Penrose Light Railway

The Penrose Light Railway is a short 10¼” gauge railway laid on our private site in Cornwall (please note the site is unsuitable for regular public access; therefore the railway is strictly private and we cannot accommodate casual visitors).

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The railway has three main purposes: as an agricutural railway that can be used for various job connected with the upkeep of the horses which graze the land alongside, as a passenger railway for invited guests, and as a test track for any new equipment we may build.

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Railway equipment first arrived at the site in 2005, and construction of the railway started in 2006 using the nucleus of the Woolverton House Railway. An initial length of approximately 200 yards was constructed along one edge of the field, the majority being in a cutting. A small locomotive shed was provided at the bottom end of the line at ‘Penrose Halt’, and a covered tunnel section later constructed at the top of the line for carriage storage.

 

In 2013 the majority of the original trackwork was lifted for relaying with 20lb/yd steel rail, which is nearing completion.

Track relaying underway in 2013

Track relaying underway in 2013

Locomotives and Rolling Stock

There is currently one locomotive on the Penrose Light Railway.
IMG_0142Bree is a 2-4-2 locomotive with enclosed cab, built by Bruce Whalley for Noel Terry and the Woolverton House Hotel Railway. As built it was fitted with a Renault 5 petrol engine and gearbox; on the original owner’s request this was not geared down and so driving it could be a little hair raising!
Bree arrived as the first locomotive for the PLR in July 2005 and was in occasional use until 2009, when the arrival of another locomotive meant it was set aside. Subsequently a Kubota diesel engine and suitable hydraulic parts have been purchased for a proposed rebuild to diesel hydraulic, as and when the time is available around other jobs.

 

 

The railway has a few items of rolling stock. The most used is a steel well wagon which originated at Woolverton House. There is also a set of three articulated ‘Ian Allan’ carriages for passengers and a number of tipping wagons under construction.

 

History

The PLR owes its existence to two former railways: the Woolverton House Railway and the Amberwynd Railway.

Woolverton House Railway

This railway was constructed in the grounds of the Woolverton House Hotel near Bath.  The line was ¼ mile long, and operated by Noel Terry, who owned the hotel.  Motive power was a Basset Lowke Royal Scot completed by Noel Terry (with some assistance and parts from Bruce Whalley), and a freelance sit-in petrol locomotive known as Bulldog, built by Bruce Whalley.  In 2003 the railway was closed and the majority of the equipment sold to Roy Harvey near Bristol; the Royal Scot was not included in this sale and we believe is now located on a private railway in Berkshire.  With plans to build a railway not coming to fruition, Roy Harvey advertised the railway for sale in July 2005, and it arrived in Cornwall later that month.  Following the relaying of the Penrose Light Railway with the track materials from the Amberwynd Railway (see below), the trackwork was sold to railways in Inverness, West Sussex and Yelverton.

Amberwynd Railway

The Amberwynd Railway was a private 12¼” gauge railway located in North Devon.  Running around the grounds of a large house, it was equipped with an Exmoor Steam Railway built steam locomotive and an Alan Keef diesel locomotive, along with a number of wagons.  Sadly for various reasons the decision was taken to sell the railway in late 2010 to allow a house move.  With no takers for the railway as a complete package, either with or without the house, in early 2013 the track materials were sold to us and made the short journey into North Cornwall.  Much of the equipment, all in immaculate condition, remains for sale – details here.