Military Manoeuvres – AD 34

Ever since I found out that the railway scenes in the 1966 film The Great St. Trinian’s Train Robbery were filmed at the Longmoor Military Railway in Hampshire I’ve had an interest in the sometimes secretive world of the railway systems used by our armed forces.

Happily these days, an interest in such matters isn’t likely to get you shot (at least here in the UK) and a considerable amount of information has now been published about such systems. In addition, a lot of former military railway equipment has passed into the hands of preservationists all over the country.

Locomotive AD 34 is one such piece of equipment, now preserved at the Golden Valley Light Railway in Derbyshire.

HE 4wDH AD 34 (works no.7009 of 1971)-20180207Hunslet 4wDH AD 34
Golden Valley Light Railway, February 2018

Built by the Hunslet Engine Co Ltd (HE) in 1971 (as works no.7009), AD 34 was one of five such locomotives supplied new to the Ministry of Defence, Royal Ordnance Factory Eastriggs in Dumfriesshire (now Dumfries & Galloway) to move munitions around the site on a vast 2ft gauge railway system.

Fitted with a 28hp Perkins diesel engine and a hydraulic transmission, AD 34 has a top speed of 4mph (would you want to go any faster with a trainload of munitions in tow?)

By 1996 all five locos had been transferred to the Department of the Environment Lydd Gun Ranges in Kent where they were used to haul maintenance and personnel trains on the extensive rail network there.

The other four locomotives also survive in preservation; AD 35 (works no.7010) can be seen at the Statfold Barn Railway in Staffordshire (see image below) while AD 36 (works no.7011), AD 37 (works no.7012) and AD 38 (works no.7013) can all be found at the Old Kiln Light Railway in Surrey.

HE 4wDH 35 (works no.7010 of 1971, reb.1988 by HAB, works no.6941)-20110917Hunslet 4wDH AD 35
Statfold Barn Railway, September 2011

On the Narrow Gauge – Talyllyn Railway Anniversary

A very quick post today…

On 14 May 1951, the Talyllyn Railway (Rheilffordd Talyllyn) re-opened under the control of the Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society with trains running between Wharf and Rhydyronen stations.

FJ 0-4-2ST TALYLLYN (works no.42 of 1865)-20130816Fletcher Jennings & Co. 0-4-2ST TALYLLYN (works no.42 of 1865)
Tywyn Wharf station, Talyllyn Railway (Rheilffordd Talyllyn), August 2013

The 2ft 3in gauge railway is currently closed due to the Covid-19 situation and like many heritage lines they are appealing for funds to help the railway survive. If you can, please make a donation here.

The Talyllyn Railway is one of 11 heritage lines that make up the Great Little Trains of Wales (Trenau Bach Arbennig Cymru).

On the Narrow Gauge – ‘Z’ is for… ZM32

From my last post’s ‘A’ for ‘Andrew Barclay, Sons & Co. Ltd.’ all the way to the other end of the alphabet today!

Sorting through many years worth of digital images at the moment and I came across pics from two visits (in 2009 and 2011) to the Steeple Grange Light Railway (SGLR) near Wirksworth in Derbyshire.

RH 4wDM ZM32 'HORWICH' (works no.416214 of 1957)-20090531Ruston & Hornsby Ltd 18in gauge 4wDM ZM32 ‘HORWICH’ (works no.416214 of 1957)
Steeple Grange Light Railway, May 2009

ZM32 has called the SGLR home since 1997 and is one of a very small number of narrow gauge locomotives that were owned and operated by British Railway (BR).

The Ruston & Hornsby Ltd. 20hp LAT class diesel loco (works no.416214 of 1957) was supplied new to the former Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway’s (L&YR) Horwich Locomotive Works for use on the extensive 18in gauge system there (where eight 0-4-0ST steam locos had previously been employed). It worked there until 1965 after which it went into store (following a failed attempt to export it to British Honduras).

Purchased by R.P. Morris in 1971, ZM32 was restored and re-gauged (to 2ft) and operated at Gloddfa Ganol, a working quarry and tourist attraction in Blaenau Ffestiniog in North Wales before finally moving to the SGLR where it has been re-gauged (again) to 18in, named ‘HORWICH’ and painted into BR lined green livery.

RH 4wDM ZM32 'HORWICH' (works no.416214 of 1957)-20110710Ruston & Hornsby Ltd 18in gauge 4wDM ZM32 ‘HORWICH’ (works no.416214 of 1957)
Steeple Grange Light Railway, July 2011

‘HORWICH’ is often in charge of passenger trains on the 1 in 27 gradient ‘Killer’s Branch’ at the SGLR.