READY FOR THE ROAD. Preparing locomotives for the day’s work on the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway in Kent. These engines are one-
MINIATURE railways are so often regarded as something of a novelty that it is not always realized that as much care and precision are required in their operation and control as in a full-
The Duke of Westminster’s light railway connecting Eaton Hall with the neighbouring Great Western Railway station at Balderton, near Chester, was the forerunner of the modern miniature railway. This line, built to a gauge of 15-
There were already “toy” railways, introduced by Americans, at various exhibitions, and quite a number of garden railways which were worked by externally perfect scale models of full-
The steam railway locomotive can be made to work quite as successfully in a small size as in a big one. It is not claimed, however, that the midget is as good as the mammoth, even when due allowances are made for differences in weight and fuel consumption. Size tends to make the large engine more efficient; but no radical difference in design is essential. It is rather the reverse. The miniature must be made with a proper locomotive type boiler, complete with inside water-
Small but Efficient
The intensity of the steam exhaust up the chimney -
The first of the 15-
wheels, could be made without undue restriction in length, and an ample grate area was obtained.
This engine was built to a scale of 3-
The “Little Giant” was designed to haul trains of four open bogie coaches carrying 48 adult passengers -
The cylinders, 3⅜-
The weight of the locomotive was only 1 ton 9 cwt in working order, and, in addition to the driver, it carried 56 lb of coal and 35 gallons of water in the six-
A WAYSIDE HALT at Littlestone-
On another railway, built later at the Marine Park, Rhyl, North Wales, the best performance for the “Little Giant” type of engine was the hauling of 5,003 passengers by two locomotives in one day. The line consisted of a circular route one mile in circumference. At a later date some new engines were built at Rhyl for this railway. They were slightly larger, but still of the “Atlantic” type, and were provided with two cylinders 4¼-
The principles tried out at Eaton Hall, Blackpool, Rhyl and Southport were adhered to in the more powerful engines made for other lines in various parts of the country. At Eskdale, in Cumberland, the first locomotives for the light railway from Ravenglass to Dalegarth were of the “Pacific” 4-
The Eskdale line was originally built as a 3-
The original line was operated because of the iron ore found in the hills at the foot of Sea Fell. When the iron ceased to be worth mining the small amount of passenger traffic was not enough to make the line pay, with the existing type of rolling stock and engines.
The attraction of the new miniature express locomotives, however, brought hundreds to see the line and take a trip up the picturesque valley to Dalegarth almost every fine day during the summer months. The miniature locomotives were speedier than the lumbering old contractor type of engine used in the 3-
The line, in its miniature railway form, runs from the coast, the terminus station adjoining the LMS main station at Raven-
The other end of the line, Dalegarth, is at the foot of Sea Fell, England’s highest mountain, which is on the road to Hardknott Pass. From Ravenglass the railway rises, steeply in places, nearly 200 ft in the seven miles run to Dalegarth.
When the line was opened, the locomotives were either of the enlarged “Little Giant” class or of the six-
THROUGH BEAUTIFUL SCENERY. This excursion train is taking a party of travellers round Prospect Point on the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway in Cumberland.
The Eskdale Railway introduced the “Lentz” poppet valve gear to this country in an engine named the “River Esk”. In the Lentz and similar poppet-
About the time the “River Esk” was constructed, the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway, to give it its full title, created a remunerative winter traffic by opening a quarry with a stone crushing plant alongside the line at Beckfoot. The “River Esk” was therefore built to an enlarged scale of 4-
The “River Esk” was suited both to the heavy passenger traffic during the summer months and to the hauling of the trains for the quarry during the rest of the year. The “Muriel”, one of the best of Sir Arthur Heywood’s eight-
THE “RIVER ESK”, a powerful 15-
The new engine hauled very heavy trains -
The “River Esk” engine has eight-
The boiler is just under 2-
Many useful experiments have been conducted at Eskdale. Simple vacuum brakes in a miniature size were made to suit the Eskdale engines and trains, and this led to the export of these fittings for use on several of the continental miniature railways which followed the opening of the British lines.
