Windmill Farm celebrates 20th anniversary with gala

LANCASHIRE’S Windmill Farm Railway has celebrated its 20th anniversary with a gala weekend.

Since opening on May 24, 1998, the 15in gauge line at Burscough has become in effect a miniature railway museum. Over the weekend of August 12-13, founder Austin Moss hosted a special event to mark the occasion.

One-time Fairbourne Railway flagship Sian in action at Windmill Farm during the 20th anniversary weekend. GRAHAM BILLINGTON

The emphasis was on steam motive power with former (1964-85) Fairbourne Railway Guest 2-4-2
No. 18 Sian and Mountaineer, built by van der Heiden as an 0-4-0+tender, and previously of the Bush Mill Railway in Tasmania and the Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway, hauling a train made up of former Liverpool Garden Festival coaches.

In the afternoon sunshine, the former Dudley Zoo articulated coaches were added. Shunting was undertaken by the 1979 Severn-Lamb 2-8-0DH Rio Grande from the West Midlands Safari Park.

Locomotives on display included former Fairbourne engines, Gwril and Whippit Quick, a trio from the Southport Lakeside Miniature Railway, and the Battison from Cleethorpes.

A variety of coaching stock was also to be seen, including a Pullman coach built at the railway, the New Brighton coach which had formerly run at Jaywick and the 1926 Romney coach beautifully restored by Austin alongside a pair of German coaches built in 1937.

The last train of the day was hauled by double-headed steam.

Afterwards, a buffet was held on the platform followed by a celebration cake and champagne.

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