Markeaton Park Light Railway
|Markeaton Park Light Railway|
Current state of the Railway (after the end of service)
|Locale||Markeaton Park, Derbyshire|
|Name||Markeaton Park Light Railway|
|Built by||Mr and Mrs Louis Searle|
|Original gauge||15 in (381 mm)|
|Operated by||John Bull and John Bull (father and son)|
|Length||1.4 kilometres (0.87 mi)|
The Markeaton Park Light Railway was a 15 in (381 mm) gauge light railway line located within Markeaton Park in the city of Derby, Derbyshire, England. The railway was first opened in 1989, extended in 1996, and closed down in September 2016.
The line was built to 15 in (381 mm) gauge and is 1.4 kilometres (0.87 mi) long. The railway was privately owned - staffed and maintained by volunteers. The main station, Markeaton Station, was located at the Ashbourne Road/Queensway entrance to the park, next to the car park, and buildings formerly occupied by the British Army. On operating days, trains ran every 25 minutes to Mundy Halt at the Mundy Play Centre. During 2010 the railway was put up for sale by its current owner, but this was retracted during the 2010 winter period. The trains ran on the railway pace at about 15 to 20 mph (24 to 32 km/h).
Up until the summer of 2009 the railway also operated a steam locomotive. "Markeaton Lady" was built by the Exmoor Steam Railway at Bratton Fleming in Devon in 1996. She was a 0-4-2T Steam Locomotive and was purchased and operated by John Bull, the final owner of MPLR. She was sold during 2009 due to prohibitive financial costs of boiler replacement and no longer runs at Markeaton. The loco now operates at Evesham Vale Light railway, repainted red from blue and named "Monty".
Markeaton Park Light Railway operated for the last time on Sunday 18 September 2016, sadly closing due to a combination of factors, not least the fact that major attention was required to make good the poor state of the engine shed and depot, which had always been the responsibility of Derby City Council, from whom the train operator had leased the site for the last twenty years. The lease expires Jan. 2017. The track has been mostly removed, with some concreate crossings being apparent, as they can not be removed easily.
The line operated latterly with a replica Baby Deltic diesel locomotive which was bought from the 15" gauge line at Cleethorpes and commenced running at the railway after a radical and complete rebuild at Markeaton in 2003. When it was new, the locomotive worked at the former Steamtown miniature railway at Carnforth. It is a representation of one of the British Rail Baby Deltics which were withdrawn from mainline duties some 25 years ago. Rolling stock consisted of three coaches built by Exmoor, and three ex-Fairbourne coaches which were modified and regauged. The loco and rolling stock were all sold to the Lappa Valley Steam Railway at Newquay in Cornwall upon closure of the line at Markeaton.
An industrial style diesel locomotive originally built by Ruston at Lincoln and rebuilt by Alan Keefe at Ross-on-Wye, which had run at Markeaton before,named "Cromwell", was anticipated to join the railway again in 2010, but this did not take place.