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Saturday, 18 August 2012

Apedale Valley Light Railway

In a nutshell

Gauge:   2'

Length:  ½km (with plans and permission to extend to 2km)

Opened: 2010

Location: 

Apedale Valley Country Park,
Chesterton,
Newcastle Under Lyme,
Staffordshire
ST5 7JS


View Larger Map  

Email. info@mrt.org.uk 

 

Dates of visits: 18 August 2012,  8 September 2012

 

Key Facts

  • The Apedale Valley Light Railway is run by the Moseley Railway Trust
  • The Trust aims to preserve and showcase aspects of Britain's industrial narrow gauge heritage
  • The site presently has a short railway (soon to be extended), workshops, and a museum at the Apedale Heritage Centre and Country Park
  • The Trust presently owns around 60 locomotives and a range of rolling stock
  • There is also a mine tour on the site (check website for opening hours)

Route

Map courtesy: http://www.bagofbits.com/mrt/images/avlr1.jpg

My Impressions

After a large, tasty and competitively priced bacon bap in the Heritage Centre café......

 ...... we made our way to the station building and bought our tickets for the next train.


Our locomotive for the day was a Simplex 20/28HP diesel which had comforting chug on tick-over and a throaty roar when accelerating.

After running round the train and coupling-up to the two covered toast-rack coaches and a bogie brake van.......

......... we set-off past the line's workshops and along the track to the run-round loop around half a kilometre into the Country Park.

On our return we browsed the bookshop which includes some hard-to-find texts on industrial locomotives and railways. We then sauntered around the Heritage Centre museum which includes some of the Moseley Railway Trust's exhibits together with local memorabilia outlining the history of former industries in the locality including brick-making and coal mining.

Definitely worth another visit, probably when they hold their gala in early September.

Contractors' Delight Gala - 8 September 2012

After an indifferent summer, the weather proved glorious for the Railway's annual gala. After another extremely generous bacon bap in the café, we paid our all encompassing entrance fee and began our explorations of the gala.

After a quick reconnoitre of the whole site, I focused on the steam locomotives running on the main railway. Four locos were in steam; the railway's own locomotives: the recently restored Kerr Stuart Joffre class loco

and the line's regular Kerr Stuart loco, Stanhope. The Kerr Stuart locomotive works were in Stoke on Trent, a few miles away from Apedale.


 In addition, two visiting locomotives were on loan from the Statfold Barn Railway; former Penrhyn Quarry Avonside 0-4-0, Marchlyn:

and another former Penrhyn Quarry loco, Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0 WT, Bronllywyd, resplendent in its original Surrey County Council livery.

These locos performed a shuttle service alternating hauling the passenger train and returning with a goods train. For example, Stanhope arrives at the station with an Up passenger while the Joffre is about to depart with a Down goods.

Later, the Joffre returns up the line with the passenger train.

After a couple of train movements, it's Stanhope's turn to take the goods train down the line.

.... which Bronllywyd which Bronllywyd later brings back up the line,

...... and so on.

I then turned my attention to the industrial diesels and battery locos, many of which were cranked-up and running for the day.

The diesels ran a shuttle service with two trains; one of tipplers and another of mixed goods between the shed sidings........


....... and some temporary contractors' tracks laid on the field behind the main yard.

During the day various locos performed this role, such as a Deutz diesel,

..... a simplex railmotor, 

 .... or two.
 
and a Ruston diesel.........

.... or two.
 

and a Simplex battery loco.

Some time was also spend exploring the main loco shed which, in addition to some of the Railway Trust's collection of 60 locomotives .........

 ....... there were some model railway layouts and traders' stalls.

We spent almost the entire day at the gala. There was indeed a great deal to see and do. We could, for example, have explored the coal mine and ridden once more on the train. I resisted the temptation to buy some of the railwayana and the railway books which were on show.

There were also vintage cars and motor cycles and a traction engine.

In one quiet corner, a small battery powered locomotive and a couple of wagons spent the day meandering up and down a stretch of temporary track,

while another enthusiast demonstrated his collection of vintage powered road-mending tools. We could have spent more time investigating the exhibits in the museum or wandered along some of the paths in the park.

Given that this heritage centre is almost on my doorstep and, until I started my quest to visit narrow gauge railways, I had no idea that it existed, I fully intend to return on another of this railway's gala weekends.

Video