Industrial Narrow Gauge Railways
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NEWS 2013
Updates on information regarding industrial and commercial narrow gauge around Europe.

This section contains details of narrow gauge sites (industrial/commercial, not preserved) still operating, or news regarding closures confirmed from recent vists or the railway press. Please feel free to contribute to these pages and ensure a broad cross section of railways and countries are featured. Click on the thumbnail pictures to see a larger picture.

The most recent reports will be at the top

Elsdorf 2012

AUSTRIA:  September 2013
Zillertalbahn (760mm gauge) Finaicial results for 2012 revealed that the Zilletalbahn lost over 3/4 Million Euros. The freight traffic volume had reduced in the ongoing battle with road transport. Therefore the extra revenue the line was making from the freight was not able to cover the loss accrued from the passenger services. Even the regular steam services had not made a profit due to declining numbers. The railway is asking local authotiries and tourist organisations to contribute to cover the shortfall going forward. The line was planning on making further investment in rolling stock but this is under threat unless the financial siruation improves.
(Posted 10.11.2013 Source: Today's Railways)
ROMANIA:  May 2013
Govora (760mm gauge) A belated report from May this year was recevied recently with the details of a rare trip to Romania. The Limestone quarry railway at Govora was found to still be operating. All the locos and trackwork appeared to be well cared for and trains seemed to be running possibly round the clock. Up to three locos were in use at a time. All locos observed were the standard class L45h BoBo diesels.

Fieni (760mm gauge) The second of the limestone railways visited was also still in use. The trains here run 24hrs per day using a 3 shift system. Three trains were in use at the time of the visit resulting in approx 21 trips per day. Again the railway and infrastructure observed appeared to be well maintained.

Lonea Colliery (790mm gauge) Although a request to access the yards to photograph these railways was refused, away from the terminus of the railways there was plenty of opportunity to photograph the railways and the train crews were approachable and friendly. This is a relatively short line compared to the limestone railways, but is double tracked for much of it's length. It runs through a heavily industrialised mining area which has seen better days, and the state of the track and railway infrastructure was very poor, with trains running erratically with some days seeing no trains running at all.
The view opposite is at the terminus and sums up the industrial environment that this railway operates in.

Viseu de Sus (760mm gauge) Although the days of genuine steam hauled timber trains have long since gone at Viseu, there are still regular timber trains here. Usually two trains per day are operated with the L45H diesel locos. 87-0036 was the loco in operation at the time of the visit. There were also several steam hauled tourist passenger services observed.

(Posted 10.11.2013 Source: Patrick Aulbach)

GERMANY:  September 2013
Torfwerk Bokern & Rießelmann, Lohne-Brägel (600mm gauge) There has been very little change over recent years here, but when visited the railway was not in daily use. there was no peat stockpiling taking place at present, and unloading relied on the arrival of articulated lorries for transport. The 3 elderly Schömas were in the works and on line duties. The small Diema was not seen and was presumed to be out on the moors.

Torfwerk Wübbeler, Goldenstedt (600mm gauge) In the last 12 months the whole area along the roadside leaving the yard has been resurfaced and the all the rails and pointwork re-instated and reports elsewhere have confirmed the railway to be back in use. This is likely to still be only for just 1-2 months of the year around May-June, as had been the case in the last few years. A small DSD14 Diema and a rake of wagons were at the entrance to the yard.

Erdenwerk Archut, Sauensiek (600mm gauge) Site working normally. 12 months ago this railway was not in use, so it was a pleasant surprise to find all the tracks appearing in regular use and finding the small orange Diema (No.1, no plates) in charge of a very slow train out and back from the moors. Although there have been many recent repairs to the trackwork, it is still in very poor condition and the trains run at very slow speeds to avoid derailments.

