The Forest of Dean.

Hopewell Mine




Hopewell Colliery

The Hopewell Colliery Museum Train - 'Eileen'.

This narrow gauge railway is complete with a miniature station and a loco shed as part of the small circuit. The carriage was acquired from a Butlin's Train and refurbished for its' retirement years in the Forest. The engine came from a coalmine where it was used underground.
It is a diesel Ruston and originally had an overhead exhaust pipe that dipped down into a 'bath' full of chemicals to absorb the carbon-monoxide so that it could safely be run underground. The chemical bath was removed and a compressed air tank installed which with a fanbelt-driven compressor 'under the bonnet' provides the power for the air-brakes. A further modificaton was to install a heavy duty control from a long-distance lorry so that the brakes can be applied with controlled pressure from the driver's hand rather than with a foot pedal.

The 'Engine Shed', too, is a wonder to behold. Originally a container unit from a flat-bed lorry, the opening front end was re-shaped to allow the 'door' to open over the rails. At the far end, of course, the container unit had a solid wall. Robin drilled various holes in the face of the solid wall, and bolted two six-foot hinges onto the face of the immovable wall. Then, calmly cut a square hole and all he had to do then was give it a little push and it opened on the hinges ... clever, eh ! I'd have spent a month of Sundays trying to 'hang' the square door on the swinging six-foot hinges.

The track the train runs on is a modern version of a 'Tramroad' which, in times gone by, were so numerous in Dean that they formed a metal net that stretched across and into all parts of the Forest. Robin shaped the rails, cut the sleepers and consolidated the track - continuing a tradition that started with James Teague when he built the first tramroad in Gloucestershire in 1795.


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