The Norramby Miniature Railway - Engines

Roger the Miniature Engine

Roger the Miniature Engine

The grand old man of the Norramby Railway, full of wisdom and knowledge – because he’s the only engine to have existed before the railway’s construction in 1997.  Roger is an older, kindly engine who has helped to keep the younger engines of the Norramby line, particularly Nero, in check since his arrival in 1998.  He has found a particular affinity with Louise and taken her under his wing.

 

However, on account of his age, he is a temperamental and shy steamer who needs careful handling. Wise, with a sense of duty, but with a heart of gold and always strives to be reliable.

Important Information

RAILWAY OF ORIGIN: Norramby Miniature Railway

LOCO TYPE: Hunslet (Original Design)

RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: ERS #49 - Miniature Railway Engines

DATE OF ENTRY: 1998
CURRENT STATUS: Operational
CURRENT LIVERY: LNWR Black / Red & White Lining
CREATORS: Ryan Healy & Kyle Nicholas

About the Character

Roger was initially built as a 15-inch gauge locomotive for a small tourist railway in North Wales in the 1930s. His original owners had witnessed the success of operations such as the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway, Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway and their not too distant neighbour, the Fairbourne Railway, and were keen to take advantage of visitors whose interest would be piqued by a trip on a ‘novelty’ train ride.

All three engines built for the line were built to well known narrow gauge designs, active and associated with North Wales. ‘Roger’ was built as a homage to the Welsh Highland Railway’s Russell, which at the time of his construction, was an ailing operation and doomed to failure.

The railway enjoyed good times throughout the early period of its operation, but with the outbreak of World War II, it became forced into inactivity until 1947 when the ownership and management could finally resume. However, owing to lack of funding, investment and manpower, the line began to suffer. The engines and track had been poorly maintained throughout the course of the conflict, and thorough overhauls would be required to bring the locomotives up to any kind of long-term standard.

Plunging further into debt, the railway closed in the early 1960s and sold its assets bit by bit. Roger was purchased by another 15-inch gauge railway as a contingency measure, and eventually found himself petered out by the end of his first season’s running. He was sold again to a private landowner, Jack Drysdale, who had built up a collection of steam traction, such as Traction Engines, Sentinel Lorries and Steam Rollers, which he kept on his estate. Mr Drysdale’s collection consisted mainly of cosmetically restored vehicles, but there were a few that he had rebuilt and restored to full working order within the collection, which were active during his estate’s ‘Open Days’.

Roger became the subject of a long-term restoration project for Mr Drysdale, the first stage of which saw him restored cosmetically and toured around the country with the Traction Engines at Vintage Rallies. It was here that he was spotted by members of the Norramby Committee, who were beginning preparations for the Norramby Miniature Railway in the early 1990s. The order of Louise had already been completed to help build the line, but the committee were keen for a steam locomotive to run it.

Feeling his age and knowing his own capabilities, Mr Drysdale agreed to the sale of Roger and handed him over to the Norramby Committee for full restoration and regauging. A deal was struck with Crovan’s Gate Works to carry out the work. Roger’s restoration was completed in the Spring of 1998, when he was delivered to the Miniature Railway to begin work.

Real Life Locomotive Basis

Roger is based on the Welsh Highland Railway's Russell.  A similar miniature version of the locomotive exists at the Fairbourne Railway in North Wales.

Louise the Miniature Diesel

Louise the Miniature Diesel

Louise was the first engine to arrive on the railway, and can occasionally be shy, introverted and nervous around new faces.  However, with the encouragement of more confident and outgoing friends such as Roger and Atlanta, she can be as chirpy and bubbly as the next engine, although she does have a tendency to stammer on occasion.

 

But aside from this, she is hardworking and takes a great deal of pride in being an invaluable asset to the workmen, and will often be found helping them with maintenance and engineering work on the Norramby line when not running off-peak services.

Important Information

RAILWAY OF ORIGIN: Norramby Miniature Railway

LOCO TYPE: Baugley Drewry

RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: ERS #49 - Miniature Railway Engines

DATE OF ENTRY: 1997
CURRENT STATUS: Operational
CURRENT LIVERY: Royal Blue / Red & White Lining
CREATORS: Ryan Healy & Kyle Nicholas

About the Character

The first thought for the Miniature Railway was the purchase of an all-purpose, mixed-traffic Diesel locomotive, which would be able to help with the construction of the railway itself also. An Engineer associated with the project at the time was actively involved with the Ffestiniog Railway, and their plans to build the new Diesel locomotive, Criccieth Castle, and opted to use the same plans to build the Norramby Diesel locomotive – as a half-size replica.

Although given first refusal upon the tender, the Ffestiniog’s works at Boston Lodge declined in light of other projects, which would hinder the required deadline. However, they did prove an invaluable source of support when the work was taken on privately by a group of Engineers working for the Norramby Railway. Taking further advantage of the liquidation of Baugley-Drewry in the mid-1990s, further parts were acquired to build the Miniature Diesel in the newly acquired Norramby station site.

The engine was completed in the spring of 1997, and pressed into service to build the station site at Norramby and the entire length of the line throughout to Beach Halt. She was named ‘Louise’, with little ceremony shortly after completion, and proved an invaluable asset throughout the entirety of the construction process.

Louise remains an integral part of the system at Norramby, and is largely used for maintenance work and off-peak services to supplement the steam locomotives. On special gala occasions, she will be paired with Roger to double-head trains.

