We have both had a long involvement with miniature railways.
Daniel had volunteered at several miniature railways since his teens and had subsequently purchased the Little Red Train and his own steam loco.
Andrea had also been volunteering alongside Daniel at a railway in London from 2010.
When we got together, it was clear that miniature railways would feature in our future plans, and after deciding to sell our own houses and make a new life together outside London, a space for a railway was considered a ‘must-have’ for our new home.
Funnily enough, ‘grounds suitable for a miniature railway’ is not something that Estate Agents normally include in their property descriptions, but after much searching and a couple of false starts, the perfect location was found, and we finally got the keys at the beginning of 2018.
The PHR is Born
After spending some time getting settled (and getting a dog) our thoughts could turn to building the railway.
We placed the first order for components in August 2018, and the first delivery arrived in November.
Construction began in earnest in December 2018, with a whole week dedicated to the initial trackbed preparation. Work continued over the following year, with work parties every few weeks, and track panels being constructed in spare evenings and weekends.
Daniel was ably assisted with track-laying by his friend Adrian (whose years of miniature railway experience proved invaluable).
Sadly, due to an injury caused by a careless driver, Andrea wasn’t able to get involved in the hard labour, but kept everyone well supplied with tea and biscuits!
We built the straight track panels indoors (in the warm) and carried them to site, curved track was built in-situ with the aid of a ‘rail-bender’ (which rolls the rails to the right radius and stops them ‘springing back’).
We moved ballast and spoil around the site using a trailer hauled by a ride-on lawnmower, a lot quicker than using a wheelbarrow, but loading and onloading was still a back-breaking task!
Tracklaying commenced from both ends to ensure that both station sections were level with the adjacent hardstanding, and a smooth gradient could be achieved between them.
After many days of hard work, we were able to run the first train from one end to the other on 8th September 2019.
Our future plans for the PHR include:
- Extending the railway in a loop around the entire site.
- Adding a ‘return line’ to allow trains to return to the terminus without having to reverse.
- Installing a turntable to allow locomotives to be turned round after each journey.
- Rail-connecting the existing structures to provide improved storage facilities.
(To avoid any planning concerns and preserve the green nature of the site, no new structures are planned).
We have always intended this to be a long term project that will be developed over the course of years rather than months.
Keep an eye on this website for future updates.