“We have to get the 40-somethings in,” says Quainton Railway Society Chairman Ben Jackson.
“And that, to me, means that we have to do more from an enthusiast’s perspective around diesel, particularly the BR blue period. From the sustainability of BRC as a tourism and leisure centre, visitors expect steam. So, we have to get a balance.”
There’s only one ex-BR diesel on the site: Class 04 0-6-0DM D2298, which had a BR career of just eight years. It was used on the Derwent Valley Light Railway (one of the few railways in Britain that were never nationalised) until 1982, and has been at Quainton Road ever since.
There are also nine ex-industrials on site - from Kerr Stuart/Hunslet K4428 (from 1929) to Ruston & Hornsby 0-6-0DH 459518 (from 1961).
“Our diesel collection is eclectic, but it doesn’t have any big pullers-in for the enthusiast,” says Jackson.
“We would struggle to home anything main line at the moment, but I would like to think, going forward, we could offer some homes to some of the working main line diesels where the owners actually don’t want them thrashed or are happy to move them around.”
Jackson foresees an arrangement akin to Dennis Howells’ WR 0-6-0PT 9466. Quainton Road is its base, but the locomotive goes out on loan during the summer months to other railways, returning for winter and special events.
“We’d certainly be open to conversations around that sort of arrangement,” he says.