Back to The Amerton Railway Home Page

16-17.06.12 Summer Steam Gala

Chris Hughes (Eggheads 2003–present, Mastermind 1983, International Mastermind, and Brain of Britain 2005) opened the Gala at 1pm on
Saturday 16th June. A little-known fact is that he was a train driver and railway worker in London before his retirement and involvement in television.

Chris addresses the assembled steam enthusiasts, and waves a green flag to open the 2012 Gala.

The six steam locomotives pulling both passenger and goods trains were:

3 residents at Amerton:

  • Bagnall Isabel built Stafford 1897
  • Jennie built Tamworth 2005
  • Paddy built Derbyshire by Dave Potter in his garden using a steam winch from an old steam boat and a marine vertical boiler

3 Visitors:
Peter Pan, just awarded "The Most Travelled Narrow Gauge Locomotive in Britain" Award at the National Railway Museum, York

Hudswell Clark Bronllwyd built 1930, a recently restored industrial narrow gauge locomotive, one of the very few of this class of well tank locomotives still extant in the world. Built for Surrey County Council for use in building the Guildford by-pass by Hudswell Clark, GP39 no. 1643 of 1930 is a 0-6-0 well tank. She was later sold to the Penrhyn Slate Quarries in North Wales, where she was renamed Bronllwyd. The boiler was later used on Hunslet Pamela and the frames were purchased as scrap by Alan Bloom of the Bressingham Steam Museum. Later, the boiler from Kerr Stuart Stanhope was acquired, and after a complete rebuild the locomotive went into service in 1969 on the Nursery Line at Bressingham. Recently purchased by Statfold, the locomotive has been completely overhauled, with a new Kerr Stuart pattern boiler built at Bressingham. Statfold have made some compromises, in that she still carries an incorrect boiler, and she is presented in SCC livery as GP39: two cylinders 6 1/2 inch x 12 inch stroke; coupled wheel diameter 23 inch; grate area 4 sq ft; working pressure 160 lb; tractive effort 3300 lb; weight 6 tons 18 cwt.

Corpet Minas de Aller No. 2 built Paris 1884, a very special visitor which completed restoration in late May 2012. Corpet no. 439 of 1884 was built by Corpet in Paris for use in a coal mine in Spain. She was one of five locomotives of the type at Minas de Aller, and indeed the colliery built a sixth example from spare parts. Minas de Aller 2 is most unusual in that she uses an indirect drive and Brown Valve Gear, an unusual arrangement more usually found on rack locomotives, particularly on those constructed by the Swiss Locomotive Works at Winterthur. She is also technically a pannier tank, and has Salter valves on the dome. The locomotive remained in use until the 1960s before being preserved in Spain. Statfold imported the locomotive in 2010 and since then has undertaken restoration to the original condition, complete with a shapely weatherboard cab. The 2012 Amerton Gala was her first outing away from Statfold, having only returned to steam in May 2012.

The interesting arrangements for coupling Minas de Aller 2 to the passenger train (note the piece of string keeping the brake pipes tidy)

Other items on display were the 16mm Birches Barn Extension Railway (Pushchair and Wheelchair Park)

and Wickham 7597 of 1957. Permanent Way Trolley DB965082 was built by D. Wickham and Company Limited of Ware, Hertfordshire, and dispatched to British Rail at Queen Street, York along with six others on 21.01.1957. DB965082 also had a British Rail (ER) CCE departmental number DE320500 The JAP 1323cc engine was no. DTZ/F 4354/4. Originally a type 17A standard gauge petrol-engined trolley, she was converted to diesel by British Rail, and served at Glaisdale in 1965, then at Grosmont in 1967, where she was reported to need urgent attention in March 1973. Later she was allocated to Castleton in 1976 and to Battersby in 1984. At the end of her working life, she was sold in December 1986 from Darlington ODM depot to Durham Narrow Gauge Group, and regauged to 2ft narrow gauge for use on the South Tynedale Railway in 1987-88. She was on display at the East Anglian Railway Museum at Chapel and Wakes Colne 14-15.08.1999. Finally she arrived at Amerton on 22.04.2012. She is in working order, and is used on light freight trains.
For this information we are indebted to Keith Gunner, who has had an interest in the Wickham Company for many years, and is co-author of The Wickham Works List (Dennis Duck Publications 2004).

Length 7ft 4 inch (2235mm)
Width 5ft 6 inch (1676mm)
Height 6ft 0 inch (1829mm)
Wheel diameter 1ft 2 inch (356mm)
Green body with black underframe

All photos in this item are by Kris Douglas

Sorry about the wind and rain - our download and installation of the British Summer failed!

Compilation of trains plus speech and waving of a green flag by Chris Hughes of TV Egghead and Mastermind fame (tordy64)

Compilation starting with Bronllwyd and Minas de Aller 2 on passenger trains (quothick)

Wolfie1877si videos 16.06.12:
Minas de Aller 2 on passenger train
Bronllwyd on freight
Jennie and Peter Pan on passenger train
Isabel on skips
Wilbrighton 2 Paddy on skips
Wilbrighton 2 Paddy on skips
Peter Pan and Jennie on freight

"On Shed", a very interesting time-lapse view of the shed (tim2thousand)

05.05.12 Grand Opening of the 2012 Season

The Grand Opening of the season was held at 1300 on 5th May 2012 by the Worshipful the Mayor of Stafford Borough, Councillor Stan Highfield.

