Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Ripon & District Light Railway

So there I was walking the towpath of the Ripon Canal when, on the far bank, I saw what looked like the remains of an industrial railway.

I continued to the next bridge, crossed it and then worked my way back through some modern housing to find what I had seen. It turned out to be the Ripon & District Light Railway.

As its website says:
The permanent 2' gauge railway uses Hudson track and rolling stock and Lister locomotives. Its purpose is to move maintenance materials around a small development of houses and light industrial workshops - and to play trains!
The owner, Neill Clayton, was friendly and explained that all the track and rolling stock had been purchased elsewhere and brought to the site. He showed me some of the treasures in his collection - the wagons I saw across the canal had come from an old sewage farm railway system.

And the name? Neill's website explains:
Ripon & District Light Railway draws its name and inspiration from a 1904 proposal to build a 2'6" gauge line linking Fountains Abbey and Ripon town with the North Eastern Railway's main-line station at Ripon. 
The project was welcomed by the City Council - until they realised how much disruption would be caused by laying track through medieval streets. The North Eastern Railway played on these fears - and won approval for their novel 'motor bus' service as an alternative.


Eggferno said...

The website of Ripon & District Light Railway has moved to

Chief Wheeler said...

The website has gone
Has the railway gone?

Ian said...

Railway still exists and contributed a Heritage Open Day event in 2022:
Don't suppose that webpage will stay for long so here is an extract:
Ripon & District Light Railway

10-11 Canal Side, Dallamires Lane, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 1TT

Come and visit part of Ripon's rich industrial heritage, showing this railway that still exists with some of the machinery used on it.
See artifacts, memorabilia, signs, machines, engines etc. in this museum of portable light railways.

The aim is to illustrate the manufacture, use and history of what the Victorian's called "portable railways" - small industrial railway equipment, made in quantity, to standard designs, and sold "off the shelf" at fixed prices. Our artefacts are displayed along with other industrial items from the same era, to give context. In addition, we tell the story of the 1902 project to build a tourist railway to Fountains Abbey. In Ripon, portable railways (some laid down permanently) were used at Doublegates gravel quarry, on WW1 Ripon camp construction, at Littlethorpe potteries, in George Harrison's Ure Bank engine works, at Canal Sawmill's on canal road and in the Varnish Department at Robert Kearsley's paint works.

Event Times
Sunday 11 September: 1200-1600
Monday 12 September: 1000-1600

Booking Details
No booking required

Care to be taken whilst at the museum, of exposed rail tracks, uneven surfaces etc. Visitors to take due care and attention to signs. Due to the nature of some of the exhibits, that are moved outside for better access if the weather forecast is rain, then unfortuneately the museum will be closed.

COVID-19 Considerations
This event will run in line with local & national government guidelines at the time of the festival.

Organised by
Ripon Civic Society

Jonathan Calder said...

Thanks for the information!