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1ft 6ins gauge Avonside 0-4-0T Woolwich (1748 of 1916), was built for the internal railways in the Royal Arsenal. From 1962 it became the only steam loco of the Woodland Railway at Bicton Gardens in Devon and visited the FR for assessment and repairs, arriving in July 1984[1]. This resulted in No 7 road in the Maenofferen Shed being provided with a third rail to accommodate the differing gauge. The work was undertaken in 1986 and the loco returned to Bicton.

Some years later Bicton acquired new rolling stock from Alan Keef and in the late 1990s the ex-Royal Arsenal stock was sold for use at the Royal Gunpowder Mills, Waltham Abbey in Essex, but plans for an 18" gauge line there were superseded by 2' 6" gauge, and the loco was loaned for use on a line at the Crossness Pumping Station, Abbey Wood, where it was dismantled for repair by Oct 2011.

The planned line at Crossness was eventually built to 2' gauge. In 2020 it was announced that Woolwich and the other Arsenal stock from Bicton (the Hunslet bogie diesel Carnegie, a powder wagon and five carriages converted from Arsenal wagons) would be transferred to Statfold Barn for overhaul and operation, in exchange for a 2' 6" gauge loco (identity not stated) for use at Waltham Abbey.[2]

For the work done at Crossness see http://therailwayproject.blogspot.com/

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ffestiniog Railway Magazine, Issue 111, page(s): 17
  2. ^ Railway Magazine Feb 2020 p76