The railway Updated
Photo galleries Updated
Merstham Valley Railway - 7¼" gauge
Construction of the Merstham Valley Railway in 1989
Visit the official website: mvrailway.awardspace.co.uk
Jim Goss was instrumental in establishing the Merstham Valley Railway after he left the Moors Valley Railway in Dorset looking for a new home for his Tinkerbell-style loco "Sir Goss" (handy how the initials were the same!).
At this time, Colin Gregory was deputy headmaster of St. Nicholas School in Merstham Surrey and a keen promoter of live steam. Colin also ran railway-themed activities for the boys at the school, and the East Surrey group of The Association of 16mm Narrow Gauge Modelers is also based at the school.
I am not sure how Jim and Colin first made contact, but after negotiations, Surrey County Council agreed to the construction of a 7¼" line around the perimeter of the school's playing fields. It was about this time that I got involved along with a few of the other 16mm members.
The Merstham Model Steam Show is put on at the school every May, and the Merstham Valley Railway operated for the first time on 13th & 14th May 1989. For this show the track was simply laid on the grass with no ballasting and little preparation.
After some initial efforts to dig out the trackbed by hand, we
decided the only way to make any appreciable progress was to hire a
digger. For the sum of £70 per day (if my memory serves me) we got
virtually all of the digging done over a weekend. With a cutting 2' deep and close on ½ mile of track this was a
real time saver.
On the 16th Nov 1989 we made it in to two local papers.
This is me driving "DIPPY" a petrol-hydraulic loco bought by the school. I am propelling a ballast train down to the end of the line.
And here is Chris (Colin's son) dumping one of many dozens of barrow loads of ballast. In total there was approx. 200 tons moved this way. Alex (surname forgotten) is driving DIPPY.
After all the hard work, time to reap the rewards. Boxing Day 1989 was the first time we carried passengers - invited guests and those who had been involved with the construction.
That is me trying to peer out of the cab of "Sir Goss".
"Sir Goss" was Jim Goss' loco. It is now based at the Swanley New Barn Railway - www.snbr.20m.com
Jim Goss is on the far side of the train with a black grease-top cap and holding two mugs, Dave Smallbone is this side of the train wearing a donkey-jacket and blue-jeans.
Colin Gregory can be seen in the photo above as the first person on the train looking towards the camera.
The spoil from cutting out the trackbed is seen on the right forming an artificial "hill" just before the loop
|© Copyright 2007 - 2010 | Site last updated: 13th February 2012 | Page last updated: 3rd December 2008|