Compilation of trains plus speech and cutting of the tape by the Mayor (hughwilliamsfulford)
Another compilation of trains during the opening day (tordy64)

27.04.12 April 2012 Newsletter

This is in .pdf format, and so to read it you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. It is dated April 2012. It contains highlights on:
  • Locomotive progress, notably:
    Isabel, Jennie and Paddy passed their steam tests on 07.03.12;
    Lorna Doone: work continues on the horns and axleboxes (photos)
  • Extensive works carried out on the new workshop in order to pass the Building Regulations and Fire Regulations
  • Carriage Shed doors newly clad (photo)
  • Photo of Isabel approaching the platform at Chartley Road in late 2011
  • Waterhouses Signal Box: new wooden finials turned on a lathe

21.10.11 September 2011 Newsletter

This is in .pdf format, and so to read it you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. It is dated September 2011. It contains highlights on:
  • Permanent way re-alignment and ballast retention (photo)
  • Locomotive progress, notably:
    Isabel fully re-assembled and inspected by 20.07.11; she has also visited the Apedale "Made in Staffordshire" Weekend (photo);
    Lorna Doone: interesting historical stamp found on the cylinder castings (photo); frames shotblasted, and driving axle horns and keeps assembled (photo);
    Paddy has been away at Wicksteed, Leighton Buzzard (photo) and Hollycombe since September 2010;
    Jennie has entered regular service alongside Isabel, and she has also served at Hollycombe and Wicksteed;
    Jack arrived at Amerton in May 2011, was steam tested on 21.05.11, served during the Bank Holiday Weekend and at the Amerton Gala, and returned home on 19.06.11;
    Gordon is running well and sees a lot of use for off-peak diesel services (photo)
  • All the station fencing has been replaced at considerable cost
  • Waterhouses Signal Box: lower external boards completed (photo); thought given to the foundations and permanent positioning
  • Amerton Gala photos of Statfold, Jack, Jennie and Peter Pan

20.09.11 Isabel at the Apedale "Made in Staffordshire" Weekend

She ran continuously with three other locomotives, pulling two different sets of rolling stock (passenger and freight).


18 - 19.06.11 Amerton Gala 2011

Here is the Gala Poster in .pdf format. To read it you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader: Gala 2011 Poster

Here are some links to YouTube videos of the very successful 2011 Gala. To see these you will need a suitable media player:

General compilations:

Jack and Statfold on freight
Jack light engine

Peter Pan on passenger (oakparkrunner)
Peter Pan on passenger (tordy64)

Jennie on freight

29.05.11 Jack in harness, and Isabel in refit

Jack running the steam service while Isabel was out of traffic,
and Jennie was away at Hollycombe.

Jack performed well on the first major running since extensive work
was carried out on the boiler.

Isabel completing her refit in the workshop, showing progress on
re-alignment of her chimney (a digital spirit level was used to check
that the taper on the chimney did not cause optical illusions in the
confines of the workshop), and progress on the fitting of the tank.

08.05.11 Low Loader Movements

Preparation for the Gala: Jack arriving and being moved to the shed from the head shunt.

Hunslet Wren Jennie leaving for her trip to run at Hollycombe.

Leaving the loading spur

Nearly there

The trailer was an extended one as after leaving Amerton with Jennie on board Graham Morris called at Apedale to collect Paddy for her trip to the Leighton Buzzard Railway "Coffee Pot Fest".

08.04.11 Some recent work carried out on site

Ballasting the carriage shed was a bit of a challenge but we managed to put our rail mounted bumper to good use to trickle the stone into the centre of the track.

The edges were even more of a challenge and we adapted our technique slightly by adding some corrugated iron sheets to a small wagon which we towed behind the dumper wagon and then trickled stone onto it. This was very successful and saved a lot of time and effort moving the stone around by hand. In this picture the all important drain we added to pipe the water out of the carriage shed can just be seen before it is buried forever.

As the carriage shed ballasting drew successfully to a close the next project was looming up and it was an even bigger challenge. We needed to put quite a lot of gravel boards around the track to prevent the ballast from being “walked” away from the sleepers by the sheep who we share the site with for a lot of the year. This was going to be pinned in place with lengths of Middleborough transporter bridge rail which is beyond use as anything else.

One load outside the workshop waiting to be sawn up into 1m lengths! There were another two loads just like it!

The sawing gang in action, I was pleasantly surprised to find that when it all was cut into 1m lengths it only wore out two saw blades using our workshop hacksaw.

Getting the 1 metre lengths of rail into the ground was never going to be easy! Plan A was to drive them in manually using a sledge hammer. This soon failed as the ground at the edge of the track contained a large amount of brick hardcore and the amount of effort needed was beyond most of us.

Plan B was to use our Dorman engine powered Monair compressor mounted on the dumper wagon to bang them in using a borrowed demolition hammer. This took a while to get everything together but in spite of the compressor working well and it all making loads of noise little was achieved.

So on to plan C. This was to hire a tracked excavator with a hydraulically operated post hole borer mounted on it, bound to work! So on the last Sunday (20th March 2011) before the start of the running season we assembled on site armed with the sturdy tracked excavator.

The boring method worked well we but the setting out seemed to get a bit carried away somehow, perhaps we had too many surveyors?

Nearly there.

After a while the good old stick method took over and things speeded up dramatically.

No wonder Chris is looking pleased---that’s the last one!

“My little pony” came over to take a look but was not very impressed. The borer produced a nice sized hole and the rail was a fairly tight fit, however it was impossible to get them in a really straight line as the borer was deflected by unseen stone---but at least they were all in, well almost!

