The Sand Hutton Light Railway was a narrow gauge system serving the estate of Sir Robert Walker, the Fourth Baronet of Sand Hutton, Yorkshire. It connected the main house with the LNER Warthill Station and the village of Bossall. It replaced the earlier, shorter, 15" gauge Sand Hutton Miniature Railway that was opened in stages from spring 1913.

The original 15 inch gauge line started at the edge of Sand Hutton village and ran for 450 yards through Greystone Plantation.  At the start was Villa Station with Garden Station (with the loco & carriage sheds) after 270 yards.  The line then ran up a steep bank with gradients of 1 in 70 and 1 in 75 and then through open country before reaching the lake, which the line skirted with two bridges before arriving at Fishpond Station.  Some 1,245 yards in all.  There was also a 6ft deep cutting and a 30ft long tunnel on the line.

After the First World War, Walker obtained an order under the Light Railway Act that allowed him to extend the existing Sand Hutton Miniature Railway to 7¾ miles in length. This would allow the railway to serve as the primary transport system for the estate and link it to the North Eastern Railway (NER) at Warthill. Construction of the extension was nearing completion by the end of 1920 when it became clear that more substantial rolling stock would be required if the line was to fulfil its intended purpose.

In December 1920 the Government put up for sale the 1 ft 6 in (457 mm) gauge railway at the Deptford Meat Depot. The depot had been established by the Corporation of London shortly before 1900 and had a standard gauge connection to the LB&SCR as well as an internal 1 ft 6 in (457 mm) gauge tramway system. Around 1916 the army took over the running of the
depot as a strategic supply for the war effort and introduced steam locomotives to work the narrow gauge tramway. After the end of the war, the depot was deemed surplus to requirements and the entire railway was purchased by Walker, who saw that the substantially bigger locomotives would be suited to his plans at Sand Hutton.

Bossall Station

Between 1920 and 1922 the existing miniature railway was converted to 1 ft 6 in (457 mm) gauge and the extension to Warthill was completed. In April 1922 the first 4¼ miles of the new light railway were opened to goods traffic. This initial line ran from Warthill station on the NER to Kissthorns Siding near the main hall, with a substantial branch serving the brickworks at Claxton. In 1923 the main line was further extended to Bossall, and a steep branch to Barnby House was added. The Light Railway Order for the railway allowed for a further ½ mile extension to Scrayingham, but this would have involved a large and expensive bridge over the River Derwent, and this was never built. The total length of the line was 5¼ miles.

The line carried agricultural produce from the farms on the estate, as well as coal to the brickworks and bricks from them. Most of the goods traffic

flowed to or from the transfer sidings at Warthill station. The line also ran passenger services for personnel and visitors to the estate between 1924 and 1930.

The Claxton brickworks closed in 1929, and Sir Robert Walker died in 1930. The line closed in June 1932 and was dismantled by 1933.

All four Hunslet steam locomotives were built for the War Department's meat depot in Deptford. They were all scrapped shortly after the line closed in 1932 by Thos W Ward Ltd of Sheffield. Some sources, which note the motive power prior to 1927, say there were only three locomotives at Sand Hutton. The wagon stock of the line came from Deptford with a total of 75
vehicles. They were built in May 1915 by P&W Maclellan Ltd of Glasgow and had a simple four-wheel underframe, on which there was a wooden drop side body. There were three link drawhooks and large dumb buffers.

Claxton Brickworks

There was one brake van (or possibly two - the Ministry of Transport Railway Statistics of 1927 list two), built by Robert Hudson. They were 15 feet long and had a screw handbrake, siding doors on each side, and an end door onto a single open platform. The van escaped scrapping and was known to be in existence in the late 1960s, but its final fate is unclear.

There was one passenger coach, built in 1924 by Robert Hudson of Leeds. It was very large for so narrow a gauge, being 31'3" long. It seated 30 in two separate compartments, and there was a small private saloon for the Walker family, with moveable chairs. Electric lighting and vacuum brake gear was fitted. The roof was of elliptical section, but within months of arrival at Sand Hutton a small section of the roof above each opening was cut out, giving an extra 2 inches of headroom. When the line closed in 1932 the coach was

bought for use as a cricket pavilion at Harton. It was saved for preservation in 1967 and rebuilt for 2-foot gauge on the Lincolnshire Coast Light Railway. Alas, when that line was shut by the Council, the coach was stored outside for many years, and its condition deteriorated badly. The coach is now stored at the Lincolnshire Coast Light Railway's new base near Skegness, awaiting restoration.

Text reproduced from Wikipedia under creative commons licence. Tickets from Michael Stewart

See also The railway that wasn't there (web site) by Ron Evers. This includes old photographs and pictures of the line as it is now.

1924 1" OS map

Sand Hutton miniature railway which predated the Sand Hutton Light Railway. The loco is a Bassett-Lowke 15" gauge Class 30 "Synolda (named after Sir Robert's fiancee Miss Synolda Thursby-Pelham and now preserved at Ravenglass on the Ravenglass & Eskdale Light Railway).  This loco dates from 1912 and was bought new by Sir Robert Walker direct from Bassett-Lowke in Northampton.  It also shows Sir Robert Walker driving.  (This photo has been coloured at a later date as the original is in black and white and is exactly the same with the three ladies in the same position, but the loco is in plain (as delivered) workshop priming grey and without name. Also on the original there are 3 un-ballasted tracks.  The original print was coloured to make a presentable and saleable post card.
Photo from Michael Stewart collection

Sir Robert Walker is seen standing beside the tree. Photo c. late 1920s-1930.
Photo from John Alsop collection

The coach, seen here had a central saloon, an observation platform and a buffet, tea being served by Miss Batty (the daughter of one of the drivers) and Sir Robert's
right-hand man. Photo c. late 1920s-1930.
Photo from John Alsop collection

Sand Hutton Central station.
Photo by H.G.W. Household

Another view of the passenger coach hauled by one of the Hunslet locos. Photo c. late 1920s-1930.
Photo from John Alsop collection

Sand Hutton Railway engine shed in 1927.
Photo from Roger Griffiths collection

One of the Hunslet locos. Photo c. late 1920s-1930.
Photo from John Alsop collection





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