(Posted 02.10.2013 Source: Steve Thomason)

GERMANY:  September 2013
Torfwerk Gnarrenburg (Several sites) (600mm gauge) It appears that most if not all railway operations at the Gnarrenburg sites may be coming to an end. The main line and works at Gnarrenburg had quantities of wagons in the reception sidings and the rails did appear still to be in use, but no peat trains were observed. This part of the system was further connected to the Huvenhoopsmoor and loading facility via a road crossing, but when the crossing was checked, although the rails were still in the road, the tracks had been taken up on either side. Visting the Huvenhoopsmoor complex found much of the track all removed and 2 lines of over 70 wagons stored out of use at the southern end of the yard. Some track was still in place in the yard and into the loco sheds and had seen some limited use in the last few weeks, probably on track lifting trains. Two of the Diema locos were stil present (Nos. 21 and 17) out in the open and 2 of the newer Schöma locos and at least one other Diema were seen through the doors of the loco shed.

On the separate system at Langenhausen, the old unloading point by the main road which had been in use as a permanent way yard until a year ago, all track had been removed and the last item of railway equipment remaining was a point lifted from the yard. The main tipping point here is still half a mile down the nearby dirt road, but this was not checked. At Findorf, a couple of decaying flat wagons were still present, but the rest of the track had been taken up past the tippler/elevator.

Erdenwerk Archut, Hatzte (600mm gauge) The stockpile had been cleared here for the year and the railway had been in use up to just a few weeks previously judging by the state of the rails, but the locos had either already been removed for the year, or were still out on the moors as there were no locos in the yard or loco shed.

Seen above is the empty yard with the cleared peat stockpile on the right.

Euflor, Werk Aschhorn (600mm gauge) A large and busy system in the north of the country. The railway is operated mainly by older Diema locos but at least one newer Schöma loco was seen. There has been a visitor railway opened here with the tracks starting at the back of the visitors car park. It crosses the tracks of the operational peat railway on the level, and travels out to the moors but appears to be entirely separate from the main system.

(Posted 02.10.2013 Source: Steve Thomason)

GERMANY:  September 2013
Compo, Torfwerk Uchte (600mm gauge) Site working normally. Long trains were observed arriving and leaving, typically being double-headed with the relatively new Schöma locos and sometimes also with a banking loco behind.

Torfwerk Tabeling Gmbh, Vechta

(600mm gauge) Now Tabling GmbH is part of the Hawita Gruppe, this works has slowly expanded over the years and there are further plans approved to redevelop the area around the works to expand again. The route of the railway follows a minor country lane out of the town for a couple of kilometres before reaching the moors. Both the newer Schöma and a Diema were observed on line work with two trains leaving for the moors with just 1 minute between them.

Torfwerk Zubrägel, Vechta (600mm gauge) The report last year stated that nothing had moved here for possibly over 12 months or more with just 2 locos seen (dumped) on site. These last 2 locos have now gone, and just a rake of old wagons were still partly on and off the rapidly disappearing tracks, with tractors and trailers taking over all the peat transport onto the works.

(Posted 02.10.2013 Source: Steve Thomason)

GERMANY:  September 2013
Euflor: Werk Wolfsbruch (600mm gauge) Just 10 mins drive away from the Aschhorn site, Wolfsbruchermoor is a far smaller system, with 3 locos observed on site, although a worker stated that there were 4. There were 3 rakes of wagons in use which are tipped in a simple tippler and elevator, depositing the peat directly into waiting lorries.

With 3 rakes of full wagons already waiting emptying, there were no trips out to the moors on the day of the visit. The loading area was approx 1km from the yard.

Torf und Humuswerk Gnarrenburg, Steinfeld

(600mm gauge) A scenic line running alongside a public road into a nature reserve. The terminus and tippler is alongside the road just outside of Steinfeld and was very busy when visited with 3 lorries waiting to be loaded and 2 of the new Schömas present, one shunting and another on line work. The loco used for shunting the roadside terminus was being operated remotely with the driver walking along side controlling the loco with the remote console.

Torfwerk Warmsen, Warmsen (600mm gauge) Another peat works having changed little over the years except for the recent addition of an additional tippler point and elevator for tipping of peat directly into lorries for processing elsewhere. The stacking yard was looking rather empty and the line had not been in use for at least a week, although there were up to 4 rakes of loaded wagons awaiting emptying in the yard. At least 8 locos were seen.