So over to the Wednesday gang to do the final leveling and put the gravel boards in.

So now what’s next on the list?

Don’t forget if you want to help on a Wednesday or Sunday just get in touch.

Images and text by Peter Bell

24.03.11 February 2011 Newsletter

This is in .pdf format, and so to read it you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. It is dated February 2011. It contains highlights on:
  • Workshop turnout (photo)
  • Locomotive progress, notably:
    Isabel cladding replaced and replacement of collapsed brick arch;
    Paddy at Beamish (photo) and Apedale;
    Gordon photographed on bridge across the swollen Amerton Brook.
  • Chartley Road loop in the snow (photo);
  • Carriage shed improved drainage;
  • kink in the track beyond Stump Siding adjusted;
  • refurbished dolly signal in the loop at Amerton (photo).

18.12.10 The Big Freeze

All concerned are to be congratulated on the success of the Santa Special operations during a period of extreme weather when temperatures reached -18 degrees C. Wheel slips were commonplace, and whenever the locomotive water supply hosepipe was put down it froze solid! The photographs below are by Tim Cheeseman, Stephen Bell and Peter Bell. See also the YouTube video Isabel leaving Amerton Station during the Big Freeze. To see this you will need a suitable Media Player.


Loading ballast for the Carriage Shed improvements
from the car park during a sunny interval between Santa Specials:
Hunslet Gordon, dump truck on flat wagon, and JCB backhoe excavator

Baguley Dreadnought leaves Amerton Station
with Santa's Grotto in tow

Snow cleared from the platform edge and Christmas lanterns put up
ready for the Santa Specials

Bagnall Isabel heads a Santa Special
at Amerton Station

Steam billows dramatically
as Isabel pulls out

Isabel passes the
Running Shed

Isabel passes the
McKenzie and Holland signal

en route

steams into the sunset

A dramatic shot of the Running Shed
at night in the snow - but it's only 4pm

05.12.10 Santa in the Snow!

Hunslet Wren Jennie heads a Santa Special in the snow
At Santa's Grotto

We're dreaming of a White Christmas
Hunslet Wren Jennie waits at Chartley Road Station
with Santa's Grotto and Baguley Dreadnought in the background

12.09.10 August 2010 Newsletter

This is in .pdf format, and so to read it you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. It is dated August 2010. It contains highlights on:
  • New Entrance Gate (photo)
  • Locomotive progress, notably:
    Lorna Doone completely stripped and the boiler dispatched to Statfold for assessment and necessary repairs;
    Henschel: work has continued with the cab spectacles;
    Paddy has visited Beamish, Statfold, Belgium and the Ffestiniog Railway (photos);
    Jennie has visited Wicksteed and Leighton Buzzard.
  • Carriage fleet cleaned (photo)
  • Amerton Railway Summer Steam Gala, June 2010 (photos)

19 - 20.06.10 Gala 2010

A low loader connected to the Delivery Spur

Hunslet Wren Jennie waits in the yard after refuelling

Orenstein & Koppel Max waits at Amerton bypass loop
to head the passenger train (clockwise)

Max maker's plates

Vertical boilered Paddy leaves the head shunt
to approach Amerton (anticlockwise)

Kerr Stuart WrenPeter Pan with freight train (anticlockwise)
awaits token at Amerton bypass loop

The 5 o'clock lineup: from left to right
Peter Pan, Jennie, Max, Paddy and Isabel

The 16mm layout Pushchair & Wheelchair Park

YouTube video of the Gala 2010. To see this you will need a suitable Media Player:
The Amerton Gala 2010

25.04.10 January 2010 Newsletter

This is in .pdf format, and so to read it you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. It is dated January 2010. It contains highlights on:
  • New turnouts (photo)
  • Locomotive progress, notably:
    Isabel 10 year overhaul completed (photos of first steaming in September 2009);
    Henschel main frames now mounted on trestles;
    Paddy working visit to Beamish Museum in August 2009;
    Jennie ran well throughout the 2009 season, but returned to Statfold for service in February 2010.
  • Coach 1 battery-powered compressor completed to charge the train brakes (photo)
  • The new indicator light on the platform end of the running shed has now been linked into the ground frame
  • Main driveway from the car park to the ticket office tarmaced
  • New fencing placed around the delivery spur (photo)

06.04.10 Paddy moved to The Ffestiniog Railway for the May Day weekend

Paddy was delivered to Blaenau Ffestiniog from Amerton on 06.04.10, in advance of the "Quirks and Curiosities" Ffestiniog Railway event (May Day weekend). This new Amerton loco passed the Ffestiniog fitness to run exam and arrived at Boston Lodge under steam from Blaenau Ffestiniog on a typical "soft" Welsh day (all photos by Ted Mcavoy).

Offloading at Blaenau Ffestiniog

Passing through Minffordd

Refuelling at Boston Lodge

01.04.10 Lorna Doone - The Restoration Starts

With our 25 year agreement for Lorna Doone, Kerr Stuart Wren 4250 of 1922, firmly in place a start was recently made on her restoration. Dismantling went without a hitch, as you would expect from a locomotive which has spent the last 50 years stored and displayed in dry conditions at the old Museum of Science and Industry in Birmingham (see 11.03.03 below) and at Amerton.

The start, almost intact!

We soon had the cab, tank and cladding off revealing the new wooden lagging which had presumably been added when she was cosmetically restored before going on the plinth in 1960.

