The Newland Narrow Gauge Railway

First Phase

I began building a 7.25" Railway on one of our fields back in June 2008. Everyone knows what the weather was like last Summer (I use the name 'Summer' very loosely!).

The launch of the Steamplates website coincided with what seems to be the first consistently dry period in over two years. This break in the clouds was completely unexpected, so I grabbed the oppourtunity. I worked hard to complete the first phase of the Newland Narrow Gauge Railway. Here's a picture of progress.

On 17th March 2009 I managed to connect the major circuit of 3/8 of a mile, although the 'Golden Bolt' hadn't been fitted yet. As I wrote this first passage on 18th March, the first trip round the railway was only hours away.

Below I will add more pictures as time permits.

Here is the bottom straight, situated on the the lowest part of the field. The adjoining land sweeps down to the right of the picture into a gentle valley. Notice the waves in the surface of the field, these are called 'Rheans' in Worcestershire. They result from the Horse powered Plough and Harrow farming method employed some 200 years ago. Many wonder why the Rheans were not ploughed level over successive years, but the Farmers of old were wiser than we often give them credit for.....

Rheans provide valuable drainage.

With the unusually heavy rain we have had in the last couple of years, drainage demands attention. This is why I chose to build up with free draining hardcore and ballast instead of digging a groove for a low track bed that would be damp for most of the year, when not completely underwater that is! Any water that runs off the field and down the rheans simply drains away by going right through the permeable embankment and underneath the Railway. It works like a charm.

Here's a picture of an early passenger trip with me driving the yet unplated 'Bocs Gwrdd' (Trans. 'Green Box'). This long straight was the first part of the Railway to be laid in June of 2008. Rain stopped the job in its tracks (pun intended!). Every grass seed that dropped into the ballast would have died off or not germinate in a normal Summer but in 2008 it just grew, and grew. This section will have to be lifted an relaid at some point. In the background one of the Clee Hills can be seen.

Notice that our Dog, Polly, does not pass on any chance of a train ride.

And now a shot of the top curve at the summit of the line, some 25ft above the lowest point. We made it to the top of the 1 in 20 bank once again... The NNGR was always intended to be a challenging Railway for Drivers and their Locos. I doubt that it will disappoint in this respect. In the background, our miniature tractor provides and unintended scale accompaniment for the Railway. The mini digger may not be truly in scale although I bless it every time I look at a Shovel.

Next project will be the means to get Locos on and off the track, we cannot do that yet. This will bring the time I'm looking forward to, driving a Steam Loco on the line for the first time.

I wonder if Polly will be so keen on Train rides then...?!

7th April 2009 - Progress on the Loco loading ramp

I managed to get a day off and got up extra early with only one goal in mind - To get the loading or railing ramp mostly finished.

How it is intended to work (best laid plans and all that) will come later. For the time being, be assured that the wheelbarrow doesn't figure in the plan!

All will be revealed later.....

For the time being it will make a brilliant launch pad for a scale model Fireball XL5, for those who can remember such things...!

I'm sure there was a Railway here.....! (Jan 2010)
Recently I've been taking advantage of the good weather, doubling the
size of the Duck Pond. Not really to do with the Railway, but the job
caused me to take some of the track up temporarily.

All it needs now is for the grass to grow........and some Ducks!

17/05/12 - With me having been very busy for a long time, the NNGR was looking a little neglected.
I knew I'd have to re-lay the back straight before our planned Queen's Jubilee celebrations,
a kind of street party that became a Railway party. A lorry load of ballast was ordered.
Here's the result after shovelling 6 tons of Hardcore and laying wider weed matting ( now 750mm).
17/09/13 Here's an aerial shot showing the overall track layout to date.

I really think the line should be extended to run around the grounds of the House and Workshops. Delicate negotiations with the Domestic Engineering Dept. and Head Gardener (both one and the same!) are ongoing.