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Monday, 2 September 2013

Buxton Pavilion Gardens Railway

In a nutshell

Gauge:         12¼"

Length:        320 yards

Opened:       1972 - 10¼"
                      1998 - 12¼"


View Narrow Gauge Railways in a larger map  


Date of visit:     6 August 2013

Key Facts

  • When the railway first opened in 1972 it was 10¼" gauge.  
  • The first loco was made by Shepperton Metal Products and called Borough of Buxton
  • During the winter of 1998, the line was regauged to 12¼" and supplied with Alan Keef rolling stock.    
  • The railway is circular, with a tunnel which also acts as a stock shed. It runs beside a stream which it bridges in two places
  • The railway runs at weekends and during school holidays but not when the weather is inclement (advisable to phone the gardens beforehand to check)
  • Two circuits of the line costs £1.00 (2013 prices)



My Impressions

The Pavilion Gardens at Buxton are what I consider to be a traditional town park - with a boating lake, a river, formal gardens, children's playground plenty of grass and, of course, a miniature railway.

One of our first priorities was to find something to eat. There is a coffee bar but we felt the need for something more substantial and opted for lunch in the restaurant which is housed in the Pavilion.  The food was very tasty and reasonably priced, and given its popularity, we assumed our experience was not uncommon.

I then went to explore the park. The railway is centrally located and, as it was during the school holidays, seemed to be regularly patronised.

 The station platform is readily accessible and the Alan Keef coaches are simple but comfortable.

 The steam outline diesel hydraulic 0-6-0 loco looks the part and happily pulls its train with little effort. It is named after the designer of the park, Edward Milner, who landscaped the gardens in 1871.

After leaving the station, the rain crosses a stream and skirts a small ornamental lake.

The train then enters the tunnel, which doubles as a shelter for the rolling stock.

On emerging from the tunnel ..........

 ..... the train crosses a bridge across the end of the lake and a stream .......

 ......... to then cross a patch of grass and return to the station.

 It was certainly a pleasure to relax in such a well maintained park which is situated in the heart of the town. It's clearly a popular attraction for locals and for visitors - the added bonus being a fountain which acts as a source for the spa water. I saw one elderly but sprightly gentleman refilling several plastic bottles with spa water - presumably to save the expense of buying it in the supermarket.

I assume that the railway is more or less self-financing. The track was well maintained and the rolling stock in excellent condition. It is to be hoped that this sort of visitor attraction remains viable. Certainly the children and their parents or grandparents were very appreciative of it.


[In preparation] 

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