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News from The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway MuseumTuesday, June 2nd, 2020 at 1:00am
Weekly Exhibit

One of our larger items this week. The Hunslet Engine Company supplied several small locomotives of 1ft 10¾in gauge between 1872 and 1932 for use in the Dinorwic Slate Quarries and a further two for shunting on the quay at Port Dinorwic. “Rough Pup”, is a member of the “Alice” class of locomotive, an 0-4-0 saddle tank, works no. 541 of 1891.

Originally just known as “No.1”, when Charles Assheton-Smith who owned the quarries was created a baronet, the locomotives were renamed after winning racehorses he owned, “Rough Pup” being one of these. This accounts for the many decidedly un-Welsh names of the locomotives in the Dinorwic stable.

The locomotive finished work in 1960, and arrived at the museum in 1968. It has only had very minor cosmetic restoration, so apart from the paintwork, is in ex-quarry condition. Note the patch repair on the smokebox.
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway MuseumTuesday, May 26th, 2020 at 12:00am
Weekly Exhibit

We have a number of Directors’ Reports for narrow gauge railways, which provide a fascinating snapshot of these lines. From the Clogher Valley Railway Company Limited, we have the Report of Directors, Financial Accounts and Statistical Returns for the year ending 30th September 1916 – this was the year of the Easter Rising, so some added turmoil in the midst of the First World War. This report was obviously a copy issued to the Great Northern Railway Belfast, as it has their date stamp 7th December 1916.

The Report was for the AGM to be held at the Board Room, Auchnacloy, County Tyrone on 11th December 1916. It shows that there was no capital expenditure in the year. Some figures were;-

Traffic receipts, £8,615; Expenditure £10,099; [Deficit £1,484]
Misc Receipts £1,307; Contributions from County Councils of Tyrone and Fermanagh £7,644
Total net income £6,337
Dividends on 5% Guaranteed shares £6,325

The statistics show that 107,391 passengers; 26,564 tons of freight and 7,151 livestock were carried by a railway of 37 miles 27 chains length, which had 7 steam locomotives; 13 passenger carriages; 7 other coaching vehicles; 97 wagons and 10 ballast wagons.
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway MuseumWednesday, May 20th, 2020 at 3:50pm
This week's Manager's Walkabout came from the museum. When the Covid-19 lockdown happened, the museum was still in the process of maintenance, so plenty of working party equipment is on display, together with chairs and tables from the cafe. It makes the Awdry Study look really tidy!
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum
Talyllyn Railway
Join us for our eighth Wednesday Walkabout’ at the Talyllyn. We aim to keep you up to date with the goings on at the TR each Wednesday whilst everyone is on lockdown. This week we are at Wharf in the museum, discussing the exhibits. Watch to the end for an announcement! As this is your ‘Virtual Visit’ please consider contributing to our appeal at, or Text TICKET to 70085 to donate £5 (Texts cost £5 plus one standard rate message) or Text DAYROVER to 70085 to donate £20 (Texts cost £20 plus one standard rate message). You can donate any amount TICKET 1 will donate £1
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway MuseumTuesday, May 19th, 2020 at 1:00am
Weekly Exhibit

From the formation of the Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society, life membership of the society was fixed at £15. By 1974, this had become cheap compared with ordinary membership rates and regular fares, so the rate was increased to £40. To encourage new life members, a limited edition of 200 medallions entitling free travel were issued and these were also given to existing life members who upgraded to the new rate. The photographs show the coat of arms of the railway on the obverse, and details of the holder on the reverse. Also shown is a medallion in its presentation case.
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway MuseumTuesday, May 12th, 2020 at 1:00am
Weekly Exhibit

May 14th is Founders Day, marking the anniversary of the first train to run on a preserved railway in 1951. A young John Snell, as a schoolboy, fired the first trains when the Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society took over operation of the Talyllyn Railway. He is seen on locomotive No.2 “Dolgoch” at Rhydyronen station on 14th May 1951, and on 14th May 2011 marking the 60th anniversary. The photographs are courtesy of David Mitchell.

John was also an author, and wrote the book “Jennie”, one of the books featured in our Temporary Exhibition.

It tells the story of Owen Roberts who was 15 when he joined the new railway company building its narrow gauge railway among the Welsh slate quarries. The locomotive “Jennie” arrived soon after him and the two of them grew old together. This is the story of triumphs and troubles, successes and failures among the Welsh hills. A story where son succeeds father and where grandson and later great-grandson take over. A human story in which the engines that pull the trains are almost human too.

First published in 1958, and written when the author was in his twenties, Jennie remains the only family saga which is based around a Welsh narrow gauge railway and arguably the only family saga written based on a railway anywhere of any gauge.

Although much embroidered, there is no denying that indirectly the book grew out of the first 3 years of the Talyllyn Railway in preservation on which John Snell was one of the early staff members. The incidents depicted have their counterparts on various narrow gauge railways past or present, at home and abroad. And while there never was such a locomotive as Jennie on any railway, there were many people like Mr Pearson who built some even odder ones!
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway MuseumMonday, May 4th, 2020 at 11:00pm
Weekly Exhibit

This week an industrial locomotive worksplate from "Wouldham".

Cement Railways of Kent by B D Stoyel and R W Kidner and published by Oakwood Press in 1973 lists 36 separate operations. They had a variety of gauges, from 1’11 ½” at Holborough Works through to standard gauge, with some fairly unusual gauges in between, such as 2’8 ½” at Alkerden Clay Pits, Swanscombe, or 3.5 ½” at White’s Works, also at Swanscombe.

Wouldham Hall is located on the east bank of the River Medway south of Rochester. Typically, a line was built to link the chalk pits to the cement works and then on to a jetty on the river. A gauge of 4’3” was adopted – no connection with a main line railway being possible on that side of the Medway. A total of 8 locomotives were known to have worked here; 6 built by Aveling; one by Manning Wardle and one by Andrew Barclay Sons & Co. The latter was named “Wouldham”; it was an 0-4-0 saddle tank, with outside cylinders 10” x 18” and wheels of 2’6” diameter. It was Works Number 1679 of 1920 [by way of comparison, Talyllyn Railway locomotive No.6 “Douglas” was Barclays Works number 1431 and left the Caledonia Works, Kilmarnock in February 1918].

The Wouldham Hall Works finally closed in around 1930. However, four years later, “Wouldham” was transferred to the Broom Bank Clay Pit at Sittingbourne. It seems that the gauge of 4’3” was adopted at this site for no better reason than the fact that locomotives and wagons were available from Wouldham Hall. The locomotive “Wouldham” was scrapped in 1962, but the Maker’s Plate survives and is part of the Museum’s collection.