Oil firing was tried on one of the smaller engines, “Sanspareil”, an “Atlantic” 4-
Another innovation was the use of slip coaches. The morning down express carried passengers for a combined rail and coach tour, organized under a ticket issued by the main-
All the more recent carriages are teak-
An equally famous miniature line is the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway, which runs between Hythe (Kent) and Dungeness Lighthouse.
The first two locomotives on this line were similar to the “River Esk”. The engines had been tested on the Ravenglass and Eskdale line, and the “Pacific” type wheel arrangement (4-
The site of the Romney Marsh railway had at one time been proposed for a tramway by the former South Eastern Railway, but the company abandoned their powers. These were revived by the Miniature Railway Company (finally known as the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway) as a double-
FILLING THE WATER TANK. This engine, of a free-
The original engines of the Romney Railway were the “Green Goddess”, “Northern Chief”, “Southern Maid”, all two-
The engines also include two American type express locomotives with the “Pacific” 4-
Several of the main drainage canals and dykes on the Romney Marsh had to be crossed in the course of building the eight miles of line. The largest of these was adjacent to the Duke of York’s summer camp at Jesson. The bridge is a single 56-
Low Fuel Costs
While the railway was being built, the Duke of York visited his boys’ camp at Jesson, Dymchurch, and expressed a desire to see the line. Special efforts were made to complete the 56-
MINIATURE VACUUM BRAKES are fitted to the trains of the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway. The vacuum pipes are coupled as shown, between the coaches, and beneath them is the special T coupling link which enables the buffers to be drawn in close contact -
During the year following the opening the seven engines ran, without any serious breakdown, 106,121 passenger-
For winter services the Romney line ordered a series of closed-
Then the light four-
With automatic brakes, which work instantaneously if there is a breakaway in the train, a tight coupling between the carriages is essential. The use of screw couplings as on full-
Miniature “Flying Scotsman”
When the line was completed the new three-
The dimensions of these “Pacifics” are as follows: The six-
The average time allowed for a stopping train from Romney to Hythe is thirty minutes, an average of 17¼ miles an hour. Ignoring stops -
To accomplish this it is often necessary to attain a speed of 32 miles an hour during the journey. At the trials at Eskdale 35 miles an hour was accomplished, and it is estimated that on a good stretch of level permanent way 39 miles an hour would be the maximum. This would be approximate to over 100 miles an hour in the prototype.
A MINIATURE BRIDGE carries the road over the double track of the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway. The arches have a head clearance of only six feet.
The Romney line has several overbridges. In view of the flat nature of the Romney Marsh, the railway could not be laid in cuttings or under roads, as it would have been waterlogged. But at Romney and Hythe there are road over-
With the Dungeness double-
Signalling also received the attention of His Majesty’s Inspector for Railways; and for Hythe and Romney the signals were modelled on the standard railway practice with properly interlocked levers and points. Developments are still proceeding, and many interesting experiments have been made with petrol-
From the foregoing descriptions it is clear that both the Ravenglass and Eskdale and the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railways are no mere toys. On the contrary, they fulfil all the functions of full-
These railways have proved the contention of Sir Arthur Heywood that practical railway operation is possible on a gauge as narrow as 15-
While the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway was being constructed, several “Pacific” engines were built and subsequently run on railways in the cities of Antwerp, Cologne and Munich. The scale and tractive power of these engines was about the same as that of the Eskdale Railway locomotive “River Esk”, except that they were six-
On certain other miniature railways the locomotives have “steam” outlines, but rely on petrol or Diesel crude oil engines for their propulsion. One of the earliest ventures of this kind was by the late C. W. Bartholomew, of Blakesley Hall, near Towcester, in Northamptonshire. He laid a 15-
DOUBLE HEADING. Two fine locomotives with a train-
The same principle has been adopted by the Scarborough Corporation on the popular railway which has been laid down in the pleasure gardens on the North Bay at that resort. Here, to give more accommodation in the trains, a wider gauge of 20-
A GARDEN RAILWAY. At Broome, near Stourbridge, Worcestershire, a model railway was built for miles round a garden. The line was provided with its own small-
A MIDGET EXPRESS. Another view of the miniature railway at Broome, shown above. This engine is capable, despite its small dimensions, of hauling a train of cars carrying as many as thirty people. The engine is driven from a seat on the tender and is here shown with a white feather of steam escaping from the safety valves.
