Wimblebury at Dilhorn Park
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The line was built in 1893 to serve the colliery at Dilhorne on the Cheadle Coalfield and it joined the North Staffordshire Railway line near Blythe Bridge. When the colliery closed in 1965, so did the line, but it has been preserved by volunteers.
- 1 History
- 2 Preservation
- 3 Location
- 4 Locomotive fleet
- 5 Passenger carriages
- 6 Freight wagons
- 7 The Foxfield on film
- 8 Outside links
- 9 References
The Foxfield Railway was built in 1892-1893 to provide a link to the North Staffordshire Railway for the Foxfield Colliery. The railway was built by local labour provided by North Staffordshire Railway employees at weekends and supervised by the North Staffordshire Railway foreman plate layer Noah Stanier, using second hand material, again obtained from the North Staffordshire Railway.
When the colliery closed in 1965, local volunteers formed the Foxfield Light Railway Society to preserve the line. At first, passengers were taken in converted trucks up the formidable 1:19 to 1:26 gradient out of the colliery site at Dilhorne, accompanied by a tank engine.
Eventually, new coaches were purchased and a station was built at Caverswall Road, Blythe Bridge, half a mile from Blythe Bridge station. The service runs for 2½ miles from there to the top of Foxfield Bank. The last half mile into the colliery is currently being relaid to suitable standards for passenger trains to be re-introduced.
The original line left the Crewe to Derby Line a little west of the station. The link has been lifted, but several abandoned wagons can be seen in the old sidings from passing trains. A station and depot have been built at Caverswall Road, half a mile north of Blythe Bridge railway station along Blythe Bridge Road.
The station at Caverswall offers visitor facilities such as a Buffet serving hot and cold food and drinks and a Real Ale bar "The One Legged Shunter". Also a museum building displaying a variety of artifacts relating to local railways and locomotives currently out of service.
The railway operates Sundays and Bank Holidays from April to October and Santa Special trains during December.
The Foxfield Railway has the largest collection of standard gauge steam locomotives in Staffordshire, all of which are of industrial origins.
Operational steam locomotives
- Hunslet Engine Company Austerity 0-6-0ST No. 3694 "Whiston" built in 1950. Overhaul complete apart from some small bore lubrication pipework matters. Re-entered traffic in Summer 2010.
- W. G. Bagnall 0-6-0ST No. 2 "Florence". In regular service following an extensive overhaul, painted in unlined red.
- W. G. Bagnall 0-4-0ST No. 2842. Entered service in July 2010 following extensive overhaul.
- Dübs and Company crane tank 0-4-0T No. 4101 "Dubs". Major rebuild finished in September 2010. 2010 winner of the Heritage Railway Association John Coiley awarde for Locomotive restoration.
- Beyer, Peacock & Co. 0-4-0ST No 1827, built in 1879.Re-entered service during 2013.
- Haydock Foundry 0-6-0WT No. C "Bellerophon", built in 1874. The oldest locomotive in the collection. Returned from axle box repairs at the South Devon Railway in 2013.
Steam locomotives undergoing overhaul or restoration
- Robert Heath & Sons Ltd. 0-4-0ST No 6 built in 1885, rebuilt in 1934. Undergoing overhaul.
- Hawthorn Leslie and Company 0-4-0ST "Marston, Thompson & Evershed No 3". (works number 3581 of 1924). Undergoing long term overhaul.
- W. G. Bagnall 0-4-0ST No 2623 "Hawarden", built in 1940. Undergoing overhaul as of September 2011. Restoration work well under way, tyres turned, 60 new frame rivets fitted, new springs fitted, brake system overhauled - awaiting axle boxes (13 April) before the wheel sets can be replaced. Boiler to be sent to LNWR crewe for attention to the firebox. Return to steam planned for June 2014.
- Avonside Engine Co. 0-4-0ST No. 1563 "John Paton". Partly dismantled, undergoing long term restoration.
