HAMPSHIRE’S Hayling Railway has two reasons to celebrate this year.
Operator the East Hayling Light Railway Society is marking 30 years since it was founded, while 2018 is also the 30th birthday of its steam-outline diesel locomotive Jack.
The 2ft gauge line project grew from the ashes of an abortive 1980s scheme to rebuild part of the legendary LBSCR Hayling Island branch.
When that plan collapsed a group of narrow gauge railway enthusiasts, led by local businessman Bob Haddock, continued the dream of bringing a railway service back to Hayling Island and in 1988 formed the society.
In 1988 a 2ft gauge line was opened within the Island’s Mill Rythe Holiday Camp, for which Jack was built by Alan Keef Ltd of Ross-on-Wye.
In 2003 the line relocated to a mile-long route on the Island’s seafront. Running between the village of Eastoke Corner and the funfairs at Beachlands, it became the ‘Hayling Seaside Railway’, and is now known more simply as the Hayling Railway.
Jack remains the regular engine, supported by Ruston and Simplex diesels, hauling wooden bodied-steel framed bogie carriages built by EHLR society volunteers.
Steam locomotives have been frequent visitors, including the Moors Valley Railway’s Emmet, the Statfold Barn Railway’s new-build Quarry Hunslet Jack Lane, and the Hampshire Narrow Gauge Railway Trust’s 1919 Bagnall 0-4-0ST Wendy.
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