Nestled within Brockwell park, located in the heart of Lambeth, south London is an 7 1/4'' gauge Miniature railway. Built by Roland Baker and assisted Julian Hulland in the spring of 2003, it was opened by the Lord mayor of Lambeth Clr Tim Sargent on the 1st of June of that year.
The railway runs for 220 meters or 240 yards between Herne Hill Gates and the famous Brockwell lido which opened in July 1937. The railway offers rides to the travelling public of all ages at weekends between April and October for only a pound return for each fare. (Under twos go free when accompanied by an adult)
It is unique in the fact that the railway has been relayed close to the formation of the original railway which was sited here and ran between 1951-1961. Nothing is left of the original railway except the foundations of the original ticket office located at the entrance to Herne Hill Gates station.
An interesting array of motive power has been used on the railway including an Class 31 and class 08 battery electrics. Two Bridget class steam locomotives named Jupiter and Bridget, and an American outlined 2-4-0 named Oscar. Also running is a GER/LNER Y6 Tram locomotive used on the Wisbech & Upwell Tramway made famous by Toby The Tram Engine from Thomas the Tank Engine stories. In December 2011 we have also taken delivery of a Class 43 HST. Although its just the power car at the moment we're hoping to purchase the rest of the train (Three extra carriages) over the next couple of years.
Up until 2008 the railway had a unique feature of two gravity head shunts which were used to turn the locomotive around seen here.
However to accommodate the first phase of the railways extension to create a loop within the woods behind, the head shunt at the Herne Hill Gates area now accommodates a passing loop to allow the operation of two trains during busy periods, including the weekend of the Lambeth country show in late July's.
In 2006 Roland Baker sold the Miniature railway to John Roberts and Jullian Hulland in order for the railway to remain in the park. This sale saw the introduction of four new locos at the time.
First was the battery electric BR class 08.
Jullians locomotive Bridget becomes the second new addition to the railway being bought in 2007. Sadley as with the Class 31 and 'Bridget', theses locomotives are no longer in service with us, after the departure of Julian.
In 2008 1277 'Oscar' was welcomed into the family. Built by John Roberts from a Maxitrax Lil Joe Kit, its based on the Porter Locomotive designs in North America and would have been seen operating in cotton and sugar plantations in the Southern States.
2011 saw the arrival of the GER/LNER Y6 Tram locomotive 'Tilly', which the prototype was used on the Wisbech & Upwell Tramway. This locomotive was built in late 2010 from a Phoenix Kit and has been thus far our most popular train. I wonder if it has something to do with 'Toby' the Tram Engine?
In 2012 we'll see the arrival of our newest locomotive, the Class 43 HST power car 'HMS Pembroke'. This train has the most intresting of history being built by Mardyke around 1980 for the Strand miniature railway in Gillingham. Recently this loco was loaned to the Newhaven Miniature railway before being purchased by us in December 2011. The HST should provide most of the motive power for the 2012 season.
The long term success of the railway looks promising as passenger numbers remain steady, we continue to have the backing from Lambeth Council, Friends Of Brockwell Park and the Brockwell Lido and without their support the railway would not have lasted as long as it has. I hope you'll come down and visit us, we are just a two minute walk from Herne Hill station Served by South Eastern and First Capital Connect and a car park is located of Dulwich Road by the Lido.
Sat Nav Post Code for the Lido is: SE24 0PA