A Little History of the Cadeby Light Railway

The Thames Valley branch welcomed back Dave Penney (whose day job is Passenger Director – Northwest and Central) with a presentation was “A little history of the Cadeby Light Railway.”   The Cadeby Light Railway was the brainchild of the Rev Teddy Boston, rector at All Saints Church, Cadeby, Leicestershire. He was always a railway enthusiast but before the railway came to life, he had a traction engine which he kept in the church yard, the first of many. He could often be seen trundling along the highways and byways in the vicinity and beyond the church. It was apparently said by his parishioners what time would the service start when they knew he was out and about on his traction engine.

His original ambition was to build a miniature railway in his garden but soon found this to be prohibitive in terms of cost. Not deterred he then started looking for full-size narrow-gauge locomotive. His ambition was fulfilled in 1962 when he was able to purchase Pixie from Cranford Quarry, Kettering. This was a Bagnall 0-40ST which was being scrapped as no longer required for the quarry operations. This was acquired for the scrap price and a short length of track, and the Cadeby Light Railway was opened in 1963. Over the next 25 years the railway increased in locos and rolling stock.

Pixie built in 1919, although the oldest was “Margaret” built by the Hunslet Engine Co in 1894 through to a Motor Rail, No 4, BUILT IN 1942, some 12 locos in total. The Cadeby Light Railway was open to the public on certain days each month. In 1987 a grandad who had the job that day of looking after his grandson took him to the railway, some 37 years latter the grandson is still “playing trains” That grandson was in fact Dave Penney and he is still referred to as the “new boy”. One of the original operators is still operating today.

Sadly, the Rev Teddy Boston passed away after a short illness in 1986, but his wife Audrey whom he married in 1978 continued his work and the railway continued operating for nearly another 20 years. The final open days were held on the weekend of 14th and 15th May 2005 with headboard showing “1963 – 2005 Final Fling.”  Fortunately, most of the loco’s and rolling stock were found a home at the Apedale Valley Light Railway near Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire

In the grounds of the vicarage was a sizable shed that housed a model railway which had to be moved to a new home. In 2007 with careful planning, it was divided into some 9 sections, wiring carefully labelled etc. it was transferred to its new home, in the garden of one of the long-time operators. It initially, in its boxed state, went into storage on a farm whilst a new building was constructed, the new building being the same width but slightly shorter than the original shed. The first engine was able to run 3 ½ weeks later. The model railway with speeded up clocks and a full “block and bell” system enabled in a three-hour operating session, it is possible to have 180 movements. A cab ride around the layout was shown, pre 2007 which gave a good indication of the size and scale of the layout.

Another great evening from Dave who gave the audience of 52attendees a highly informative and enjoyable evening.