Dungeness Fish Tramway, Kent
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Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire

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Leighton Buzzard sand quarries, Bedfordshire


Quainton Road Railway Centre, Buckingham

Put the 'L' plates on the pannier, Jenkins is coming for his driving lessons, May 1999 ......


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Grays - T W Ward, Columbia Wharf

T W Ward, Columbia Wharf ship-breaking yard, was another site visited by John Failes in the late 1970s. The loco is 0-4-0D AB 419/57 ex MoD Shoeburyness No 120.

Purfleet - Esso Tank Farm

John Failes visited the Esso Tank Farm at Purfleet in the late 1970s. The two locos are Bg/DC 2141/41 and YE 2686/58.

Purfleet - Purfleet Deep Water Wharf

Purfleet Deep Water Wharf was also on John Failes itinery in the 1980s. The two locos here are believed to be RH 457303 of 1963 and RH 512463 or 64 of 1965.

Southend Pier

Southend Pier was rebuilt in 1984 following serious fire damage. The pier railway had already ceased operation so a contractors railway was laid to assist the re-building. The loco is a Simplex, MR 10160/50 from Hatfield Peat Works, Lincs, previously London Brick Co, Arlesey, Beds. John Failes took these photos.

Thurrock - Proctor and Gamble

Proctor and Gamble at Thurrock operated an AB fireless loco as seen by John Failes in the late 1970s. It was AB1472/16.

Thurrock - Thames Matex Ltd

Thames Matex Ltd (later Vopak) operated a tank farm and shipping wharf at Thurrock, just below the Queen Elizabeth II bridge, visited by John Failes, c1980. Their locos were ex-BR D2953, 0-4-0D AB 395/55 and Bagnall-designed 0-6-0D RSH 8343/62, previously wth Coleshill gasworks.

Thurrock - Tunnel Cement (Lafarge)

The Tunnel Portland Cement Co was at West Thurrock and owned a small fleet of Ruston, Sentinel and Yorkshire locomotives including '3', RR 10249/66, 'T.P.C. No 5', RR 10230/65, 'T.P.C. No 6' RR 10235/65, 'T.P.C. No 7' RR 10276/67, No '8', possibly a YE loco and '211', YE 2854/61. The red '5' is 'T.P.C. No 5' but at a different date before/after being numbered 'T.P.C. No 5'.

Thurrock - Tunnel Industrial Estate

Tunnel Industrial Estate, West Thurrock, was built c1951 and owned this Yorkshire diesel loco, YE 2854/61, seen by John Failes c1980.

West Thorndon - Brown & Tawse Ltd

Brown & Tawse Ltd were steel stock-holders, mainly pipes here, and they operated this 1939 vintage Hudswell Clarke diesel loco.

Hampshire and Hertfordshire

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Beaulieu to Bucklers Hard

A days Rambling in 2012 from Beaulieu to Bucklers Hard passed the brickworks at Baileys Hard, now a fine house. This was working from 1790 to 1935 and there used to be a tramway to the claypits. There's a beehive kiln beside the house but it's difficult to see amongst the trees. Also a WWII observation point near the target submarine pens near Fritham.

Other Spots in Hampshire


Colne Valley Waterworks Railway, Watford - TQ 1027 9408

Michael Bishop visited the waterworks in 1967 and 1968 to arrange the transfer of the two locos to Brockham Museum. The locos are No '1', RH 166015 of 1933 and No '2', RH 166024 also of 1933. To see them at the Museum, go to the Brockham Museum page.

The Isle of Wight

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Holidays on the Isle of Wight

Long ago holidays, must go back at some time


John Failes saw '05 001' in a siding in Sandown in the early 1980s

Albany Museum, Newport

John Failes visited Albany Museum in the late 1970s. Unfortunately the identities of the locos is uncertain but likelihoods are :- photo 1 - ??, photo 2 - far right MR 5297/31 and photo 3 is RH 213840/41 previously Royal Arsenal Railway


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Burt Boulton & Heywood Ltd operated a timber yard in Belvedere where they used a Simplex loco, MR 9019 of 1950, for shunting the sidings. Despite other reports, it was not converted from any kind of WW1 armour-plated loco. The line closed in 1979 and John Failes visited shortly before this.

Chatham Dockyard

A Chatham Dockyard open day in the early 1980s. The locos include '18 Dover Castle' FH 3770, '20 Deal Castle' FH 3772, '24 Rochester Castle' FH 3738, '26 Leeds Castle' FH 3745, all built in 1955 and 'Yard No 12228 Allington Castle' HE 6975 of 1968.

