Ashford Miniature Railway - Episode 37 of Miniature Railway Britain

May 16, 2021 19:00 · 2368 words · 12 minute read

Hello thank you for joining me I’m walking for a peaceful park in Ashford today this is Ashford Kent just down there is the Rier Great Stour and on the other side of the park is East River Stour and just North up here somewhere of the park the two rivers join together and there was once a ford there and that is where supposedly the name Ashford comes from. I’ve come here today though to go and visit the Ashford Miniature Railway so I’ve never been to this town before apart from passing through on a train so what I’m going to do I’m just going to have a little look around the town and then so we’ll see the town centre and then we’ll walk out to find this miniature railway so I’m just going to follow the Great Stour a little way and as I said let’s just go over we’ll see the East Stour and then we’ll as I said go and find a miniature railway.

There’s an old mill here I think it looks possibly derelict now but I think at one point after a big fire in the 70s it was converted to a nightclub but it looks like it could be direct again which is a bit of a shame. So here is the the other River Stour, down there so we have two rivers I’m now going to make my way into the town centre.

01:32 - One thing Ashford is well known for is there was a railway works here they built steam locomotives and it appears to be highlighted here with this fountain with a seam locomotive wheel in the middle of it.

01:46 - So here we are we’re here in Ashford town centre lots of ice tulips out seems quite pleasant place as I said I’ve never been here before but there’s a real mixture of different styles of buildings I’m gonna get down this narrow street here and go through have a quick look at the church and then as I said we’re gonna carry on through the housing estates we’re gonna go and find this miniature railway because it’s I’m not sure exactly how far, I’ll know when I’ve walked there.

It’s not actually in the town centre it’s in a housing estate so it’s quite an unusual location for miniature railway but I’m really looking forward to seeing it.

02:19 - As it opens out into this really pleasant area completely traffic free and you just got these houses facing the church, the church isn’t open so unfortunately we cannot have a look inside, but just have a look at the building.

02:45 - In keeping in with Ashford’s railway heritage there’s something around here I’m going to show you we get around the corner we come to Ashford Museum. It’s this building here now it’s not open today but it’s free entry so maybe another time we will go there it’s the old grammar school and we’ll just have a look at this side here it’s in the style of the South Eastern and Chatham Railway for Ashford Museum so maybe another time we’ll come to Ashford when we have a look in there.

In the meantime I’m now gonna find my way towards the railway station and um we’re going to go out and see the miniature railway so we’re going to go around here and we’re going to go down this rather attractive road here all the daffodils are out cherry blossoms out it looks really nice and attractive.

03:42 - When I get to the end of this little I don’t want to call it, an alleyway or a street or quite what it is but it’s the path around the church but as you can see people actually do live on here and when I get to just up here I’m going to turn left leave the town centre and just get under go and find the Ashford Miniature Railway. I’m gonna leave you with one more view of St. Mary the Virgin’s Church I’ve just left Ashford town centre it’s over there and I’m walking over the railway lines now it’s quite a complex junction here because you’ve got a High Speed One and you’ve got the classic lines all in one junction so we get quite a good view of it from here high speed one is down there you can see the yellow and black building in front of it there’s like a box high speed one is down there in that box so if you were going on a train to Europe you would pass down there and then it goes up onto a flyover and um if you look out, you’ll get a brief glimpse of Ashford International Station.

In the foreground is all the classic lines you can see their third rail the high speed lines are overhead so then the lines between the box and the further electric lines that’s where the stopping Eurostars would use and so would the domestic trains which come down High Speed One. A complex junction here I’ve passed through it many times, although I haven’t ever actually been on the line from here towards Tonbridge, but I will do that one day so I’m going to continue on out that way through the park and into the housing estates and find this miniature railway.

05:27 - I just grabbed a coffee from the kiosk down there I’m now walking through Victoria Park. This isn’t necessarily the most direct way to the railway but whenever I go somewhere I do like to explore and make a bit of a walk of it and I saw a park on a map so I thought I might as well come this way and you know it seems quite pleasant. So just going to make my way through the park and if I see anything else we’ll certainly have a look at that and then as I said we’ll go to the Ashford Miniature Railway I’m just coming down this footpath here this is a bit of a shortcut and take me into the housing estate so if you’re coming by car you wouldn’t come this way but I believe now we are very close so it’s been a bit of a walk but if you were to come by train you could always get a bus I’ve seen plenty of buses out this way to this part of Ashford so as we come out we come into a housing estate I find this quite an unlikely place for a miniature railway but that’s what makes miniature railways so exciting, they do sometimes turn up where perhaps you wouldn’t expect to find a miniature railway so here we come into this housing state now you might be able to get.

06:44 - Two trains waiting at the station so what I’m to do, I’m going to go and buy my ticket and we’ll go for a ride so here we are the ticket office for the miniature railway, see they’ve got a few stalls on so I’m gonna buy my ticket and then we’ll go get on the train and have a ride on the Ashford Miniature Railway.

