The 1 foot 11 1/2 inch narrow gauge Lynton & Barnstaple Railway lies at the north end of Exmoor National Park in North Devon. Although the current line is only 0.9 miles in length there are plans to extend it. From the present terminus at Killington Lane the ruling grade towards Woody Bay is 1 in 50 (2 percent). The center of operations are located at Woody Bay where the original Lynton & Barnstaple station is in use. Nearby to the east lies the locomotive shed. There are 3 steam locomotives, 0-6-0T/WET "Axe", 0-4-2T "Isaac", and 4-4-0T "Charles Wytock" used by the railway. In addition, replica 2-6-2T Lyd is located on the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railway in North Wales. There are also 3 small diesel locomotives owned by the railway.
The Lynton & Barnstaple Railway came into being on 27 June 1895 with the passing of a bill in the House of Commons. By 1898 trains were running along the line. The western end at Barnstaple Station met a standard gauge line with connections to Waterloo Station in London. The distance between Barnstaple and Lynton was about 20 miles with trains taking an hour and a half to ply the route. Stations along the line from west to east included Barnstaple, Pilton, Snapper Halt, the Chelfham Viaduct and Chelfham, Bratton Fleming, Blackmoor, Parracombe Halt, Woody Bay, Caffyns Halt, and Lynton.
The Chelfham Viaduct, completed in 1897, is interesting as it is the largest narrow gauge railway structure in England. By 1921 the railway was the typical victim of new roads and automobile growth but, after the 1923 ownership of Southern Railway, managed to struggle on until 1935. The last train ran on 29 Sep 1935. By November of that year the 15 miles between Barnstaple and Woody Bay had been torn up. An auction of rolling stock and locomotives was held with only 1 engine sold, that being "Lew", which was shipped to Brazil in 1936 and never found again. All the remaining locomotives were scrapped. By June 1936 the last tracks were lifted with the stations and right-of-way auctioned off in 1938.
2004 saw a short section of line near Woody Bay placed in operation by the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway Association. By 2006 passengers were able to ride to Killington Lane. Purchased in 1983 the 0-6-0T "Axe" was restored and became serviceable in 2008 working passenger trains until 2013. Privately owned 0-4-2T "Isaac" began pulling passengers in 2013. Originally there were 16 coaches constructed for use on the line including another built by the railway which were broken up with some parts surviving. Coach number 17 and number 7 were replicated by the Ffestiniog Railway at Boston Lodge over a 10 year period and returned to operation on the Lynton & Barnstaple in 2013. Coaches 16 and 11 followed in 2015. The Chelfham Viaduct had remained in place after the railway pieces were sold off and today is a listed heritage structure. In 2000 it was restored and is now capable of carrying trains once the line is reinstated.
The focus of narrow gauge operations at the railway today is the Woody Bay station. Trains arrive and depart from this location. The railway's rolling stock and locomotives are stored and serviced here. Reaching Woody Bay is only possible by road, the closest National Rail station is located at Barnstaple. There is really only one shortcoming to the railway... it's too short. At just under a mile in length one hopes for an extension sooner rather than later. Open access around the station area provides opportunities for photography. Out on the line the only other access point is at the western terminus at Killington Lane. A public footpath parallels the tracks on the north side across farm fields part way towards Woody Bay. To access tracks on the south side so the sun would be behind a photograph would require trespassing on private property. One might catch a telephoto shot from the A39 roadway but there are no stopping places along the narrow road. The grade up from Killington lane is 1 in 50 (2 percent) so locomotives put on a good show departing there. Catch a train at Woody Bay, ride to Killington Lane, then walk along the footpath to capture a photo of a departing steam locomotive working upgrade.
The new Blackmoor Gate Station will be located in the north-east quadrant of the A399/A39 crossroads. This new station will become the centre of the extended railway's operations, with a major new station building and a new train maintenance depot on site. A car park capable of holding 200 cars will enable more passengers to park and provide a huge change in the number of passengers the railway can accommodate.
The railway has 3 steam locomotives in various states of repair, overhaul, or reconstruction. Please refer to their web site for specific details. On the day of my visit Isaac was handling 3 car trains.
0-6-0T/WT (Tank/Well Tank) "Axe" - This Joffre class locomotive was built in 1915 by Kerr, Stuart & Company Limited. The unusual designation indicates the engine has both side tanks and a well tank. Designed for use on the Western Front during World War I it was recovered from a stone quarry near Calais, France, and repatriated to England in 1974. The Lynton & Barnstaple purchased the loco in 1983. She was finally serviceable for hauling passengers by 2009.
0-4-2T "Isaac" - built by Bagnall in 1953 for the South African Rustenberg Platinum Mine. The loco spent some time at Gelert's Farm in Porthmadog, Wales, before restoration at Boston Lodge and delivery to Woody Bay in 2013.
4-4-0T "Charles Wytock" - Another Bagnall built in 1945 for the Tongaat Sugar Company of South Africa. In 1963 the engine was turned into a stationary boiler. Purchased about 1993 it was stored at Gelert's Farm until 1997 when it was moved to Middlesborough for restoration.
There are 3 modern replicas of Lynton & Barnstaple locomotives currently operable or under construction:
2-6-2T "Lyd" - Lyd was constructed by the Ffestiniog Railway at their Boston Lodge shops and completed in 2010. The engine is run on the Ffestiniog.
2-4-2T "Lyn" - This super heated locomotive has been under construction for the past 7 years by Alan Keef Limited at Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire. Currently there is an estimated steaming date of May 2017.
