Keef, Lea Bailey, Clearwell, Perrygrove
In the Forest
© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2014
It’s the annual open day at Alan Keef Ltd - and there will be
other railway attractions in the Forest of Dean today...
The field beside the works isn’t available for parking today -
instead, there’s a free park-and-ride from the village hall at the
other end of the village, nearly a mile away - and there, on a
low loader, is Lynton and Barnstaple replica “Lyd” - a good start!
There’s another noteworthy locomotive inside the works,
“Barber”, the locomotive built for Harrogate gas works by T
Green in 1908, ready for the journey back to Alston, to enter
service on the South Tynedale line.
Geoff’s Rail Diaries
20 September 2014
Outside the works are Woto and Peter Pan, taking turns on the
passenger rides - along with some of the stars from “Tracks to
the Trenches” last week - including the 1918 Baguley and 1916
Motor-Rail 264 (oldest surviving MR).
We move on to the Lea Bailey Light Railway, where a
“traditional industrial railway” is being developed. The one-time
gold mine is beside the trackbed of the railway from
Puddlebrook to Mitcheldean Road, along which a running line is
being established. Motor-Rail 21282 (1957) shunted assorted
wagons around the sidings, and a pneumatically-powered bucket
loader (is that what it was?) demonstrated its ability to throw
stones over its head. A little four-coupled battery loco (WR
L1009 of 1979) should have been in
operation, but was indisposed.
The long-term aim here is to run passenger
trains (should be an interesting ride
through the depths of the forest), and to
reopen a part of the mine.
There was a suggestion that there would be
railway demonstrations at Clearwell Caves
today. Hunslet 7446 (1975) was standing inside
the shed, effectively on display, though there
were no signs of movement. The hefty Hudswell
Clarke diesels, all ex-mines, obviously hadn’t
moved (and probably wouldn’t) for some time.
Last port of call is the 15” gauge Perrygrove Railway.
Despite “Spirit of Adventure”
and “Ursula” being conspicuous
by their absence from service (I
didn’t look in the shed), there
was plenty going on. Freight and
passenger trains were running up
and down the line, hauled variously by the
Garratt, Lydia, St Egwyn (visiting from
Evesham), and diesels “Jubilee” and a
Ruston (”Cromwell” from Evesham?). Another steam
locomotive, the diminutive
“Soony” was operating a shuttle
running along the lower part of
the line to Rookwood, where a
passing loop and siding enable
multi-train running. I could have
stayed longer, but time was getting the
better of me - I’d better head for home.