Statfold

"Sragi No. 1" in the preparation area outside the loco shed

A long day-trip on Saturday took me to the privately-owned Statfold Barn Railway in rural Staffordshire. It’s an area not really known for a wealth of narrow gauge, but this really is a hidden delight. Originally created as a base for a number of industrial steam locos repatriated from Indonesia and other far-flung places (and Harrogate), Statfold is opened to enthusiasts three times and year and the event was very busy even despite the dreary weather.

Peckett "Harrogate" on shed

As well as a superbly maintained shed and station area, the railway heads out into nearby fields for over a mile before a balloon loop turns the trains around for the return journey. What’s more, the whole thing is laid to dual 2′ and 2’6″ gauge with some complex pointwork and even a couple of standard/narrow gauge crossings thrown in.

"Pakis Baru No. 5"

There were a grand total of eight locos in steam, and an intensive services of goods, mixed and passenger trains running. The engines ranged from a selection of Orenstein & Koppels (including a mallet from Indonesia), via the ex-Harrogate Gas Works Peckett, a powerful Belgian La Meuse, the last industrial steam loco built by Hunslet in Leeds, to the new-build “quarry” Hunslet “Jack Lane”.

Hudson Hunslet

As you might expect from such a site there was also a veritable treasure trove of other narrow and standard gauge items in varying states of restoration – much of it with some significance to Hunslet. Access to the railway is pretty much unrestricted, the enthusiast visitors are trusted to exercise a modicum of common sense around large mobile machinery and so there were some brilliant opportunities for lineside photography (rain notwithstanding).

Innovative I/C traction!

Altogether a quite unique and very satisfying experience. Despite the long drive I would love to go back!

The camera was snapping away most of the day, and there is a large set of photos from my day on Flickr.

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