07:06 - I’ve got my ticket let’s go for a ride so come round here here is the station so I believe they’re gonna let me in hello hello yes there you go there we go thank you very much.

07:20 - It’s like it snowed, yeah I’ve dropped my ticket.

07:27 - Yeah thank you very much. so here we are here’s the train I’m going to jump on and go for a ride.

09:13 - I’ve had my ride on the railway probably first of a few if the local travel behind it’s Bridget so as you can see it’s a steam outline and the other loco they have is Merlin so I’m sure we’ll also get a trip behind Merlin so what I’m going to do I’m going to have another ride I think.

10:51 - Here we are down the other end of the line now down here we have Ollie and this is all his railway so I’m going to have a bit of a chat with Ollie and he’s going to tell us a bit about the railway indeed so yeah the actual miniature railway is a non-profit organisation run by myself and my brother George who’s currently driving the trains. We started work in 2017 and we had our first open day in September 2019. Here at the railway we’ve got four locomotives, Merlin who sat here behind me Bridget is hard at work pulling trains as well as Petroleum our workforce and our class 47 which is currently being rebuilt at rmv engineering.

So is there anything you’d like to ask me? So um it’s even and a quarter inch gauge, am I right there? Yep we run on 21 mil aluminium track. Great, yeah there we go there’s get a view of the track. So the one thing I think’s quite impressive about this railway is the fact you are on quite a small site and I’m sure quite a lot of people will probably say well I’d love a miniature railway, you know in my garden but I can’t because I don’t have enough space so what would you say to someone? Yeah, it’s an age-old question and we have fitted quite a lot so our track plan is of an import shunting puzzle basically at the moment we have a diamond crossover to be fitted in the next season basically a turn table in uh and we’ve got two platforms at the front of an island and that’s on the side so it can be done you can fit a lot in we’ve got planned for a tunnel possibly and our signalling system.

That’d be interesting, I saw you’ve got a token system going on, that can be seen on the video I think is is this um here comes the train there we go.

12:40 - So that’s your other loco that’s out today isn’t it that’s Bridgette so this was built three weeks the newest seven and a quarter inch gates loco in Britain. So that so today I’ve had a ride probably on the newest loco maybe even the newest locomotive in Britain that’s um yeah I like that! The other question I’ve got is you’re in the middle of a residential area, what do your neighbours think of it? Well, I mean our neighbours we get along with them perfectly so our neighbours this side gave us half their out of their ally way so we could put a new new shed and in the future and our neighbours this side absolutely love it because their children get free train rides and even the parents get back in sometimes just helping out.

That’s great to hear you get along well, good that’s that’s really nice to hear so what would you say, in the future have you got any particular plans? You said you’ve got a tunnel possibly coming. Yes we’ve got a tunnel possibly coming and we’re going to have a diamond crossover put in the alleyway section so we can run up to three brakes so basically two coaches in a wagon so the diamond crossover can you show us where it’s going to be yeah of course that would be interesting to see that.

14:08 - Starting from here to run straight off and over straight into a diamond crossing here into another siding which will be where our four aspects and our signs and stuff are at the moment so you’ve got yeah to be able to store another or a wagon or another coach on any sort of you know open days and you need extra space and if it’s not we can just poke a loco there and something else because we go past yeah it’d be interesting. There’s one other thing, if we walk back up to the station well there’s no trains running I noticed um as I walked off the platform and as you have a Lister engine here yes would you like to tell me about that because I’m quite interested to know this is my Lister which I purchased at the end of last year for the wholesome price of 30 pounds um so we got down there my friend’s car we took it down we nearly broke the car with the suspension due to the sheer weight of it but it needs a little bit of work done to it it needs the uh injectors and the fuel line replant once that’s done it will be going hopefully onto a seven quarter inch gauge list of auto truck of a sort um we’ve hopefully have a five-speed gearbox but when and when that’s going to get done is down to all sorts of factors but uh that would be something new for the future as well.

We look forward to seeing that so, yeah thank you very much for telling me about the railway, soon I shall when the train arrives empty I’ll um enjoy the ride back to the other end.

18:16 - I’ve had a great afternoon here at the Ashford Miniature Railway thank you very much guys! See you later! Thank you! So if you’re in Ashford area do come and visit them it’s a really nice little railway and as I said I’ve really enjoyed it I’m going to now make my way back to the town centre if you don’t want to walk up here there are buses that come out this way so if you’ve come by train or if you’ve parked in the town centre , you know do come and visit the Ashford Miniature Railway it’s a really nice little railway.

So I hope you enjoyed this video, thank you very much for watching, please do feel free to like subscribe and comment and from a housing estate in Ashford that has a miniature railway, Goodbye.