Royal Victoria Railway

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Royal Victoria Railway
LocaleRoyal Victoria Country Park in Netley, Hampshire, England
Track gauge10 14 in (260 mm)
Length1 mile (1.6 km)

Coordinates: 50°52′2.19″N 1°20′25.74″W / 50.8672750°N 1.3404833°W / 50.8672750; -1.3404833 The Royal Victoria Railway runs for around 1 mile (1.6 km) through Royal Victoria Country Park in Netley, Hampshire, England, with views of Southampton Water. The line is built to the popular gauge of 10 14 in (260 mm) and runs every weekend throughout the year and all school holidays.



  • Basil the Brigadier: A 2-6-0 + 0-6-2 articulated locomotive, built by Kitsons of Leeds in 1938 for the famous Surrey Border and Camberley Railway. The engine was converted from a scale locomotive to a narrow gauge outline while at the Shillingstone light Railway. The locomotive was re-imported from Belgium where it had been in a private collection.
  • Peter The Private: An almost identical copy of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, this locomotive first steamed in early 2017. Painted red and privately owned.
  • Royal Scot: Built in 1938 by Bassett-Lowke, and the only 10 14 in (260 mm) Royal Scot that was made by them. She worked at Hastings Miniature Railway and Oakhill Manor Railway before being exported to the USA. She was re-imported in 2002.
  • The Engineer: Built by David Curwen, this 4-4-2 Atlantic type locomotive worked on the Weymouth miniature railway. This engine was formerly named 'Merrie England' after a local councilor and painted cream! Arrived from a private collection in Wales in March 2016 she is yet to be restored but has been renamed in honor of her builder.
  • The Great Bear: Built as 2011 and named 'Corronation' but H.C.S Bullock for the Shoreham miniature railway, this locomotive was driven by Will Hay of 'Oh Mr Porter!' fame to open the infamous Surrey Border and Camberly Railway. Arriving from a private collection in Wales during March 2016, she is in full working order but requires running in before she can pull trains.


  • Maurice the Major: The first engine on the railway, built by P. Bowers and E. Laugnly in 1994/5. It is powered by a 3-cylinder Kubota diesel engine.
  • D1001 Western Independence: Built by David Curwen in 1964 for a railway at Margate Pier. She was originally powered by a 4-litre Perkins diesel engine. This was replaced, by a 3-cylinder Kubota engine and hydraulic drive.
  • D1002 Western Explorer: Designed by David Curwen, this engine was built in 1965 for the Brooklands Miniature Railway at Brooklands Park in Worthing. Upon change of ownership the engine went to Joe Nemeth to be restored for use on his Berkley Light Railway. When this line changed hands, this engine was bought by the RVR in a part restored condition. This engine now has the same system as Western Independence.
  • D1011 Western Thunderer: Built by David Curwen in 1964 for the Audley End railway. This engine was driven by the famous racing driver Stirling Moss to open the line. It currently has the original ford slide valve engine, but the intention is to replace this in line with the other diesel locomotives.


  • Ivor: An 0-4-0 saddle tank, owned by a private individual and no longer based on the RVR.
  • Sir Walter Gower: Built by Walter Gower, the engine ran on the Orchard Farm Railway in Yorkshire. RVR bought the engine, and it was never used, being sold soon after.
  • Claude the Colonel: Built by P.Bowers during 1999/2000, it is a steam outline Bo-Bo with a 3-cylinder Kubota, and hydraulic system. This engine now resides in Scotland.
  • Arctic Prince: A Mardyke Hymek locomotive, owned by a private individual and no longer based on the RVR.
  • St Albans Comet, previously named Western Courier: ran at Basildon miniature railway. The locomotive was bought by a private individual and based at the RVR for a short time before returning to Basildon on loan.
  • Lynton: a 2-4-4 Tinkerbell class tank engine, built by Narogauge Ltd as 7.25. Previously operated at Moors Valley and Bowlease Railway before being regauged and operating on the portable Pilgrims line. This locomotive was privately owned by a volunteer.
  • Un-named: Arrived at the same time as Lynton in a part constructed state. This engine is now resident in the carriage works of the Mid Hants Railway at Ropley. The intention is to complete the build and use it on their own miniature railway.
  • Royal Scot: A second Royal Scot built for the Marquess of Downshire. As with the first one this was imported from the USA. Restoration had begun, but the locomotive was sold before it could run at the railway.

Visiting locomotives[edit]

  • Belle: Built by David Curwen and owned by a private individual, this engine visited for the renaming of Basil The Brigadier, with which it once ran at Shillingstone.
  • Alice: An 0-4-0 saddle tank locomotive with a tender based on a Bagnall.

The line[edit]

The ride normally starts at Piccadilly, named after the park road junction just opposite. Tickets are bought from the engine shed, opposite a well laid out yard, which is in fact the area for a new station building. The carriage shed is also here. Upon leaving the station, which is set into the hillside the line curves, crosses a set of points, that lead up to the yard and hence the engine shed, and runs along a straight parallel with Southampton water. The view from here is obscured by gorse hedges. At the end of the straight is another point, put in place for the new extension being built. The train will always curve left here and run inland. On the left, a new double track section can be seen. leading back to the yard and the site of a new terminus station through the carriage shed.

The line curves right at this point and begins to descend entering a closely wooded section and then a cutting before and curving around an 'S' bend and emerging onto an embankment. Here there are panoramic views of Southampton Water and the Chapel, last remnant of the once huge military hospital. At the bottom of this embankment is a short section of hedge, which gives way to Chapel Road Station. This station is normally closed. At the far end is a smart ticket office and waiting room. Upon leaving the level chapel road station, the line begins to climb crossing the first level crossing and running between the gorse bank and the car park on an embankment. There is a 'S' bend through a patch of small trees before the line emerges to run below the playground and past the tea rooms just above the former hospital branch track bed.

The line curves inland again and crosses a second crossing just opposite the recently refurbished Cedar Tea Rooms. Here the line begins to climb more steeply and, if you are lucky enough to be on a steam engine you can hear the engine working hard to climb the steep grade as it enters some woodland and another cutting, surrounding a large playground. At the deepest point of the cutting the line, curves sharply. This is the sharpest curve on the whole line and will need realigning before the planned tunnel can be built. Curving right, out of the sharp bend and through another 'S', the line runs straight, climbing alongside the sensory garden and emerges from the woods across another level crossing and left past the first playground. Views here run back to the lower level and across to Southampton Water and the chapel. The line then re enters the trees, across the last level crossing, down a short straight which brings us to Piccadilly and the end of our journey.


There is in place a new terminus station, opposite the engine shed. This will then lead into the carriage shed, which doubles up as a tunnel. At the other side of it, the line splits into two tracks, and heads south in a shallow cutting. At the end, the left hand line joins the main circuit, but the right hand one stops short of the current mainline. Here it is planned to build a diamond crossing, and a new curve through the woods, to join up with the existing layout. Trains will eventually leave by the left track, travel around the main circuit and then continue straight on at the points to the new loop, over the diamond crossing and return through the carriage shed to the new station terminus. Much of the work has been completed by volunteers including the brick work on the turntable and the block work for the building.


  • Chapel Road Station
  • Piccadilly Station


The line is run by a group of dedicated volunteers who carry out and perform all the work necessary to improve and maintain the railway. In 2005, the tri-service cadets from Southampton university began construction of the new station building, but complications led to them instead assisting with the track laying on the extension, and the postponing of the building work.


There are various other projects ongoing including the completion of Peter the Private, refurbishment of Western Thunderer, completion of the large terminus station and the laying of a small amount of new track to open the extension.


External links[edit]