Preserved Former Railways

UK Preserved Railways

The inspiration for models of any kind is normally the real world although in my former industry, TV and special effects, that obviously isn’t necessarily so. For completeness therefore I’m pleased to offer some links here for places in the UK that you might like to visit. Below are links to photos of some places that I have actually visited.

The fullest complete guide that I know. Quite staggering.

One enormous indexed list websites.

An association of heritage railway providers. Useful guides to members downloadable for free.

A commercial magazine that is the “go to” periodical that prides itself on the pride of  the UK. Full of aritcles and connections. And the website is free.

There are more of these that I will add later.

UK Preserved Museums & Railway Photo Vaults

Good quality photographs of beautiful places of preservation (stored on Dropbox). All credit must go to the dedicated men and women who have spent significant numbers of hours in making these projects happen. Thank you.

  1. Ffestiniog Railway: Festipedia  NWales - A marvelous full history in the reliable Wiki format

  2. (notice that the 1832 Act Of Parliament created the company name with a single “F” thus the Festipedia does likewaie)

  3. Statfold Barn Narrowgauge Railway - Leicestershire

  4. Didcot GreatWestern Railway Steam Centre - Oxfordshire

  5. A Beautiful G1 Garden Railway (private)

Click these photos

Click these logos

Meccano railway locomotives and cranes are frequent subjects by chosen modellers. Here is a large collection of photographs.

Meccano Railway Locomotives And Cranes

Whilst many railway systems around the world are preserved of course many are not. This is not a comprehensive list but a few that have caught my eye..

Not Preserved Railways

Road-Rail Tractor: Stronach-Dutton

You and I may think that trains run on rails and trucks run on roads - be ready to have your preconceptions re-evaluated.

Patented by Maj Frank Dutton and joined by General GS Stronach to form a marketing company they were operated in England, Scotland, Spain, Morocco, Palestine, South Africa, Uganda, Australia, Tasmania and India running on steam or petrol-paraffin engines.

This 21 minute film from the British Film Institute (right) shows a range of these machines working hard around the world (see also other unique railways). The text explains their sales pitch at Wembley’s Empire Exhibition at normal speeds.

The system was wild and locomotives crazy - see Wiki Road-Rail Tractors article. Do a Google search !

(Did you notice what the initials of South-African Dutton are ! )

This is not a comprehensive list but a few that have caught my eye..

Preserved Specials

The Sentinel shaft-drive 0-4-0 No 7492 is almost silent and was loved by the Fry’s, then Cadbury’s, families. It is now restored and running on the original Somerdale Railway, Keynsham (SE Bristol).

Click these videos

Lever Drive Specials

Incredibly many early locomotive designers decided to power the driving wheels indirectly through a lever either

  1. a)via reciprocating lever which massively increased their complexity, weight and unreliability but had advantages on some inclined rack railways (Camden-Amboy “Monster” first on  right);

  2. b)via a reversing beam. The claimed advantage being improved ground clearance and therefore reduced likelihood of damage to the main cylinders, valve gear or drain cocks (Corpet-Louvet Minas de Aller second on right seen at Statfold Barn Railway) or to enable extra large compound cylinders to be fitted (these found to be more trouble than they are worth in later designs).

All these are a MUST SEE.

The I have found the following detailed histories:


A huge range of histories on many subjects incl railways (use Ctrl-F to search). This website will be gone one day so do take a squizz soon.

The Definitive Work On Locomotive Design

By the Editor of Railway Magazine this is the best of it’s day starting with Trevithick’s “Devil” soon followed by the “Pen-y-darren” and on.. Detailed and entertaining. Second Edition.

(Free to download)



Mentioned on this page is the Albion locomotive built by Thwaites Bros of the Vulcan Foundry in Bradford in 1848 for the South Yorkshire Railway. The steam apparently didn’t push pistons but rocked “vibratory vanes” in a steam chest (see red arrow right). If anyone can shed any more light on the actual shape of these vanes and how the valve gear worked please contact me (details on Homepage)

The Albion locomotive of 1848

Click these photo links