Real Life Locomotive Basis

Louise is based off the Ffestiniog Railway’s Criccieth Castle, which was designed and built especially for the Ffestiniog Railway in 1995, out of parts acquired from the recent liquidation of Baguley-Drewry.  The livery and lining for the locomotive is also based on the engine, albeit in different colours.

Nero the Miniature Garratt

'Nero' the Miniature Garratt

Nero prides himself on being the most powerful steam engine on the Miniature Railway.  He was brought in to handle the peak-time traffic and knows his indispensability to the running of the railway, which can often make him conceited and often quite arrogant, however, he does mean well and works very hard to please the Manager and the visitors.

Important Information

RAILWAY OF ORIGIN: Norramby Miniature Railway

LOCO TYPE: Garratt

RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: ERS #49 - Miniature Railway Engines

DATE OF ENTRY: 1997
CURRENT STATUS: Operational
CURRENT LIVERY: Brunswick Green with Black and Red lining
CREATORS: Ryan Healy & Kyle Nicholas

About the Character

Norramby Hero, or ‘Nero’ as he is better known was built as part of the order supplied to Winson Engineering in the mid-1990 to manufacture two locomotives for the railway. The locomotive design was driven by the desire to have something unique running on the Norramby metals, and as a result, the choice was made to order a replica of the first Garratt design built by Beyer-Peacock, K1.

Norramby Hero was the third locomotive to be delivered to the railway in May 1998, and was used extensively for training purposes among the locomotive crews. On one of the first trips, it was discovered that a design flaw which had been present in the original K1 had found its way into Norrmaby Hero. The cab area could often become overwhelmingly warm, and on this occasion, caused the supervising Driver such great discomfort that he fainted, leaving the Driver under instruction to his own devices. Thankfully, the Driver under instruction took initiative and brought the train to a safe stop in Norramby Station (ERS #49).

Efforts to aid this design flaw were made shortly before opening, and since then, there has been no similar incidents. However, he has suffered the indignity of having a discarded bicycle tyre wrapped around his motion (ERS #71), and had his progress hindered through confrontation with an angry peacock (ERS #137).

Norramby Hero remains one of the mainstays of the Norramby Miniature Railway, and as the line’s strongest steam locomotive, shoulders responsibility for some of the heavier peak time trains, particularly in the summer months, alongside No.4, Atlanta.

Real Life Locomotive Basis

Nero is based off the first Garratt in the world, K1, which was originally based in Australia, before being repatriated to the UK in the 1970s by the Ffestiniog Railway.  After several years on loan to the National Railway Museum, she has been restored to full working order for work on the Welsh Highland Railway.

Atlanta the Steam-Outline Diesel Engine

Atlanta the Steam-Outline Diesel

Although she runs off a Diesel engine, Atlanta is as fiery and fiesty as any steam engine.  Although the youngest of the four Miniature Engines, she can hold her own when there's trouble in the yard and will come to the aid of her friends whenever they need her.  She's strong, determined and willing and afraid of absolutely nothing.

 

And while she accepts that her design is unconventional and slightly unusual, she knows that she has the best of both Steam and Diesel worlds, and that makes her just that bit more special!

Important Information

RAILWAY OF ORIGIN: Norramby Miniature Railway

LOCO TYPE: LNER Ivatt C1 4-4-2 Small Atlantic
RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: ERS 71 - #The Unusual Miniature Engine

DATE OF ENTRY: 2001

CURRENT STATUS: Operational
CURRENT LIVERY: Maroon with black and white lining
CREATORS: Ryan Healy & Kyle Nicholas

About the Character

At the turn of the Millennium, the railway gathered momentum as a tourist attraction within Norramby, and extra services were becoming requested to meet the increasing demand of passenger traffic. With the growth they were projecting, the railway knew a fourth locomotive would be required sooner rather than later, and consultancy meetings were held between staff and management.

Opinion polls suggested that the steam engines were more popular, and tourists were naturally drawn to the novelty factor. However, there were also strong arguments for another Diesel locomotive to back-up Louise. With a Diesel pressed into active service, it would mean earlier trains could run in the morning without crews having to arrive at 4am for a dayshift. The arguments raged for weeks, with little or no hope of resolution, until a compromise was finally sought out by the Manager, which finally quelled the tensions.

Most commonly used in theme parks, where there is no real necessity for proper steam traction, the decision was made to build a steam-outline Diesel. The engine would have the elegant, distinctive looks of a steam locomotive, but operate as a Diesel – with the engine placed carefully inside its tender to put the engine in motion.

The construction of the engine was kept very low-key, and assistance was provided throughout from engineers associated with the Scarborough North Bay Railway, which had been the first to use the design in the early 1930s. The chosen design for the locomotive was an LNER Ivatt C1 4-4-2 Small Atlantic, which paid homage to the first Sir Topham Hatt and to the North Bay Railway, when the Norramby management decided to follow suit with their tradition of nautical names by naming the engine ‘Atlanta’.

The engine entered service in the summer of 2001, and despite not requiring coal, has proved she can be quite fiery when she wants to be. Atlanta has proven a versatile performer for the railway and is frequently used as a relief locomotive to Louise for maintenance work, as well as being the preferred choice among crews for ‘early turns’.

Real Life Locomotive Basis

Atlanta is based on the Ivatt C1 4-4-2 Small Atlantic class, originally desired by Sir Topham Hatt I instead of Henry.  The basis for the motive power design comes from the Scarborough North Bay Railway's use of Steam-Outline Diesel locomotives.