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Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Great Bush Railway

In a nutshell

Gauge:        2'

Length:       ¼ mile

Opened:      1967


View Narrow Gauge Railways in a larger map  

Date of visit: 6 April 2013


Key Facts

  • The railway is located in Tinkers Park, as part of the Claude Jessett Collection
  • Claude Jessett began collecting steam engines in 1942 when he bought 'The Tinker', a traction engine which he used it on his farm.
  • By the early 1960's, his collection of steam engines had grown and he began collecting fairground organs, farming equipment and redundant narrow gauge railway equipment from a brickworks in Berwick and Crowborough..
  • Tinkers Park is now run by a band of volunteers which renovates, maintains and operates the collection for a series of Open Days and Steam Rallies held during the year
  • The railway is called Great Bush because it originally ran alongside a thick hedge on the edge of the estate - the line has since been extended to run along the other side of the estate.
  • The line includes a steep gradient of 1:27 around a sharp curve
  • The railway has an Orenstein and Koppel 0-6-0WT steam loco 'Sao Domingos', built in 1928, and there are also several i/c and electric industrial locomotives including a couple of Simplex Motor Rails and a Ruston. 


View Great Bush Railway - Tinkers Park in a larger map

My Impressions

My visit to the railway was a special Open Day organised by the Narrow Gauge Railway Society. As a consequence, we were given the run of the site with special trains operating for our convenience.

The site is fairly compact but hosts a range of interesting and fascinating artefacts. These range from former military equipment .....
Bren gun carrier at Tinkers Park
....... to a collection of fairground organs .....
Part of the fairground organ collection - Source:
 ...... traction engines ......
One of the traction engines in the collection - Source:
 ...... and, of course, the narrow gauge railway equipment.
Mild, a 20/28hp 4WDM Simplex Rail Motor at Tinkers Park
 For our visit, the volunteers had steam the railway's O&K locomotive and ran a passenger shuttle service with this and one of their Railmotors, Drusilla.
Sao Domingos, 0-6-0WT Orenstein and Koppell about to couple on to the strain at the Lower Terminus
Drusilla, a 30hp 4WDM Simplex about to depart from the line's lower terminus
 In addition, a Ruston and a Simplex loco ran a goods service up and down the line.
20hp 4WDM Ruston and Wolf, a 20/2hp 4WDM Simplex Motor Rail handle the goods train

There was plenty to see with plenty of good viewing-points around the site, including one on the curve which provided an opportunity to see the locos performing at their best.
Sao Domingos storms the gradient
 I imagine that a Gala Day at the Park would be a really interesting affair, with plenty to see and do for the entire family. The volunteers are clearly very dedicated to developing the collection and deserve support for their efforts. Many thanks to all those involved.


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