Duffield Bank Railway

Gauge: 15in (380mm)


Collection Objects:

The Duffield Bank Railway was built by Sir Arthur Heywood in the grounds of his home near Duffield (Derbyshire) in 1874. He chose 15in as the smallest gauge possible for a working railway which could be used on farms, country estates or for military purposes. Over seven years the line was extended to about one mile long with steep gradients, sharp curves and tunnels to provide a demonstration of the capabilities of the minimum gauge railway. Besides steam engines and goods and mineral wagons, there were passenger carriages, including a dining car for eight people with its own kitchen and a sleeping car with toilet which could be used by Sir Arthur’s young children.

The workshops at Duffield Bank included a foundry for casting items for this railway and for the Eaton Hall Railway.  Mention is made by Sir Arthur of the use of cast iron plate track in the workshops.

Sir Arthur Heywood died in 1916 and the line closed shortly afterwards.  The tipper wagon and other items were acquired by the Fairbourne Miniature Railway.

His legacy was the Eaton Hall Railway in Cheshire which ran successfully until 1947. More recently the work of the Heywood Society and the Perrygrove Railway near Coleford in Gloucestershire have continued the tradition of minimum gauge railways.


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