Although called British Narrow Gauge Steam, Eire is included. Narrow gauge is defined as 15 inches to four feet 6 inches. Passenger hauling miniature railway engines of ten.25 inches and smaller are not included.
This “census” of narrow gauge steam locos which were extant in 1959/60, sometimes indicates engines which were “preserved” but makes no distinction between those in operation and those out of use. For example ex Welsh Highland Railway Russell which I saw displayed out of doors at Tywyn in as withdrawn condition in 1960, looked more like “prolonged scrapping” than preservation. It was a real lift to the spirits to see it as restored by Michael Fairbairn, and the team from Welsh Highland Historic railway many years later.
Many of the locos listed have changed hands and/or locations since 1960. Earl and Countess for example listed as stored at Oswestry Works have long been restored to running order, back where they belong on the Welshpool and Llanfair Railway, but the largest number of changes have occurred amongst the slate quarry engines of North Wales.
Many of these have been restored to running order, some after being exported to North America, and re-imported to Britain, when in 1960, having been out of use for many years, most seemed destined for scrap. Furthermore, a new “Hunslet Engine Company” is building “QuarryType” locos to order. To the original drawings, but using modern materials. The Festiniog Railway Company has built new “Double Fairlies”, while replica Manning Wardle Lynton and Barnstaple engines have entered service.
Despite the heavy losses amongst the industrial and Irish locos listed, there are probably more working narrow gauge locomotive in Britain in 2020, than there were in 1960.
For more narrow gauge steam locomotives see: