alderney railway society
The Alderney Society was established in February 1978 and over the first two years established the rites to run and insurance cover for passenger operation.
Two Wickham cars were purchased in August 1978 from Market Bosworth Light Railway and a third from British Rail (Plymouth Depot) and this allowed the first passenger run of 3 Wickham cars on March 5th 1980.
The society developed over the next few years and a steam locomotive was purchased from Foxfield Railway Society in Staffordshire. T.J Daly, a 0-4-0 saddle-tank loco built in 1931 was shipped to Guernsey and onto Alderney and being rebuilt, was first in steam on April 19th 1982. To allow passenger service two 4-wheeled open wagons were purchased from Chatham Dockyard and fitted out with Riduna Bus seats and an aluminium framework cloth cover for passengers.
Regular passenger runs in the Wickham’s were interspersed with Steam runs. To maintain the service more Wickham’s (3 more) were purchased.
As a backup to the current operation in 1985 the purchase of Elizabeth, a diesel locomotive was shipped to Alderney in parts for re-assembly at the glacis. Elizabeth’ was built in 1949 by Vulcan, Newton Le Willows, Lancashire, a railway locomotive manufacturer and used as the works shunter. The locomotive is a 0-4-0 diesel, powered by a six-cylinder Gardner 6L3 diesel engine, an 18 Litre power unit producing 153 BHP at 1,200 rpm and is a Drewry design, with a four-speed gear box.
With the need to run a more commercial service a pair of London transport underground coaches were purchased from the North Downs Railway Society, transported by the Royal Corps of Transport on Tank landing craft. The carriages were 1938 tube stock originally serving the Bakerloo and Northern lines and were connected to Elizabeth’s air compressor to allow a braking system to operate on each tube car as well as the brakes on Elizabeth.
In 1996 the steam locomotive was proving difficult to service and repair on Island and was sold whilst mid boiler service to the Pallot Museum in Jersey, so the Wickham cars were still in operation.
In 1997 permission had been obtained from the States of Alderney to build a Loco shed at Mannez Quarry and the initial shelter was used for Elizabeth, Molly2 and the Wickham’s, the tube cars were stored outside.
By 2000 it was thought the old Underground carriages were suffering from the ravages of Alderney weather and replacement by two Aluminium body 1959 Tube cars, originally used on the Northern and Jubilee lines, arrived in Alderney curtesy of the Royal Logistics Corp. The old steel bodied tube cars were returned to the UK for use as spares.
In 2008 a larger second shed was built, alongside the original, to house the tube cars which enabled maintenance to be carried out under cover, it was extended slightly in 2010 to enable the loco and tube cars to be housed without the need to de-couple.