Dismantling and removing the cladding

The boiler ready to go away for further investigation.

After removing the wheels we decided to turn the frames over using our newly repaired fork lift truck, to allow easy access to the horns guides and keeps which were showing signs of wear.

Turned over frames

A thorough analysis was made of everything as it was being removed and stored on racking specially bought and installed in our workshop for the purpose.

Checking the horns and frames for wear and damage

Mechanically everything is in fairly good condition and it all reflects a locomotive which has had a long working life and has been repaired as necessary but without suffering a lot of accidental damage.

Wear in frame caused by horns moving but before building up by welding

The horns were removed for machining and it revealed that in spite of being tightly bolted these had been moving in the frames. Fortunately the frames had enough unworn material to allow a datum point to be established and they were rebuilt with weld and carefully ground and filed to size.

Machining horns and keeps

Horns partly machined ready to be fitted to the frames before the next machining operations

27.03.10 First Train 2010

Video of Guard's Eye View on the first train of the 2010 Season. To see this you will need a suitable Media Player:
Guard's Eye View 27.03.10

25.01.10 August 2009 Newsletter

This is in .pdf format, and so to read it you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. It is dated August 2009. It contains highlights on:
  • Permanent way realignment
  • Locomotive progress, notably:
    Isabel reassembly (photo of re-lining);
    Henschel progress;
    Paddy inspection passed 13.06.09 (photos at Amerton Station, and on the 1 in 75 upgrade towards Two Trees);
    Jennie new set of tyres 22.06.09
  • Carriage cleaning (photo)
  • New indicator signal on the platform end of the running shed
  • Windows replaced in the front of the Waterhouses Signal Box (photo)
  • Gala 2009 photos

18.12.09 Isabel Recommissioned

Isabel has now returned into traffic after her two year overhaul. This included major repairs to the boiler, rebore of the cylinders with new pistons and rings and new slippers fitted to the crossheads. She has also been repainted and relined. However, after the first steaming some rivets in the boiler unfortunately started to leak slightly. The boiler cladding has now been removed for evaluation and the advice from our boilermaker and boiler inspector is that there is nothing seriously wrong, but the recommendation is that she remains without the cladding as long as there are leaks. She has now passed all the safety inspections but it is expected that she will be running without the cladding for a large proportion of the coming season.

Videos of Isabel with the Santa Specials in December 2009. To see these you will need a suitable Media Player:
Isabel arriving at Amerton Station with a Santa Special
Isabel departing from Amerton Station with a Santa Special

15.08.09 Visit of Nonuyuki Murayama from Japan with his model of Bagnall Isabel

A highlight of the summer was the visit of Nonuyuki Murayama and his daughter Kaoru to Amerton. Nonuyuki was visiting the UK to see his daughter graduate from her piano studies in London. He is an orthopaedic surgeon, and a member of the International Horn Society with whom he was playing in London. His reason for visiting Amerton was to demonstrate his 00 model of Isabel.

Some of the model was assembled from a kit for a similar loco, but most of the parts were made from scratch using the Amerton publication on Isabel and information gleaned from the website. The model took two years to construct, and is an exact working replica, down to the valve gear.

Unfortunately we were not able to give Nonuyuki a footplate ride on the real Isabel since she was undergoing a major refit. However, he ran the model in the workshop using track brought with him.

Nonuyuki Murayama with his model of Isabel

Close-up of the model of Isabel in Nonuyuki's hands

Photographs by Malcolm Garner

Mugs with pictures of Isabel were presented, and Nonuyuki went away with enough paint of the correct colour to paint about 100 models of Isabel!

20 - 21.06.09 Steam Gala 2009

Video of the Steam Gala 2009. To see this you will need a suitable Media Player:
Steam Gala 2009

27.05.09 April 2009 Newsletter

This is in .pdf format, and so to read it you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. It is dated April 2009. It contains highlights on:
  • Locomotive progress, notably:
    Isabel rebuild (photo);
    Henschel progress;
    Paddy steam tested 18.03.09;
    Emett left for Statfold 20.03.09;
    Bagnall No. 1 stored on the Allens flat in the running shed;
    Howard renamed Jennie (photo) and was at Statfold for the Open Day on 28.03.09. She returned to Amerton on 01.04.09 ready to start services over the Easter weekend;
    Baguley Dreadnought is used for the odd Saturday service;
    Hunslet Gordon sees regular use on all duties;
    The Littleton Ruston sees a lot of use on shunting duties.
  • Completed compressor in the running shed (photo).
  • Ticket Office repainted in Monarch and Cream colours (photo).

21.02.09 January 2009 Newsletter

This is in .pdf format, and so to read it you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. It is dated January 2009. It contains highlights on:
  • Summer Steam Gala 20-21.06.09 with newly rebuilt Isabel, Paddy, Jennie, Peter Pan and Statfold Krauss 0-4-2T Sragi No. 1.
  • Hunslet Wren 3905 re-named Jennie on Boxing Day 2008 when she first steamed several passenger and goods trains (photos).
  • Locomotive progress, notably:
    Isabel rebuild (photos);
    Henschel cab, smokebox, front rail fender, brake blocks and boiler - completion promised for 2009!;
    Emett used for Santa Specials, but will probably leave for Hayling in the spring;
    Baguley 774 left Amerton on 21.11.08 for temporary storage at Statfold prior to return to Tywyn.
  • Machine Shop largely complete (photos).
  • New Workshop: Dexion racking and electrics installed (photos).

