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.

In December 2014, I purchased a 2ft gauge Moes diesel locomotive. It was initially delivered to the Old Kiln Light Railway in January 2015. I started cosmetic restoration myself, but it was soon clear that more significant work was needed, so it went to Statfold Barn for a thorough restoration. I finally got to drive the Moes on a visit to the OKLR in July 2017.

ARTICLES

I have published the following railway articles:

Dolgoch, 1945-1950

Talyllyn News

The evolution of the locomotive Dolgoch in the immediate pre-preservation era, with many new hisotric images

This article appeared in the March 2015 issue of Talyllyn News

Colour photos of the Talyllyn

Talyllyn News

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

This article appeared in the December 2015 issue of Talyllyn News

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. The article describes the railway in the period 1946 to 1950; it includes a set of extremely rare colour photographs from this time.

This article appeared in issue 200 (March 2015) of Heritage Railway

Private railways of the West Midlands in the 1960s

Narrow Gauge World magazine

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 railways.

This article 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.

This article appeared in the March 2015 issue of Narrow Gauge World magazine

The steam locomotives of the Furzebrook Tramway

Narrow Gauge World magazine

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 appeared in the September 2015 issue of Narrow Gauge World magazine

The Welsh narrow gauge in colour, Easter 1949

The 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 Nov 2015 issue of The Railway Magazine

Four East Midlands Ironstone Railways. Part One Waltham

Narrow Gauge and Industrial Railway Modelling Review

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 appeared in issue 105 of Narrow Gauge and Industrial Railway Modelling Review

Four East Midlands Ironstone Railways. Part Two Kettering

Narrow Gauge and Industrial Railway Modelling Review

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 appeared in issue 106 of Narrow Gauge and Industrial Railway Modelling Review

Four East Midlands Ironstone Railways. Part Three Wellingborough

Narrow Gauge and Industrial Railway Modelling Review

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 appeared in issue 108 of Narrow Gauge and Industrial Railway Modelling Review

Four East Midlands Ironstone Railways. Part Four Scaldwell

Narrow Gauge and Industrial Railway Modelling Review

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 appeared in issue 111 of Narrow Gauge and Industrial Railway Modelling Review

The last 15 years at Penrhyn

Narrow Gauge World magazine

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.

Not to go: the sad end of the Corris Railway

Heritage 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.

This article appeared in issue 220 of Heritage Railway

Baguley 774 and the Pennal tramway

the Industrial Railway Record

Baguley locomotive 774 was built in 1919 and is one of the earliest surviving internal combustion locmotives. It's early history has long been surrounded in mystery, wiht some sources claiming it worked on the Hendre Ddu Tramway. New research shows that the locomotive worked on the Pennal Tramway from construction until 1920. This article covers the history of the working life and preservation of 774, as well as the Pennal Timber Tramway.

This article appeared in the Feb/March 2017 issue of the Industrial Railway Record

Trixie and the Meirion Mill Railway

Narrow Gauge World magazine

The short-lived Meirion Mill Railway,at Dinas Mawddwy, is one of the less well-known narrow gauge railways of Wales. This article gives the history of the railway and Trevor Barber's pioneering new build locomotive Trixie.

This article appeared in the November 2016 issue of Narrow Gauge World magazine

Rail Fairs at Ardenwood

Narrow Gauge World magazine

The Society for the Preservation of Carter Railway Resources is an American preservation group, who run a 3ft gauge railway at the Ardenwood State Park in California. This article details the annual Rail Fairs they run, often with visitng steamlocomotives.

This article appeared in the December 2016 issue of Narrow Gauge World magazine

A history of Baguley 774

Talyllyn News

The history of Baguley 774, to celebrate its return to the Narrow Gauge Railway Museum, in Tywyn

This article appeared in the February 2017 issue of Talyllyn News

FORTHCOMING ARTICLES

The following articles are in the course of preparation:

Over the hills: Hendre Ddu and Corris

Corris Journal

The Corris Railway and the Hendre Ddu Tramway ran in adjacent valleys in mid Wales. They both served slate quarries and timber extraction. This article explores the connections between these two narrow gauge lines.

This article is due to be published in Corris Journal

F.C. Blake and the Mortlake Tramways

the Industrial Railway Record

F.C. Blake was a very early car manufacturer. Just after the turn of the 19th. Century, he also produced at least two narrow gauge locomotives. This article details one of these locomotives and the tramway it worked on at the Richmond Main Sewerage Board Railway.

This article is due to be published in the Industrial Railway Record

Books

In addition to articles, I have written two books on the subject (both available through Blurb). I am working on several other books which I hope will be published in the next few years

THE GEORGE ENGLAND LOCOMOTIVES OF THE FFESTINIOG RAILWAY

Blurb

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

Blurb

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

Early research has been undertaken on the history of the Rhiwbach Tramway and the quarries it served in Blaenau Ffestiniog. I hope to resume work on this book in 2018

Blue Stones and Green Trees: the story of the Hendre Ddu Tramway

The fascinating story of the Hendre Ddu Tramway and the village of Aberangell has long seemed lost to history. But after 6 years of research, I am close to completing a substantial new history that will result in a much more detailed and accurate accounting.

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.