Statfold Barn trust launched
charity established to ensure a secure future for spectacular museum collection.
Fourteen years after the Statfold Barn Railway was launched on an unsuspecting railway world, the Statfold Barn Narrow Gauge Trust has been established as a charity to protect the collection’s future, under the slogan, ‘preserving the best of our past for our future’. The railway grew out of what was intended to be a garden line on a private site just outside Tamworth, Staffordshire. Under the guidance of owner Graham Lee, it has grown to be one of the most significant narrow gauge railway sites in the UK. With two operating lines just short of a mile long, the 360-yard garden railway and a 560-yard tramway, it is home to a collection of over 30 steam locomotives and many internal combustion machines, representing most major British and several overseas manufacturers. They are stored in a display area/museum set around a turntable in the former grain store. Many of the locomotives have been restored in the railway’s own workshops, recently divested to Statfold Engineering Ltd, and a good number have joined the collection from overseas. Enjoyed by hundreds of enthusiasts and their spouses, the SBR’s three-times-a-year open days have become an essential part of the narrow gauge scene. Establishing the trust ensures the collection’s future beyond Graham Lee’s lifetime and means that the museum will be opened to the public on several non-operating days a year. To provide the trust with an income, part of the grain store building has been adapted as a function venue. Features of the event room include Pakis Baru Orenstein & Koppel 0-4-0WT No. 1 mounted on a standard gauge wagon frame some 15ft above the ground and a lift-accessible mezzanine displaying three Hunslet 0-4-0STs, including the sectioned Gertrude, and a Hunslet-made motor car. As well as Graham Lee, the trustees are Martyn Ashworth (operations adviser to several railways and locomotive restoration project leader), Paul Ingham (driver on the Ffestiniog, Welsh Highland and Vale of Rheidol Railways), Paul Lewin (general manager of the Festiniog Railway Company), Henry Noon (secretary) and Nick Noon (director, Statfold Engineering Ltd). The museum is also home to the Hunslet Engine Company’s archive and the Industrial Railway Society’s library and archive.
the extensive collection of narrow gauge steam locomotives based at Statfold.
INSET: Statfold Barn railway supremo Graham lee with the plaque commemorating the launch of the new trust.
‘Quarry hunslet’ 0‑4‑0Sts Michael and King of the Scarlets take pride of place at the Statfold Barn railway on March 10, at the launch of the Statfold Barn narrow Gauge railway trust.