Sherwood Forest Railway is full steam ahead

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Plans to convert a disused farm building into a locomotive and rolling stock shed are going full steam ahead thanks to generous donations from the public.

Chad reported in May how Sherwood Forest Steam Railway had started the project to allow the tourist attraction keep the carriages for its steam engines under cover.

It will also make it easier for owner David Colley and other volunteers at the not-for-profit attraction, on Gorsethorpe Lane, near Edwinstowe, to work on the trains regardless of what the weather does.

But the work does not end there as 120 metres of track must be laid for engines to run on into their new sheds.

Said David: “The track comes down an incline into the shed so we have had to ensure everything is level but we have had British Rail surveyors volunteering for this.

“We have done most of the dig and have had most of the sleepers put in. We have been stockpiling rail and investing money in that for years.

“The rail we use is second-hand rail because it is so valuable and scarce - you are talking about £700 per tonne. Also, 150 sleepers are needed and we get them for £3.50 each. It all adds up.”

As a not-for-profit organisation Sherwood Forest Steam Railway ploughs all its revenue back into its resources but this alone is not enough to support the current work.

“We have received a magnificent response to the Chad appeal for help,” said David. “In addition to cash contributions there have been donations of timber, tools, paint, technical assistance and voluntary help.

“People are so just so delighted with the place they just leave donations. It is so encouraging.”

Sherwood Forest Railway is a 5/8th scale, 15 inch gauge steam railway running through cuttings, a tunnel and level crossings over its one-mile ride through traditional farmland.

The railway follows the design of early narrow gauge railways that were first used in construction of roads and canals during the late 19th and 20th centuries.

It boasts five engines, two steam locomotives, a petrol hydraulic locomotive, a petrol mechanical locomotive and a battery-powered electric train.

Coaches are the original Longleat light railway variety and there are both open and closed canopy.

The latter are normally used for the popular Santa Special - a rail ride to Santa’s Grotto every Saturday and Sunday throughout December where children get a personalised present from the man himself.

Although children are the main clientele at Sherwood Forest Steam Railway, grandfathers escorting their grandchildren and, more recently, men enjoying a train driving experience are regular customers.

Said David: “They love it and it brings in those extra pounds for the railway. Usually they are paid for as retirement present or as a gift from someone’s daughter.”

According to its owner, work on the railway will never be finished and he is always on the lookout for more volunteers.

If you have some skills or just some labour you would to donate please phone David on 07910523041.