- Hunslet Engine Company Austerity 0-6-0ST No. 3839 "Wimblebury" built in 1956.- In for 10 yearly overhaul. Taken out of service Dec 2013.
Stored steam locomotives
- Peckett and Sons 0-4-0ST No. 933 "Henry Cort". built in 1903. On static display in the Museum building awaiting overhaul.
- Kerr Stuart 0-4-0ST No. 4127 "Moss Bay". built in 1920. On static display in the museum building.
- Kerr Stuart 0-4-0ST No. 4388. Stored in the yard awaiting overhaul.
- W. G. Bagnall 0-6-0ST No. 2221 "Lewisham". built in 1927. Stored awaiting overhaul after its boiler ticket expired in late 2007.
- Andrew Barclay Sons & Co. 0-4-0F No. 1. (works number 1984 of 1930). Awaiting a cosmetic restoration for display in the museum.
- Peckett and Sons 0-4-0ST No. 1803 "Ironbridge No. 1". built in 1933. Awaiting overhaul and is on display in the museum.
- Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns 0-4-0CT No. 7006 "Roker". built in 1940. On static display in the museum building awaiting overhaul.
- Peckett and Sons OY Class 0-4-0ST No. 11. built in 1947. Awaiting overhaul.
- Sentinel Waggon Works 4w No. 9535. built in 1952. On static display in the yard.
- Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns 0-4-0ST No. 7063 "Eustace Forth", built in 1942. Stored awaiting overhaul. On loan from the National Railway Museum.
Operational diesel locomotives
The Foxfield Railway also has an extensive accumulation of industrial diesel locomotives, of which three are operational.
- Robert Stephenson & Hawthorns 8366/Bagnall 0-4-0DH. 530003, Myfanwy tube gauge.
- W. G. Bagnall 3150 0-6-0DM, Wolstanton No 3
- W. G. Bagnall 3207 0-4-0DH, Named Bagnall
Diesel locomotives undergoing overhaul or restoration
- North British 27097 0-4-0DH Coronation - (2010 arrival) Currently undergoing major mechanical overhaul at Peak rail. The loco whilst there will be fitted with a new engine and is expected to return in 2014.
- Thomas Hill 111C 4wDH (Rebuilt from Sentinel 4wVBT) The loco started again in April 2013 for the first time in five years. The loco is being overhauled by members of the railway and will hopefully be in service in 2014.
- Andrew Barclay 486 0-6-0DH Clive, ex Meaford Power Station Locomotive No 4 (In process of being returned to working order - engine ran for a couple of hours on 19/01/14 and she took power - still lots to do)
Non-operational diesel locomotives
- Thomas Hill 103C 4wDH (Rebuilt from Sentinel 4wVBT)
- English Electric/Drewry Cars WD820 (ex MOD A7 class number 70030) 0-4-0DM
- Motor Rail Simplex 2262 4wDM Simplex Helen
- Yorkshire Engine Company 2868 0-6-0DE Ludstone
- Kerr Stuart 4421 6wDM ('90 hp' class)
- Ruston & Hornsby 242915 4wDM ('48DS') Hercules
- Ruston & Hornsby 408496 4wDM ('88DS')
- Ruston & Hornsby 424841 0-4-0DE ('165DE') Roman
Non-operational electric locomotives
The Foxfield Railway also has one industrial battery electric locomotive. The locomotive is currently non-operational due to a lack of batteries or overhead lines on site.
- English Electric 1130 4wBE/WE (built 1939)
The railway has a collection of carriages from a wide range of years which are used to take passengers up and down the line.
The railway also has a selection of freight wagons, in order to preserve what remains of Britain's industrial history.
The Foxfield on film
The BBC Television series Cranford (broadcast in 2009) filmed sequences on the Foxfield Railway. In the series several of the main characters were invited to ride on the train in an attempt to alter their opinions about the benefits of the railway being extended into the town of Cranford.
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