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Severn Valley - 15" Gauge Proposal

Discussion in 'Narrow Gauge Railways' started by SpudUk, Mar 28, 2022.

  1. SpudUk

    SpudUk Well-Known Member

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    Hi Folks,

    Long shot, but does anyone have any details (and pictures) of the abortive 15" gauge project at the Severn Valley Railway? I gather there was a locomotive and coaches on site but the plans changed and it was all dispersed elsewhere. This would have been in the 1990s at a guess.

    Thanks
     
  2. William Fletcher

    William Fletcher New Member

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    It was at Hampton Lode, there was a diesel powered Sctomasn and anothjer 4-6-4 from Porthcawl, all owned by John Tennant of Haelsown. I remember seeing it around 1986.
     
  3. SpudUk

    SpudUk Well-Known Member

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    Yes, the Porthcawl 4-6-4 is soon to be with us and we're just enriching the history we have of her a little
     
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  4. William Fletcher

    William Fletcher New Member

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    The Scotsman is now renamed and at Sa;ltburn
     
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  5. Robin

    Robin Well-Known Member Friend

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    John Tennent wrote periodic articles about Hampton Loade in SVR News around that time. Relevant text is reproduced in its entirety with copyright acknowledgement to John and SVR News:

    Autumn 1986: Restoration of Prairie tank No. 4141 has been making good progress, and the time is now approaching when she will depart for Bridgnorth, which will enable us to take possession of the goods yard. It is hoped to create a combined goods yard scene and recreation area. This will include a small museum in part of the camping coach, a small corrugated iron goods shed, and a narrow gauge line on the wharf. It was originally intended to install a 2 ft. gauge line with colliery tubs, as existed here before the First World War, for the slag traffic from the old forge, However, the recent opportunity to acquire a 14 1/2" "Flying Scott" locomotive prompted the decision to lay a miniature line as could be found at several country stations in the past. Two examples that spring to mind are Blakesley, on the Stratford and Midland Junction Railway, and Balderton, south of Chester on the GWR line to Shrewsbury. These two lines served Blakesley Hall and Eaton Hall respectively. In fact such lines were normally built to service the adjoining mansion, conveying fuel supplies, and at times of fetes and garden parties, passengers as well. It was felt that such a line would form a much more interesting exhibit than a non-operating industrial tramway.

    The locomotive is not a steamer, being powered by a petrol hydraulic system. This is not entirely inappropriate however as many estate railways were early to convert to IC power. In fact the first British steam outline IC locomotive was built for the Blakesley Hall Railway by Bassett Lowke in 1909. This veteran locomotive is still in existence and is used occasionally on the Lightwater Valley Railway in Yorkshire. Our locomotive, in contrast, was built as recently as 1972 by R. A. Developments of Scunthorpe, for the Cleethorpes Miniature Railway. (The locomotive is not on display at present, having been dismantled for restoration.)

    Winter 1989-90: There has been slow but steady progress on the 15" gauge "Flying Scott" project. We have, however, built a loco shed, laid some track-and constructed two points. A workshop is almost complete, and we have added some more stock in the form of a complete train from the now closed Porthcawl Miniature Railway. This consists of a 4-6-4T steam outline petrol electric locomotive 'silver Jubilee', built in 1934 and three coaches which are some of the original Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch four-wheelers.

    Spring 1996: The Paddock Model Railway, with its steam trains, stations, village, quarries and harbour is a major feature and contributes greatly to the attraction of the station. The 'Other Railway' at the station changed direction in 1991, when we decided that the dream of a passenger-carrying miniature railway was becoming less and less likely to become a reality. So it became an industrial line with the main function to serve the restoration of the station, and a secondary one of demonstrating the former extensive use of small railways in industry. To this end, Paul Smith and I purchased a Lister industrial locomotive and the miniature railway stock has been sold. The Flying Scotsman returned home to Cleethorpes and the Porthcawl stock has gone to Austin Moss's museum in Lancashire. The stock sheds were then converted into a workshop for station restoration and maintenance, named 'The Forge Works', in memory of the old Hampton Loade forges, and the railway thus became 'The Forge Works Railway'. Since the change, much use has been made of the line to carry sand bags; lengths of heavy rail; fence panels; sleepers; and many tons of ash and ballast. Alas, the line was to have a very short life in its new guise. Last May we took the opportunity to check up with Alun Rees on the insurance cover provided by the S.V.R., only to find that there was no cover at all. Being on a public site, the insurance would have been prohibitively expensive, as the line had no income. There was no alternative but to close, and remove the equipment from the site. Thus it was that the line closed on 8th June 1995, and track lifting commenced soon afterwards. The equipment has been put in store on a farm in South Wales; it may run there one day, but that is a long way in the future.
     
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  6. odc

    odc Member

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    I remeber taking shelter in the shed during a heavy shower when 4472 was visiting in 1990
     
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  7. SpudUk

    SpudUk Well-Known Member

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    This is terrific Robin, thank you!
     

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