Lakeside Miniature Railway

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Lakeside Miniature Railway
Locale Merseyside, England
Dates of operation 1911–
Track gauge 15 in (381 mm)
Length 750 yards (0.69 km)[1]
Headquarters Southport
Railways in Southport
Standard gauge
Narrow Gauge
Irish Sea
Marine lake
Marine Parade
Pier Tramway
Princes Park
Southport Right arrow Wigan
Down arrowLiverpool
Engine sheds
Lord Street
Down arrowManchester
Lakeside Miniature Railway, Marine Parade terminus. Locomotive "Jenny"

The 15 in (381 mm) gauge, single track Lakeside Miniature Railway, runs along the seaward side of the Marine Lake in Southport, England.[2] It is representative of many miniature pleasure railways which sprang up in the early 1900s.


The railway originally consisted of a straight running line on the seaward shore of the Southport Marine Lake with a run-round loop at each end. In 1948 the line was extended northwards under Southport Pier, followed by a sharp 90 degree curve seawards[3] into a new terminus next to and named after Marine Parade. This layout remains today[4] with the round trip covering 1,500 yards (1.4 km).

Early photographs variously name the southern terminus Marine Drive[5] and Lakeside,[6][7] but it has been referred to as the Pleasureland terminus for many years.[8][9] In 2017 there were two workshops and an engine shed here, with a single island platform serving two running lines with run-round loops which converge to form the running line alongside the lake.[10] There is also a third siding for stock storage. At the Marine Parade end of the line there are two platforms, though one has been taken out of use and its track lifted. Locomotives change ends using a run-round loop. The station building at Marine Parade was completely rebuilt around 2010 and now awaits refurbishment.[11]

Lakeside Miniature Railway, Marine Parade terminus. Locomotive "Jenny"

The line is fully fenced and has no level crossings, it is unsignalled and operates on a one engine in steam basis.

The original northern terminus was named Princes Park,[12][13] it closed when the line was extended.


The railway was built in 1911, with the first train on 25 May. It was constructed by Miniature Railways of Great Britain Ltd using materials provided by the model engineering business Bassett-Lowke. Henry Greenly provided expert engineering advice.[14] The line was originally named Southport Miniature Railway, being operated by Dr Ladmore, a local dentist. Mr Griffiths Vaughan Llewelyn took the railway over after some years, renaming it Llewelyn's Miniature Railway.[15][16] It passed from Llewelyn's hands before 1930, becoming Lakeside Miniature Railway,[17] which it remains today. In 1945 the railway was sold to Harry Barlow and in 2001 to Don Clark. Pleasureland Southport bought the line in 2016. It was forced to close during the 2016 season because the heavily worn track led to derailments on the sharp curve. Extensive work on the track and route led to the line reopening in 2017, with an operational fleet of one locomotive.[18] Tenders have been invited to restore at least one other loco to working order.

The railway featured in scenes in the 1985 Goldcrest Films production Mr Love starring Barry Jackson and Maurice Denham.[19]

The railway is one of the earliest of its type still running on its original route. Rhyl Miniature Railway opened on 1 May 1911 and still runs, but it closed during the Second World War, whilst Lakeside Miniature Railway remained open. The line therefore claims to be the oldest continuously running 15 in (381 mm) gauge railway in the world.[20]


The line originally had two steam locomotives of the Bassett-Lowke Class 10 ‘Atlantic’ 4-4-2 design, named King George and Princess Elizabeth, they were later supplemented by Katie, an 0-4-0 side tank built by that pioneer of the minimum gauge Sir Arthur Heywood. Where the two Bassett-Lowke locos had been supplied new Katie was third hand, having already worked on the Eaton Hall Railway (where she hauled a Royal train in 1897)[21] and the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway in Cumbria.[22] She did not spend long at Southport, arriving in 1919 and being sold on again in 1923 to the Fairbourne Miniature Railway.

Barlow locomotive Prince Charles.

The Bassett-Lowke locos were sufficient for the original trains but as Southport increased in popularity as a holiday destination trains became busier and the locos were rebuilt to the larger class 30 standard.