Dartford Tunnel construction

The Eastern bore of the Dartford Tunnel was built by Balfour Beatty between 1975 and 1980. John Failes took these photos during the building work. The loco is RH 200800 of 1941, 48DL from MOD Dinton, Worcestershire, via J Gevertz Ltd, Essex, with flameproof gear behind the cab.

The Dungeness fish tramways - TR 0940 1765

Along the road to the lighthouse there are seven disused or derelict tramways :-
Line 1. 1ft 9ins line.
Line 2. 2ft line with a rusty chassis and Decauville track panels.
Line 3. 2ft line.
Line 4. 15ins line with two halves of a chassis.
Line 5. 1ft 9ins line with very light rail.
Line 6. the site of another line with a few sleepers only.
Line 7. the site of a 2ft line with evidence of Decauville track panels.
These tramways are simply just laid across the shingle to bring the fishing fleet's catch from the seashore to the road. They appear to have used winches or capstans to haul the boats onto the shingle bank using an assortment of old engines.

Line 2

This is a 2ft (that's 60cm to you youngsters) gauge line with a complete chassis. This is to the West end of the beach.

Line 3

There is little left of this 2ft gauge line which is to the East of the beach.

Line 4

This 15 inch gauge line is still reasonably complete with some 'viaducts' carrying the line across dips in the shingle. There are two halves of a chassis, each half resembling a rail-borne roller skate along the track. They have 'SSCo' cast onto their axle-boxes.

Dungeness Beach

All manner of old engines, winches, casptans, boats and shacks are scattered round the beach, just not enough time to see and record it all.

Gravesend - Imperial Paper Mills

The Imperial Paper Mills at Gravesend had 3 fireless Andrew Barclay locos plus one from Orenstein & Koppel. These are the 3 Barclays that John Failes saw on his visit.

Isle of Grain - BP refinery

... or not, as the case might be. An unidentified loco at an unknown location. However one suggestion is that this is 'Louise' He 6950 of 1967 at the BP refinery om the Isle of Grain. The loco also went to the Coryton refinery in Essex so it might be there. Any thoughts on the subject will be welcome.

Lydd Town Station on the SECR Dungeness branch

Paddock Wood - Hops Marketing Board

The Hops Marketing Board had a depot at Paddock Wood and used this Ruston loco, RH 210481/41, ex Cohen, Stanningley and previously with Ford, Dagenham.

Queenborough - Queenborough Rolling Mills Ltd

Queenborough Rolling Mills Ltd used many locos including ex-BR class 06 D2432, 0-4-0D AB 459/60, which later went on holiday to Italy and never came home.

Richborough on the East Kent Railway

The Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway

Sheerness - Sheerness Steel Co Ltd

Sheerness Steel Co Ltd had this 0-6-0DH, YE 2759/59, ex PLA '234' seen by John Failes in the 1980s


The Bowaters Railway in Sittingbourne was a lengthy industrial railway with some fascinating locomotives. I think these photos were taken either on an 'open day' or when it was being run as a tourist railway in March 1970.

Snowdown Colliery

Snowdown Colliery opened in 1912 and closed in 1987. This general view of the yard with JF4160002/52 was taken in the early 1980s by John Failes.

Strood - William Cory & Son Ltd

Rochester Coal Wharf was operated by William Cory & Son Ltd using two 0-4-0D locos. This is 'Thalia', RSHN 7816/DC 2503 of 1954.

Tenterden and the KESR

My wife was off painting 'Big Cats' at Smarden in June 2013 so I had a day on the Kent and East Sussex Railway which also had a beer festival going on, can't fault that !

Greater London

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Acton Lane

Acton Lane Power Station had an open day on 28 February 1981 and one of the visitors was John Failes. The two locos are 'Little Barford' AB 2069/39 and 'Birkenhead' RSH 7386/48.


John Failes visited Barking Power Station between 1971 to 1974 when Swindon-built ex BR D2041 was on site in the mist. It had been transferred from Rye House Power Station for 3 years.

Berrylands sewage works

John Failes visited Berrylands sewage works in the late 1970s or early 1980s. I believe the first photo shows FH 2201/39, and the last photo shows the two modern Hunslets, HE 4857/57 and HE 6018/61.

