A new narrow gauge carriage was launched at the Midland Railway – Butterley on 8th July. The 2 foot gauge line, which operates in addition to the standard gauge railway,
runs from the Museum Complex through the Country Park to Golden Valley and is called, appropriately enough, the Golden Valley Light Railway.
Since the Golden Valley Light Railway started running it has relied on a collection of rebuilt former colliery man riding vehicles for its passenger trains. These are popular during the summer as they are open sided but the volunteers running the railway have always wanted something better to run in wet weather. The restored Ashover Light Railway coach has shown how useful an enclosed vehicle can be, so when the opportunity to acquire two larger coaches came up the volunteers jumped at the chance. The two coaches came from the Ffestiniog Railway in North Wales who were replacing them with larger vehicles but the Golden Valley Light Railway have had to find new bogies, which came from South Africa, and have had to adapt the coaches to their braking system.
This work has inevitably taken longer than was initially thought, but the first of these vehicles was introduced into traffic on 8th July, with the second to follow in 2018.
The launch was carried out in style with the new coach coupled to the historic Ashover Light Railway carriage and cakes being served to those travelling in the new vehicle.
Alan Calladine, the Midland Railway Trust Development Officer said “From the start of the narrow gauge project we always wanted to be able to run decent carriages. The converted man riders are still very popular during the better weather but these new coaches give us the chance to keep our passengers dry and comfortable.
I am sure that our visitors will enjoy a trip on one of these new coaches; they will enable us to carry passengers in much more comfort that before.”
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