(Posted 02.10.2013 Source: Steve Thomason)

ENGLAND:  August 2013
Hopewell Colliery, Forest of Dean (2ft gauge) Steve and Richard Harding from the Haywood Mine were working here 2 mornings a week to give Robin a hand and tubs were being hauled out every 20 minutes until approx 12:00. The coal is tipped into a waiting lorry which takes the coal to a grader at the other side of the site.

(Above) After tipping the coal into the waiting lorry, the axles of a tub are greased before being lowered on the tippler. Taken on the 13th August 2013.

Phoenix Mine, Forest of Dean (2ft gauge) No coal has been brought up here for a number of years. Nothing has changed significantly here for a long time. The yard is used for occasional maintenance in connection with operations at Hopewell. An extension to the storage yard had been constructed in the last 12 months and the waste line had been extended by a couple of track panels. The wagon tippler is now in use at Hopewell and no wagons were present outside the adit.

Monument Mine, Forest of Dean (1ft 7½ ins Gauge) Up to 4 miners are still working here, with 2 on site at the time of the visit. One rake of 3 tubs was brought up around late morning. Little has changed over recent years, but the waste line has been shortened recently and there are plans to install a rotary tippler here to save hand-tramming waste to the end of the line. The miners appear to have a very healthy demand for the coal with a traditional brickworks taking lump coal all year round, and a number of locals arriving to purchase coal for domestic use.

Cannop Drift Mine, Forest of Dean (2ft gauge assumed) After being abandoned by the Harding brothers approx 3-4 years ago, the mine is back in operation being managed by a father and son on a part time basis. Many new pit props were next to the adit ready to go underground and a plentiful stock of coal was in evidence on the surface. There were 2 wagons on site with a single wagon in use for coal haulage.

Ladyslade (AKA Buckle) Mine, Forest of Dean (2ft gauge assumed) Supplies of coal were still present under the grader, but the mine appeared not to have been in use for a significant period of time. In the last 18 months there had been a hydraulic rotary tippler installed, but it’s not clear how much use this actually had seen.

Prospector Mine, Forest of Dean (Gauge was previously reported as 20 inch) This mine near Plump Hill had reportedly only been started in spring 2011, but has already been abandoned. All track has been removed and the only railway equipment on site is the remains of one rusted wagon chassis. The winding house is still present on top of the unloading platform but the winch has been removed. Looking into the locked adit, it’s unclear how deep it was dug before operations stopped. No coal had been brought up before closure.

(Above) The adit of Prospector mine now with all rails removed, taken on 14th August 2013.
(Posted 18.08.2013 Source: Steve Thomason)

SCOTLAND:  June 2013
Wiliam Sinclair Horticulture, Bolton Fell works (2ft gauge) A visit in June confirmed the railway to still be in operation. 3 trains were in use in the usual circular route to the loading area (locos; Irthing, Esk, and Liddel). 2 locos had recently been sold into preservation, but a check over the whole site still confirmed a total of 14 locos (12 Motor Rail and 2 Alan Keef), althouigh 2 of these were little more than cab and frames.

This picture shows MR (MR8655 assumed) 'Irthing' with a typical 4 wagon train running through the small piece of woodland at the centre of the moors.
(Posted 30.06.2013 Source: Steve Thomason)
ENGLAND:  June 2013
William Sinclair Horticulture, Various sites (2ft and 2ft 6ins Gauge) A visit confirmed that Auchencorth Moss (2ft gauge) was in the process of being dismantled, the track being ripped up for scrap because the current scrap value is so high.
Springfield Moss (2ft gauge) was not working and may not be back in work until next spring.
Cladence Moss (2ft 6ins gauge) although not using the railway anymore still had 2 locos locked in the container.
Ryeflat Moss (2ft gauge) had been working recently up to about 2 months ago. Ryeflat had been recently relaid as a 2ft 6ins gauge railway in the 1990s, but by 2007 this line was taken up and the moors worked with tracked vehicles. The 2ft gauge line is assumed to have been laid only in the last couple of years, and the 4 locos on site had previously worked at Auchencorth and Whim Moss. The suggestion from the workers on site was that the railway would be used again at the end of the year when the weather worsens again which then makes access more difficult even for the tracked vehicles.

