The Merlewood Light Railway

A privately owned 7 1/4 inch gauge garden railway

The Merlewood Light Railway. 

 

The Merlewood Light Railway is a private 7.25" narrow gauge line located near Diss, Norfolk. Principal traction is in the form of a 24 volt battery powered diesel outline locomotive based on the narrow gauge Hudson Hunslet loco's.

We have also recently purchased an 0-4-0 Tank loco built to the Buckler 'Sweet William' drawings, this one differs from the norm though in that it has pannier tanks and is fitted with MJ Engineering Bagnall cylinders rather than the Blackgates ones. The loco' was built between 1984 and 1992 and was last run in 2000. We are currently re-tubing the boiler with a view to getting her back in steam very soon.

 

The Railway itself came into being in 2009, after visits to a couple of 7.25" gauge lines I was bitten by the bug to build my own railway in our back garden. After the purchase of the loco' from a friend (and accomplished loco' builder) in the spring of 2009, we needed something to run it on. The first 50 feet of track was laid temporarily during the summer, complete with a hand built point just to add some interest. This was then relaid and extended round the back garden during the summer of 2011 to give us our first permanent section of line at approximately 150 foot end-to-end, not a long run by any stretch, but with a couple of tight curves and some reasonable gradient it should be sufficient for testing loco's and rolling stock. Most of our track consists of 20mm by 10mm steel bar rail, fixed to  woooden sleepers by means of a mixture of PNP chairs and 20mm black enamel conduit saddles welded to the rail, the main route passes into our garage, where it is fixed to the concrete floor by means of PNP bar-rail chairs. The eventual plan is to extend from the garage into the front garden, thus doubling the length of run.

 

Rolling stock consists of the aforementioned locomotive with powered driving truck, which performs superbly and can haul up to eight passengers round a club track quite happily. We also have two wagons, a flat bed wagon knocked together in an afternoon, which has been designed to earn its keep during the construction phase, the other wagon being based on a slab carrier, similar to those used in various Welsh quarries.

The intention here is to chronicle the construction, opening and subsequent running of the line, along with plenty of photo's!

 

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