Ashover Light Railway

Gauge: 1ft 11½in (600mm)

The Ashover Light Railway was a built by the Clay Cross Company in 1924. Located in Derbyshire, it ran for 7¼ miles from Ashover Butts to Clay Cross. The line closed in 1950.

The Ashover Light Railway was opened in 1925 by the Clay Cross Company which had been founded in the mid nineteenth century by George Stephenson, the famous railway engineer. It was one of the last narrow gauge lines to be built for both passengers and goods traffic. Limestone, fluorspar and coal were carried from Milltown and Ashover to the Company’s works at Clay Cross. To the great annoyance of the Jackson family, proprietors of the Clay Cross Company, the Board of Trade insisted that a passenger service should also be provided, to connect the villages to the main line of the London Midland and Scottish Railway at Clay Cross.

Col. H.F. Stephens was appointed Consulting Engineer and the whole railway was built with economy in mind using second hand military equipment from the war Disposals Board. Along with a fleet of Hudson open bogie wagons, five steam locomotives built in America by the Baldwin Locomotive Works were purchased and named Peggy, Hummy, Joan, Bridget and Guy. A sixth was bought later to replace Guy and given the same name. Four passenger carriages were new.

After opening, the railway saw a period of prosperity. Passenger traffic, although not originally intended, developed rapidly immediately after opening. Day trippers and tourists brought prosperity during the summer months. Sadly the promise of the first year did not last. By 1936 the local bus service was well established and regular passenger trains were withdrawn. World War Two gave a new lease of life to the quarries and open-cast coal mine. A daily freight train continued to operate until 1950 when on the 31 March the Clay Cross Company closed the line just one week short of its silver jubilee. It is ironic that the Ashover Light Railway closed in the same year as the Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society was formed.

Prior to closure in 1946

Number / NameManufacturerTypeNotes
Guy (1) Baldwin Locomotive Works No.44370 of 19164-6-0PTEx-WD. Withdrawn and used for spares. Scrapped 1939
PeggyBaldwin Locomotive Works No.44743 of 19174-6-0PTEx-WD. Scrapped 1951
HummyBaldwin Locomotive Works No.45227 of 19174-6-0PTEx-WD. Scrapped 1951
JoanBaldwin Locomotive Works No.44720 of 19174-6-0PTEx-WD. Scrapped 1951
BridgetBaldwin Locomotive Works No.44737 of 19164-6-0PTEx-WD. Scrapped 1951
Guy (2)Baldwin Locomotive Works No.44696 of 19174-6-0PTEx-WD. Scrapped 1943
AmosDick, Kerr & Co. 4wPE (Petrol-electric)Ex-WD. Converted to Standard Gauge 1947 to Bloxham Ironstone
PlanetF C Hibberd & Co. No.3307 of 19484wDMNow on the Festiniog Railway

Note: Works plates were changed between locomotives during repairs and consequently they ended their lives with not necessarily the correct ones. Plate 44370 in the collection ended up fitted to Hummy.