The Friends of the
National Railway Museum

South of England Group
Vice Presidents: Richard Hardy; Sir William McAlpine Bt, FRSE, FCIT, FRSA

Last Update

    7 April 2011

Amberley Industrial Museum
  12 July 2008

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The station at Amberley appears to be a typical small rural station on the line to Arundel. But on weekends it sees an influx of rail enthusiasts, including a party from the South of England Group. As the 9.32 from Victoria pulled out, the party was complete and under the watchful eye of Les Butler were escorted through the turnstile.

Then followed the difficult question, what to do first? Beckoning where the narrow gauge train, a vintage bus and (of special interest to those off the refreshment less train) the restaurant.

Over a cup of coffee it was possible to study the map and plan the activities for the day. The train (or the parallel vintage bus service) connects the major sites of this museum, but the walk is short and there are many exhibits to be seen on the way.

After lunch a parade of visiting locomotives took place. The 2 foot gauge was once used extensively in many quarries and sand pits for moving the material to the transfer sidings and the main line trains.

Although steam was represented internal combustion ruled the day, mainly variations on the Simplex theme. Each locomotive gave a demonstration of its capabilities before all were coupled to produce narrow gauge "super-power".

To some of the visitors, the museum's electrical power display took us back to our childhood (or even to our early days in employment). There were all the familiar labour saving devices as electric power became more extensive about the house. For the school-boys in us there were handles to turn such as a Wimshurst machine to produce spectacular sparks through static electricity.

Easily missed was a collection of buildings by the museum entrance.

Robey Stationary Steam Engines

Here were examples of stationary engines, but also a well equipped machine shop and an exhibition of printing machinery and its products.

All to soon, it was time to leave as closing time approached and the rail travellers were back at the station waiting for the Southern train back to Victoria. At Horsham our Bognor Regis portion was joined by the Portsmouth portion. Suddenly our "This is coach 2" announcement became "This is coach 6". (On the down journey, the announcement at Horsham had been "If you are going to Portsmouth and can hear this announcement you should quickly transfer to the other portion of the train".)