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Foxfield Steam Railway

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Title: Foxfield Steam Railway  
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Subject: Staffordshire, BBC Radio Stoke, Churnet Valley Railway, Foxfield, Dilhorne, List of fireless steam locomotives preserved in Britain, Cheadle Coalfield
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Foxfield Steam Railway

For the railway station in Cumbria, see Foxfield railway station.
Foxfield Light Railway
Wimblebury seen working a train at Dilhorn Park
Locale Staffordshire
Terminus Caverswall Road

52°58′33″N 2°03′52″W / 52.97570°N 2.06454°W / 52.97570; -2.06454Coordinates: 52°58′33″N 2°03′52″W / 52.97570°N 2.06454°W / 52.97570; -2.06454

Commercial operations
Original gauge
Preserved operations
Stations 2
Length 2.25 miles (3.62 km)
Preserved gauge
1893 Opened
1965 Colliery closed
Preservation history
1965 Railway preserved
Foxfield Light Railway

The Foxfield Light Railway is a preserved standard gauge line located south east of Stoke-on-Trent. The line was built in 1893 to serve the colliery at Dilhorne on the Cheadle Coalfield. It joined the North Staffordshire Railway line near Blythe Bridge.


The Foxfield Railway was built in 1892-1893 to provide a link to the North Staffordshire Railway for the Foxfield Colliery. The railway was built by local labour provided by North Staffordshire Railway employees at weekends and supervised by the North Staffordshire Railway foreman plate layer Noah Stanier, using second hand material, again obtained from the North Staffordshire Railway.[1]


When the colliery closed in 1965, local volunteers formed the Foxfield Light Railway Society to preserve the line. At first, passengers were taken in converted trucks up the formidable 1:19 to 1:26 gradient out of the colliery site at Dilhorne, accompanied by a tank engine.

Eventually, new coaches were purchased and a station was built at Caverswall Road, Blythe Bridge, half a mile from Blythe Bridge station. The service runs for 2.5 miles from there to the top of Foxfield Bank. The last half mile into the colliery is currently being relaid to suitable standards for passenger trains to be re-introduced.


The original line left the Crewe to Derby Line a little west of the station. The link has been lifted, but several abandoned wagons can be seen in the old sidings from passing trains. A station and depot have been built at Caverswall Road, half a mile north of Blythe Bridge railway station along Blythe Bridge Road.

Although located in Staffordshire, the railway has recently been used for the filming of sequences for the BBC Television series Cranford, which is set in Cheshire. The railway featured in the two-part Christmas special that was first broadcast in December 2009. Judi Dench, who played the part of Matilda 'Matty' Jenkyns, invited several of the main characters to ride on the train in an attempt to alter their opinions about the benefits of the railway being extended into the town of Cranford.[2]

The station at Caverswall offers visitor facilities such as a Buffet serving hot and cold food and drinks and a Real Ale bar "The One Legged Shunter". Also a museum building displaying a variety of artifacts relating to local railways and locomotives currently out of service.

The railway operates Sundays and Bank Holidays from April to October and Santa Special trains during December.

Locomotive fleet

The Foxfield Railway has the largest collection of standard gauge steam locomotives in Staffordshire, all of which are of industrial origins.

Operational steam locomotives

Steam locomotives undergoing overhaul or restoration

Robert Heath & Sons Ltd. 0-4-0ST No 6 built in 1885, rebuilt in 1934. Undergoing overhaul.

Hawthorn Leslie and Company 0-4-0ST "Marston, Thompson & Evershed No 3". (works number 3581 of 1924).[3] Undergoing long term overhaul.

W. G. Bagnall 0-4-0ST No 2623 "Hawarden" built in 1940 undergoing overhaul as of September 2011. Restoration work well under way, tyres turned, 60 new frame rivets fitted, new springs fitted, brake system overhauled - awaiting axle boxes ( April 13 ) before the wheel sets can be replaced. Boiler to be sent to LNWR crewe for attention to the firebox. Return to sream planned for June 2014.

Avonside Engine Co. 0-4-0ST No. 1563 "John Paton". Partly dismantled, undergoing long term restoration.

Haydock Foundry 0-6-0WT No C "Bellerophon" built in 1874. The oldest Locomotive in the collection. Currently out of service due to major axle box problems. Currently in Devon for repairs, the loco is expected to return in early 2014.

