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Query Corner

Q15.02. Cricket St Thomas 15 inch gauge Railway

Information is sought about the history and origins of this NG railway, within the Grounds of Cricket St Thomas. During 2013 it was operating on two days a week, and was free to hotel guests By Summer 2014 , most of the track had been removed and the station entrances were barricaded. The impressive girder bridge over the river still remained. After the filming of “To The Manor Born” in the 1980s, the estate was home to “Mr Blobby” and a wild life park, before the incorporation of the present Warner’s Leisure hotel and club, so it was presumably built during these periods. When was the railway constructed and by whom, and what are the details and dates of locomotives and rolling stock employed? (TS:6207)

Answer

Cricket St Thomas Wildlife Park, near Chard, Somerset, opened a 15inch gauge pleasure line on 12th April 1985. Alan Keef (AK), then of Cote Farm, Bampton, Oxfordshire, supplied the first loco (and perhaps most of the other equipment). The loco was SAINT THOMAS, a 4w-4w Diesel Hydraulic originally built by Guest of Stourbridge in 1957. Alan Keef (AK) supplied a new loco later, an 0-6-2 Diesel Hydraulic with a steam outline, AK 51 of 1995. Warner Holidays Ltd took over the site in 1998. The Guest loco was disposed of to Graham Lee, Statfold Barn, near Tamworth, on 30th March 2009. (It later passed to Windmill Animal Farm Miniature Railway, Burscough, Lancs.). AK 51 was rebuilt by (the new) Hunslet Engine Co, Statfold Barn, at some time (works no. 664). four coaches were in use in August 2009, also built by Hunslet Engine Co., Statfold Barn (works numbers 126-129). (Geoff Hill)

last updated: 20/01/16