Canning Town - G Cohen

Two locos from George Cohen's yard in Canning Town, the first is Bg 3589/62, ex Bass, Burton, and the second is FH 3736/1955, taken in the late 1970s by John Failes

Croydon Power Station

This was an open day at Croydon Power Station in the early 1980s. The locos were 'No 2' EEV D1122/66, 'Hengist' RSH/WB 8367/62 and one of three 040STs, P2103 to 2105/48. This was another of John Failes visits.

Dagenham Dock - S Williams & Co

Dagenham Dock was operated by Samuel Williams & Co and John Failes visited the site a number of times in the late 70s and early 80s. The locos are '23' FH 3722/55, '25' FH 3799/56, '27' FH 3945/60, '28' FH 3997/63 and 'Christopher' RH 437364/60.

Dagenham - Ford Motor Co

The Ford Motor Co in Dagenham is the subject of another of John Failes visits in the late 1970s. The locos are BR D2051, Ford No '8', ex-BR D2333 and Ford No '2', HC D1376/66.

Enfield - Brimsdown Power Station

The location is uncertain but the shed and background pipework appears to be the same as other photos of Brimsdown. If it is, then this is one or other of 0-6-0F AB 1550/17 or AB1989/30. Taken by John Failes c1980.

Erith - BOCM

The British Oil and Cake Mills (BOCM) were based in Erith where John Failes took these photos in the early 1980s. The locos are 'Princess Margaret'. AB 376/48 and 'Crabtree' RH 338416/53.

Erith - William Cory & Sons Ltd

Next door to BOCM at Erith, Kent, and sharing the same area and sidings was Erith Wharf, run by William Cory Ltd and used by 'British Gypsum', so John Failes visited them at the same time in the early 1980s. They had three VF/DC 0-4-0D locos of which 'Prium', VF D293, DC 2566 of 1955 and 'Taurus' VF D139, DC 2273 of 1951 posed for their photos.

Greenwich, Angerstein Wharf - Thames Metal Co and Redpath Brown Ltd

The Millenium Dome now sits on the site of a large scrapyard complex with a number of locos. The oldest belonged to 'Thames Metal Co', originally MR 2031/20 but has been considerably altered over its life. They also had FH 3571/1952 and FH 3477. In the same area 'Redpath Brown Ltd' owned '30', MR 5757/1955. John Failes visited in the late 1970s.

Kings Cross and Ealing Broadway

Morden - Express Dairies

'David' HE 5308/60, taken in the late 1970s by John Failes

Park Royal - Guinness Brewery

I visited the Guinness Brewery in Park Royal some time in the late 1960s but have no photos of the occasion. John Failes, on the other hand, has got some photos. Here are 'Carpenter' FH 3270/48 and 'Walrus' FH 3271/49 at rest after a nice 'My goodness - My Guinness'

Rainham - Cunis Rubbish Shoot

John Failes visited W R Cunis at Rainham Rubbish Shoot (or Great Coldharbour) in the late 1970s or early 1980s. I believe the locos are
'2' FH 3821/57
'No 3 Elizabeth II' FH 3736/55 ex SEGB, Lower Sydenham
'L4' '46' FH 3910/59 ex North Thames Gas Board, Beckton
'L5' '41' FH 3885/58 ex North Thames Gas Board, Beckton
'No 6' ex Dolman of Southend
'L7' HC D917/56 ex Port of Bristol 'D2007 Tribruit'
'L8' HC D918/56 ex Port of Bristol. 'D2008 Guinnion'

Silvertown - T W Ward scrapyard

T.W. Ward had a large scrap depot at Silvertown in East London, linked to the mainline via the Silvertown Tramway. A regular turn from BR at Stratford would be to shunt the sidings and take away scrap metal. It always had loads of different diesel locos there, some working, many not. These photos were taken late '70's/early '80's as it was a popular place to visit for John Failes. John has no record of the individual locos but we think we have traced them correctly but if you have more info please let me know.

Here's a list of locos that passed through (thanks to Terry Wallace) :-
JF 4210076 scrapped 3/84
JF 22934 left in 1960
RH 237929 left 1964
FH 3641 left 8/74
JF 4210003 scrapped 7/80
RH 305314 scrapped 7/83
FH 3900 scrapped 7/83
HC D1009 scrapped 5/87
RH 398611 left 1987
HC d1291 scrapped 1989
RR 10189 scrapped 1989
TH 176v left 1992.

