Windsor and Maidenhead Branch

Visit to Fawley Hill Railway

   Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0T no. 31 pounds up the hill at Fawley   Alan Cooke

On Sunday 5 June a group of members, including several friends from neighbouring branches, visited Fawley Hill Museum and railway, near Henley-on-Thames, courtesy of the Hon. Sir William McAlpine Bt. Fawley, which is operated entirely by the dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers of the Museum Society, is well known for its extensive collection of railway artefacts, including signs, posters, paintings, nameplates, crockery and other memorabilia, plus superb models in O gauge and larger.

But the star attraction is undoubtedly the standard gauge line which comes up from the valley part of the estate at a staggering 1 in13/14, visitors gasping in sheer amazement when they first see the train ascend into the station. But no. 31, a Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0T of 1913 vintage, has clearly been expertly maintained over the years, and confidently makes the ascent hauling delighted passengers in an open truck and guardís van.

   The station building at Fawley, transported from Somersham, Cambridgeshire, on the former GER St Ives-March line   Jim Tucker
   The ex-LC&DR sign from Blackfriars, now dwarfing the Oxfordshire countryside   Steve Ollive

Other delights including the station, transported lock stock and barrel from Somersham near Huntingdon, to be lovingly re-erected in deepest Oxfordshire, and the endless collection of signal boxes and lineside structures which adorn the line, and provide such interesting grounds for Sir Williamís deer to roam.

All in all this was an unforgettable visit, and we were all most grateful for the opportunity.

   Members of Windsor and Maidenhead branch enjoy a ride on the Fawley Hill Railway   Jim Tucker

last updated: 15/06/11