In 1948 the railway’s motive power took a step towards the future with the building of a petrol-electric loco of 4-6-2 wheel arrangement with a tender, built to look like Gresley’s famous LNER Class A4 locomotives. The loco was built in Southport by Mr. Harry Barlow who had taken over the railway in 1945. These were the first of eight 15 inch gauge diesel-electric locomotives built by Barlow for a variety of railways. They used war-surplus Fordson engines with Tilling-Stevens generators and motors.[23]

The original locomotive of this type was named Duke Of Edinburgh[24] with Prince Charles following in 1954 and Golden Jubilee in 1963. Golden Jubilee, although of the same basic design of the other two lost the A4 styling, being replaced by a box-shaped body and a loss of the steam outline wheels, the wheel arrangement being modified to 4-6-0 configuration.

All three of these Barlow locos still exist on the railway, their Fordson tractor petrol engines having been replaced by more modern economical diesels.

In 1971 another loco joined the fleet, a Severn Lamb product built to look like a Western Diesel, its wheel configuration is Co-Co with diesel-hydraulic drive.

A little known loco which ran on the line was No. 14, a small 0-4-0 petrol engined shunter with Mechanical transmission. It was built for the line by Gordon Walker in 1985 using a 1000cc Austin engine and a Hudson coach bogie. No 14 was designed for permanent way work though it could in fact haul 6 of the line's articulated coaches. It was not successful, mainly because of the crude belt drive. It was moved in 1990, being acquired by Austin Moss of the Windmill Farm Railway.

In 2005 a new locomotive was commissioned for the railway and in 2006 the new 2-6-2 steam-outline Diesel-hydraulic was delivered from Windmill Farm. It is a sit-in locomotive with an overall cab for the driver and is of tank engine appearance. It has been named Jenny.

Lakeside Miniature Railway, Southport, England. Locomotive "Jenny"

The line's past and current fleet is as follows.

Current locos owned by the railway.
Loco Name Year Built Builder Motive power Based on Wheel Arrangement Locomotive Number Notes
Duke of Edinburgh[25][26][27] 1948 H N Barlow Diesel-electric A4 Steam outline 4-6-2 4468 Not operational
Golden Jubilee 1911-1961[28] 1963 H N Barlow Diesel-electric Custom design, box shaped 4-6-0 - Not operational
Princess Anne[29][30][31] 1971 Severn Lamb Diesel-hydraulic Western diesel outline Co-Co 1B19 Not operational
Jenny[32][33] 2006 A Moss Diesel-hydraulic Tank engine outline 2-6-2 3 Operational
Past Locos.[34]
Loco Name Year Built Builder Motive power Based on Wheel Arrangement Locomotive Number Notes
Katie[35][36][37][38] 1896 Heywood, at Duffield Bank Steam Tank engine 0-4-0T Works No. 4 Sent to Fairbourne Miniature Railway in 1923 in exchange for Prince Edward of Wales. Dismantled 1926. Not to be confused with later 2-4-2 also named Katie.[39]
Prince Edward of Wales[40][41][42][43] Later renamed King George 1916 Bassett-Lowke Steam LBSCR Atlantic 4-4-2 Class 20, No. 21 Arrived from Fairbourne Miniature Railway in 1923 in exchange for Katie. Ran at Southport until 1969 then at Whorlton Lido Railway, Co. Durham[44] until it closed around 1984. Now privately owned and under restoration.[45]
King George V[46][47][48][49][50] 1911 Bassett-Lowke Steam LBSCR Atlantic 4-4-2 Class 10, No.18 Ran at Steamtown, Carnforth after Southport, now in California, USA.
Prince of Wales, later Princess Elizabeth[51][52][53] 1915 Bassett-Lowke Steam LBSCR Atlantic 4-4-2 Class 20, No 22 Fire damaged 1938, later ran at Steamtown, Carnforth, now in California, USA.
Prince Charles[54][55][56][57] 1951 H N Barlow Diesel-electric A4 Steam outline 4-6-2 2510 Not operational, reported at Windmill Farm May 2017[58], appears as current loco on the Saltburn Miniature Railway
Red Dragon[59] 1990 G Walker & A Moss Steam NBR Atlantic 4-4-2 - Now at Windmill Farm
Rio Grande[60][61][62] 1979 Severn Lamb Diesel-hydraulic Wild West[63] 2-8-0 278 Now at the Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway
None 1985 G Walker Petrol-mechanical - 0-4-0 14 Now at Windmill Farm