The picture shows the 4 locos and stock lined up at the yard, with 2 Motor Rail locos in front and 2 Alan Keef locos behind.
(Posted 30.06.2013 Source: Steve Thomason)
ENGLAND  June 2013
Clarghyll Drift Mine, Alston (2ft gauge) A visit here found that demolition of the mine had only just begun a few days before and was still in progress. Just one of the mine buildings were still standing and the adit was still undisturbed but securely locked. The hoppers and tippler structure had been toppled over and awaited cutting up. The mine had been opened and closed a number of times in it's history, but in 2011 after it had lain derelict for a number of years a decision had been taken to demolish the mine and seal the entrance.

Rails were still present under the grass leading into the adit, but extended for only about 20 feet above ground. They had been removed over the rest of the site.
(Posted 30.06.2013 Source: Steve Thomason)

BULGARIA:  March 2013
Septemvri (760mm gauge) One of the large BoBo diesels serving the Septemvri narrow gauge line in Bulgaria has been sold to the coal carrying railway at Rio Turbio in Argentina. Loco No.403 in the new Rio Turbio yellow livery was due to be transipped at the start of the year following test runs in Bulgaria. A second loco, No.403 will also follow, if the first loco proves a success in Argentina.
(Posted 10.03.2013 Source: Today's Railways)
HUNGARY:  March 2013
Fehér tó, Szeged (600mm gauge) A railway of 7.5km originally constructed to support the fish farming industry at this large inland saltwater lake had been redeveloped to carry tourists and bird watchers. However from a report in December it confirmed that the railway is still used on a industrial basis to serve the fish farm. The passenger trains are only used on an occasional basis.
(Posted 10.03.2013 Source: Today's Railways)
ENGLAND:  March 2013
Bolton Fell, William Sinclair, Heathersgill (2ft gauge) From a visit going back to December, it was confirmed this this site was still operational. 11 locos were identified around the works, mostly Motor Rails, with further locos at work out on the moors. As previously reported in 2011, Natural England are working with Sinclairs on a phased withdrawal of all peat harvesting operations, formally finishing by mid 2014.
(Posted 10.03.2013 Source: IRS Bulletin)

AUSTRIA:  December 2012
Mariazellerbahn (760mm gauge) On the 16th December the first of the new sets of trains for the Mariazellerbahn was unveiled in a ceremony held in the new operating centre at Laubenbachmühle. The new sets are named 'Himmelstreppe' (Stairway to Heaven) and the set ET1 is the first to be commissioned. This EMU joins the 5 existing 1099 electric locos, and the other EMU 4090.003 (which had never been re-ordered) managing passenger services on this line.
(Posted 13.01.2013 Source: 760net)
POLAND:  November 2012
Smigiel Narrow Gauge Railway (750mm gauge) In May last year an excursion over this closed railway was organised over the 5km stretch from Stare Bojanowo to Smigiel. In November 2012 a further excursion extended the operating length of the railway by 3km to Nowa Wies. The diesel locomotive Lxd2-241 made two trips over the re-opened 8kms. However, the long term aim appears to be for the line to be gradually reopened as a 'tourist' railway, rather than a commericial venture.
(Posted 13.01.2013 Source:
DENMARK:  October 2012
Store Vildmose, Nørhalne (700mm gauge) Although the peatworks and associated railway at Lille Vildmose has closed (now a visitor centre), this works still continues to operate with its 700mm gauge railway. It is reported to use 3 CH20Gl Schöma locos with approx 25 side opening wagons.
(Posted 13.01.2013 Source: Narrow Gauge News Report)

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© Steve Thomason 2013
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Industrial Narrow Gauge Railways