Narrow Gauge Pleasure

The North Gloucestershire Railway

The Railway Today

A Henschel built 0-8-0
at work at Toddington

The North Gloucestershire Railway, also known as Toddington Narrow Gauge Railway, is a two foot gauge, predominantly steam hauled, railway which shares the site at Toddington with the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Railway (an impressive standard gauge preserved railway). After operating intitially over a run of about 400 yards the railway has been extended to half a mile, terminating at Didbrook loop, while it is not the longest narrow gauge railway in the country there is much of interest to see and this delightful line brings the narrow gauge to an area where there is little other narrow gauge activity.

The line runs from the small station in one corner of the GWR car park past the railway's headquarters and workshop to the southern terminus at Didbrook loop. On running days it is possible to visit the sheds and workshops where coaches are maintained and inbdeed built from scratch as well as view the locomotive maintenance activities. In addition California Gates signal box may be open to visitors. The signal box has been moved to the site and lovingly restored and the signalman on duty is always happy to chat and show the visitors the ropes. Unlike most signal boxes small children are made to feel welcome and my son was even shown how to pull the levers!

Many British and American built ex World War One Locomotives have seen civilian service in the UK but the North Gloucestershire Railway boasts a machine built in Germany for service at the Front. The engine, built by Henschel, was never used by the German army and was passed to Poland as war reparation after the armistice. It was from Poland that the Dowty Railway Society purchased the engine before restoring it to original condition for service on their line.

Pulling off a signal
at California Gates

This line gives the people of Gloucestershire the chance to see two foot gauge railways close to home without spending a lot of time and money on travel. It also promotes the meeting of those with standard and narrow gauge interests through the site it shares with the GWR.

History and Origins

The North Gloucestershire Railway Company was formed in 1985 to replace the Dowty Railway Preservation Society which had been involved in standard gauge preservation at Ashchurch since 1962. Sadly the site at Ashchurch was needed for other things resulting in the move to the Toddington site alongside the GWR in 1982.

Standard gauge was dropped in favour of 2' gauge between 1986 and 1989 and the company sold its existing equipment to fund the purchase of narrow gauge equipment, including a substantial quantity of rail which came from the Southend Pier Railway. Three coaches were built on site based on War Department bogies (probably made during the First World War) and services commenced.

Comments on this Railway

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Roger III   22 Jul 2013
Further to my comments in January 2013, I can report that our latest resident loco is now in service on our line. It is the Henchell Brigadelok 14968. On May 25th, the first public run was made when it Double Headed with our other Brigadelok 15968, (Note the similar numbers). It was a remarkable sight & possibly a first for the UK. More information with pictures can be viewed on our own website
Roger III   23 Jan 2013
I'm not sure when this website was updated but now in 2013 the railway runs on past California Crossing to the new terminus at Didbrook Loop. The length of the line is now half a mile. We have four resident steam engines, two of which are under renovation with the other two in service. We also run a Hunslet 60hp Diesel. In the engine shed are assorted smaller Diesel & Petrol locos. The three coach set is still in use together with a rare Polish coach, a personel/Brake van & a rare Gloucester built coach which was used at the Empire Exhibition at Wembley in 1924/25. This year we plan to run 38 days, mainly bank holidays & Sundays.

Thanks for the information, I don't get to update things as often as I'd like, one reason why I added the comments feature so others can contribute. I'll add your information to the main page soon.
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