The Leighton Buzzard Railway
The Railway Today
|The lull between trains at|
Pages Park Station
|Pc Allen built for export to Spain |
in 1913 by Orenstein and Koppel AG
|Younger volunteers give Pixie|
a little TLC at Pages Park
Leighton Buzzard is a delightful market town which, although within striking
distance of London and the overcrowded South East, is built in the heart of the
green Bedfordshire countryside. It is also the home of the delightful Leighton
The railway is a preserved industrial line built to a gauge of 2' with a length
of just less than three miles. The main access for passengers is Page's Park
Station in Leighton Buzzard.
Page's Park Station has its own car park and is well equipped for the visitor
with its restaurant and souvenir shop, for those not wishing to patronise
the restaurant there is also a picnic area. If the kids become impatient (they
rarely do around steam trains!) the nearby recreational area has plenty of open
space and a childrens play park, which should provide some distractions. The
station itself is delightfully located amongst the overhanging trees on the
edge of the park and perfectly captures the unhurried and relaxed atmosphere of
an earlier era.
Perhaps the most well known feature of the Leighton Buzzard Railway is its
exceptional collection of steam locomotives from around the world which
includes examples from India, Spain and Africa, the railway is also well known
for attracting many splendid visiting locomotives to its special events.
The red liveried rolling stock is all built since preservation and, while
constructed to a more restricted loading gauge than many railways of this
gauge, it is pleasant, comfortable and offers a choice of open and enclosed
The little train negotiates sharp curves and a mixture of gradients as it
carries the passengers through the houses on the outskirts of the town and out
into the countryside to the quarry which is the only survivor of the Leighton
Buzzard sand industry. On arrival at Stonehenge works the visitor is able to
disembark and examine a large collection of artefacts from the history of the
line including a number of the tiny diesel locos and sand skips which made up
the trains during the years when the railway served the sand industry for which
it was built.
History and Origins
Leighton Buzzard has been known for centuries for its sand. To most people sand
is sand but to the discerning eye the sand from Leighton Buzzard is extremely
high quality and very consistent in its properties. For decades 'Leighton
Buzzard Sand' was specified by Industry and the British Standards Institute as
the standard sand for testing many building industry products including cement.
|One of the small diesels, its sand hauling |
days finished, rests at Stonehenge
It is to the sand pits that the railway owes its existence. Originally built in
1919, with steam haulage in mind the diesel engines used by the contractors
proved so successful that the steam engines were sold and the trains of sand
skips were hauled by diesel for most of the life of the railway. The main line
and its many branches and sidings served the sand inustry well until before
starting to decline in the face of more flexible competition in the fifties and
By 1967 the writing on was on the wall for the Leighton Buzzard Railway and
complete closure and dissappearance seemed inevitable. The Leighton Buzzard
Railway Society was formed to rescue and preserve as much as possible of the
line in the now well established tradition of railway preservation. Strangely
the neat little trains of small red coaches and tiny steam engines are quite
different from the sand skips and diesels which the line saw in its working
life. The 2.85 miles that is in preservation is run very successfully by
volunteers from the society and is one of the premier sites for preservation of
the smaller types of narrow gauge motive power in Britain. Strangely the neat
little trains of small red coaches and tiny steam engines are quite different
from the sand skips and diesels which the line saw in its working life.
Comments on this Railway
Add your comment on this railway.
Francis Gale 26 Mar 2012
First time on this track, a pension day birthday treet, It is an extremely interesting line with level crossings, where two people get off the train, stop the traffic with purple flags to allow us to cross. It meanders through parks, factories and peoples back gardens. Lots of children waving. Well worth a visit and I will definately be going again.