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 This group is for anyone who is interested and enthusiastic about heritage railways and locomotives.  Group members visit heritage and preserved railways lines across Britain and also travel on steam hauled trips around the UK.  The group will have no formal meetings or lectures. The emphasis will be on learning by experience (and enjoying ourselves in the process).  Trips will be arranged on an ad hoc basis by any member of the group who wises to organise one.  Communication of events will be primarily via the email address below.  The first "trial" trip was held today when a small number of members visited Tyseley Loco Works near Birmingham.  There were six locomotives "in steam" and another dozen or so on static display. The highlight of the day was Furness Railway No. 20 celebrating 150 years.  It was operational and steamed onto the turntable to give all of the hundreds of visitors an excellent view.

Miniatur Wunderland, Hamburg

Snowdonia and the Northern Fells

Six members went on this tour which included a scenic trip from Settle to Carlisle over the Ribblehead Viaduct, steam hauled by A4 Pacific Class "Union of South Africa".  We also did part of the Welsh Mountainer trip hauled by K4 Class  "The Great Marquess".  On its return journey the locomotive failed and the passengers had to be rescued by a diesel loco sent from Carnforth. Fortunately, we had transferred from this tour to The Welsh Mountain Railway before this happened.  We traveled extensively on four of North Wales narrow gauge lines and also The Snowdon Mountain Railway and Great Orme Tramway.


Driving the Duchess

On Friday 7th November, a small group of members arrived at the home of the Midland Railway near Alfreton in Derbyshire. We were guests of The Princess Royal Class Locomotive Trust (PRCLT) who own and operate “The Duchess of Sutherland”. The Duchess is a Princess Coronation Class steam locomotive, number 46233. The 38 locos in this class that were built were the most powerful ever to run on the British rail network. The Duchess was built at Crewe in 1938 is one of only three still in existence. We were part of a small and very fortunate group who were permitted to drive the Duchess. Only thirty people each year get the opportunity to have this driving experience and we were in the final group of six for 2014.   After breakfast and a safety briefing, we kitted up in our boiler suits, steel toe-capped boots, hats and gloves and made our way to Swanwick Junction station to await the arrival of The Duchess. We were divided into three pairs. Mike and John were pair number two and Neil and Dave pair number three. Each pair took it in turns, one of us driving while the other was firing. We were instructed by Malcolm and Mark. As well as teaching us to drive this massive 105 ton engine, Malcolm is also chair of the trust that owns and maintains The Duchess.   As drivers, we had to master an array of levers and instruments as well as keeping an eye out for trackside instructions from signals, speed limits, exchanging tokens at the signal box to blowing the whistle. The track runs for about five kilometres through Butterly station, across Butterly Reservoir up to the A38 and in the opposite direction from Swanwick Junction the track goes beyond The Golden Valley Caravan Park. This meant that we had to drive the engine in reverse as well as forward. After a turn as driver, we took over as fireman. This involved not only stoking the boiler fire, but also checking and maintaining the correct pressure in the boiler. It was a fantastic experience that we all thoroughly enjoyed. As well as The Duchess the Midland Railway location is home to many other locomotive attractions including narrow gauge railways, diesel locomotives, a museum as well as many other steam engines. All the volunteer staff there were excellent. It is well worth a visit. For more details see


If you are interested in joining the Heritage Railway Group please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

or phone Neil Stevenson 01744 89572301744 895723