Great Bush Railway

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Coordinates: 50°59′44.25″N 0°11′24.45″E / 50.9956250°N 0.1901250°E / 50.9956250; 0.1901250

Great Bush Railway
Locale England
Dates of operation 1966–Present
Track gauge 2 ft (610 mm)
Length 500m
Headquarters Hadlow Down

The Great Bush Railway is a private, 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge running round the edge of Tinkers Park, Hadlow Down, Sussex. The railway is operated by the Claude Jessett Trust Company.[1] The line is 500 meters long and has a single station at Hadlow Down.


The line was laid down by Claude Jessett as an attraction to accompany the yearly steam rallies and as a replacement for an earlier miniature railway that existed around his garden. Locomotives and rolling stock was acquired from Alpha Cement Company and Ludlay and Crowborough Brickworks. Locomotives Alpha and Aminal were used for motive power, the carriages being built from Crowborough supplied brick wagons. As the trackwork extended, Aminal was deemed problematic due to the suspension sprngs being welded up and derailed constantly. Thus ending up out of use. Laterly the coaches were retired and a bogie coach built to take their place. Later joined by three coaches from the Hayling Seaside Railway.

Over time, the track has been extended further and the locomotive fleet expanded. The railway only runs on Tinkers Park events.

The line today[edit]

The line runs in a U shape, with Hadlow Down station a few yards apart from the lower sidings. From the station, there is a straight run alongside the "Great Bush" which gives the railway its name, before reaching the locomotive shed, workshop and various sidings. After passing alongside, the line then reaches the Organ Museum Halt. The line then drops into a 1in27 curve situated in a cutting. The cutting being the largest feature on the line, having been dug gradually while the organ museum halt being the end of the line. After the cutting the line has taken a 180 degree turn running alongside another hedge before crossing over an access road between event fields and ending in a pair of sidings.

Current Locomotives[edit]

Number Name Builder Type Date Works


1 Aminal Motor Rail 4wPM 1931 Purchased from the Ludlay Brick and Tile Company
4 Mild Motor Rail 4wDM 1941 8687 Purchased from the Crowborough Brickworks
5 Alpha Ruston & Hornsby 4wDM 1937 183744[1] Purchased from the APCM Rodmell Works
14 Albany Ruston & Hornsby 4wDM 1941 213840[1] Purchased from the 18 in (457 mm) gauge Royal Arsenal Railway, converted to 2 ft (610 mm) gauge in 1973
22 Lama BEV 4wBE 1953 5033[1] Purchased from the Crowborough Brickworks
23 BEV 0-4-0BE 1972 M7534 In unrestored condition
24 Titch BEV 0-4-0BE 1972 M7535[1] Purchased from the Crowborough Brickworks
25 Wolf Motor Rail 4wDM 1940 7469
28 São Domingos Orenstein & Koppel 0-6-0WT 1929 11784[1]
29 RJ Brown Ruston & Hornsby 4wDM 1955 382820 Worked at Penrhyn Quarry Railway
30 Drusilla Motor Rail 4wDM 1965 22236 Worked at Drusillas Zoo Park

Former Locomotives[edit]

Number Name Builder Type Date Works


2 Sezela No. 2 Avonside 0-4-0T 1915 1720
3 Goat Lister 4wDM 1936 8022 Purchased from the Crowborough Brickworks, sold to the Surrey Light Railway, 1977
6 Sezela No. 6 Avonside 0-4-0T 1928 1923
7 Fido Motor Rail 4wPM 1931 5297 Purchased from the Surrey Light Railway, 1976; sold to Ian Jolly, 1977, Now at Old Kiln Light Railway[2]
8 Tuesday Hibberd 4wDM 1941 2586 Purchased from the Surrey Light Railway, 1976; sold to the Leadhills and Wanlockhead Railway, 1988
9 Smifsagit Hunslet Hudson 4wDM 1944 3109 Purchased from the Surrey Light Railway, 1976; sold to Alan Keef, 1979
10 Cape Orenstein & Koppel 4wDM 1935 5925 Purchased from Cape Universal Products, 1976; converted from 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) gauge; sold to Amberley Chalk Pits Museum, 1978
11 Layer Fowler 4wDM 1936 21294 Ex Brockham Museum, later Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills
12 Hibberd 4wDM 1938 2136 Ex Horam Brickworks, later to Nick Williams, Reading
13 Peter Pan Kerr Stuart 0-4-0ST 1922 4265 Arrived September 1977, left May 1978
15 Olde Hudson Hunslet 4wDM 1940 2176 Arrived 1977, left 1979
17 Bear Ruston & Hornsby 4wDM 1952 339209 Arrived 1978, left 1979
18 Owl Ruston & Hornsby 4wDM 1939 283513 Arrived 1978, left 1979
19 Hibberd 4wDM 1943 2631 Arrived 1979, left 1987
20 Wingrove & Rogers 4wBE 1951 4634 Arrived 1980, scrapped 2006
21 Wingrove & Rogers 4wBE 1953 5035 Arrived 1980, Scrapped 2006
26 No 4 Ruston & Hornsby 4wDM 1936 177638 Arrived 2000, left 2011
27 Number 22 Ruston & Hornsby 4wDM 1944 226302 Arrived 2000, left 2011


  1. ^ a b c d e f Industrial Railway Society (2009). Industrial Locomotives (15EL). Industrial Railway Society. ISBN 978-1-901556-53-7. 
  2. ^
  • Mitchell, Vic; Smith, Kevin (2001). Sussex Narrow Gauge. Middleton Press. ISBN 1-901706-68-0. 
  • Oughton, Ian. Great Bush Railway Locomotives. 

See also[edit]