ARTICLES

Away from work, I pursue my lifelong love of narrow gauge railways. One of my earliest memories is being both scared and fascinated by the railway at Whipsnade Zoo. Since then I have avidly pursued my interest in travelling on, working on and investigating the history of narrow gauge railways.

I am working on a number of articles about narrow gauge railways.

THE TALYLLYN RAILWAY IN THE LATE HAYDN JONES ERA

Heritage Railway

The Talyllyn Railway opened in 1865, carrying slates from Bryn Eglwys quarry to Tywyn. From the start it was worked by a pair of steam locomotives. The line and quarry thrived until 1910, when slate production began to decline. The railway and quarry were sold to the local MP, Sir Henry Haydn Jones. He vowed to keep the railway running as long as he lived, and good to his word he kept it running on a shoestring budget until his death in 1950.

This article appeared in the March 2015 issue of Heritage Railway magazine, and describes the railway in the period 1946 to 1950; it includes a set of extremely rare colour photographs from this time.

Private railways of the West Midlands in the 1960s

Narrow Gauge World

Immediately following the Second World War, Britain's industries modernised and hundreds of narrow gauge railways were closed. A few far-sighted railway enthusiasts realised they were witnessing the end of an era and they rescued locomotives, track and rolling stock from industrial

This article appeared in the March 2015 issue of Narrow Gauge World magazine, and focuses on three such private narrow gauge railways - the Wychbold Railway, the Hindslip and District Light Railway and the Wychwood Railway. All were located in the West Midlands, all operated during the 1960s and they all closed within a year of each other in 1970/71.

Welsh narrow gauge in colour, 1949

RAILWAY MAGAZINE

Over the Easter weekend of 1949, railway enthusiast David Elliot toured the narrow gauge railways of Wales. He had with him a precious resource - colour film. I have been lucky enough to acquire a set of these rare colour photographs and this article - still in preparation - describes the scenes he captured. There are photographs of the Talyllyn and Vale of Rheidol (shown above) railways in operation, the recently closed Corris Railway and the defunct Ffestiniog Railway.

This article appeared in the November 2015 issue of The Railway Magazine.

Dolgoch, 1945-1950

Talyllyn News

The last five years of the Talyllyn Railway before the preservationists took over is a fascinating time. The Bryn Eglwys slate quarry closed, Sir Henry Haydn Jones died and it appeared that this remarkable relic of Victorian times would pass into history. During these years, the railway had one operating locomotive, 86-year old locomotive Dolgoch. Overhauled in 1945, Dolgoch went through a number of interesting changes that reflected the needs of the railway.

This article was published in the March issue of Talyllyn News magazine. It details the locomotive's history in this period. It is illustrated with several contemporary colour photographs.

Colour photographs from 1949

Talyllyn News

A short taster article showing two of the David Elliot colour photographs of the Talyllyn Railway in April 1949.

This appeared in the December 2014 issue of Talyllyn News

The steam locomotives of the Furzebrook Tramway

NARROW GAUGE WORLD

The Pike Brother's tramway from Creech to Ridge Wharf ran from the 1840 to 1957. This unusual 2ft 8in gauge railway had a large stable of steam locomotives. This article describes them, with a set of interesting photographs to illustrate it.

This article was published in issue 106 of Narrow Gauge World magazine

East Midlands Ironstone Railways

Part One: Waltham

This article is the first in a series of four, each covering the history of one of the narrow gauge ironstone railways that once criss-crossed the hills of the East Midlands. This first article covers the fascinating metre-gauge line of the Waltham Iron Ore Company in the Vale of Belvoir. The article include previously unpublished colour photographs, newly drawn maps and rolling stock diagrams and significant new research on the history of the railway.

This article is scheduled to appear in issue 105 of Narrow Gauge and Industrial Railway Modelling Review.

East Midlands Ironstone Railways

Part Two: Kettering

This second article in the series covers perhaps the most well-known of the narrow gauge ironstone railways, that at the Kettering Furnaces. The article include previously unpublished colour photographs, newly drawn maps and rolling stock diagrams and significant new research on the history of the railway.

This article is scheduled to appear in issue 106 of Narrow Gauge and Industrial Railway Modelling Review.

East Midlands Ironstone Railways

Part Three - Wellingborough

The third part of the series covers the last of the narrow gauge ironstone railways, at Wellingborough. This line was well known to the enthusiast community because it lasted until 1966, but it's early history is largely obscure. This article expands and clarifies the complete history of the railway and the other tramways between Wellingborough and Finedon.

This article is scheduled to appear in issue 107 of Narrow Gauge and Industrial Railway Modelling Review.

East Midlands Ironstone Railways

Part Four: Scaldwell

The last of my series of articles on the East Midlands Ironstone Railways covers the system at Scaldwell. This short, but fascinating system ran near Lamport and was connected to the LNWR by an aerial ropeway. It had a pair of extremely attractive Peckett locomotives, one of which survives at the Amberley museum. The article has new maps and drawings, as well as a set of previously unpublished colour photographs of the railway. This article is scheduled to appear in issue 108 of Narrow Gauge and Industrial Railway Modelling Review.

The last 15 years at Penrhyn

NARROW GAUGE WORLD

Photographs of the railways at Penrhyn quarry from 1949 to 1964, at the close of steam operations. Historic and previously unpublished photos showing the Port, the mainline to the quarry, Coed y Parc and the "scrap line" and the quarry itself.

This article will appear in two parts in the July and August 2016 issues of Narrow Gauge World magazine.

Not to go: the sad end of the Corris Railway

The story of the demise of the Corris Railway and its scrapping, told with a set of photographs of the line as it was demolished.

Forthcoming

Books

In addition to articles, I have written two books on the subject (both available through Blurb). I am working on a third.

The George England Locomotives of the Ffestiniog Railway

The Ffestiniog Railway is the oldest railway company in the world, dating back to 1832. It initially used gravity trains to carry slates from the quarries at Blaenau Ffestiniog to the wharves at Porthmadog; horses hauled the empty wagons back uphill. By the late 1850s this method of working had reached its limit, so the introduction of steam locomotives was considered.

This book details the history of the original locomotives used to work the line starting in 1863. It was published using Blurb and has sold more than 350 copies.

Climbing Croesor

The Croesor Tramway was a horse-drawn railway connecting the slate quarries at the head of the remote Croesor valley with the wharves at Porthmadog. From 1864 into the 1950s, slate trains were hauled the seven miles from mountain to sea. This book contains a set of photographs I took along the route of the tramway from Croesor village up to Croesor quarry.

The Rhiwbach Tramway

I am currently researching the history of the Rhiwbach Tramway and the quarries it served. I hope to publish this book in 2016.

The Tramways of Hendre Ddu

A new history of the Hendre Ddu Tramways, its associated quarries and the other tramways of the Angell valley. This book contains substantial new research on the fascinating and obscure set of tramways that ran west from Aberangell, serving slate quarries at Hendreddu, Gartheiniog, Maesygamdda and Talymeirin. It covers the history of the railways and the people of this remote part of Mid Wales.

LINKS

A few other places on the web where I contribute or that are useful for those interested in narrow gauge.

Flickr

My main photographic archive. It contains more than 3500 photos of narrow gauge subjects, both my own visits and selected historical images from my personal collection. These photos have been viewed over 500,000 times.

Festipedia

The Wiki of the Ffestiniog Railway Heritage Group. I have made a few small contributions, but this is an excellent resource on all things Ffestiniog.