I took up a suggestion to visit the peat bog near Carlisle that is one of the last British industrial narrow gauge railways. Rail transport is used because it is the best method of bringing the harvested peat in from the bog to the processing plant. There is more than 5 miles of track. A fleet of modified Simplex locomotives is in use, each hauling four loaded peat wagons. The major issue mechanically is worn out clutches as the level of the excavated bog is now below that of the works.
The full wagons are tipped at the works and the empties are taken out to the loader which fills the wagons with previously-excavated peat. The loaded train returns to the works using a circuit of track so no reversing is required. Five locomotives were in use using at least two loading points, and I think another was with the track gang. The locos are colour coded and I saw working yellow, red, green, light blue and dark blue. Travelling on the outside of a 'Simplex' in the cold and wet sounds grim but it was one of the highlights of my trip.
The works and the line will be closing on 1 March 2014.
|1941- built GELT waits to enter the unloading station|
|Tipping the wagons|
|Heading off into the bog|
|A loaded train heading back. 1937-built LIDDEL|
|Coming through a wooded section|
|At a junction|
|Track heading back from the loading area. |
This is temporary rack that is shifted according to need.
|1936-built LYNE about to return with empties.|
|1941-built IRTHING in the workshops|
|Out of use locos - two Simplexes and one Alan Keef|