Steeple Grange Light Railway

From TrainSpottingWorld, for Rail fans everywhere

The Steeple Grange Light Railway is a narrow gauge railway near Wirksworth in Derbyshire. It uses industrial locomotives and rolling stock from disused mines, quarries, steel works around the country.

The line

Steeple Grange Light Railway plan.png

The Steeple Grange is a 1 ft 6 in (457 mm) narrow gauge line, built on the former Killer's Branch line from Steeple House Junction of the Cromford and High Peak Railway and Middleton Quarry. The line features a steep 1:27 gradient incline from the back of the engine shed to half way up Killer's Branch. A crossover exists half way up the hill as well as sidings on the site of Dark Lane mine, soon to be the coaching stock shed.

Two serious extensions are being studied. The National Stone Centre has expressed wishes to see the light railway to build a line on the old track bed to its facilities, the railway also wishes to extended the incline to the level crossing next to Middleton Quarry.


The SGLR has two operational passenger locomotives, two permanent way/works locomotives and many others under restoration.


The railway's main locomotiveis Greenbat, a 1.5 ton, 5HP "trammer" type battery locomotive built by Greenwood and Batley of Leeds. Greenbat incorporated a folding cab, to allow the locomotive to fit down small mineshafts. It was ordered by a steel mill, who specifically requested the cab be fixed. Greenbat herself has never been underground, working in various steel mills.

Greenbat was preserved by Adrian Booth, who passed it on to the SGLR when the line was in its infancy. She was fitted with airbraking, and coupled to an ex-NCB manrider has provided nearly 15 years of service. In 2005 she received new batteries, the old ones having last 15 years out of a lifespan of 10.

Motor: 1x GB type T2 Drive: worm and wheel to each axle Voltage: 48V, Lead acid batteries

ZM32 Horwich

This locomotive is the only 18 in (457 mm) gauge Ruston and Hornsby LAT in existence. She was bought by British railways to work at their Horwich works in Lancashire, and was preserved alongside Wren at the National Railway Museum. When she was sold off, she was going to be sent to a banana plantation in South America. However, she languished in Liverpool docks until bought for the Gloddfa Ganol Museum in Wales. Here, she was regauged to 2 ft (610 mm) and restored to working order. When Gloddfa Ganol closed, she was bought by an SGLR member, restored to 18 in (457 mm) gauge and fitted with airbraking.

A gearbox failure led to her being taken to Dorothea Restorations for a complete overhaul. She is now back on the line, in lined out BR green, and used alternately with Greenbat. She was recently voted the most popular non-steam narrow gauge locomotive [citation needed].

Engine: Ruston & Hornsby 20HP diesel Transmission: Hydraulic, 2 gear box


This locomotive is quite an oddity, being home built. The SGLR was originally started with stock from Ladywash Mine, near Eyam in Derbyshire. The only locomotive was No.6, which was in a very poor, nonfunctioning state. Before Greenbat arrived, it was decided that one of the four wheel Ladywash Hudson manriders should be converted to a locomotive. This was done by Alwyn Ambrey in 1988, using a villiers engine and transmission from a cricket pitch roller. It resulted in being able to seat 2 passengers and the driver. Unfortunately, the drive was geared too highly for the engine to cope with the gradient on the line. This, and the engine being in poor state, meant it was used very little. The locomotive was worked on by various people in the late 1990s, finally being finished by J Scott in 2003. Scott refurbished the engine, thus solving a large amount of the underpowering problem, and fitted a much better braking system. Two years later, a new engine was found. It is basically the same as the old one, but has a 3:1 reduction gearbox fitted. Although there is still some tinkering to be done, this addition has greatly improved the locomotives haulage.

Engine: 3 1/2 HP Villiers Mk25 with reduction box Transmission: Cup and cone reversing clutch and chain drive


The railway has three battery Claytons of similar designs in private ownership. L10 (works Order No. 5431 of January 1968) and L16 (W/O No. B0109B of March 1973, named Peggy) are 1 3/4 ton, 7HP low height locomotives. They were both bought directly from industrial use. Peggy has recently been restored to operating condition, and is running using the redundant 15-year old batteries from Greenbat. Peggy is fitted with a cam-contactor controller and resistances for speed control.

"Lady Marjorie" is a compact 7HP, 1 3/4 ton Clayton. Designed to work in 4ft diameter sewer pipes, she even has a "barn roof" style battery box top to make maximum use of confined space. She has an electronic controller, as opposed to the more usual resistance type.

Ladywash mine No.6

This was the first locomotive on the railway, being bought with a large amount of track and rolling stock from Ladywash Mine, near Eyam in Derbyshire. She is a 10HP, 3 ton design also from Greenwood and Batley.

She spent all her working life at Ladywash, acquiring some interested but highly useful modifications-her works phot appears in Adrian Booths book on Greenwood and Batley, and is quite interesting to contrast with her current form. She was also fitted with a thyristor controller, which was removed before being sold.

She arrived at the SGLR in a poor state of repair, which along with the lack of controller meant she got dumped around various sidings untouched. Eventually she was bought in 2004, and work finally started on her restoration. Currently she is mostly off site, the frame having been shotblasted clean and painted. It is hoped she can return in some form for the railway's 20th anniversary.

Motors: 2x GB type T2 Batteries: 60V lead-acid Weight: 3 tons new, 3 1/4-3 1/2 tons with modifications

See also

External links

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