Industrial Narrow Gauge Railways
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Joseph Metcalf LTD
Twelve Yards Road
Irlam
England
 
Gauge : 2 Feet 
Status : Ceased (?)
 
 

A small scale operation working on Chat Moss just north of the M62 motorway.

 
(Click on images for full size picture)
Looking back to 1991, one of the small cage wagons is positioned on the simple tippler. Each wagon was hand pushed up a small gradient onto the tippler, where it was the tipped at an angle of 45 degrees. The tippler was operated from a small shed seen just behind the wagon. Once emptied and unlocked from the tippler, the wagon was left to roll down into the empties loop.  
Alan Keef No.5, built in 1979 was usually in use here, although there was also a small lister loco which spent much of its time in the equipment shed. This view is from 1993, when the peat firm then known as Croxton Compost, also purchased the rights of peat extraction at the adjacent Hollands site. Utilising existing track from the Hollands workings, the rails were extended out into the peat fields once again, to harvest the block cut peat. At this stage the railway here was not connected with the trackwork at the original Croxton site. The wagons were emptied with the use of a dumper truck with a fork lift attachment.  
AK No.5 still looking worse for wear in 1995 is seen attempting to haul a load of peat back to the works. The last 4 or 5 wagons have in fact become derailed, a not uncommon occurrence. It took about 20 minutes with the assistance of about 5 workers to rerail the train and send it on its way.  
By 1997 the loco had had a facelift, and was photographed working back at the original site. By this time the railway had been extended to connect both the sites, and the Lister loco was often in use at the same time. Because of the increase in rail activity, a third loco was purchased.  
The new loco was purchased second hand via Alan Keef. 'Becky' the Motor Rail (No.7215) is seen at the Hollands site waiting for the wagons to be unloaded. The steel channel section welded under each wagon frame is clearly visible, which allowed a tractor with a fork attachment to lift each wagon for tipping. For those people modelling in 7mm scale (14mm gauge), these type of cage wagons are avaiable as a kit from Roy C Link
 
A rough road connected the two sites, and the connecting rail link was laid alongside. This view looks towards the original site, with the Hollands site behind the camera.
In 1998 the decision had been taken to convert over to milled peat production. and to use tracked vehicles to transport the peat back to the works. In late 1998, after the last of the peat block had been cleared from the site using the railway, it was partially dismantled allowing the moors to be flattened, and drainage ditches to be filled in to prepare for surface milling. Viewed from the same position as the previous photo, in April 1999 the railway was abandoned, but still intact in many places. There were about 30 peat wagons scattered about on and off the tracks. The rails had been taken up about 20 feet infront of the furthest wagon in the photograph.
At the same date as the above photograph a look in the equipement/loco shed found all three locos lined up waiting for disposal. The small Lister (LB51651), can just be seen between the AK loco and the Motor Rail.
It is interesting to note that the locos have not been released to any purchaser, and the possibility of reuse at this site cannot be ruled out.
 
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Steve Thomason 2004
Upgraded site relaunched 1st January 2004

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Industrial Narrow Gauge Railways