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Monday, 10 August 2015

Moseley Industrial Museum

In a nutshell

Gauge:          2'

Length:      700yd

Opened:     1990s


Tumblydown Farm,
Tolgus Mount,
West Cornwall.
TR15 3TA

Phone:01209 211191
Mobile: 0751 1256677




Date of visit:     8 June 2015


Key Facts

  • The museum was originally started by Colin Saxton as a craft project for pupils at Moseley Boys Grammar School in Cheadle, Cheshire in 1969. 
  • Over twenty-five years, the railway collection grew to over forty narrow gauge locos with half a mile of track. It became a museum open to the public.
  • When the school grounds closed in 1990, the collection was dispersed - some forming the basis of the Moseley Railway Trust which is housed at the Apedale Valley Light Railway near Stoke on Trent, and the rest forming the basis for the collection at Tumbly Down Farm in Cornwall
  • The museum now has eight locomotives, many of which are from local sources. Five are battery electric locos and three are diesel.
  • There are also around forty items of rolling stock, renovated and maintained by a team of volunteers
  • In addition to the  railway relics, there is a large collection of vintage toys on display, including clockwork and electric model trains from Hornby, Trix, Lima, ACE and LGB. There is also a large collection of Meccano and Dinky Toys.
  • On the site is a display depicting a mine, with original equipment displayed in a realistic setting.
  • The museum also houses a working replica of William Murdoch's 1784 steam powered road carriage.
  • The museum is not normally open to the public but visits can be arranged by contacting the owner beforehand.
  • There is no admission charge but visitors are encouraged to make a donation to museum funds.


My Impressions

Having phoned beforehand to arrange my visit, it was suggested that a Monday would be a good day, as this was when the volunteers would be on site. I duly arrived shortly after lunch time and made my way into the main museum building which houses an impressive array of vintage model railway equipment. At the centre was a large Hornby Dublo layout with eight independent circuits.

Around the edges and in various nooks and crannies was an assortment of other model railway exhibits, such as LGB, ...

... Triang TT, ...

... Trix Twin and Hornby 0 gauge.

Another room was in the process of being refurbished to hold the museum's collection of Meccano models:

Although this was of great interest to me as a railway modeller of many decades standing, my primary purpose in visiting the museum for the purpose of this blog, was to view the narrow gauge railway artefacts. These were housed in a couple of sheds and workshops:

The museum has accumulated a number of battery electric vehicles which served in local tin and mineral mines. In addition, there was a range of internal combustion locomotives of varying vintages and origins.

Outside, a 700 yard two foot gauge line has been laid around some of the paddocks belonging to the farm and on the day of my visit, a BEV which formerly operated in the Geevor tin mine was coupled-up ready for a trip.

 As I was the museum's only visitor at that particular moment, I was treated to a personalised ride around the line.

There are a couple of passing places on the railway, which has a balloon loop at its far end

After negotiating the loop ....

... we set off back up the line.

The loco running round its train at the main terminus, where there is an interesting collection of trackwork serving the various sidings and shed roads.

After browsing the museum exhibits in more depth, including seeing the Hornby Dublo layout in operation, and joining the workforce for a very welcome cup of tea, I explored the museum's re-creation of a coal mine in which exhibits are displayed in realistic tableau settings.

 Colin, the museum's owner, talked me through the history, origins and workings of the site's replica of the steam road vehicle which was developed in 1784 by William Murdoch. Apparently, it was being prepared for a run in a local gala that weekend.

As a narrow gauge railway enthusiast and railway modeller (see Railway Modelling and Me), I found the whole experience to be extremely rewarding. Colin was on hand to talk me through many of the exhibits and his long-term and well established devotion shone through. The vast majority of exhibits have been donated by organisations and individuals and a team of volunteers keep things running so they can be shared with fellow enthusiasts and the mildly curious.

There is no admission charge, but a donation to keep this unique collection maintained is, to my mind, well deserved. My only regret is that I was unable to spend more time there and that it is so far away from where I live, otherwise I would become a more frequent visitor. I feel there is so much I was unable to see and experience in the time I had available.


Friday, 7 August 2015

Toddington Narrow Gauge Railway

In a nutshell

Gauge:         2'

Length:       approx ½mile

Opened:     1982


Email:   ngrinfo(at)   


Date of visit:     14 June 2015


Key Facts

  •  The railway is located  at Toddington Station on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway
  • The line operates on Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays from Easter to September
  • The railway has four steam locomotives: a 1906 Arn. Jung 0-4-0WT, 'Justine'; two Henschel & Sohn Brigadelok(Heeresfeldbahn) 0-8-0T locos, one built in a 1917 and the other in 1918; a 1940 Hunslet 0-4-2T, 'Chakaskraal No 6'
  • It also has several narrow gauge petrol and diesel locos; Lister, Ruston & Hornsby, Motor Rail, FC Hibberd and Hunslet. The Hunslet is used on passenger services on 'diesel days'
  • There are three coaches used regularly on passenger services. These were built by members on military wagon frames. They also have a German built bogie coach.
  •  There is a well stocked cafe and gift shop on the site. 
  • The trip along the line includes a visit to the narrow gauge railway workshops and a restored signal box. There is also a 16mm scale railway layout at the sheds.


My Impressions

 The Sunday on which I made my visit coincided with a vintage vehicle exhibition on the neighbouring Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway. The car park was very nearly full and the site was heaving under the weight of people.

After browsing the bookstalls and model stalls, I had a spot of lunch in the site's large, well stocked cafe before making my way across the car park to the narrow gauge railway station, where the train was waiting.

 The loco for the day was the line's stalwart, Justine - a 1906 Arn. Jung 0-4-0WT.

I boarded the leading carriage and awaited the off.

During the day, trains were running at half hourly intervals, announcements being made via the site's tannoy reminding prospective passengers of the line's location and imminent departures.

With a blast on the loco's surprisingly high pitched whistle, the loco set off on its journey down the line.

Before long, we pulled into California Crossing, where the narrow gauge railway's sidings, sheds and workshops are located.

There was a ten minute stop, to allow passengers to visit the re-sited signal box.....

.... and the railway's collection of locomotives.

In the sidings were some fine specimens of restored former admiralty rolling stock.

 The staff were on hand to answer questions and explain the origins of the various items of rolling stock, while Justine was spruced-up.

We then continued our journey down the line

At the end of the line the loco ran round the train, before setting off at a smart pace back up the line to the main station.

 ..... where she ran round her train once more - awaiting the next departure.

The line's Hunslet diesel, which is the mainstay on 'diesel days' was also in evidence.

Time was limited, as we had stopped-off en route home from a holiday in Cornwall, but there was an opportunity to watch train movements on the GWR where some impressively large and powerful locos were in evidence, such as this 42xx 2-8-0 tank loco.

A great advantage of short railways such is this is that there are plenty of opportunities to get lineside shots and travel the railway more than once - the ticket allows unlimited journeys on the day of issue. For those interested in all aspects of steam railways, this combined standard gauge and narrow gauge railway site is well worth a visit. I would certainly be interested in returning when some of the line's other locos are in steam.