One of the highlights of the day was the appearance of the Sandstone Heritage Trust's Decauville "Bathala" and the Kerr Stuart Wren Class locomotive "Little Bess". These are awaiting UK boiler certification but in the meantime they were piggy backed onto one of the narrow gauge flat cars (also from South Africa) and added immense value to the spectacle.
Full details of their Narrow Gauge tour of the UK in 2008 will be published shortly.
15 Snowdon Street
Tel/Fax No: 01606 783508
Date: 28th September 2007
Here’s that report on the open day at Statfold Barn Railway. Saturday the 22nd saw Helen and myself ready ourselves for a steamy day in South Staffordshire. The weather looked promising, early morning mist, still dry air.
A few miles east of Tamworth is the Statfold Barn Railway. It is a private railway, with visits by invitation only.
The railway consists of a newly developed dual narrow gauge line of both 2ft and 2ft 6in and 1.5 miles in length around land owned by Graham Lee, chairman of specialist engineering firm LH Plant.
All of the facilities at the railway have been built on land owned by Mr Lee, to create one of the most impressive private railways in the country. With a station, three-road loco shed with pit and crane, a fully equipped workshop, traverse and turntable.
At one end of the operating line is a loop to turn the trains. In addition there is another 2ft gauge around a lake in the grounds of the sprawling farmhouse. Next step is the construction of a standard gauge line.
It is the ultimate garden railway.
The above is a quote, from the Internet, precisely describing ‘The Statfold Barn
Railway’ Our route was straightforward and the journey took us about an hour and a half, arriving at Statfold at 0945hrs. We drove straight in, showed our tickets to the gateman, and parked as directed. All very well organised. As we walked towards the action all manor of steam whistles were heard, and steam arose from all quarters.
So much action, all day, both ‘road steam’ and ‘rail steam’ Graham opened one of his fields for the road steam, and all manner of engines were evident, and in steam, Fowler rollers, Clayton and Shuttleworth, Marshall, Aveling and Porter rollers to mention a few, also Traction engines and steam lorries as well as Diesel lorries. They had a huge arena in which they could show off their prowess and power, hauling heavy loads and making much noise and smoke and steam, an awesome site!
Graham and his team busied themselves running all manner of trains for the enthusiasts and public and press. At any one time there was one train in the station and three trains on the one and a half mile track from the station and round to the balloon, and all steam. Not to mention his garden railway, which had a visiting steam engine and crew from Bournemouth. I would say that all Grahams ‘steamable ‘ engines were in steam, the ‘walki-talkies’ Must have been red hot with all the action of the day! All the workshops were open and all very interesting yielding new interests at every turn. The traverser had a loco displayed and the museum was full of stands and memorabilia. At 1100hrs a tour of the ‘Oil seed plant’ was made available. There were also food stands, where all manner of food and drinks were available
The day was also a chance to meet people from all walks of life and to chat about steam and all things old, new acquaintances were made and old ones remade. I met Malcolm Ranieri and Mike Squires from the ‘Old Glory’ stable, and an old acquaintance from 1960’s, a well-known photographer, Dick Blenkinsop. I last met him photographing ‘Clun Castle’ near Stratford on Avon in the late 1960’s, amazing.
By 1630hrs it was time to say our thanks and set off for home. A really good day was had by one and all, and our thanks go to Graham Lee and all his helpers for making the day go so smoothly and enjoyably.
We will look forward to the next Open Day at Statfold Barn Railway.
Sincerely, Helen and Phil Braithwaite.