THE diminutive vertical-boilered locomotive which hauled the first public steam train on the Leighton Buzzard Railway has restaged the feat 50 years on.
June 29, 1968, is perhaps best known as the day when public services began on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway, as described in our special feature on pages 82-86.
However, on the same day, the first official public heritage era trains ran on a 2ft gauge Bedfordshire sand-carrying line.
The Leighton Buzzard Light Railway opened on November 20, 1919, linking local sand quarries with the LNWR Dunstable to Leighton Buzzard line at Grovebury sidings, south of the town.
By the mid-1960s, only one sand quarry, Arnold’s, still used the light railway.
In 1967, an enthusiast group received permission from the owners to run passenger trains over the railway’s ‘main line’, starting with a series of diesel-hauled ‘fan trip’ specials, on March 3, 1968. The group formed themselves as the Iron Horse Preservation Society, seeking to recreate an American image, but soon changed to become the Leighton Buzzard Narrow Gauge Railway Society.
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