The Barnards Miniature Railway opened on Sunday 5th September 2010, at first 260 meters of single line was laid from the station at Burton Shaw to the engine shed. Following its success the line was extended to Belevdere in 2011, then to Sitooterie in 2015 and finally Angel Green in 2016, the line is now 1.5Km in length making it the longest end to end 7 ¼” gauge line in the country. As of 2021 a branch line was added that runs from Belvedere station to Lake End.
The Main station at Burton Shaw was moved from its original location where the railway car park is now to a more sylvan position 30 meters to the North where covered facilities could be provided including toilets and a ticket/refreshments desk. The station boasts a large picnic area and this offers a great vantage point to watch the trains arrive and depart the terminus. The station layout was influenced strongly on the layout of Hythe station on the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway including a Signal box and turntable.
The intermediate stations of Belvedere and Sitooterie offer walks with Belvedere offering a walk up the ‘Belvedere’ affording generous views across South-East Essex, London and Kent. Sitooterie Halt offers a woodland walk to visit Thomas Heatherwick’s ‘Sitooterie’ sculpture.
Angel Green is at the end of the line and the locomotives have to work hard up a long gradient to reach this station. The station it’s self is located next to a small lake and it is a great location to watch the locomotive run around it’s carriages to take the train on its return journey.
The journey goes though woodland and gardens with plenty to see on the way including bridges, signal boxes, tunnels and sculptures and the railway operated by a collection of steam and diesel locomotives as well as Electric Multiple Units to which many hint to historic connections to the Essex area.
The railway was is constructed using aluminium rail and in 2019 line was doubled between Burton Shaw and Belvedere allowing greater capacity on the railway. In 2020/2021 a signalling system is being installed using a mix of traditional semaphore and colour light signals. The railway supports The Christabella Charitable Trust in its fundraising activities at Barnards Farm including those occasions when the gardens are opened to the public in conjunction with the National Garden Scheme (NGS). The NGS use funds raised to support various other well-known charities. Further details at the NGS and Barnards Farm websites.
The railway is operated by volunteers and we always welcome people to join our team, so please send us an e-mail if you would like to help.