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Danson Park Railway Bexleyheath Kent

Discussion in 'Miniature Railways' started by lynbarn, Mar 24, 2015.

  1. lynbarn

    lynbarn Active Member

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    Hi I wonder if any one of you can help. Many years ago here in Bexleyheath there used to be a 10 1/2inch gauge line running along side of the lake in Danson Park and it was sold to and unknown buyer in the early 1960?.

    Later on it turned up at Bressingham gardens and was used there for a number of years. I believe it was again sold but I dont know where or to whom.

    If it helps I think the loco was an LMS 4-6-0 design, sorry I dont have any more information about it but I just would like to know if it is still about, thanks in advance

    Colin Rainsbury
     
  2. John Webb

    John Webb Member

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    The history of this line is a little complex. (I lived on Shooter's Hill and so visited it a few times in my youth!)
    It was actually 9.5 inch gauge line, by the way. As you say, the loco - a 4-6-2 called "Princess" - moved to Bressingham and the line there opened there in 1964. It seems to have closed sometime before 1995 when the 10.25 inch gauge line was opened. The loco is, I believe, now at the Midland Railway - Butterly where I saw it some years ago in the hands of the Princess Royal Trust who look after the Princess Margaret Rose and Duchess of Sutherland locos. (They did have a collection of miniature locos based on LMS prototypes, but I don't see any mention of these locos on their website.)

    Rolling stock - some at least went to the Brooklands Miniature Railway in Sussex, which opened in 1965.
    (Additional Information - this line was enlarged to 10.25 gauge - so I suspect none of the Danson Park stock is left. See http://www.miniaturerailwayworld.co.uk/Brooklands.html for more information.)
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2015
  3. lynbarn

    lynbarn Active Member

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    Thanks John, a local history group where looking for details about the old railway in Danson Park, I also stand corrected about the gauge, I think that was the main reason Bressingham got rid of it because it was not a common commercial gauge and I think they had an offer of a couple of 10 1/4 gauge locos and stock around that time.
     
  4. Eightpot

    Eightpot Part of the furniture

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    If this is the set-up I have in mind, then I believe it was built and run by a Mr. R. C. Hammett. I think he also had a 5" gauge 4-4-0, possibly a LNWR 'Precursor' or a 'George V' loco too.
     
  5. burnham-t

    burnham-t New Member

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  6. John Webb

    John Webb Member

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    Thanks for posting that - brings back memories. As you will see from my posting above this was definitely a 9 1/2 gauge line. I've e-mailed the Princess Royal Trust to try and find out if they did have this loco when I visited them some years ago and if so, what has happened to it!

    John Webb
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2017
  7. John Webb

    John Webb Member

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    Princess Royal Trust have replied - the Danson Park loco was at Butterley, but the owner sold it on some years ago and they do not know where it is now.

    John Webb
     
  8. burnham-t

    burnham-t New Member

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    Thanks for the info - I'll update the info on Flickr.

    Tom
     
  9. Mike Gibbons

    Mike Gibbons New Member

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  10. Mike Gibbons

    Mike Gibbons New Member

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    I saw it about 2014 at the Bredgar & Wormshill Railway.
     

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  11. John Webb

    John Webb Member

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    Thanks for posting that; rode behind it a number of times as a small lad! Curious it's apparently only a few miles down the old A2 from where it used to work.

    But the website quoted on the information sheet is now defunct. I've checked the B & WLR website who make no mention of it either.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2017
  12. Mike Gibbons

    Mike Gibbons New Member

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  13. Mike Gibbons

    Mike Gibbons New Member

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    I rode on it many times in the late 50's when we lived in Mayplace road over T&B Supplies. I was really surprised when I saw her at B&W, I believe they were looking for a group to restore her. Maybe an email to them would be a good idea. The Danson railway really forged my interests for life, and over the last 20 years I have been working with a group building one in my city. www.ironhorsepark.net
     
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  14. lynbarn

    lynbarn Active Member

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    I have also since I asked about this loco I have been told that there where others at the Danson Park miniature railway.

