Miniature Railway

The Langford and Beeleigh Railway

A most popular attraction for children, adults and families alike, this fabulous 7¼" gauge miniature railway's main line carries passengers on a journey of over one quarter of a mile through the seven acres of mature woods and meadows that make up the museum grounds.

A small halt, 'Riverside', is situated beside the footpath leading to the museum from the visitors' car park and is used almost exclusively for Santa Special trains.
The main station, 'Langford', is on the far (south) side of the museum site and is where passengers normally start and finish their ride. Our 'Langford' station is less than half a mile from the position of the original Langford and Ulting Halt which was situated on the old Great Eastern Railway Maldon to Witham Branch, axed in the 1960s.

Visitors please note that an extra charge is made for train rides at all times. Currently £1 per ride or six rides for £5. For details of when the miniature railway is operating, please see the ‘Events’ page
It is also important for visitors to be aware that the museum's directors reserve the right to replace a steam locomotive with a diesel locomotive as and when circumstances may demand.

Further information about our railway

The railway currently has four steam locomotives and one diesel locomotive. Two of the steam locomotives are based on examples which used to run on the other 'L&BR', the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway. There are ten passenger carriages comprising two different designs - 'Lightweight' and 'Heavyweight' - tailored to the relative capacities of the various engines. Brief details of the railway and its rolling stock can be found on the ‘Stock’ page.

Langford Station has two platforms and each platform can be separated into arrival and departure sections if required. At their departure ends, steam locomotives can be serviced. This includes the oiling of their 'works' and replenishment of their supplies from the coal storage and water tower or crane, as once was the case on the 'Big Railway', whilst embarking the passengers. At one end of the station is a long 'headshunt' siding provided for operational flexibility and again protected by 'trap' points. Two train operation is normal on busy event days. An overall Canopy has been constructed at Langford Station and covers the platforms for the comfort of our passengers and staff.

The Motive Power Depot, or Engine Shed, is situated some distance from the station, down by the river. The depot comprises a building with three ground level roads plus a fourth raised level road for the storage of locomotives and rolling stock; two adjacent sidings for the assembly and preparation of trains; two short locomotive preparation/disposal roads over a large inspection pit and a road leading to an adjustable loading/unloading ramp for visiting locomotives. Access from the main line is via a spur protected by 'trap' points, leading to a 14' turntable which in turn serves all the sidings and shed roads. The depot has its own water tower and coal storage as well as an office and workshop and enables the crews to carry out the exacting work involved in the preparation of our locomotives and rolling stock for passenger hauling duties.

Currently, the railway's main line is controlled by automatic three aspect colour light signals and the sidings by ground signals or directional 'feather'. It is an ambition to re-equip with the traditional 'semaphore arm' signals, more appropriate to our steam railway and a few of which can still be seen on Network Rail! The main line is divided into block sections and, as your locomotive passes each signal, you should see the light change from AMBER or GREEN to RED. This means that until your train has cleared the section you are now in, the train behind you will have to wait at the red signal.

For safety, our trains are fitted with a powerful vacuum braking system which can be operated by either the Engine Driver or the Guard, who travels at the rear of the train. The whole of the running line is inspected before we commence operations each day, as are the locomotives and rolling stock. For the safety and comfort of our customers, we operate and staff the railway in much the same way as on the 'Big Railway' except that, as we do not normally have a timetable, our trains are NEVER late!

K1 Update

By RoadMuseum members have built a new locomotive based on the pioneer Beyer-Garratt 'K1'. With construction now complete and final testing underway, it is hoped to have the engine operating at our events in the near future. On Tuesday, 6th October, K1 finally emerged from the museum's "garage" (picture bottom left), fully built and painted, to take residence at the Motive Power Depot. Her first visit to the MPD (in June/July 2014) was as a very basic, stripped down and unpainted locomotive. The mainframe (supporting the boiler) was united with the two engine units on the rear car park level crossing. She was successfully boiler tested and underwent initial functional trials on the railway in order to search out build issues. There were a number, as should be anticipated when a starter kit comprising little more than a few major components is acquired, without any drawings whatsoever. Truly a journey of discovery! She then returned to John Dines' Salt Acre locomotive works to be stripped down to every last nut, bolt and washer. Modifications and improvements were made, the cab, tanks and bunkerfabricated and painting and final assembly began. This process continued back at the "garage" until, as a complete locomotive, it was placed on the track at the main entrance level crossing (picture right). This was achieved after drilling dedicated lifting eyes into the mainframe, the engine units now being positively attached beneath the mainframe. Having finally taken residence at the MPD, her boiler was due for another test, which she passed. When in steam, it was evident that not everything on the locomotive was as perfect as it should be so a period of "finessing", coupled with thorough road trials and familiarisation is now underway before she can finally be launched into traffic. The accompanying images illustrate that tense journey by road, air and rail from the "garage" to the MPD.

By Road
  By Road   By Road
By Road
 
By Rail
 
Arrival

Future plans

Longer term ambitions include a bridge over the River Blackwater, giving us access to the event arena on the other side which is used for displays and rallies. A station near the car park will enable visitors to travel to the Museum and Tearoom by train. If finance and planning become available, our eventual aim is to construct and operate a branch line along the banks of the River Blackwater to Beeleigh Falls. This branch will enable us to provide a 'Park and Ride' facility enabling the public to visit the Mill at Beeleigh, presently virtually inaccessible by road by any but light traffic. The Mill contains a unique Wentworth beam engine and its equally rare Elephant type boiler. Constructing this branch would thus truly realise our railway's given appellation of 'LANGFORD & BEELEIGH RAILWAY'.

Volunteers

If you would like to join the volunteer railway staff, full training will be given to enable you to become a Stationmaster, Signalman, Guard, or Steam or Diesel Engine Driver. . Either e-mail us via the ‘Contact’ page or ring 01621 843183.

Proposed Running Days 2017

Click on Event for more details

January
February
March
April
1st New Year Crankup   19th Science Sunday 16th Transportfest
May
June
July
August
14th Olde Tyme Rally 11th Japanese Autofest 16th Spirit of the Corn 6th Bikemeet
28th Free 4 Kidz     13th Classic VW & Vintage Fair
September
October
November
December
3rd American & Car Show 8th Model Exhibition and Steam Day   10th Christmas Fayre
24th Steampunk Essesextraordinaire ll1 29th Hallowen    

Prices are £1 per person per ride or £5 for SIX rides. We are unable to carry children under ONE year old

The railway being narrow gauge 7 1/4" or 184mm requires passengers to be able to sit astride the carriage. For stability reasons this also prevents us from carrying a person unable to leave their wheelchair, those that are able to access and sit astride the carriage are wellcome. CARERS accompanying a fare paying person requiring assistance are carried free.

Railway Pictures

The ‘Last Link’

The railway team

The opening of the railway

The first run on the completed circle line

Station approach by foot

During the winter of 2007 / 8 the track through the station was replaced and a passing loop added

Romulus

Don

Station approach by train

One of our many Steam Days

Servicing during one of our many Steam Days

Santa Special Trains.

'We Believe in Making a Future for our Industrial Heritage'

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  • Becoming a Volunteer

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  • Tearoom

    The Steam Pump Tearoom is a tastefully themed Tearoom situated in the former 1930's machine shop and is a lovely place to relax with friends or family and enjoy a break. Open Wednesday to Sunday.

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