The circuit

When it closed around 2002, there were three distinct runs on the Little Melton Light Railway: the return loop of ‘The Old Piggeries’, and two circular routes, both starting at ‘Melton Wood Junction’. One was the longer run, including two tunnels, whereas the shorter route operated by the railway’s steam loco ‘Hotspur’ included a reasonably steep short climb and a diamond crossing.

The track diagram below shows the routes before ‘Hotspur’s’ line was constructed: this is a screen shot, slightly enhanced by computer program, from one of the many Hi-8 videos I shot when I wasn’t involved in guard, car park or driving duties. As the blog develops, it is pictures from this that will illustrate many of the descriptions, as well as the handful of stills I took when I had a moment.

trackdiagram

If you have LMLR pictures that you’d like to share, please contact the author using one of the tabs at the top of the screen.

You might notice from the track diagram that there are lights. The LMLR was track circuited and had signals. The diagram was in the signal box, above the window facing the approach of all three lines – Paddock Wood, Lost Line and Vine Cottage Line.

Underneath is a rudimentary map of the final extent of the LMLR, showing locations of stations, buildings, names, all of which we will explore over the following months as the blog develops.

vinecottagemap1

 

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The Little Melton Light Railway – introduction

This is an internet tribute to the Little Melton Light Railway, the LMLR. The blog is created by a one-time volunteer, a grateful volunteer who thoroughly enjoyed the companionship of such splendid folk.

The Little Melton Light Railway was a 7¼inch gauge miniature railway, located not far from the city of Norwich in the United Kingdom. The railway opened once a month, throughout the year, and profits from fares went to a nominated charity. Those charities also had the barn in which to have displays, sales and other attractions.

Bob Brett lived on site. It was his land and property on which the LMLR existed. Bob drove ‘Thunderbox’, a wooden bodied lawnmower engine driven locomotive. Thunderbox, which I drove on occasion in the latter years of the railway, was probably the best known loco, and as a machine you had to push (or pull) the lever to engage drive, keep it there, and keep the twist throttle twisted. Downhill Thunderbox had a decent turn of speed, and would be the main loco on the Piggeries and return route: this meant that every second trip, Thunderbox ran backwards… thank heavens for mirrors.

thunderboxinreverse

Thunderbox passes Melton Wood Junction, in reverse, heading for The Piggeries. Bob drives Thunderbox, Mike is at the rear, working as the guard – a change from being Signalman! Photo courtesy & copyright ‘Little Melton Light Railway Tribute’.

There were other locos, other people, and lots of visitors. I wonder if I’m best qualified to write this internet tribute, as I was only an occasional volunteer.

Oh yes – there were the animals too.

Sadly after illness, Bob passed away. The LMLR can to an end soon after, but happily many of the LMLR locos and rolling stock survive at another railway in Norfolk. I loved the LMLR because it was a railway, while a student it meant I worked with people who weren’t students, and during my working life, it helped me do something practical rather than just a desk job.

As the months progress, I will add more photos, some stills from video, and more text about the LMLR. There was a history written, which you could buy for a few pence from the souvenir shop; hopefully I will find a copy and add to it.

In the great scheme of things, the LMLR was just another small railway which went from nowhere to nowhere: but we loved it. I hope that this tribute site will reflect that affection.

It seems that there are many miniature railways that arrive, blossom, and then like ephemera, disappear, leaving only happy memories.