Gauge Preservation

The miniature railways of the 9½-inch gauge are now far and few. Originating as far back as the 1870s, when model railways and model engineering became popular, many large estate owners chose to build miniature railways throughout their grounds. The gauge is exactly 2-inches to the foot, allowing an easy scale of models from the full size. 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, a handful of 9½-inch gauge railways still exist, mostly found under private ownership. There still remains a significant collection of locomotives and rolling stock, and owing to their age, huge amounts of history are attached to them. Many however, remain in private collections as non-operating models. Very few new locomotives are made to the gauge of 9½-inches, as there are some three fully established railways left within the United Kingdom.

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 permenant 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.




© The Downs Light Railway Trust 2010. Registered Charity No. 513882
Last edited: 28 July 2010 21:15:33

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