© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2011
Many years ago, as I child, I met the words "Wicksteed
Kettering" long before I had any idea what they might be - on
every riser of a huge playground slide. Today we would visit
Wicksteed Park, Kettering - the creation of Charles
Wicksteed, owner of the engineering company which built
The 2' gauge Wicksteed Park Railway was opened in 1931, a
1¼mile circuit around the lake. Open carriages (park benches on
flat wagons!) were hauled by the two Baguley steam-outline
diesels, "Lady of the Lake" (Bg 2042) and "King
Arthur" (Bg 2043). In 1966 they were joined by a
more-powerful Motor Rail diesel "Cheyenne"
(22224 of 1966) - the only steam-outline build
from the Bedford company, recognisably a
Simplex despite the smokebox (which encloses
the usual north-south radiator and fan
assembly...). Still doing the job it was built for
The railway was perhaps of limited appeal to the
enthusiast - steam-outline diesels are not everyone's
"cup of tea" - even such fine and well looked-after
examples as these. However, in 2005 the first steam
weekend was held and, proving popular, has become a
regular annual event. The railway possesses no steam
locomotives, of course, so the event relies on visitors -
members of that breed of wandering 2' gauge engine.
This year's visitors would be the well-known and well-
travelled Kerr Stuart "Peter Pan" (4256 of 1922), Hunslet
"Alice" (HE780 of 1902) and the unique Baguley "Rishra"
(BgC 2007 of 1921).
Little more needs to be said. We took a ride, then
walked our way around the circuit (pausing occasionally
for refreshments...), recording the trains as they
passed. On returning to the station area, the three
diesels had emerged from their shed for exhibition in
the pleasant sunshine. Duly recorded, little remained
but the long drive home. A very enjoyable afternoon!
Alice, Peter Pan and Rishra in action
on the Wicksteed Park Railway