25.11.08 October 2008 Newsletter

This is in .pdf format, and so to read it you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. It is dated October 2008. It contains highlights on:
  • Locomotive progress, notably:
    Isabel modifications to regulator, drain cocks and slidebars (photos);
    Bagnall No. 1 (1889 of 1911) displayed on flat wagon, original works plate acquired (photos), and now moved into main running shed;
    Jennie, the new Hunslet Wren arrived 29.09.08 (photo).
  • The front window sashes of the Waterhouses Signal Box have been removed and are under repair. Some thought will be required, and a time slot arranged, for the repositioning of the box on its final foundations.
  • Work has continued on the New Workshop, with all electrics, hand dryers, shower, drawing chest, wash basins, toilets, personnel lockers and living quarters installed.

29.07.08 July 2008 Newsletter

This is in .pdf format, and so to read it you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. It is dated July 2008. It contains highlights on:
  • Locomotive progress, notably:
    Isabel boiler passed steam test on Friday 13.06.08 (photo)
    Paddy passed all steam tests and entered service on goods trains at the June 2008 Gala (photo)
  • The window sashes on the north gable of the Waterhouses Signal Box have been replaced after overhaul together with the matchboarding (photo)
  • Successful June 2008 Gala (photos of Kerr Stuart Wrens line-up and new-build Hunslet Howard)

30.04.08 April 2008 Newsletter

This is in .pdf format, and so to read it you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. It is dated April 2008. It contains highlights on:
  • Locomotive progress, notably:
    Isabel cylinders re-bore (photos of surface grinding of slidebars; new slipper for crosshead; new boiler)
    Henschel Brigadelokomotiv cylinders re-bore (photo comparing the sizes of cylinders for Isabel and Henschel)
    Paddy valve gear and reversing gear (photo)
  • Coach No. 1 roof re-construction (photo)

18.03.08 Bagnall No. 1 arrives at Amerton

New locomotive addition Bagnall No. 1 was collected from Cambridgeshire on 18th March 2008, and remains stored in Peter's lorry. Some minor parts have already arrived and will be stored in the crates obtained for the purpose. A more detailed description is given in Bagnall No. 1 by John Strike. This is in .pdf format, and so to read it you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader.

22.02.08 Ian Walmsley Video

Video of The Amerton Railway by Ian Walmsley. To see this you will need a suitable Media Player:
Ian Walmsley Video

29.01.08 January 2008 Newsletter

This is in .pdf format, and so to read it you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. It is dated January 2008. It contains highlights on:
  • Locomotive progress, notably:
    Isabel new boiler and pistons (2 photos of stages of dismantling in the new workshop)
    Emmet regular steam service very successful (photo), and it is hoped that she can stay for a while, courtesy of owner Jim Haylock
  • Plant and equipment: 1940s Archdale Milling Machine (photo)
  • Building and civil engineering: 60 Kw Diesel-powered space heater for the new workshop
  • Gardening at Amerton Station, courtesy of Peter Booth (photo)

06.11.07 October 2007 Newsletter

This is in .pdf format, and so to read it you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. It is dated October 2007. It contains highlights on:
  • Locomotive progress, notably:
    Isabel boiler removal
    Paddy arrived 18.07.07, prepared for the Lea Line Open Day on 20.08.07 and returned to Amerton on 17.09.07 (photo)
    Emmet replacement for Isabel in regular steam service (photo)
  • Plant and equipment: Riveting gear, band saw, drill stand and Myford woodworking lathe acquired. Fork Lift Truck refurbished
  • Building and civil engineering for the new workshop
  • New sill for the north end window of the Signal Box
  • Photos of Isabel at Statfold Barn Railway on 22.09.07, and in process of dismantling in the workshop, with the boiler as removed

05.10.07 Isabel replaced by Emmet for normal steam service

The Amerton Railway is pleased to announce that the steam locomotive Emmet has passed all her tests for running on the line at Amerton - even the air brake pipes on the coaches are compatible with her - so she should be running for the rest of the season and for the early Santa Specials. The picture below shows her resting at Statfold recently.

Isabel has been withdrawn from service, and her boiler has been removed for rebuilding, see below. She will be replaced by Emmet for all steam services until further notice.

13.09.07 July 2007 Newsletter

This is in .pdf format, and so to read it you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. It is dated July 2007. It contains highlights on:
  • Permanent way storage
  • Locomotive progress
  • Building and civil engineering for the new workshop
  • Gala 2007 photos

16.06.07 Steam Gala 2007

Video of the Steam Gala 2007. To see this you will need a suitable Media Player:
Steam Gala 2007

23.05.07 April 2007 Newsletter

This is in .pdf format, and so to read it you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. It is dated April 2007. It contains highlights on:
  • Locomotive progress
  • Building and civil engineering for the new workshop
  • Isabel on display at the Stafford Railway Circle 50th Anniversary Exhibition in February 2007
  • Progress with leg no. 3 and the porch of the Waterhouses Signal Box

23.01.07 January 2007 Newsletter

This is in .pdf format, and so to read it you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. It is dated January 2007. It contains highlights on:
  • Building and civil engineering for the new workshop
  • Jung 5869 of 1934. This is a new arrival at Amerton acquired by the FB4 Group as a "support loco" and is an EL105 type, supplied through Standard Steel in 1934 to a British customer, though now missing its original Jung single cylinder engine and all the bodywork.

