About Us

By the end of the 1960s the railway, some 35 years after its inception, was in a derelict and dangerous state. Still under the ownership of the Downs School, the railway was placed in the care of James Boyd (a former pupil and leading railway author) who had recently retired to Colwall in 1970. While the Headmaster’s enthusiasm to have the railway back in a usable state was promising, the pupils and staff thought nothing of it. Similarly the Governors were not aware of the railway’s historical importance, nor its educational and marketing value to the school; thus little financial support was forthcoming.


The positive momentum of the restoration came to a halt in 1973, when the then Headmaster announced that a new all-weather redgra pitch was to be laid across part of the school’s meadow. The pitch would encroach over the route of the railway, effectively cutting the line in two. This set back would be typical of the struggles for the next 10 years. With various supporters, the Governors were presented a plan to form a charitable Trust to promote and support the railway. This plan was initially received in a negative view by the school, but was eventually accepted by the Governors with a background of cautionary reservations. And so the Downs Light Railway Trust was formed in 10th February 1983 by a deed of trust.

It is accepted that for a school to maintain the necessary experience and skills within its staff to run a railway in an educational role, and to then financially support and protect a heritage asset, is near impossible. The Trust’s role is simply to ensure its continued existence.

Our Objectives

To own, administer, and ensure the continuance operation and maintenance of the nine and a half inch gauge Downs Light Railway for the purpose of educating young people in mechanical and operational skills, and providing a constructional medium in mechanical, electrical and civil engineering, and workshop practice for general educational purposes.

Our Activities

  • Maintenance and upkeep of the railway, locomotives, carriages, equipment and buildings.
  • Provision of funding for the running of the railway and the Trust’s activities.
  • Provision of teaching resources for The Downs Malvern to assist with their Saturday morning extra-curricular hobbies, and for other organisations, to educate children aged between 7-13 years in railway engineering and operation.
  • Supporting events within The Downs Malvern community (such as open days, Old Downian's Day, Commemoration) and within the local village community in support of other charitable organisations.
  • Supporting the historical preservation of nine and a half inch gauge miniature railways.
  • © The Downs Light Railway Trust 2010-13. Registered Charity No. 513882
    Last edited: 22 December 2012

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