The West Lancashire Light Railway

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In 1967, six schoolboys became concerned by the rapid disappearance of narrow-gauge railway systems in the area. They decided to try to save some items of interest.

A site was found at Hesketh Bank and some equipment acquired. In September 1967 work began on laying the first 150 yards of 2ft gauge track, using redundant rails and a set of axles on which the first item of rolling stock was built.

The group continued to acquire more items of rolling stock from nearby industrial sites, and work started on the construction of an engine shed and workshop.

In 1969,  at an auction on closure of the Dinorwic slate quarries at Llanberis, North Wales, the group were fortunate in acquiring the remains of a steam locomotive.

The locomotive, the Hunslet quarry engine Irish Mail, was incomplete, with the boiler and other vital parts missing.

Undaunted, the group continued to search for suitable parts to rebuild the locomotive, and over the next ten years acquired or made the parts to restore Irish Mail to working order.

In 1980 the railway saw its first steam-hauled trains in operation.

The Railway’s collection has continued to expand, and currently consists of eight steam locomotives, although not all are in working order.

The search for additional diesel locomotives and rolling stock items carried on, and today the Railway has a comprehensive collection.

A more detailed illustrated history is available from the Railway ticket office.