01.11.06 September 2006 Newsletter

This is in .pdf format, and so to read it you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. It is dated September 2006. It contains items on:
  • Permanent Way: turnout to workshop and ex-GWR 48lb rail from store at Aberystwyth
  • Isabel gauges refurbished
  • Montalban weeping tubes now OK but life expired; left the railway on 23.09.06
  • Lorna Doone on display
  • Henschel Brigadelokomotiv Klein-Lindner axles, rod brasses and sand domes
  • 746 in use on engineering trains
  • 7471 and Dreadnought in full working order
  • Ruston Yard 70 further dismantling
  • Gordon sees a lot of use on all non-steam passenger trains and general shunting
  • Littleton Ruston running well on shunting duties
  • Baguley Golspie remains in store in the carriage shed
  • Paintwork on Baguley 774 completed to second top coat of gloss green and is now ready for return to the Talyllyn Museum
  • All wagons greased and running well; Allens flats proving very useful; water sprays successful
  • McKenzie and Holland signal received adjustment
  • A second-hand 6.5 KVA arc welder purchased
  • External concrete apron cast to workshop
  • New workshop road completed
  • Cooling unit for ticket office
  • Repairs to second new signal box leg begun

06.08.06 July 2006 Newsletter

This is in .pdf format, and so to read it you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. It is dated July 2006. It contains items on:
  • Permanent Way work on the Amerton loop and headshunt point blades; packing at Bridge 2, the bank through the hedge and near the ford
  • Isabel reassembled and steam tested
  • Lorna Doone on display
  • Henschel Brigadelokomotiv awaiting boiler
  • 746 in use with its generator on the front footplating for a variety of engineering uses
  • 7471 and Dreadnought in full working order
  • Ruston Yard 70 radiator removed
  • Gordon sees a lot of use for general shunting on Saturday, and for all mid-week trains
  • Paintwork on Baguley 774 completed to one gloss coat
  • New coupling spring arrangements installed on coaches 1, 2 & 4
  • Foul drain from the new ablution block to the septic tank
  • A new 18V cordless drill purchased
  • New windows, counter and till installed in the ticket office
  • Design for the new workshop road completed
  • Windows, cladding boards and second leg for the Waterhouses Signal Box
  • Hoses and tap for the butt of Coach 1 and general loco tank use
  • Chartley Road sign replaced after damage by cows

17-18.06.06 The Amerton Gala 2006

Following the huge success of previous events, The Amerton Railway held its 2006 Summer Steam Gala on 17th/18th June 2006.

Resident Bagnall Isabel was joined by visiting steam locos, including the new Quarry Hunslet Statfold HE 3903 of 2005, Kerr Stuart Peter Pan, and Orenstein & Koppel Montalban 6641 of 1913, visiting from the West Lancs Railway. All the Amerton Railway stock was also on display, including the newly restored Baguley 774 and Kerr Stuart Lorna Doone (both static). A variety of goods and passenger trains were run.

Statfold HE 3903 of 2005

Baguley 774 is on loan from NGRM Trust at Tywyn, and after the cosmetic restoration is completed she will be returned to Tywyn for display in the new museum building. See restoration history for a narrative of the restoration.

We are grateful to Graham Symms for his permission to reproduce the following photos of the event:

Statfold waits in the passing loop at Amerton Station with a goods train, with the Waterhouses Signal Box in the background

Brand new Quarry Hunslet Statfold immaculate and gleaming even under an overcast sky

Statfold waits by the level crossing while Peter Pan runs around a train in Amerton Station

Kerr Stuart Wren class loco Peter Pan performs shunting duties in Amerton Station while Statfold waits in the background

Amerton resident loco Isabel hauls a packed train into Amerton Station while Peter Pan waits in the loop with a goods train

West Lancs Orenstein & Koppel loco Montalban brings a goods train through Amerton Station

03.05.06 The new quarterly Newsletters

It is hoped to issue a series of quarterly Newsletters. These will be in .pdf format, and so to read them you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. The first of these is dated May 2006. It contains items on:
  • Work on the turnout to Chartley Road Loop
  • New isolating valve for Isabel
  • Lorna Doone on display
  • Progress with the Henschel Brigadelokomotiv
  • 746 in use for a variety of engineering trains
  • Two complete Ruston 4VRO engines acquired as spares
  • Paintwork on Baguley 774 delayed until warmer weather, but it is hoped it will be ready for the Gala 2006
  • Four Allen of Tipton heavy duty flat wagons purchased
  • New sets of springs designed for the Allens couplings
  • A new 18V cordless drill and a new angle grinder purchased
  • Gable windows, stove chimney and electrical installation for the Waterhouses Signal Box
  • New Workshop Building steel erected

26.04.06 The New Workshop

The only site available for the new workshop was a wedge shaped bit of ground between the running shed and the carriage shed. This is a view of the site after it was cleared and before we started building. It had been earmarked for a workshop for a long time, but it became a bit of a dumping ground over the years, and it took a long time to raise funds for the new workshop. The usual dedicated team spent the summer of 2005 clearing the site.

It took ages to get planning and building permission. Because there were many underground services around the site, some holes had to be dug by hand, and this picture shows John Jones happily at work one Sunday afternoon in January 2006.

Work started in earnest in February 2006 when we used a local contractor, Nigel Hart, to level the site and to dig the holes for the foundations. Some of the excavated holes were quite deep at 2.7m, and were at the limit of the excavator backhoe reach!