Stored steam locomotives

  • Peckett and Sons 0-4-0ST No. 933 "Henry Cort". built in 1903. On static display in the Museum building awaiting overhaul.
  • Kerr Stuart 0-4-0ST No. 4127 "Moss Bay". built in 1920. On static display in the museum building.
  • Kerr Stuart 0-4-0ST No. 4388. Stored in the yard awaiting overhaul.
  • W. G. Bagnall 0-6-0ST No. 2221 "Lewisham". built in 1927. Stored awaiting overhaul after its boiler ticket expired in late 2007.
  • Andrew Barclay Sons & Co. 0-4-0F No. 1. (works number 1984 of 1930).[3] Awaiting a cosmetic restoration for display in the museum.
  • Peckett and Sons 0-4-0ST No. 1803 "Ironbridge No. 1". built in 1933. Awaiting overhaul and is on display in the museum.
  • Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns 0-4-0CT No. 7006 "Roker". built in 1940. On static display in the museum building awaiting overhaul.
  • Peckett and Sons OY Class 0-4-0ST No. 11. built in 1947. Awaiting overhaul which is planned shortly now Florence is done.
  • Sentinel Waggon Works 4w No. 9535. built in 1952. On static display in the yard.
  • Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns 0-4-0ST No. 7063 "Eustace Forth", built in 1942. Stored awaiting overhaul. On loan from the National Railway Museum.

Operational diesel locomotives

The Foxfield Railway also has an extensive accumulation of industrial diesel locomotives, of which three are operational.

  • Robert Stephenson & Hawthorns 8366/Bagnall 0-4-0DH. 530003, Myfanwy tube gauge.[3]
  • W. G. Bagnall 3150 0-6-0DM, Wolstanton No 3[3]
  • W. G. Bagnall 3207 0-4-0DH, Named Bagnall[3]

Diesel locomotives undergoing overhaul or restoration

  • North British 27097 0-4-0DH Coronation - (2010 arrival) Currently undergoing major mechanical overhaul at Peak rail. The loco whilst there will be fitted with a new engine and is expected to return in 2014.
  • Thomas Hill 111C 4wDH (Rebuilt from Sentinel 4wVBT)[3] The loco started again in April 2013 for the first time in five years. The loco is being overhauled by members of the railway and will hopefully be in service later this year.

Non-operational diesel locomotives

Non-operational electric locomotives

The Foxfield Railway also has one industrial battery electric locomotive. The locomotive is currently non-operational due to a lack of batteries or overhead lines on site.

  • English Electric 1130 4wBE/WE (built 1939)[3]

Passenger carriages

The railway has a collection of carriages from a wide range of years which are used to take passengers up and down the line.

  • Operational passenger carriages
    • Mk 1 Corridor Second (SK) No. M25607.
    • Mk 1 Brake Corridor Second (BSK) No. 34672.
    • LMS third class gangwayed vestibule coach No. 27249.
  • Passenger Carriages undergoing overhaul, restoration or light work

Two Wagon underframes currently being converted for use under the two NSR Coach bodies.

    • Mk 1 Tourist Second Open (TSO) No. W4762.
    • NSR 4w third class compartment carriage No. 61 (body only).
    • NSR 4w third class compartment carriage No. 127 (body only). Awaiting restoration which is planned once 61 is complete.
  • Stored passenger carriages
    • MR 6w Luggage/First/Third class compartment carriage no. unknown (body only). Awaiting restoration.
    • MR bogie third class compartment carriage No. 01101 (body only). Stored awaiting restoration.
    • Mk 1 Corridor Second (SK) gangwayed carriage No. M25225. Stored at Dilhorne Park awaiting major restoration. Unlikely to be restored.
    • LMS Theatrical Scenery Van No. 37519 (converted to the passenger carrying Bass Belle Observation Bar Car). On static display but eventually planned to be overhauled to working order.
  • Passenger carriages on loan elsewhere

Freight wagons

The railway also has a selection of freight wagons, in order to preserve what remains of Britain's industrial history.

These include the ubiquitous '21 ton hopper wagons also used for coal traffic.


External links

  • The Railway website
  • Foxfield Virtual Stock List
  • BBC Staffordshire - Out & About: Foxfield Railway
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