    The Railway was a 9 1/2" gauge line, the line and engines were run by Miniature Railways (Bexley) limited of 82 Danson road, Bexley Heath. The company was run by Ron Hammett. Trains that operated on the line were, Princess, Kestrel, Lake Shore and Austerity. It ran from 1946 to 1963. Probably stopped due to lack of money. Ron Hammett sold off the running stock, "Lake Shore" was sold to Brookland Miniature Railway in Sussex in 1964."
    "Lake Shore" is now privately owned by someone in Essex.

    I would love to follow this up if anyone knew what haoppen to the other two locos
     
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  15. 30854

    30854 Active Member

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    I grew up a couple of miles away and knew the park well, as we often visited the boating lake, but my earliest memories from the mid 60s don't include the line, or any trace of it. I'd be fascinated to learn more.
     
  16. John Webb

    John Webb Member

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    It closed in 1963 - see lynbarn's post #14 above, which gives some detail of this line. It ran along the south-west shore of The Lake - I suspect once the track was removed it probably left little trace. This picture:
    Path by the lake in Danson Park
    [​IMG]

    © Copyright Marathon and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
    shows the south-west side - it is possible the path was built along the former line of the railway.

    The park and mansion are listed - see Historic England Ref 1000211 - but there is no mention of the railway at all. The first edition of "Miniature Railways" by Robin Butterell, published 1966 by Ian Allan, has a photo of the loco at Bressingham, where it ran for a short while.

    John Webb
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2017
  17. 30854

    30854 Active Member

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    Thanks John. I recall that path, unsurfaced back in the mid 60s. It looks like the narrow end of Danson Lake beyond the light pontoon which seperated the eastern end where row boats were hired out from the western third, where the ducks were left in peace! The loco pictured in Mike's post [#10] looks rather similar in general outline to the 101/4 in gauge locos by Bullock, several of which also survive. This example is to be found at the Eastleigh Miniature Railway:
    l_block-img-533a9fd7e42e3.jpg
    (Why not give the Eastleigh line a plug while I'm about it? Their site's fully navigable from this link http://www.steamtrain.co.uk/locomotives )

    So Danson House has been promoted to a mansion since I moved away, eh? It was decidedly run down, in a fenced-off-and-borded-up sort of way last time I saw it in the 80s. Good to it's been restored. (I was surprised to learn that the old Co-op farm, a mile up Bellegrove Road, past the pub officially known as 'We Anchor In Hope', is now the Woodlands Farm Trust. Here's the website url for anyone interested: http://www.thewoodlandsfarmtrust.org/ ) End of travelogue!

    If only the Danson Park line had survived! There was zip around there in the way of steam (Woolwich Arsenal being stictly off limits to civvies!) by the mid 60s. It's a pity that the abrupt end to the lake, virtually a dam above Danson Lane, pretty much ruled out a line ever finding a way right round it.
     
  18. John Webb

    John Webb Member

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    There was a book recently published: "The Royal Arsenal Railways - the rise and fall of a military railway network", by Mark Smithers, (ISBN 978 1 47384 400 1, 2016, Pen & Sword Transport, Barnsley) which may be of interest to you.
    The "abrupt end to the lake, virtually a dam" is an earth dam, put there to help form the lake when the grounds were being landscaped. I vaguely recollect there was a problem with it in the early 1970s (?), before I left the Shooter's Hill area, and it had to be reinforced with piles.

    John Webb
     
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  19. lynbarn

    lynbarn Active Member

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    Hi John

    I can help with that, I was from the mid 1970 till about the mid 1980's an Electrician who worked for Bexley Council on a contract basis based in Northumberland Heath, one day we had to work in the Boat house there was an electrical fault on the lighting as I recall. While we where there they where doing some work on the dam end of the lake and as the sluice gate was not letting much water get out of the lake as there should have been, so they sent in a couple of engineers to have a look, what they brought out just amazed everyone, it was a large fat rainbow trout that had got stuck between the sluice gates.

    I am not sure how long it had been in there but it must have got in there when it was very small, they put in back in the lake so I don’t know how long it lasted or if anyone caught it, but I guess it didn’t have to search for food as it just keep coming in through the lakeside of the sluice gate.

    After that the decide to do some work on the gates to stop it happening again and also to repaire the concrete wall as it was cracking up, I think that was the only I time I can recall they drained the lake in order to do the work.
     
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