Gauge Preservation

The miniature railways of the 9½-inch gauge are now far and few. The gauge is exactly 2-inches to the foot, allowing for an easy scale of models from the full size. Originating as far back as the 1870s, its popularity during the Edwardian era owed to its size; which provided smaller estates with an alternative to the larger gauge of 15-inches.

The 9½-inch gauge railways continued into the 20th century. Due to the significant commercial advantages of the 10¼-inch gauge however, 9½-inch gauge railways began to disappear after the 1930s. A vast majority of locomotives were, and still are being, re-gauged to 10¼-inches.

Today, 9½-inch gauge railways are seeing a resurgence. In the UK there are two commercially operating railways and several fully established private railways. There still remains a significant collection of locomotives and rolling stock in private collections. Owing to their age, huge amounts of history are attached to them.

Preservation Work

The Downs Light Railway Trust is committed to assisting the preservation of the 9½-inch gauge. Whether this is locomotives and equipment being placed in trust, or simply providing access to the Downs Light Railway for owners to run their locomotives.


George 4-4-2

1/6th Scale Great Northern Atlantic

George was the first locomotive that has been preserved by the Downs Light Railway Trust. Bought by the school back in the 1940s, it was sold in 1989. The locomotive retired as a static display for some 14 years. In 2003, the locomotive changed ownership and underwent a four year restoration. The locomotive returned to the Downs Light Railway in full working order for September 2006 on permanent loan to the Downs Light Railway Trust. 

  Orion 4-4-0

1/6th scale Alfred the Great

Orion was built at Crewe in 1902, designed and built by Richard Darroch. He bequeathed the locomotive to the Stephenson Locomotive Society. With help from a National Lottery Grant, the locomotive was restored.To assist the completion of the restoration, Orion arrived at the Downs Light Railway in 2004 for its steam trials. The locomotive returned in 2005, when the Society held its AGM at the Downs
  Lady of Shalot

1/6th scale class unknown

Lady of Shalot was built in Herfortshire by George Woodcock in 1945. The locomotive arrived at the Downs Light Railway in 2017, from a private collection, having not been steamed in 30+ years.

The locomotive was loaned to the Downs Light Railway Trust to enable the children to learn how to strip it down into component form and reassemble back into a working condition. Being a small locomotive with a copper boiler, this locomotive is easily manoeuvrable and within the manual handling capacity of the children.

The first goal is to get the locomotive reassembled and running on air.  

© The Downs Light Railway Trust 2017. Registered Charity No. 513882
Last edited: 22 October July 2017

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