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The Ellingham Light Railway

Industrial Trojan

The Ellingham light railway was conceived after my initial (mad?) plan to build a five inch live steam loco from scratch. This started in October 2004 when drawings for Maidstone engineering’s Ruby narrow gauge engine were purchased. I also made contact at this time with Mike Keyte who runs the West Wickham railway as he had built a Ruby supplied in kit form by Maxitrak. Mike very kindly sent me a copy of his kit instructions which were a great help in setting valve timing and general layouts.

There are some pictures of my engines progress on his website www.freewebs.com/wickhamrailway Slowly work started and the loco was built up to being air tested and the boiler ordered from Cheddar Valley steam which had a 12 month lead time. Digging out the top part of the garden.

A very rough sketch of the garden.

The low end of the garden. The top of the posts are level. In March 2005 I purchased around 200 yards of used alloy rail in anticipation of building a circuit in the top most part of our garden. Over the summer I scrounged loads of off-cuts of tile batten and started chopping these up into sleepers and soaking in creosote.

In September of last year I started to dig out for the track bed when the garden was being used less by my two teenage boys (football, trampoline etc).
I got loads of information from the Ride on Railways website which I found an absolutely invaluable. I had around 9 inches of drop at the lower end of the garden so a small embankment was built to keep things level (ish).
A week’s holiday in late October saw me starting to lay track around the loop set in 10mm limestone chippings on top of weed-proof membrane to stop the ballast mixing with the soil. In the rail purchase were two points on alloy sleepers (Maxitrak I think?). These were duly ripped to bits and built again on wooden sleepers. They have been fitted into the loop ready for stage two, which will include a triangle and a line down to my workshop.

After spending many happy hours on Ride on Railways website I decided it would be a good idea to have a battery loco so that running could be more instant if visitors etc arrived, so I went down to the open day in September and ordered an Industrial bodied Trojan.

The garden from the house end
My son James driving the first train My family and I had a great day driving and riding trains and were made to feel very welcome. In November I was contacted by Cheddar valley steam and they had managed to bring forward my boiler construction and it would be dispatched late December! Wow it’s suddenly all starting to happen. After contacting Paul at ROR it was agreed that I would collect my Trojan kit on the 29th December!

Everything had in fact happened at once and now I had a line to finish, a Trojan to build and a steam engine to complete. I decided that I could finish laying the line over the Christmas holiday and then start on the Trojan and then when I had something running complete the steam engine.

One day’s work saw the line loop finished, so I started construction of the Trojan. I won’t document this as many others have, but I will say that the build of the chassis, running gear and wiring were very simple and just as the online instructions said so here’s to a great product. I still have the body to spray and fit, but today reached a milestone on this little line as the first powered train ran over the Ellingham Light Railway metals.

I have loads more work to do including stage two of the line, building some passenger stock, completing the steam engine and then some aesthetic improvements to the top part of the garden.

It’ll look better when its painted!
My wife Karen having the second drive on the embankment To sum up, I have enjoyed every minute of building the line so far, and I’m sure I’ve made some mistakes but what a great sense of achievement! We are all looking forward to the Spring now with some longer and warmer days when we can all enjoy the railway.


Ruby awaiting her boiler.

Industrial Trojan with fly cranks with Ruby int he background.

Finished Ruby

Please feel free to contact me if you wish on paul@pelden.freeserve.co.uk and I will post some more details in the Summer when more work has been completed.


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