They are driven, however, by Diesel engines instead of by steam.
Each locomotive, in working order, weighs about 10 tons -
Each passenger coach seats about twenty passengers, two aside. An average train comprising four carriages holds some eighty passengers who travel in complete comfort. The line starts from Peasholm, skirts the hills and lake, and, passing through a short tunnel, continues along the North Bay beach to the terminus three-
Another miniature railway employing Diesel-
At Great Yarmouth a railway of 15-
1 in 72, and then returns to the station. On this railway the engine is turned round after its trip by means of a turn-
Both Diesel and steam power are used on the Great Yarmouth line. The steam locomotive is of the “Atlantic” type, with
Weighs 3½ cwt -
Passengers can be carried, however, on gauges narrower than 15-
IN AUSTRALIA. This miniature railway is laid in a garden at West Melbourne. The photograph shows the builder driving his small-
“Loadstone”, the principal locomotive, is an “Atlantic” modelled on the lines of the three-
RUNNING INTO ITS SHED (left). This engine runs on a garden railway at Crewe. The locomotive is a well-
Some interesting tests have been carried out on this line, and they have supplied the builders with valuable data for the design of engines for this and other miniature railway gauges. One of the most remarkable of these tests was a non-
In addition to the open coaches mentioned, each seating four passengers, there are two wagons, and a goods brake which is fitted with hand apparatus for working it round the line like an inspection car. Engine and tender and all the coaches are fitted with the vacuum brake, which has given reliable service, only one failure having been recorded in seven years. The track is laid substantially with steel, flat-
A second engine, called “Highland Mary”, is of the 4-
Even gauges of 10¼ and 7¼-
At the other end of the scale there are the many railways which have been built to gauges slightly wider than those of 15-
The original Festiniog Railway starts at Portmadoc, the seaport in the northeastern corner of Cardigan Bay, and runs up to Blaenau Festiniog, in the heart of the Welsh mountains, where there are extensive slate quarries. The most remarkable feature of this railway is that it has a perfectly even falling gradient from Festiniog down to the sea, with the result that the trains can be run down to the harbour by gravity alone, locomotive haulage being required only to run the empty wagons back to the quarries. In order to preserve the grade, a horseshoe bend is made by the track round a mountain glen at Tan-
The engines used by the Festiniog line are also of considerable interest. Alone among British railways, this railway concentrated on building locomotives of the “Fairlie” type, which was the precursor of modern articulated engines. The “Fairlie” locomotives are “double-
The Southern Railway also owns a line of narrow gauge, which is the longest railway of its kind in Great Britain. Originally the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway, this diminutive line, connecting the town of Barnstaple in North Devon with the coast at Lynton, has a total length of 19¼ miles, and was opened in 1898. Despite the change of ownership, the gauge is still the
1 ft 11½-
There are some very heavy gradients on the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway. Three and a half miles after leaving Barnstaple, the train begins to climb steadily at 1 in 50, through Chelfham and Brattan, for 8½ miles to Blackmoor, where a height of roughly 850 ft above sea-
In view of the unusual limitations of a gauge no wider than 1 ft 11½-
There are four locomotives in use, all of the 2-
CROSSING A BRIDGE on the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch 15-
“Railway Curiosities” on this website.