The Branch Line Society


Bentley Miniature Railway
Saturday 9th June 2018

Report by Geoff Noakes

Arriving a few minutes later than intended, our organiser Simon established that the railway was happy for a later start than planned, so that most of the 19 participants could visit Bentley Tearooms and satisfy the inner man (and lady). The variety and quality of food on the menu and the reasonable cost alone would make a visit worthwhile and is recommended for any future visits.


Suitably refreshed the group walked the couple of hundred yards to Bentley Central station to await arrival of a train as a normal public service was also in operation. After a few minutes a set of coaches was boarded, hauled by steam loco 'Pegasus', from the main platform. Departing from the station the first of a few minor alterations to the plan supplied was that a previously lifted curve (from the second platform) to the original small circuit had been reinstated (and was covered of course), with the link from the main platform removed in the last couple of years or so. Extensions over the years have added ever increasing loops away from the original site resulting in an impressive one mile public run at this 7¼" gauge railway!

The first traversal was on the most recent (2011) to Bentley East where the platform line was covered before returning via Glyndebourne Wood Jn station to the 1995 extension back to Bentley Central inner platform line.

Leaving Bentley Central, Ringmere Jn (East) - when the brakes broke - an unexpected brake application is under investigation. The line trailing in left is the curve to the 'short circuit' back round to the station and not in regular use (the tour did!).
[© Simon Mortimer 2018]

By now most of the main running lines had been covered and the journey continued but this time to cover the now non-regularly used curves at Glyndebourne Wood Jn. The connections from there e-joining the now main circuit have been altered from the track plan. Back again at Bentley Central for yet another run, our train stopped on leaving the station with a brake problem (later identified as a valve incorrectly set) on the second coach. After a brief examination it was back to the station to change to the other train in operation hauled by Railfreight liveried 31271. This time it was again a long trip out to Bentley East for the very rare non-passenger by-pass line and a short photo stop.

Main lines all traversed, it was time for some siding gricing. The train was split with the two halves separately covering the new Glyndebourne Wood Junction non-passenger headshunt. It allows an extra train to recess for rapid deployment for events at the adjacent park; this is now very rare. The front of the train with 31271 shunted to the engine shed area to do the headshunt and turntable line. The rear half with an unnumbered Hymek loco traversed the carriage sidings headshunt. Participants transferred between the two trains in the sidings to give full coverage of virtually the whole railway. Unfortunately, despite valiant attempts by staff on the day, the Bentley East extension crossover could not be used as a motor on one point had seized since its last use over 5 years ago (the only 'fowl' up).

A few participants lingered to enjoy a run behind Class 12 diesel shunter 15234. A very successful outing; thanks to Alan Morris of the BMR for the arrangements and our very own Simon Mortimer.

A photo stop, our special train behind unnumbered Class 35 Hymek in the rarely used Glyndebourne Wood Junction headshunt, the station is in the background.
[© Simon Mortimer 2018]

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