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I have been fascinated by narrow gauge railways almost for as long as I can remember. I remember going to the museum at Brockham in the UK with my father when I was a lad, and later exploring the 2' gauge railways of North Wales. I cannot really explain why I find them more interesting than standard gauge railways, but for years I have endeavored to reproduce them in a number of different scales. Other interests came and went, but in the background there was always narrow gauge.
I have fond memories of the Weymouth Miniature Railway in Dorset and the East African Railways class 59 Garratt at Crystal Palace and would take every opportunity to ride on railways large and small.
What is the difference between narrow gauge and
miniature railways? A "miniature" is a scaled-down model of
something else, whereas a narrow gauge loco is not a model of
something else, it just happens to be small. For
instance, a 15" gauge version of a Gresley pacific (such as
those on the
Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch) would be a scaled-down miniature of the real thing. However, Sir
Arthur Heywood's 15" gauge locomotives are just small; they are narrow-gauge
locomotives in their own right. Heywood suggested that 15" gauge was
the minimum practical gauge that would provide a practical (or commercial)
service. For instance, the line he built for Eaton Hall was intended to carry
5,000-6,000 tons of materials per year. Recent developments by Ken
Swan and Jim Haylock (say in the last 20 years) have shown that in many ways, 7¼" narrow
gauge can also
provide such a service, at least as a passenger-carrying pleasure railway.
A perfect example of what can be accomplished in 7¼" narrow gauge is the
In September 2010 we bought 1.25 acres (5000sqm) of flat land near Hamilton and I am starting to plan my new railway. It'll likely be a while before I actually start construction as work and building a house will have to come first, but that doesn't mean I can't spend my time planning! CLICK HERE to view updates on the railway (as and when they occur).
Please select one of the links on the left to follow me on my exploits in building a miniature railway here in New Zealand.
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