The Langford and Beeleigh Miniature Railway
A most popular attraction for children, adults and families alike, this fabulous 7¼” gauge miniature railway’s main line carries passengers on a journey of over one quarter of a mile through the seven acres of mature woods and meadows that make up the Museum grounds.
The main station, ‘Langford’, is on the far (south) side of the Museum site and is where passengers normally start and finish their ride. Our ‘Langford’ station is less than half a mile from the position of the original Langford and Ulting Halt which was situated on the old Great Eastern Railway Maldon to Witham Branch Line, axed in the 1960s. You can view the original Langford Station sign inside the Museum.
Visitors please note that an extra charge is made for train rides at all times of £1 per ride. For details of when the miniature railway is operating, please see the calendar at the bottom of this page. The railway runs on most event days, excluding the Antiques Fairs.
It is also important for visitors to be aware that the Museum’s directors reserve the right to replace a steam locomotive with a diesel locomotive as and when circumstances may demand.
Further information about our railway
This 7 1/4″ gauge railway meanders in a 1/4 mile loop around the perimeter of the Museum’s grounds. Most of the track was constructed on site but two short sections incorporate rails originating from the historic, if short-lived, Surrey Border & Camberley Railway of 1938.
The L&BR features an overall roofed, two-platform Langford station and a basic halt, Riverbridge, which is occasionally used for special events.
Trains are vacuum braked and run under the control of automatic 3 aspect colour light signals, supplemented by visible and audible warnings for pedestrians at two foot crossings.
Two internal road crossings are equipped with level crossing gates which are controlled by operating staff and provide protection against any risk of collision with road vehicles.
At Langford station the colour light signals are in the process of being supplemented by upper quadrant semaphore junction and starting signals which provide operating staff with enhanced visibility of route setting and add to the railway atmosphere for our visitors.
It has always been an ambition of the museum to one day build an extension to Beeleigh Mill, hence the railway’s name.
The Motive Power Depot, or Engine Shed, is situated some distance from the station, down by the river. The depot comprises a building with three ground level roads plus a fourth raised level road for the storage of locomotives and rolling stock; two adjacent sidings for the assembly and preparation of trains; two short locomotive preparation/disposal roads over a large inspection pit and a road leading to an adjustable loading/unloading ramp for visiting locomotives.
Access from the main line is via a spur protected by ‘trap’ points, leading to a 14′ turntable which in turn serves all the sidings and shed roads. The depot has its own water tower and coal storage as well as an office and workshop and enables the crews to carry out the exacting work involved in the preparation of our locomotives and rolling stock for passenger hauling duties.
Currently, the railway’s main line is controlled by automatic three aspect colour light signals and the sidings by ground signals or directional ‘feather’. It is an ambition to re-equip with the traditional ‘semaphore arm’ signals, more appropriate to our steam railway and a few of which can still be seen on Network Rail!
The main line is divided into block sections and, as your locomotive passes each signal, you should see the light change from AMBER or GREEN to RED.
This means that until your train has cleared the section you are now in, the train behind you will have to wait at the red signal.
For safety, our trains are fitted with a powerful vacuum braking system which can be operated by either the Engine Driver or the Guard, who travels at the rear of the train.
The whole of the running line is inspected before we commence operations each day, as are the locomotives and rolling stock. For the safety and comfort of our customers, we operate and staff the railway in much the same way as on the ‘Big Railway’ except that, as we do not normally have a timetable, our trains are NEVER late!
If you would like to join the volunteer railway staff, full training will be given to enable you to become a Stationmaster, Signalman, Guard, or Steam or Diesel Engine Driver.
Either e-mail us via the ‘Contact’ page or tel: 01621 843183.
Proposed Running Days 2023
Every effort is made to ensure the Miniature Trains are running on the scheduled dates, however, to avoid disappointment please check with the Museum on the day prior to your visit.
Dates on the Museum Calendar page have been updated as per roster provided by the Railway team, but we suggest you contact the Museum if you are unsure if they are trains running before your visit.
The Railway is also hoping to run trains on the first Sunday of each month alongside the Model Village opening.
Running times for 2023 are to be confirmed – you can see on our What’s On page the planned running dates.
Prices are £1 per person per ride. We are unable to carry children under ONE year old.
The railway being narrow gauge 7 1/4″ or 184mm requires passengers to be able to sit astride the carriage. For stability reasons this also prevents us from carrying a person unable to leave their wheelchair, those that are able to access and sit astride the carriage are welcome. CARERS accompanying a fare paying person requiring assistance are carried free.
Museum of Power,
Essex CM9 6QA
Phone 01621 843183