, hauled by the red 0-4-2T "Gillian" and "Peggy", the resident 2-4-2. The pair would haul a lengthy rake of passenger stock, followed at a decent interval by three other locos - 2-8-0 "Old Rube", another American-outline visitor, then ""Kanchenjunga", a fine model based on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway prototypes, and lastly "Gloin", clearly modelled on the Hunslet quarry locomotives of the North Wales slate industry. The long out-and-back layout, with passing loop halfway, permitted another train to run - consisting of a pair of north American- style diesels and a number of (passenger carrying!) freight vehicles. I'm not sure how long the line is - I'd guess at around ¾mile from end to end - certainly a fair walk through the attractive grounds to take the "out in the sticks" pictures. Visiting the railway requires admission to the grounds of Weston Park - a reasonable £3.50, with plenty to interest those members of the party who might need a little persuading if a visit is intended... Links: Weston Park The old Hilton Valley Railway The new Hilton Valley Railway
Gillian and Peggy at Weston Park station Approaching the station "Old Rube" returns from a trip down the line "Kanchenjunga" approaches Weston Park station "Gloin" returns from a trip down the line "Old Rube" at Weston Park station Kanchenjunga is "out in the sticks" Gillian and Peggy approach the return loop at the end of the line Beginning the return journey Kanchenjunga leaves the return loop... ...and heads for home "Gloin" closes the loop Gillian and Peggy in the woods Gillian and Peggy in the woods Traversing the far-end loop Is this what's known as a "full head of steam"??? Those diesels... Lineside Passing trains, mostly steam, out on the Weston Park line Riding the line Edited highlights... A ride around the Weston Park Railway in the company of Gillian and Peggy