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Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Statfold Barn Railway

In a nutshell

Gauges:        7¼", 10¼", 2', 2'6", 4'8½"

Length:         Garden Railway (7¼", 10¼", 2') - ¼ mile
                       Field Railway (2', 2'6") - 1½ miles

Opened:     2002



View Narrow Gauge Railways in a larger map


Date of visit:     1 June 2013


Key Facts

  • The Garden Railway was the original line built around 2002 by Graham Lee and his wife and the subsequent developments arose out of the need to find a 2' gauge steam locomotive to run on it.
  • With Graham's acquisition of Andrew Barclay's and the Hunslet Engine Company in 2004, the facilities developed at Statfold Barn to now include a fully equipped engineering workshop and an extensive collection of locomotives - including the Hunslet Museum of locomotives and artefacts.
  • In addition to the operational narrow gauge locomotives from various parts of world there are several locos awaiting restoration.
  • The original Garden Railway is still in operation, with triple gauge tracks  (7¼", 10¼", 2').
  • The 1½ mile long dual gauge (2' and 2'6") Field Railway runs from the main terminus beside the engine sheds past further storage sheds located at Oak Tree Halt about half way along the line to a balloon loop at the end of the railway.
  • There is also another more recent 2' gauge railway which runs parallel with the Field Railway as far as Oak Tree Halt. This railway is embedded in a concrete road for most of its length. 
  • The Statfold Barn Railway is privately owned but has three open days during the year for which members of the public can apply in advance for tickets by post.
  • On Open Days all the workshops and sheds are open to the public with unlimited rides on the three railways which run a continuous shuttle service throughout the day.
  • Refreshments are provided in the form of large burger and hot potato vans located under cover in one of the farm buildings
  • There are usually book stalls and other railway traders' stands on Open Days.


My Impressions

On arrival, several noticeboards on the driveway reminded us that the Open Days are by invitation only, which can be obtained in advance via a form on the Railway's website. We were directed to a large field used as a car park which filled to well over half its capacity through the day.

The buildings immediately adjacent to the car park house the collection of operational locos, plus traction engines and the railway workshops which boast an impressive array of engineering machinery sufficient to not only maintain and restore but also to build replica steam locos (three have been built to date).

In addition there was a shed and a shelter for traders selling books and railwayana.

After admiring the static exhibits, and inevitably buying more books to add to the collection, we got our bearings and passed through the main loco shed .......

...... and set up base camp on the green between the main station and the loco shed. This provided an opportunity to take a closer look at the locos as they waited on the shed roads for their turn to haul trains on the mainline.
Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0 Lautoka Mill No 19
0-6-0PT Corpet 439 Minas De Aller
 There is quite a stiff climb from the mainline up to the loco shed which provides an opportunity to see and hear the locos in full steam.  I noticed several keen loco-spotters with notepads in hand jotting down the details of each loco as it came and went.
Hunslet 0-4-0 Statfold and Krauss 0-4-2T Sragi No. 1
 The main station for the Field Railway has two platforms and, by crossing a footbridge, the platform for the recently added two foot gauge line can be accessed.

Eventually, after watching a few trains come and go, I hopped aboard one of the trains and made my way down the line. First, the train crossed the branch to the loco sheds, crossed the standard gauge line and then passed the junction for the original Garden Railway.

About half way along the Field Railway, we passed through Oak Tree Halt, where the Up train was waiting on the loop and another train simmered on the parallel 2' gauge railway.

 After exchanging tokens, we made out way out into the fields towards the balloon loop which marks the end of the line.

....where another train was waiting to take the line back to the main site. I decided to leave the train here and get a few lineside shots as I strolled back up the line. After taking a photo of my train and its loco .......

.... I watched the loco which would haul the train back up the line couple up.

I also took a moment to admire the quality of the trackwork which on the main Field Railway is dual gauge (2' and 2'6") for its entire length.

As I meandered back along the line I got a shot of the next train, steaming its way down the line towards the balloon loop.

and then watched my own train on its return journey up the line.

I then found a comfortable position beside the line on a slight incline which gave an opportunity to film some trains steaming up the bank with their regulators open. Here I caught my train loco on her return journey with another train.

...... followed after a short while by the line's Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0WT, Bronllwyd in her Surrey County Council livery, piloting the line's O&K 0-6-0TT former Sragi Sugar Mills loco No. 14 on a goods train.

There was considerable activity going on at Oak Tree Halt ......

.... where I paused for a while to see the goods train returning ......

.... before taking a slight diversion to view the carriage shed, where more of the line's fleet are stored ........
...... including some Hunslets in various stages of restoration.

 .... and various other locos, such as this Porter, which look badly in need of considerable TLC.

 Strolling alongside the line between Oak Tree Halt and the main terminus there were many vantage points for photos, one of which afforded an opportunity to see the Land Rover railmotor

and the last Hunslet loco to be built at the Jack Lane works, Trangkil No. 4 on a mixed train.......

 ..... and 2'6" gauge 0-4-0 Pakis Baru No.1 on a double header with articulated 0-4-4-0T Pakis Baru No. 5.

 Hardly a moment goes by without another train steaming into view. This time it was 0-4-2T Hunslet Josephine.

Before making my way back to the terminus and 'base camp', I spent a while in the garden, watching the train chug its way round the Garden Railway, which is indeed in a very fine setting.

Considering the engine shed is only about ten years old, it has been lovingly constructed in the style of the period when narrow gauge railways were becoming established.

 We then decided to partake of some refreshment in the barn where the queues for food had died down but the range of grub was in no way diminished.

 The level of activity on the railway during the Open Day is very impressive. It looked as if every working loco was in steam and rostered on a rolling basis to strut its stuff on the railway. As a consequence, there was always something happening and something to see. For narrow gauge locomotive enthusiasts it would be difficult to find a more captivating and interesting venue. If I was giving railway events rankings, this would have to come somewhere near the top of the list.

Video Virtual Visit

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