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PNP Railways Engine Shed

Preserving history through passion and precision! Step into the world of the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway and follow the captivating journey of 'Building a Replica of 'Lew' Manning Wardle 2-6-2T locomotive in 7¼” Gauge.

Preserving History: The Story of Building a Replica of 'Lew' Manning Wardle 2-6-2T Locomotive in 7¼" Gauge

Conception and Design

Back in 1996, Paul Norman founder of PNP Railways had a vision—a vision to recreate the magic of the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway by building my own replica of Lew. I wanted to capture the essence of this iconic locomotive on 7¼" gauge. Drawing inspiration from the Les Warnet 3½" gauge design published in "Engineering in Miniature" magazine, I scaled up the intricate details, ensuring the replica would reflect the grace and elegance of Lew. 

The Integration of Modern Technologies

To achieve the level of precision and authenticity I envisioned; I knew I needed to embrace modern technologies. I immersed myself in the world of computer-aided design (CAD), utilizing advanced software to meticulously plan and create the intricate components of the replica. CNC machining and laser cutting became invaluable allies, allowing me to achieve unparalleled accuracy and attention to detail. 

Collaborations and Commercial Contributions

Building a replica of Lew was no small feat, and I knew I couldn't do it alone. I sought the expertise of professionals and collaborated with esteemed companies in the railway industry. "Bell Boilers" in Gloucestershire produced the boiler, ensuring both safety and compliance with industry standards. "Reeves 2000" supplied the essential castings necessary for the construction process. Together with skilled craftsmen like John Worgan, Graham White, and Bob Morgan, we embarked on this ambitious endeavor. 

Preserving Heritage for Future Generations.
For me, this project is more than just building a replica. It is about preserving the heritage and magic of the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway for future generations to enjoy. The replica of Lew serves as a living piece of history, igniting the same sense of wonder and awe that the original locomotive evoked. It is a reminder of the bygone era and a testament to the enduring allure of steam locomotives. 

Just as the full-size engine, my model Lew boasts the Southern Railway lined Maunsell Green livery, adorned with the letter E and the number 188. As an enthusiast, I'm delighted to share the recent refurbishment of the model, its forthcoming adventures, and an intriguing connection with another remarkable locomotive, Sir Percivale.

Model Specifications and Refurbishment: 
Weighing in at approximately a tonne, the model Lew recently underwent a complete refurbishment led by Simon Mulford at "Hendred Locomotive Works." To enhance performance, the iron wheels were replaced with steel, ensuring a smooth and reliable operation. Now, the model Lew is poised to embark on new adventures at Cutteslowe Park near Oxford, cared for by The Oxford Society of Model Engineers. 

Lew and the Fascinating Connection with Sir Percivale 

'Lew' in the workshop
'Lew' in the workshop
'Lew' in the workshop
'Lew' in the workshop

It is fascinating to note that Lew E188 and Sir Percivale E772—another model in the PNP collection—share more than just the Southern Railway lined Maunsell Green livery. Both locomotives were serviced by the Eastleigh works during the same era. This intriguing connection ignites the imagination, as we ponder the possibility that these full-size engines may have once shared a platform at Barnstaple. Envisioning passengers disembarking from Sir Percivale to join a journey behind Lew up the branch line toward Lynton or Lynmouth adds a touch of nostalgia to the narrative. 

Lynton & Barnstaple Railway

Connecting Scenic Beauty and Prosperity: The Lynton & Barnstaple Railway 

The Lynton & Barnstaple Railway opened as an independent railway in May 1898. It was a single-track narrow-gauge railway of just over 19 miles. It served as a means of transportation and connection between the towns of Lynton and Barnstaple in North Devon, England. The railway aimed to facilitate the movement of both passengers and goods in the region, providing a vital link for local communities and fostering economic development. 

The primary purpose of the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway was to cater to the growing tourism industry in the area. The railway traversed through the picturesque landscapes of Exmoor National Park, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. It became a popular attraction for tourists who sought to experience the charm and beauty of the region. 

Overall, the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway served as a lifeline for the region, catering to the needs of both locals and tourists. It played a vital role in promoting economic growth, supporting industries, and offering a unique travel experience through the stunning landscapes of North Devon. 

In 1922 the L&B was taken over by the Southern Railway and eventually closed in September 1935. 

Exploring the Locomotive Legends of the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway

As was customary, the engine on the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway were named after the three-letter rivers local to Devon, honouring the region's natural beauty and adding a touch of local charm to the locomotive's identity. 

Manning Wardle of Leeds constructed the three original locomotives, YEO, EXE, and TAW, as 2-6-2 tank engines for the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway. LYN, a 2-4-2 tank locomotive built by Baldwins of Philadelphia, USA, joined the fleet later on. LEW, the fourth locomotive, was another creation by Manning Wardle, purchased by the SR in 1925.

Unveiling the Post-Closure Fate: What Happened to the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway Engines in 1935 

When the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway closed in 1935, the fate of the engines varied. Unfortunately, due to financial difficulties and declining passenger numbers, the railway was forced to cease operations, and the future of its locomotives hung in uncertainty. Here's an overview of what happened to some of the engines: 

Lyn, the pioneering locomotive of the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway, faced a rather unfortunate fate. After the closure of the railway, Lyn was sold for scrap in 1936 and dismantled, marking the end of its active service. 

Lew, the iconic locomotive that became synonymous with the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway, had a different destiny. Unlike Lyn, Lew was not scrapped.  

The turning point in Lew's narrative arrived in September 1936 when it embarked on a journey aboard the SS Sabor. Bound for an undisclosed plantation in Brazil, Lew's ultimate fate remains an enigma. Unfortunately, no current information exists regarding its whereabouts or the specific role it played in its new South American setting. The silence surrounding Lew's final chapter adds an air of mystery and intrigue to its story, leaving railway enthusiasts and historians longing for answers. 

If you are interested in further reading visit - Lew Moves to Brazil by David Tooke 

Other Engines: Some of the other locomotives from the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway, including Yeo Exe & Taw, faced a similar fate as Lyn. They were sold for scrap, and unfortunately, their individual stories and ultimate destinations are less well-documented. 

It is worth noting that the closure of the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway marked the end of its original operations, and the dispersal of the locomotives reflected the unfortunate reality of that time. However, the legacy of these engines did not fade entirely. In later years, dedicated enthusiasts and preservation societies would work tirelessly to revive and preserve the spirit of the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway, including the construction of replica locomotives and the restoration of original rolling stock, allowing the story of these engines to continue in a different context. 

From Dormancy to Resurrection: The Remarkable Revival of the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway

The revival of the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway began in the 1990s. After its closure in 1935, the railway lay dormant for several decades. However, the rich history and charm of the line ignited a passionate desire among railway enthusiasts and preservation societies to bring it back to life. With dedicated efforts and support from volunteers, the dream of resurrecting the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway started to take shape. 

The Lynton & Barnstaple Railway Trust was established in 1979 with the goal of preserving and eventually reopening the railway. Extensive planning, fundraising, and restoration work followed over the next few decades. Track bed clearance, bridge reconstruction, and acquiring rolling stock were key steps in the process. 

The official reopening of the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway took place in 2004, marking a significant milestone in the line's history. Since then, the railway has been operating as a heritage railway, offering visitors a chance to experience the nostalgic charm of steam travel and enjoy the picturesque landscapes of North Devon once again. 

The revival of the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway stands as a testament to the dedication and passion of those who worked tirelessly to resurrect this beloved railway, ensuring its legacy continues for future generations to enjoy. 

For further information or to plan a visit The Lynton & Barnstaple Railway webiste

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