The railway operates during weekends and school holidays from Easter to October. Trains do not run to a timetable, but shuttle back and forth, generally from late morning to teatime, though bad weather can lead to cancellation or early closure. Services recommenced after Winter shut-down on Good Friday 2018.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Scott 2017, p. 20.
  2. ^ The line's lakeside route flickr
  3. ^ Copnall 2005, p. 45.
  4. ^ Scott 2015, Listed alphabetically.
  5. ^ Early postcard Liverpool Echo
  6. ^ The station in 1927 via Britain from Above (free login needed to zoom)
  7. ^ The station in 1951 via Britain from Above (free login needed to zoom)
  8. ^ 1950s photo of Pleasureland terminus flickr
  9. ^ Foster 1995, Photo 34b.
  10. ^ Pleasureland terminus flickr
  11. ^ Davies 2018, p. 43.
  12. ^ Princes Park station in 1927 Britain from Above (Free login needed to zoom)
  13. ^ Princes Park station flickr
  14. ^ Clowes 2018, p. 31.
  15. ^ Early postcard Liverpool Echo
  16. ^ Smith 2012, p. 72.
  17. ^ Mayer & Openshaw 1989, p. 19.
  18. ^ The railway in 2017 Narrow Gauge Railways UK
  19. ^ Horton 2009, p. 124.
  20. ^ Claim repeated here in a local tourism website.
  21. ^ Linsley 2000, p. 167.
  22. ^ Davies 1981, pp. 63 & 123.
  23. ^ Mosley & van Zeller 1986, pp. 40–42 & 69.
  24. ^ Copnall 2005, p. 98.
  25. ^ The loco's launch Liverpool Echo
  26. ^ Loco Duke of Edinburgh flickr
  27. ^ The loco in profile flickr
  28. ^ Loco Golden Jubilee flickr
  29. ^ Loco Princess Anne flickr
  30. ^ Holroyde & Little 2010, p. 20.
  31. ^ Little & Holroyde 2008, pp. 103-5.
  32. ^ Loco Jenny flickr
  33. ^ Roberts 2017, pp. 14, 15 & 51.
  34. ^ Several locos in Lakeside days Google
  35. ^ Loco Katie at Fairbourne Return 2 Ferry
  36. ^ Modern replica of Katie at Eaton Railway Narrow Gauge Railways UK
  37. ^ Boyd 1970, p.180 and images between pp.190 and 191.
  38. ^ Norman 1994, p. 54.
  39. ^ The 'other' Katie Narrow Gauge Heaven
  40. ^ Loco King George at Southport Trains and Stuff
  41. ^ Loco King George at Southport Trains and Stuff
  42. ^ Loco King George at Whorlton Lido flickr
  43. ^ Boyd 1970, p.179 and image opposite p.190.
  44. ^ Martin 2018, p. 41.
  45. ^ Billington 2017, pp. 15-16.
  46. ^ Loco King George V at Southport Simplon PC
  47. ^ Loco King George V at Southport flickr
  48. ^ Loco King George V in Southport Edge Hill Station
  49. ^ Loco King George V in Southport Trains and Stuff
  50. ^ Loco King George V at Steamtown, Carnforth flickr
  51. ^ Loco Princess Elizabeth at Southport flickr
  52. ^ Loco Princess Elizabeth at Southport c1945 487thbg
  53. ^ Loco Princess Elizabeth at Steamtown, Carnforth flickr
  54. ^ Loco Prince Charles LMR website
  55. ^ Loco Prince Charles flickr
  56. ^ Loco Prince Charles at Pleasureland terminus flickr
  57. ^ Loco Prince Charles at Marine Parade terminus flickr
  58. ^ Roberts 2017, p. 15.
  59. ^ Loco Red Dragon as Prince of Wales, visiting Rhyl in 2011 Daves Rail Pics
  60. ^ Loco 278 Rio Grande at Cleethorpes flickr
  61. ^ Loco 362 Rio Grande at the Marine Parade terminusVisit Southport
  62. ^ Holroyde & Little 2010, p. 29.
  63. ^ Archetypal Wild West loco NSRM


Further reading[edit]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 53°39′08″N 3°00′44″W / 53.6522°N 3.0123°W / 53.6522; -3.0123