Fortunately the weather remained dry and we were able to get the mixer wagon to reverse up to the holes to discharge its load. This picture shows Nick Curtis and Graham Lees carefully placing the retaining bolts in the fresh concrete before it went off.

Soon after the concrete had been poured the “Shed makers” (Paul Richmond Construction) came over and took exact measurements of the base, before the frame was constructed. The building is an awkward shape and we all waited to see how the frame construction would work out.

As soon as the steel erectors arrived on site the weather changed, and they had to contend with hail, sleet, rain and wind, in other words typical spring weather! We were all pleased to see that everything worked out with the frame, and it fitted really accurately on the foundations.

These shots show the shed on 23.04.06. The roof is on and the block walls have been constructed up to floor level.

The really big job we need to tackle next is the floor. Before this can be laid, the track needs to be set into the floor; here in late April 2006 John Smee, Malcolm Garner, and Frank Wildner start the excavations for the track, with Derek Luker just appearing around the corner to check progress.

06.04.05 Stanhope arrives for the 2005 Gala

The Tattoo class Kerr Stuart Stanhope arrived at Amerton from the West Lancs Light Railway on the 6th April 2005. She is expected to stay until around August and will be in operation on our regular Sunday steamings as well as at the summer Gala.

Unfortunately she could only be loaded onto the trailer facing the rear wheels, which meant that she would be running most of the time backwards at Amerton if she was unloaded directly.

To get round this a cunning plan was evolved where she was unloaded onto a track panel and then left isolated while the trailer was removed..

Lots of admiring looks here!.

Further track panels were then added and she was pushed along to eventually link up with our line where she was hauled onto the system by our trusty Ruston LBT..

She was quickly steamed, and crew training commenced before she was tried around the circuit. All was found to be well, and she was soon used to haul passenger trains, later easily managing our three carriages and the brake van with compressor that was necessary to provide the air supply for the coach and emergency braking..

Here she is at work on a Sunday: shame the driver turned round at the last minute!

Report by Peter Bell 6th April 2005

21.03.05 Activities in March 2005

Sunday 20th March was our first day of the new season, a typical cool March day! Thanks to the tremendous efforts from everyone since Christmas we have managed to rebuild and install the point at Stump Siding in time for our opening.

This picture taken in early March shows the point with its new blades being worked on by our small band of determined volunteers. The new frog is in centre of the picture.

Same day but a bit later and we are now using our 1950s rail saw to cut the existing rail in situ to match the length of the new rail before drilling it to take the fishplates.

Some people seem to have more luck with their jobs though, and they reckoned it was hard work----really!

On the 20th March Roger Strike and helper Ray were working on the Leek & Manifold Waterhouses signal box and making good progress, although there is a fair way to go before it is finished.

Steve Bell was working on the brake van improving the fit of the axle boxes in the horn guides. This axle drives the air compressor that supplies the air pressure for the coach braking. The brake van then becomes a very useful accessory, allowing us to run locomotives that do not have a compressor with passenger coaches that of course require brakes. Last year we had Pixie from Leighton Buzzard that was without a compressor and this year's visitor Stanhope (arriving April) from West Lancs Light Railway will also need the use of the brake van compressor. The pit Steve is working on was constructed last year and really helps with jobs like this.

Nick Curtis and Peter Booth find time for a bit of gardening, stretching mesh over one of the retaining walls to allow the ivy and other creeping plants that Nick planted last year to continue growing to cover the concrete.

Finally, fireman Pete Smith is topping up the boiler on Isabel with the injector as he and Andrew Gully as Guard wait patiently for me to stop wandering about taking photographs, and they can then come and drive another train!

Report by Peter Bell 21st March 2005

20.09.04 The Waterhouses Signal Box Restoration

We have commenced the installation of the first new leg to the Signal Box which we were very lucky to be able to salvage from Waterhouses Station on the former Leek & Manifold Valley Light Railway/North Staffordshire Railway (The Knotty)/LMS. It had been used as a farm building, and after a tortuous journey through the very narrow lanes around Wetton, it safely arrived on 8th August 2001. It is positioned at the rear of the present ground frame, but levers will eventually be placed in the box. The box is in remarkable condition, and it is gradually being restored, so that it can once again perform its rôle of controlling a Staffordshire Narrow Gauge Railway! This is a significant and very important addition to our Staffordshire collection. The first leg has gone together very well, and there are only three more to go!

Roger Strike in front of his work so far on the Waterhouses Signal Box
Picture by Peter Bell   

13.06.04 The Amerton Gala 2004

YouTube video of the Gala 2004, with Isabel, Peter Pan, Pixie and Irish Mail in action. To see this you will need a suitable Media Player:
The Amerton Gala 2004

16.08.03 Baguley No. 774

In August 2003 we had the arrival of a historic petrol loco, Baguley No. 774 of 1919, which has been loaned by NGRM Trust at Tywyn. The loco will have some cosmetic restoration work carried out by our members and is expected to be on site for two years before it returns to Tywyn for display in the new museum building.

