THE Downs Light Railway – one of Britain’s ‘secret’ miniature lines – has held its first public open days in its 92-year history.
Geoffrey Hoyland, the first headmaster of the Downs Malvern School, a preparatory school in Colwall, started a miniature railway in its grounds in 1925, with the aim of a creating not just “a railway hobby” but an important educational tool for the school’s pupils.
Pupils learned about teamwork, carpentry and light engineering while enjoying running and driving the trains. While many pupils went on to a career in engineering, others learned practical skills from their time on the railway that would serve them well for the rest of their lives.
The poet W H Auden, who wrote the famous Night Mail poem, was a teacher at the school. He even composed a poem about the railway and its famous locomotive Tubby:
“Pay your tuppence, and take your ride, Tubby will shake your insides.
The greatest fun, it can’t be denied, is engineering”.
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