Paul A. Lunn explores the Channel Islands’ diversity, and offers two track plans for modelling railways on Jersey and Alderney.
Paul A. Lunn explores the diversity of the Channel Islands.
If you thought that the furthest south old London Underground tube trains got was the Isle of Wight you’d be wrong. Several old Tube Stock cars are actually in use – albeit as hauled coaching stock – fewer than ten miles from the Normandy coast. The Channel Islands are almost as different from each other as they are from mainland Britain. The three biggest – Jersey, Guernsey and Alderney – all had railways. Jersey, the largest of all, had two. The 3ft 6in gauge Jersey Railway ran west from the capital, St Helier, to the rocky coastline of Corbiere Point. The standard gauge Jersey Eastern Railway followed the eastern coastline from St Helier up to the delightful town of Gorey. Guernsey, the second largest, had a standard gauge tramway, rather than a railway, for the three miles from St Peter Port to St Sampson’s. Initially worked by steam locomotives and trailers, it was converted to electric power in 1891. Alderney’s four-mile standard gauge line linked Mannez Quarry with a new breakwater and opened in 1847. It’s the only Channel Island railway still operational (those of Jersey and Guernsey closed in the 1930s) but only carries passengers from its headquarters at Mannez Quarry to the town of Braye. I find the strange and rather wonderful railways of the Channel Islands particularly fascinating. There are some very modellable subjects here, offering those who like the challenge of making something different the chance to create something really different!
Vulcan Drewry 0-4-0DM Elizabeth and its train of two 1959 London Underground cars at Mannez Quarry. The site is dominated by the Second World War German observation tower. Behind the photographer is the railway’s workshop, home to Ruston Hornsby 4WDM Molly 2, which arrived on the island in kit form.