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

Great Cockcrow Railway
  28 June 1998

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The Summer Outing took place on Sunday 28th June to the Great Cockcrow Railway near Chertsey.

The railway, which is owned by the publisher Ian Allan, is an extensive 7¼ inch gauge line.  There is a large collection of locomotives, owned by members of the railway's support group. 

One engine, a model of a WD 2-10-0, is on loan from the NRM.

Perhaps the main claim to fame of the railway is its fully proto-typical signalling using a mixture of miniature semaphore and coloured light signals. 

These are controlled from 3 separate boxes, each sunk partly into the ground so they appear more in scale with the railway when viewed outside.  Two of these have fully interlocked electrical lever frames recovered from Crewe South and South Croydon;  the third is a manual frame from Purfleet.  Original bell instruments have been supplemented by a Westinghouse computer-based train describer.

Our group of 22 members and friends were taken on a special guided tour of the locomotive works and sheds, and a look behind the scenes in all three signal boxes and the associated relay locking rooms.

Our tour culminated in a special 7 coach, double-headed train around the full line.  Our trip took some 45 minutes, such is the extent of the railway and, despite the maximum grade of 1 in 50, made good speed.  For once this summer, the rain held off, so we enjoyed the trip in comfort.