Lautoka No 11 (Fiji). Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0 972 of 1912.
Although we may have counted wrong, it was quite hard to pin them down, storming up the gradient, rotating grandly on the turntable, batting round the loop, double headed, single headed, thirteen engines in steam is an awful lot. Unless it was fourteen. So where do you go to see thirteen engines in steam? Just sixty miles west of Stamford is a remarkable farm which has the usual stuff – farmhouse, fields, barns etc etc – and one dickens of a narrow gauge railway with all the trimmings: stations, signal boxes, turntable, workshops, roundhouse, museum. It’s called Statfold Barn and it’s near Tamworth.
The railway is private, obviously, but they have several open days a year. You can’t just turn up (they make this very clear) – you must apply in advance for an invitation. Once you’ve shown your invitation and parked your car in the large field you just stroll over to where all the loud and steamy noises are coming from and join in the fun. The great thing is that visitors have the run of the place. There are no rules, no grey areas. Anywhere they don’t want you to go (assuming there is anywhere) you can’t get into. You can walk round the site, ride on the trains, explore the workshops and roundhouse, have tea in the museum, browse the trade stands and photograph from wherever you like.
Oh well, yes, there is one rule. No children. A pity, but there you go.
And thirteen (or was it fourteen?) engines in steam. Imagine! Here they are:
Sragi No 1. Krauss 0-4-2T 4045 of 1899. Also Minas de Aller No 2 (behind, in cloud of steam).
Minas de Aller No 2. Corpet 0-6-0PT 439 of 1884. Also Sragi No 1.
Sybil Mary. Hunslet 0-4-0ST 921 of 1906. Marchlyn behind.
Trangkil No 4, Saccharine.
From Station Footbridge. Howard, Marchlyn, Max. Rail bus and real bus in background. Note the anti-aircraft searchlight on the goods train.
Lautoka No 19. Hudswell Clarke 0-4-0ST 1056 of 1914
The railway produces a handsome Guide Book and Stock List, but this was issued in 2014 and does not include all the engines that were working when we went. Alpha and the two Howards are missing. If I’d noticed at the time I’d have photographed their works plates as well, as it is all I have are their names. They may well have been visiting engines as they don’t appear in the list of engines awaiting restoration either.
Howard vertical boiler on lake circuit. A close examination of Howard’s works plate suggests a new build. The date appears to be 2007. Alas, no more is legible.
Here are dates and builders of the locomotives not described in the captions:
Marchlyn : Avonside 0-6-0T 2067 of 1933.
Trangkil No 4 : Hunslet 0-4-0ST 3902 of 1971.
Saccharine : John Fowler 0-4-2T 13355 of 1912.
Max (Sragi No 14) : Orenstein & Koppel 0-4-4-0T 10750 of 1923.
End of Statfold Barn Railway Part One
Return next week for Part Two – Museum, workshop and more locomotives.
Howard & goods train passing station signal box
GP39. Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0WT 1643 of 1930