STEAMTOWN RAILWAY MUSEUM, CARNFORTH,
Development Begins 1970-1974
The next steps
After the split with the Lakeside railway in 1970 development
of the railway museum proceeded. The Company had a good collection of main line
locomotives, the old locomotive depot, two of the original Directors Dr. Peter
Beet and Joe Greenwood and a group of volunteers.
A manager Jack Cherry had already been
appointed. A caretaker Bill Coates and his brother in law Eddie arrived and allowed the
museum to open daily. The caretaker lived in a caravan next to the main entrance
at the Keer end of the site. Work on restoring the locomotives proceed apace.
This was enhanced when Ken Cottam the former BR foreman fitter at Carnforth
returned and with his brother in law Frank Swindlehurst to work in the workshop.
On open days engines were steamed and
footplate rides given for a fee. My recollection is that this was initially 5
The Industrial Locomotives arrive
In order to
operate more effectively a number of industrial locomotives were sought as they
could be steamed cheaply and commanded almost the same fee for a footplate ride.
A great Western toad brake van was also obtained. To start with the only small
locomotive was a small vertical boilered sentinel Gasbag. This was followed by
an Andrew Barclay from Cooke & Nuttall at Horwich and then a group of 4 Barclay
0-4-0ST's from British Gypsum' three sites along the Settle & Carlisle Railway
Jane Beattie(Newall) drops the ashes from Jane Darbyshire
Andrew Barclay No.1 & Hawthorne Leslie Farday
David came from Millom ironworks at their No.1 along with
Alexandra another 0-4-0Barclay saddle tank
In due course further locomotives arrived.
Cranford No.2 was a Bagnall 0-6-0ST brought by Dick Lacy from Somerset and a
0-6-0 Bagnall Fireless loco from Trimpell at Heysham. Faraday an 0-4-0ST came from Newport in
South Wales. A Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0 diesel shunter came from the storage depot
on the old Carnforth Ironworks site.
The Main line steam ban
From 1968 British railways imposed a ban on any steam
locomotives operating on the national network. The only exception was No. 4472
Flying Scotsman which had a contract to operate until 1970. A great deal of work
went into overturning this. An exhibition at Morecambe allowed locomotives to be
towed by a diesel but in steam. Finally in 1972 the ban was overturned and steam
returned and Carnforth was one of the designated sites from which steam could
operate. Test runs to Ulverston with 44871 and 44932 preceded special trains to
Barrow in Furness.
44932 at Ulverston after the test run. Joe Greenwood is on the extreme right
The Collection Expands
As well as acquiring locomotives from around the UK efforts were
made by Dr. Peter Beet to bring locomotives from abroad. financed by David Davis
the first to arrive was a French Chapelon Pacific No. 231k22.
231k22 & B1 no. 1306 Mayflower
This was stored in the Old wagon shop as it was initially too
high to go in the main shed. It was followed by a West German oil fired 012
pacific No. 012-104. These very impressive locomotives were much larger than anything else
to be seen in the UK. There were early attempts to get a Union Pacific Big
Boy, and a locomotive from the Caribbean but both fell through because of the
Notable locomotives to arrive from within the UK in 1973 were Gresley V2
Green Arrow and A4 Sir Nigel Gresley. They arrived together in steam from Tysley.
There remained based at Steamtown for many years.
However attempts to obtain LMS express
locomotives from the Butlin collection failed with much acrimony and legal
More successful was the acquisition of three locomotives from
the famous Barry scrap yard of Dai Woodham. These were Hall class No. 6960
Raveningham Hall, No. 35005 Merchant Navy class - Canadian Pacific and GWR 56XX
No. 5643. This latter locomotive had left the scrap yard already to an abortive
preservation scheme the Eastern Valley Railway. In due course all these
locomotives were restored and are now widely travelled.
Sir Nigel Gresley and Green Arrow on the day they arrived
The expanding collection proved popular with the public and
visitor numbers steadily climbed. Open days with engines in steam were regular
occurrences as well as the daily opening. A cafe and gift shop were opened in
the old stores and signing on point.
Then in 1974 an exhibition was held over a fortnight in August and as an
attraction the world famous Flying Scotsman came as a visitor. The exhibition
was a great success with engines in steam every day and an relationship with its owner Bill MacAlpine
developed. This will be the next chapter in the story.
Carnforth home page
Steamtown Miniature Railway was a 15 inch gauge railway on the site
people who made Steamtown happen
Steamtown memories & recollections
Steamtown and the Lakeside railway
My interest has continued with the purchase
and development of the Rudyard Lake Steam Railway
in Staffordshire, one of the Uk's foremost miniature railways.
Contact for queries, additions etc
firstname.lastname@example.org or Telephone 01995