Pike Bros, Fayle and Company

Gauge: 3ft 9in (1.14m) (relaid later 1ft 11½) and 2ft 8½ in (825mm)

The amalgamation of two companies in 1949 owning clay railways in Dorset. Pike Brothers owned the Furzebrook Tramway, and B.Fayle & Co. a tramway from Norden pits, near Corfe Castle, to Poole Harbour. The last railway operation closed in 1970.

The Dorset clay pits and mines have been worked for 2000 years. In the forefront were Pike Brothers of Wareham, and B. Fayle and Company of Corfe Castle, both of which worked clay mines in the Purbeck area of Dorset from 1760. In 1949, Fayle’s amalgamated with Pike’s as one company lasting until 1968 when they then formed part of the English China Clays Group, which was bought by Imerys in 1999.

Fayle’s operated the Middlebere plateway from 1806, which ran from Norden pits, near Corfe Castle, to Poole Harbour. In 1854 a second line was opened, to 3ft 9in gauge, between Newton and Goathorn. This was horse drawn initially until a locomotive called “Corfe” (nicknamed “Tiny”) joined the railway in the 1870s. The line was extended to exchange sidings on the Swanage branch of the LSWR in 1907. In 1937 the northern part of the line, to Goathorn, was disused and in 1948 the rest of the line was relaid to 1ft 11½ in gauge. The line lingered on until it closed in 1970.

The Furzebrook Tramway, built by Pike Bros, opened in 1860 and connected clay pits around Creech with weathering beds, the Furzebrook processing works and storage depot at Ridge Wharf. Transhipment to standard gauge wagons could be carried out at Furzebrook from the early 1900s. This tramway replaced an earlier horse only system (c.1840). Pike’s had been working the area since the 1790s. Both tramways were gravity operated from Furzebrook to Ridge with either horses or locomotives collecting the empties. The mines had a system of tramways to 1ft 10in gauge.

The Furzebrook Tramway had a gauge of 2ft 8½ in, and steam locomotives were used for hauling from 1866. Eventually there were seven of them, all given names based on Latin numerals. One locomotive, the second to arrive and accordingly named Secundus, still survives. An 0-6-0 well tank loco, with a marine-type boiler and outside Stephenson’s valve gear, it was built by Bellis and Seekings Ltd of Birmingham in 1874 and served on the Furzebrook Tramway until 1955. By this time road transport had removed the need for the tramway and it was finally closed in 1957.

Goathorn Line

Number / NameManufacturerTypeNotes
Gauge 3ft 9in
1 TinyStephen Lewin (Poole) of 18680-4-0TScrapped 1948
2 ThamesManning, Wardle & Co. of 19020-4-0STScrapped 1948
Gauge 1ft 11½
RussellHunslet Engine Co. No.901 of 19062-6-2TEx-Hook Norton Ironstone 1948. Purchased by the Birmingham Locomotive Club 1954
Orenstein & Koppel No.207774wDMPurchased secondhand. Survives
Orenstein & Koppel of 19374wDMPurchased secondhand. Frames and wheels used for a steam locomotive in 2003.
Ruston & Hornsby 48DL No.3921174wDMPurchased secondhand. Now at the Purbeck Mineral and Mining Museum
Ruston & Hornsby 48DL No.1754134wDMPurchased secondhand.
Ruston & Hornsby 48DL No.1798894wDMPurchased secondhand.
Motorail Simplex No.52524wDMPurchased secondhand.


Number / NameManufacturerTypeNotes
PrimusBellis & Seekings of 18660-4-2WTScrapped 1880s
Secundus Bellis & Seekings of 18740-6-0WTNow at the Purbeck Mineral and Mining Museum
TertiusManning, Wardle & Co No.999 of 18860-6-0STScrapped 1956
QuartiusFowler & Co. of 18890-4-2WTScrapped 1934
QuintusManning, Wardle & Co No.1854 of 19140-4-0STScrapped 1958
SextusPeckett & Sons No.1692 of 19250-6-0STScrapped 1958
SeptimusPeckett & Sons No.1808 of 19300-4-2STSold 1955. Scrapped 1962
Motorail Simplex 4wDMPurchased secondhand 1951