(F) Radwell Minature Railway

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(F) Radwell Minature Railway

Postby Victorian » Wed Aug 15, 2012 1:42 pm


I'm new here and wondered if this would be the place to enquire about the Radwell Minature Railway. This was a 10 1/4" line built around 1920 by WJ Bassett-Lowke's partner Harry Franklin at Radwell, a small village about 5 miles north of Bedford, UK.

This very ambitious line is referred to in various B-L publications and ran alongside the Midland main line in a large field backing on to Franklin's cottage. It had about 3/4 mile of track, an impressive girder bridge, a corrugated iron tunnel and a proper station complete with footbridge and signalling.

Most references say the line was taken up during the war, but I know that this is wrong because I saw it, derelict but complete, in about 1960-62. Living a few villages away I had just begun my local exploring phase when I noticed this long low shed, partly collapsed, behind a road side hedge. Inside I was amazed to find rails and paced out the entire line through the undergrowth, ending at a securely locked shed in the station yard.

Peering through the mildewed windows I could just make out the outline of a Highland looking 4-4-0, complete with a louvred chimney. I summoned up the courage to approach the front of the cottage to ask for permission to see inside the shed, but the old gentleman who came to the door (who I now presume to have been Franklin himself) told me to clear off in no uncertain manner!

Long and hard I tried to persuade my father to accompany me there, but when eventally we did return the site was occupied by a housing estate.

Does anyone know what became of the equipment, and in particular the little 4-4-0, said by B-L to have been called 'Highland Mary'? There are a couple of pictures in the Felmersham Village history site. (Look toward the bottom of the page).

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chris stockdale
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Postby chris stockdale » Wed Aug 15, 2012 8:28 pm

Hi David and welcome.

Have you tried the 10 1/4" gauge society?


Equally, they might appreciate your experience as outlined here.


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Postby Igor » Thu Aug 16, 2012 1:25 pm

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Postby MichaelPG » Sun Aug 19, 2012 5:13 pm

Hi David

I'm very pleased to read your anecdote because I recently bought one of the postcards of this miniature railway on eBay and it's always nice to have more background information when one's got something tangible associated with a line.

I have updated the Wikipedia page this evening.

For information about what happened to the engines you need Dave Holroyde who has the finest index card system on miniature engines that there has ever been or ever will be. He posts on the Miniature Railways World forum and I suggest you join up and start a thread:


The forum you need is 8" to 12 1/4" gauge.

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Postby chris krupa » Thu Oct 04, 2012 3:11 pm

There was an article of 2 -3 pages length in an old issue of Model Railway News. My copy is loose pages only from Ivor Gotheridge's collection and is devoid of date information.

Perhaps if you can find a model railway club with a library they may have copies going back to the appropriate date.

The only help I can give to the period is that the page size is neither the small wartime one or the latest and last A4.


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