Stratford - Sanders & Forster

More from John Failes who visited Sanders & Forster, steel stockholders and engineers, Stratford, in the late 1970s. They had a 2' gauge internal rail system for moving steel around their depot. The site was alongside the main line from Stratford to Liverpool Street and could just be seen from a passing train.

Tolworth - Coal Concentration Depot

Three of the locos of Tolworth Coal Concentration Depot, 0-4-0D AB 375 of 1948, ex-BR D2246 DC 2578, RSH 7865 of 1956 and ex-BR D2310 DC 2691, RSH 8169 of 1960, seen by John Failes. I remember MR 5766/63 and RSH 6990/40 being there but I didn't take a photo.

Waterloo to Wimbledon

Norfolk and Suffolk

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Bressingham Garden and Railway Centre, Norfolk

A day trip to Bressingham in August 1968


just one lonely photo of Long Melford Station


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Beeches Light Railway - SP 477252

The Beeches Light Railway is a private railway near Lower Heyford and home to a genuine Darjeeling Himalayan Railway loco, number '19' originally but re-numbered to '778'. It was built by Sharp Stewart in Manchest in 1888, works number 3518.

Surrey and Sussex

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Brockham and Amberley Museums

I used to help out at Brockham Museum, near Dorking in Surrey, during the 1960s before the lack of public access forced a move to Amberley where it has grown into the excellent Amberley Museum - well worth a visit.
There is a dedicated page with all the photos and lots of background information from the Brockham newsletter here :-

Nutbourne brickworks, Hambledon, Surrey - SU 973376

Nutbourne Brickworks Ltd opened as Hammer Brickworks in 1938, becoming Nutbourne in 1953 under 'Sussex and Dorking United Brick Co Ltd'. The 2' 0" gauge line to the claypits was worked by locos since 1950. The locos are probably MR 7199 of 1937 or possibly MR 21513 of 1955. John Failes visited the brickworks in the late 1970s.

Redhill, Holmethorpe sand pits - TQ 289518

The Holmethorpe sand pits were opened in 1934 on the site of a brickworks which had closed in 1914. The locos appear to be RSHN 7901/58, FH 3961/61, DC 2159/41 and AB 332/38. Photos by John Failes on a visit in c1980.

Ripley concrete works, Surrey - TQ 040566

Ripley concrete works, Surrey, part of Redland Pipes Ltd, installed a 2' 0" gauge circular railway in 1936 which closed in 1973. The works itself closed in 1975. The loco went to Brockham Museum.


The Bluebell Railway in the 1960s and 1970s

Lewes Cement Works, Sussex - TQ 426094

Lewes Cement Works in the early 1980s with 0-4-0D DC 2591,RSH 7924/59, ex Eastwoods Cement Co, Barrington

Ludlay brickworks, Sussex - TQ 527075

The Motor Rail rebuild at Ludlay Brick Ltd is possibly MR 5361, originally at Hall & Co's Crumbles Gravel Pits. It was acquired from the Sussex River Authority in 1958. Ludlay brickworks closed in 1966 but lay derelict until 1979. The locomotive has been preserved at the Great Bush Railway, Hadlow Down, Sussex.

Mountfield Gypsum Quarry, Sussex

John Failes visited here c1980 and found Thos Hill '1' 183v/67 and '2' 184v/67 at rest.

Rodmell cement works, Lewes, Sussex - TQ 435064

The Alpha Cement Co Ltd works (later APCM) at Rodmell was established in 1931 and a 2' 0" gauge railway ran for ½ mile to the clay and chalk pits. The works closed in 1975 and the three locos preserved, they were RH 172892/34, RH 177604/36 and RH 183744/37.

Thakeham tile works, Storrington, Sussex - TQ 104151

Thakeham tile works opened in the 1920s with a 2' 0" gauge railway to the sandpits. Home-made locomotives started to work the line in 1937 and later Hunslet diesels were modified to fit under the hoppers. The railway closed in November 1980 and John Failes caught the last working days of Hunslet 3653 of 1948 early in 1980.

Acknowledgments, sources and further reading.

Thanks for their photos and info to :- Michael Bishop, John Failes, Graham and Leslie Feldwick, Adrian Foster, Ken Scanes, Bill Sevens, Martin Shill, Guy Tritton, Terry Wallace.
'IRS Bulletin 945' on the Dungeness fish tramways,
'Industrial Railways and Locomotives of Surrey and Sussex', Industrial Railway Society

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