2-6-2T "Yeo" - Frames for this loco were built in 2000 and now rest in storage awaiting funds to continue.
14 Sep 2010 - Ffestiniog Railway's New Steam Engine Lyd
16 Sep 2010 - Steam Returns
12 Feb 2013 - New Rolling Stock for North Devon Heritage Railway
30 Oct 2014 - Babcock Apprentices to Rebuild Historic Steam Train
29 Jan 2015 - Minister Praises Inspiring Lynton & Barnstaple Railway Plans
26 Apr 2015 - Landowner Hopes to Derail Plans to Extend Railway
29 Jun 2015 - Paying Tribute to 100-Year-Old Soldier at Lynton & Barnstaple Railway
1 Sep 2015 - Train Buffs Call for a Fellow Enthusiast to Buy £425,000 House
1 Oct 2015 - RGB Preserving History with Lynton & Barnstaple Railway Donation
5 Oct 2015 - Lynton & Barnstaple Railway to Return Pub to its Former Use
26 Jan 2016 - Plans Submitted for £16 Million Extension...
31 Mar 2016 - Evocative Book Celebrates History of Lynton & Barnstaple Railway
23 Jul 2016 - Railway Revival a Big Step Closer After Formal Council Backing
30 Nov 2016 - Lynton & Barnstaple Locomotive Lyn
Lynton & Barnstaple Railway
Lynton & Barnstaple Railway Re-construction
The 762 Club
Alan Keef Ltd.
The Signalling of the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway
Modelling the Lynton & Barnstaple
Modelling Yahoo Group
Great Western Railway
This is an excellent introduction to the subject, a 19 mile long 2 foot gauge line from Barnstaple on the north coast of Devon, which opened in 1898 and closed in 1935. It is recommended for anyone interested in the history of narrow gauge British railways. This edition is 84 pages with an extra 44 pages of photographs, and with drawings, illustrations, and maps in the text. It is No. 53 in the Oakwood Press' Library of Railway History, the 7th edition, from 1988. Multiple editions and reproductions printed: 1st edition March 1936 - 2nd July 1936 - 3rd 1937 - 4th 1949 - 5th 1954 reproduced in 1960, 1963, and 1968 - 6th 1972 reproduced in 1977, 1980, and 1983 - 7th 1988. Since the earlier editions it has virtually quadrupled in size. Each subsequent version building upon the last, as new material or publishing techniques and production values have changed. The March 1988 edition is one of the most balanced and comprehensive versions available. It contains a wealth of written and archival material with the text and illustrations in an integrated style. It also contains a very comprehensive range of scale drawings of all the locomotives and rolling stock, a feature that was omitted in the later September 2005 edition. The March 1988 edition is highly recommended, now out of print, but widely available second hand to people who have only recently discovered the delights of this narrow gauge railway.Lynton and Barnstaple Railway 1895-1935, TheCatchpole, L.T.2012The Oakwood Press 8th edition 19 Jun 2012.Paperback128 pages, 14.9 x 21.1 cm, £8.10 (new)
This is an excellent introduction to the subject, a 19 mile long 2 foot gauge line from Barnstaple on the north coast of Devon, which opened in 1898 and closed in 1935. It is recommended for anyone interested in the history of narrow gauge British railways. This edition is 128 pages with photographs, drawings, illustrations, and maps in the text, and a folded diagram of a Manning Wardle locomotive and a full colour map, in a pocket inside the back cover. It is No. 53 in the Oakwood Press' Library of Railway History, the reprinted 8th edition, from 2012.Lynton and Barnstaple Railway, TheBrown, G.A.1971David & Charles Ltd.Hardcover136 pages, 14.4 x 21.8 cm, £82.71 (new)
First published in 1964, a revised edition of an illustrated history of the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway, which describes the fleet of locomotives that ran through the Devon countryside until its closure in 1935.Lynton & Barnstaple Railway
This is not really intended as a reference book of the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway. This book concerns itself with a photographic comparison of the line in its heyday compared to similar photographs taken in 1999. This in itself is interesting, if only to see how much things have changed in certain areas of the old line and hardly at all in others.Lynton & Barnstaple Railway AlbumPrideaux, J.D.C.A.1974David & Charles Ltd. 1st edition 1974.Hardcover112 pages, 14.8 x 20.6, £399.00 (new)
No review found.Lynton & Barnstaple Railway
The closure of the Lynton & Barnstaple in 1935 was often mourned. The L&B surely was one of Britain's finest railways, equal to all of what the continent had to offer. This book describes it all, what the L&B was, what it meant to the people. It is not just a book, the number of beautiful drawings make you want to have been there.Lynton & Barnstaple Railway, TheYeomans, J.R.1979D. Bradford Barton 1st edition Mar 1979.Hardcover80 pages, 21.8 x 21, £13.55 (used)
A typical Bradford Barton photo book of a very untypical railway. I bought this to supplement other books I have on the L&BR and I would recommend it to anyone interested in the little line.Lynton & Barnstaple Railway
A beautiful volume of meticulously prepared and finely detailed drawings describing every detail of the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway, as it was before it's closure in 1935. Drawn by L&B Life Member Steve Philips this is the result of over twenty years and thousands of hours of work and painstaking archaeological and historical research. Locomotives, carriages, rolling stock, the cranes, station buildings, bridges, viaducts, signals, signal boxes, trackwork, water tanks, track plans, maps, equipment, and specially illustrated colour livery profiles answering so many questions for enthusiasts and modellers alike.