Baguley No. 774 en-route for the shed behind Ruston LBT 15

Picture by Peter Bell   

31.07.03 Pearl 2 Leaves Amerton

Allen Civil has decided to re-locate his locomotive Pearl 2, RN van and Fauld wagon away from The Amerton Railway. Initially they are bound for the Golden Valley Railway, part of the Midland Railway Centre at Butterley, Derbyshire. Pearl 2 has been at Amerton for almost five years, where she put in regular appearances until recently pulling passenger trains, and at the times of the galas, freight trains.
The removal operation went very smoothly thanks to the GVR crew being well organised and having access to the right equipment. Pearl 2 was loaded onto a low-loader on 31st July 2003 by our Ruston LBT, and the van followed, after the front coupling was removed from Pearl 2. Once again our new loading siding speeded the job considerably, and it was a pleasure to see and hear the 1969 Scammell tractive unit, in the livery of Wrekin Roadways, powered by a silky smooth Gardener 6LX 150hp engine, lifting the load and then manoeuvering around the site before departing.
Before they left the SNGR chairman Peter Bell thanked Allen for all his hard work at Amerton and wished him well for the future at his new base.

Pearl 2 being pushed onto the trailer by Ruston LBT 15

The RN van safely on board the trailer after the front coupling had been removed from Pearl 2

Strapping everything on as the Scammell lifts the front of the trailer

SNGR Chairman Peter Bell thanking Allen Civil for all his help over the years, and wishing him well at Golden Valley Railway

All photos by Peter Bell   

11.03.03 Lorna Doone

The Railway is pleased to announce that it has secured Kerr Stuart Wren 4250 of 1922 Lorna Doone on long-term loan from the Birmingham Museum of Science and Industry. Lorna Doone arrived on the Railway on 28th February 2003, returning to the county an after an 81-year absence!

Loading Lorna Doone at the Birmingham Museum of Science and Industry

Last time at Newhall Street!

Lorna Doone is safely back in Staffordshire

(All photos by Peter Bell)
This very nicely fills a gap in our Staffordshire Collection and we now have items from all the main railway builders in the county including Bagnall, Baguley, Allens (of Tipton) and now Kerr Stuart. Lorna Doone will be on display every day the Railway is running.

Back to Top

24.05.02 Amerton, the Middlesborough Transporter Bridge, and Auf Wiedersehen Pet

Have you been watching Auf Wiedersehen Pet on TV recently? If you have, you will have seen the antics of Oz and Co and also the apparent demise of the Middlesborough Transporter Bridge.

However, here at the Amerton Railway we have beaten them all to it, as we already have part of the bridge on site!

At Middlesborough, the gondola car that carries the passengers and vehicles over the river is suspended by cables from a four-track railway running the length of the bridge. When the gondola moves, it is pulled along backwards and forwards over the river by a 30 hp winch controlled by the driver on the control bridge of the car.

Around three years ago, it was decided by the bridge company that the line on top of the bridge needed replacing, and a company local to us in Staffordshire had the contract to supply the new rail. One of our members heard about this, and a few phone calls confirmed that indeed the rail had been replaced, and the now defunct rail was lying in a heap awaiting disposal.

Rail as removed from the Middlesborough Transporter Bridge
By some good chance, the rail was exactly the right size, just what we were looking for to complete the final stage of our extension from the top loop to our first bridge. A quick visit confirmed that the pile of very greasy rail would be fine for us, and a deal was quickly struck with Middlesborough Council. I think we were given about three days to move it, and once again we were lucky, as another of our members found room at a railway goods yard, where it could be safely stored awaiting transport to Amerton.

The bridge rail arriving at Amerton
The rail eventually arrived at Amerton on a scorching June day, and we all got well covered in the black bridge grease unloading it. We eventually managed to straighten enough rail to complete the line, and the rest, as they say, is history!

The bridge rail laid heading back to Bridge No. 2

The bridge rail laid on Brook Straight
When you visit Amerton, I hope you enjoy your ride on our railway, and recognise that part of our line with rail that spent many years on top of the Middlesborough Transporter Bridge, almost 200 miles away, before coming back down to earth at Amerton.

The rail showing holes where it was originally bolted to the bridge
Peter Bell 24.05.02

16.04.02 News Items

Work over the Winter has concentrated on completing the retaining wall and erecting the 100ft long carriage shed along the rear boundary of the yard. New points have been acquired for the yard remodelling, and work is progressing well.

The Highland Coach No. 5 has seen a lot of work on the body, including the formation of a disabled persons compartment. Work to the bogies and couplings are complete, with the wheelsets being turned at the moment. The scheme for the side panelling is also underway and the vehicle needs to be in traffic for our Wren Gala.
The boiler from the Henschel has now been moved to the boilersmiths and a report on the condition is expected shortly.

10.08.01 News Items

The railway has been very fortunate to acquire the Leek and Manifold/North Staffordshire Railway (The Knotty) Signal Box from Waterhouses. After a tortuous journey through the very narrow lanes around Wetton, it safely arrived on 8th August 2001 and has been temporarily positioned at the rear of the existing ground frame. The box is in remarkable condition, and will be sympathetically restored and moved into position after Christmas, so that it can once again perform its role of controlling a Staffordshire Narrow Gauge Railway! This is a significant and very important addition to our Staffordshire collection.

Services have been run with Isabel (WB1491/1897) over the summer whilst Pearl 2 (Civil 1/1997) has been away at Launceston. The rebuild of Hunslet 8751/1978 is progressing well with much of the works complete, and we hope that it will enter traffic next season. The rebuilding of the 4VRO engine in Ruston 221623/1943 is progressing slowly.

The boiler of Brigadelokomotiv Henschel 14019/1916 was despatched for repairs in October 2001, whilst work on the frames will commence after Christmas 2001.

Back to Top

Send all comments, updates and queries for The Amerton Railway News Page to Kris Douglas

Version: 49 28 June 2012 updated by Kris Douglas