These two magic lantern slides of miniature railways, from my collection, are interesting and rare. Miniature railways have a smaller gauge (the distance between the rails) than narrow gauge railways and, today, are usually found in private gardens or steam modelling / engineering clubs.
The photo above is of ‘Katie’ and probably dates from 1896. Katie was the first locomotive on the Eaton Hall Railway in Cheshire. You might think that a railway such as this would have been a rich-man’s toy or a novelty attraction for wealthy house guests at country house parties. Far from it. This railway was three miles long and joined a main railway line. It was a goods line, supplying the Hall with its provisions, although it was occasionally used by passengers. Katie had a long life and moved from Eaton Hall to the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway in Cumbria, then the Llewellyn Miniature Railway in Southport and finally, the Fairbourne Railway in Wales, where she was eventually scrapped.
The second slide is of ‘Sans Pareil’ a magnificent, very powerful, steam locomotive made by Bassett Lowke, the famous model railway manufacturer. ‘NGR’ on the tender stands for Narrow Gauge Railways Ltd, a business set up by Lowke to demonstrate, promote and run miniature railways. This photograph was taken on the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway in the early 1900s. It was a tourist railway at the time and still is ….. and well worth a visit!
I don’t know what happened to Sans Pareil but, as far as I can tell, it no longer exists.
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