If you register, you can do a lot more. And become an active part of our growing community. You'll have access to hidden forums, and enjoy the ability of replying and starting conversations.

The Forest Railroad.

Discussion in 'Miniature Railways' started by 45669, Dec 1, 2020.

  1. 45669

    45669 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2006
    Messages:
    2,341
    Likes Received:
    465
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Farnborough
    Afternoon All,

    Does anyone remember the 7¼ gauge Forest Railroad that used to be at Dobwalls in Cornwall? It was based on American practice and had two separate circuits with steep gradients, deep cuttings, bridges and tunnels. It was closed down in 2006/7, but I went there in 1989, luckily armed with a video camera.

    I have now started editing the footage that I took at the time and the first instalment is now on YouTube. Click here if you like to have a look:



    Hope it's of interest.
     
  2. class8mikado

    class8mikado Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2009
    Messages:
    2,994
    Likes Received:
    1,008
    Occupation:
    Print Estimator/ Repository of Useless Informatio.
    Location:
    Bingley W.Yorks.
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Nice Thought it might be the proposed Kielder Forest R'road at first, whatever happened there...
     
  3. 45669

    45669 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2006
    Messages:
    2,341
    Likes Received:
    465
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Farnborough
    Keilder Forest Railroad? I've not heard of that, but it sounds intriguing...
     
  4. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    Messages:
    31,522
    Likes Received:
    15,260
    Occupation:
    Training moles
    Location:
    The back of beyond
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Never got there. Would love to have seen their Big Boy.
     
  5. 45669

    45669 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2006
    Messages:
    2,341
    Likes Received:
    465
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Farnborough
    So would I! It wasn't running on the day of my visit. Presumably it's still in Australia, but not in use.
     
  6. marshall5

    marshall5 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2010
    Messages:
    1,578
    Likes Received:
    1,747
    Location:
    i.o.m
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I thought that the proposed Kielder Forest line was to be 2'g. using a wood-fired Fowler loco. - or was there more than one proposed line?
    Re-Dobwalls, before the American locos arrived, there was a very nice LMS Duchess as shown in the photo from 1970 below.
    Ray. 01-70-28 Dobwalls July1970 (2).jpg
     
  7. Seraphim

    Seraphim New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2009
    Messages:
    121
    Likes Received:
    53
    Occupation:
    Engineer
    Location:
    Derby
    I believe that the Kielder project got as far as acquiring a steam loco - the Hunslet now called Green Dragon and running at South Tynedale - and a very nice coach, now at Statfold. I don't know why the project was aborted.
     
  8. Selsig

    Selsig New Member

    Joined:
    May 6, 2007
    Messages:
    674
    Likes Received:
    175
    Location:
    Coventry, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I think the loco aquired was the Fowler "Saccharine" ex Alford Valley and now also at Statfold. I think it was going to be renamed "Green Dragon", but never carried the name.

    John
     
  9. The Dainton Banker

    The Dainton Banker Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2014
    Messages:
    934
    Likes Received:
    1,632
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Over the hills and far away
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Thanks for this.
    It looks to have been a good track with some challenges for the drivers. What happened to the locos when it closed ?

    Mike - looking forward to Part 2
     
  10. 45669

    45669 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2006
    Messages:
    2,341
    Likes Received:
    465
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Farnborough
    The locos. were all sold. Initially, they went to a proposed railway in Dorset, but that came to nothing. So they were sold again, this time to Australia, which is where they are now one. Apart from one, that it. And that's a freelance American style 2-6-2 built by David Curwin which can now be found on the Eastleigh Lakeside Railway in Hampshire.

    Further instalments will appear on YouTube in due course.
     
    The Dainton Banker likes this.
  11. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2018
    Messages:
    2,205
    Likes Received:
    4,656
    Location:
    Here, there, everywhere
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    I visited twice in the early 80s when on holiday in Devon. It was perhaps the most impressive 7 1/4 inch line I have seen.

    The locos were something else.

    I think the video shoes why they went for US locos, the Duchess (I think they also had a King as well) simply couldn't cope with the numbers.

    It is a shame that it was lost, and I am not really sure why, because certainly the numbers in the video, look very healthy. Although it was a sunny day (I visited once on a wet day - not so good). Operation when I went was similar to the video. Two steam locos and then as numbers got busier services were augmented with the diesels.

    I seem to recall that they tried to branch out into other things and maybe that didn't work (or it made more money than the railway).

    Never did see the Big Boy in steam, I seem to recall that it was very much a high days and holidays loco and there were issues with the boiler.

    It was a good place to go, the Thorburn gallery was nice as well for a change of pace.
     
    45669 likes this.
  12. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Messages:
    5,145
    Likes Received:
    2,575
    Didn’t they also visit the GDSF one year after they had closed. I am sure I remember at least some of the engines appearing?
     
  13. 45669

    45669 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2006
    Messages:
    2,341
    Likes Received:
    465
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Farnborough
    I think it closed for financial reasons, but it seemed to do all right for well over 30 years. Did it loose favour with the public, or did the operating costs go up quicker than the the takings? Even if it had continued after 2006 / 7, would it have survived after the 2008 financial melt down? Who knows!
     
  14. andrewtoplis

    andrewtoplis Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2006
    Messages:
    1,161
    Likes Received:
    516
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    The track is on eBay if you look closely! Well, the rails anyway...
     
  15. ross

    ross Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2017
    Messages:
    704
    Likes Received:
    1,629
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Titfield
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    I believe that the Southern family continued farming, and went in for other diversification projects. IIRC, a holiday chalet type park. It could be that such visitors generate a consistent income, less affected by weather on any given day, as such accomodations tend to get booked up many months in advance. However "peace and quiet seclusion far away from it all" is less appealing if it is "far away from it all, unless the weather is reasonable and a shedload of families will turn up and make a lot of noise riding the trains"
    The world turns, and what made good business in 1980 might not in 2020. I'm not sure if John Southern is still living, but even if he is, farmers are not noted for a surfeit of sentimentalism. The line did work for 40odd years, which he might have felt was enough.
     
    kscanes and The Dainton Banker like this.
  16. 45669

    45669 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2006
    Messages:
    2,341
    Likes Received:
    465
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Farnborough
    There was clearly a lot of interest in the Forest Railroad, so the second part of the video I shot there in 1989 might also be of interest:



    Further instalments will be published as time allows...
     
    Monkey Magic and Bluenosejohn like this.

Share This Page