(F) Like hospital railways? Look here!

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Thin Layman
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Location: Bristol, UK
Interests: Light railways, strange locos, narrow gauge, tramways, rural backwaters, obscure grotty industrial corners or any combination of the above.

(F) Like hospital railways? Look here!

Postby Thin Layman » Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:25 pm


I don't think I've posted about this before ...

I was inspired by posts about the demise of the last working hospital railway in Europe to look up again one of my favourite websites, which is an exhaustive guide to British public workhouses and sanatoria from the nineteenth century onwards.

This may not sound like most people's idea of fun, but if you like enormous rambling pieces of Victorian architecture and are looking for inspirations, you'll love this site and may get lost in it:


For those outside the UK, workhouses were meant to be a cheap, morally-worthy way of providing help to unemployed, homeless or destitute people; effectively detaining people in return for basic food and lodging, the idea being that they would be heavily encouraged to find work to avoid the experience of workhouse life. Most 19th century workhouse buildings are now in fact hopitals.

There are several references on the site to internal (probably handworked) 'railways' or 'tramways' at various workhouses; there was a 20in gauge line here (search 'tramway' in your browser window to find the reference):


also see here:


The site also houses a lot of information about 'sanatoria' built by large cities in the UK to help people recovering from turbercuolisis and other infectious diseases. The largest such body was the Metropolitan Asylums Board, covering London; and they had a very large internal electric tramway at their largest site(s) in Kent.

I suspect this was standard or maybe 3' gauge, but it may inspire Gnatterboxers in all sorts of odd ways and it's pretty unique, so I'll post it anyways:


Also here:


This could be a valuable site for anyone looking for possible layout ideas.



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Simon Andrews
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Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2005 1:48 pm
Location: Calne, Wiltshire, England.
Interests: narrow gauge modelling, 009, 09.

Postby Simon Andrews » Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:06 pm

Thanks for the links Matt. It's also worth looking out for "Hospital Tramways and Railways", by David Voice. Queen Mary's Children's Hospital even had a miniature railway line.


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