Made in Britain
Tel 01708 374468

Holiday Island Miniature Railway Co.
Sadly no more. Pictures were emailed over during dial up days so are of low quality.


To build a passenger carrying miniature railway , to carry one perhaps, back to a distant happy holiday memory, somewhere in the 1950 / 60's .


Land purchase and survey September 2000
First sod cut January 2000
Rail and sleepers / fixings purchased from Maxitrak ltd Febuary 2001
Delivery of bogie wagon no 1 built by Compass House May 2001
Earth works / track bed preparation completed , track laying commenced May 2001
Main line track laying completed June 2001
Passing loop track completed June 2001
Loco siding to turntable and goods siding completed July 2001
Delivery of bogie wagon no 2 built by Compass House August 2001
Delivery of engine no 1 ' snapper ' . A Sapphire class loco built by Maxitrak August 2001
Official opening ceremony of the ' Holiday Island Miniature Railway Co'. September 2001
Turntable construction completed September 2001
Construction of wagon no. 3 completed, adriving truck kit by Maxitrak September 2001
Loco yard with ash pit and three sidings completed. These being the final pieces of track to be laid October 2001
New and much needed water tower delivered and installed in the loco yard. this being adapted from an old galvanised water tank. March 2002
First semaphore signals built from wood July 2002
delivery taken of engine no2 . ' reverend chanter ' a Trojan class 0-4-0 battery loco built by ' Ride on Railways ' of Romford , Essex August 2002
Signal box erected and fitted with a westinghouse ' l ' type miniature lever frame of sixteen levers Sept 2002
Level crossing gates constructed March 2003
Twelve foot long carriage shed completed April 2003


  • Basic track bed dimensions...........3 feet wide by 9 inches deep.
  • Lined by timber edging................. 9 " x 3 " either side to retain ballast
  • Track bed.....................................4 inches of ' crush and run ' this is a limestone based hoggin available from most builders merchants for about fifteen pounds a ton. This once compressed by a vibrating plate forms a very hard but porous foundation.

    The reason I chose this method is that one half of the garden was a very boggy clay mush in the winter and rock hard in the summer , so I needed a foundation to rely on whatever the weather . This may seem like overkill but why not, it's got to last.
    On top of this I put down three inches of 6mm limestone chippings. This was also fifteen pounds a ton delivered. This will support the track.




Originally I was interested and thinking of 7.25 ". Available space and funds soon changed this to 5 “. This was a blessing in disguise.
The reasons being that:

  1. 5 " gauge is much easier to move on your own and to lift without breaking your back, especially during maintenance. An engine will also fit in the boot of your car
  2. Rolling stock needs less space
  3. There are plenty of 5 " club circuits
  4. It is much cheaper, just as well for me!
  5. I fitted in a lot of railway in the space I had available, in fact, more than I could ever have imagined. 8 ' - 10 ' curves possible.


All the track and point kits were bought from Maxitrak of Staple Hurst, Kent.
The rail is Cromar White aluminium and is 16 mm high in profile. It is not a heavy gauge rail and is therefore very easy to shape and cut. All curves were bent using a rail bender. This produced perfectly smooth curves and I would not be without one.
The sleepers are of hardwood supplied with the track kits and with adequate drainage are supposed to last at least twenty -five years. We'll see!
Track fixings again were supplied with the kits and are zinc plated, these being cross head screws, fishplates and nuts and bolts. All of which went together without any problem and have produced a wonderfully smooth ride.
The point kits were not easy to make, but once made they perform well and are reliable. Two track gauges made life easier during construction. The best advice with points is.......take your time.


Two bogie open wagons by Compass House - great little wagons and I am very pleased with them. They have already travelled many miles and have rarely de-railed, they are sturdy and I love them.

One Maxitrak driving truck - a nice little kit and it runs well on our line. Because it is so short I have to be very careful not to sit too far back and tip it up. Hmm........perhaps I will convert it into a small dog wagon!



MAXITRAK SAPPHIRE 5" LOCO . This is one powerful little beast. I ordered this loco having never seen one run before and of course was extremely pleased with its pulling power. The record so far is four adults and one child [as that is the most people to visit so far] on our three wagons with no problems. Our loco is painted green as was the locos of the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway, soon to re-awaken, with which our little garden line is identifiable with.

RIDE ON RAILWAYS TROJAN CLASS BATTERY LOCO . This engine will pull your house. It is a lovely looking loco and the perfect companion to our steamer. This loco is also fitted with a diesel sound unit which changes pitch as more / or less power is applied, wonderful when stood still with the engine just chugging over. I love this loco and so does everyone who drives it........I would not be without one.


This was made in a very simple fashion. It looks great and works . The base is 4 x concrete flags 2 ' x 2 ' laid on mortar. The edging bricks were 25 pence each from a reclamation yard . The table is made from 2 "x 1 " wood with two metal plates , one with a bolt welded on to act as the pivot and the other screwed on to the table to take the pivot . It is the best thing I have made so far and I’m really proud of it.


This is again flags laid on mortar. I have made a picket fence to go around it and screwed on a couple of tinplate signs. We also have a platform for the ' little people ' and their luggage. This gives us a great excuse to search around the car boot sales for bits and pieces the right size. The odd action man and small basket look great.


Our signal box is a 6x4 garden shed, painted in southern colours to resemble the little signal boxes on the ' Lynton to Barnstaple ' line. I think it looks great and it captures the atmosphere of the real thing. Inside it is fitted with a sixteen lever ' Westinghouse ' K type frame, of 1928 vintage. Originally in 'Deal Street' signal box, Manchester. This box controlled the old ' Manchester exchange ' station, becoming obsolete in 1999 with the rebuilding of Manchester Victoria. I managed to buy a few levers from Railtrack on decommissioning. I believe it was the last miniature lever frame to be in use on British Rail.

The levers operate ' Del- aire ' compressed air switches, which in turn operate air cylinders on the signals. This is a fantastic method of signal control.....so easy to install and reliable. These components i purchased from ' Brandbright Limited ' of Norfolk, a 16mm/ft railway stockist. The rest of the signal box instruments were saved from the scrap man in the 1960's. Ah... Those were the days.


This has been built over the now extended main siding, leading off from the station loop. Constructed with a wooden framework and clad with shiplap timber

It is twelve feet long to accommodate two passenger carriages and one goods truck

Again this is painted in the green and cream colours of the southern railway and looks great. This is the last large construction to be built on our line as we have now run out of space.


On our garden line we have our own printed tickets as shown and we use pounds, shillings and pence. All rides have the same fare price of one old penny. This is the only currency our line accepts. The conductor has an old leather bag in which the tickets and money are carried. We always have small supply of old money available, should visitors find themselves short!


Now that the major construction work is all but over and the railway is running as a proper private miniature railway , it must be said that it took a great deal of effort , but to be honest , even with all the blistering hard work , I could easily do it all over again , so........
Whatever it is that you enjoy, whatever shape, size, or type of railway you have, or dream of building, for us here in a windswept outpost, lost in the mists of time, we have built a lovely world of our own, where little trains carry large people and little people travel through huge landscapes past large flowers and trees. The small pieces of garden left have provided great fun for my wife and myself to plant out, to enjoy the splendid colour and scents, but perhaps best of all is the laughter and happiness that resounds around our magical 1950’s garden and the memories it creates.



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