Swanley New Barn Railway

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The Swanley New Barn Railway is a 7 14 in (184 mm) gauge railway located in Swanley Park, Swanley, Kent, United Kingdom. It is signalled throughout with the signals being controlled from New Barn Station which also serves as a terminus.

The stations[edit]

New Barn[edit]

This station is the largest on the line. It has three platforms, a turntable, a ticket office and a signal box. All trains stop at this station, so they can be turned around and be prepared to travel back along the line. This process will often be performed by the juniors giving the drivers a quick break. Passengers are required to go through the ticket office and obtain tickets before they board the train (in the case of those starting their journey at New Barn) or get their tickets as they disembark (if they have travelled from Swanley Parkway). The platforms have been upgraded to the same standard as Swanley Parkway. Though this station has capacity for three trains at one time, this rarely happens except on gala days. There are three platforms and a loco line where trains can run around and hook back up to the train. The turntable is man powered and a signal point the operator to a centain line

Swanley parkway[edit]

This station is a single platform station located near the car park. Passengers board the train here and then proceed to New Barn station to disembark. The journey from this station to New Barn should take around three minutes. This station was made higher when the platform was redeveloped in 2006, making it easier for passengers to board and leave the train.

The signal box[edit]

The signal box is located at New Barn Station, which is the larger of the two stations on the line. During the first year of the railway, a signal box was created to help control the points and signals around the station area. The signalman can see where the trains are by using the track circuits which are installed throughout the line. The track layout has been changed several times, all of the major changes are recorded to the left of the track diagram.[1] The signal box was formally named Holborn Crossing in 2013 in memory of the society founding member Christopher Johnson, who during his BR career had been an area manager covering Holborn Viaduct, with the absence of a viaduct the last part was changed to crossing.

The signal box has two automatic modes of operation[1] which means that if there is a lack of staff the railway can still function. The signal box frame has 35 levers, all of which are fully interlocked.[1] The interlocking works with the track circuits and point detection. Which levers are locked is decided by the signal box computer which receives points positions, Track circuit data and lever information to decide if it is possible to set a route that will not cause a train to be sent in the wrong direction or be sent on a route where another train is set to cross the track in front of it. The points are worked by 12 V Windscreen wiper motors[1] which have been adjusted so that they stop in one of two positions.[1] They are controlled by the signal box computer which is in turn controlled by the levers. The direction that the points are set to is detected by two microswitches located under the points.

The majority of signals are powered by a 12-volt AC supply. The main signal that everyone sees is the one that passengers pass on their way into the station. It has three 20 W bulbs which allow the signal to be seen clearly no matter what the conditions are. The signal located at the platform on swanley parkway is powered by a 110 V transformer located in the signal box.[1]


Steam engines[edit]

  • Owd Rosie - 2-6-2T: Painted brown, it is similar to a Tinkerbell class locomotive.
  • Montezuma - 2-8-0: It was mainly seen running on Sundays with her American style wagons. Now painted Midnight Blue, and waiting boiler work to re-enter service (which was expected to be 2012).
  • Mallard - 4-6-2: This locomotive is the only scale model based at the railway. It is a model of the full-size engine of the same name (the Mallard), which broke the world speed record for steam locomotives in 1938. This model was used in the filming of the Sky advert, shown during Christmas 2012.
  • Sir Goss - 2-4-0T: This was the main steam locomotive in the fleet. It is occasionally seen at the Moors Valley Railway. It is painted in black livery. Sir Goss has now gone in for a complete overhaul.
  • Lady Sara - 0-4-0: A tender locomotive painted in a maroon livery. The name on the side of the locomotive is Furbero.
  • Prince Sheian - 2-4-0: This locomotive entered service 3 April 2010 and is painted red. Despite being three years younger than Suisaidh she has already completed more passenger miles, and is the main stay of the steam engine fleet.
  • Suisaidh - 2-4-4T: Built on and off site, based on the engine Jason from the Moors Valley Railway painted in LNER apple green, she entered passenger service in December 2007.
  • Aneirin - Single fairlie, 0-4-4T: Based on Talieslin of the Ffestiniog railway. Entered service October 2015. Built by P. Beevers.

Diesel engines[edit]

  • Tulyar - Arrived on site in 1987, now painted in a two tone green livery. She is the most used engine on the railway and completed 20,000 miles (32,000 km) of passenger service in 20 years.
    The Tulyar
  • Kestrel - Arrived on site in 1999, the yellow livery features a Hawker Siddeley logo with permission.
  • SNCF - Arrived on site in 2001, based on the older style French SNCF locomotive which is now based in a museum.
  • Tegen - 4wd. Build in house by John Deans. Sit in style narrow gauge diesel. Freelance design.
  • Skipper- A freelance narrow gauge diesel engine. Arriving for testing in early 2011, she was expected to enter service in April 2011 (after receiving her shiny new paint). Skipper was expertly built by Peter Beevers and is the fourth sit in diesel outline engine he has built (2 are at Barking Light railway). The engine has a sideways sitting seat to allow shunting to be completed easily.
  • Western Enterprise - Arrived on site in May 2012, built by the same company as Tulyar, Hymek, County of Kent, Kestrel and SNCF. Western Enterprise is based on a BR Western diesel.
  • Robert F Fairlie - Arrived on site in August 2012, second new diesel engine of 2012, and mechanically similar to Western Enterprise and also Made by Mardyke Miniature Railways. Painted in Large logo BR livery and is the second class 47 to be based at the SNBR.
  • Niseag - Arrived on site in August 2013. Mechanically similar to Western Enterprise and also made by Mardyke Miniature Railways. Painted in NSE livery and is the third class 47 to be based at the SNBR.

Other motive power[edit]

  • Steptoe - BR class 25 engine, used occasionally.
  • "Nipa" - This is a freelance sit in petrol engine, mainly used as the P-Way engine, rarely used for passenger service. Build in-house in 2013. Was on loan to the Fancott Miniature Railway from early July to early November 2015.
  • Yellow Peril - This is a small battery powered vehicle that uses a car battery for power. It is occasionally used to transport wheelbarrows around site. This has been expertly built by two of the juniors.

Vandalism and events[edit]

The railway commonly has to deal with issues of vandalism, including smashed windows. Damage to the electrical wiring for signals and track circuits. On one occasion graffiti appeared on a platform overnight. The track is occasionally lifted overnight, making it unsuitable for the trains to run on it. Once a burnt-out car was found littering the tracks.

Periodically the railway holds special events:

  • Charity Day: This is held on 1 January each year and is operated by steam engines only.
  • 1812 night: An annual Swanley Park event including fireworks and a band. The railway operates a special service up to the launch of the 1st firework.
  • Large galas: These are held less often. These large events also tend to see a yard shuttle service in addition to the main service, taking passengers to activities in the yard complex. These activities include "drive - a - train".


  1. ^ a b c d e f Peter, Jackson. "Signal Box Details". Swanley New Barn Railway. Retrieved 2008-05-13. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°24′19″N 0°10′36″E / 51.40520°N 0.17674°E / 51.40520; 0.17674