400mm Narrow Gauge Railway
The Narrow Gauge Railway at Top Forge was obtained as a complete ‘Train Set’ from York Water Works. The line has never had any locomotive, the wagons being hand pushed. In its original location most of the track seems to have been temporary, being lifted in and out of Filter Beds as required. At Wortley the line that can be seen in place is permanent, with other short lengths being laid and lifted as required.
The story goes that rails and at least some of the wagons came from trench railways built by the Germans during the First World War, although the wagon design is not specifically military. The wagons date from around 1890 to 1895
We have found out that the ‘V Skip’ wagons were originally built by Decauville, of Essonne, France. All four have since been given bearings and axle boxes from Hudsons of Leeds, but still retaining
The railway is occasionally used to move heavy items around the site and it is particularly useful in the Blacksmiths Shop where none of our rubber tyred vehicles can reach.
The current permanent 400mm track layout connects the edge of the Back Field with the Foundry building (where the stationary steam engines are displayed) and includes a plate turntable within the Blacksmiths Shop that turns the line through 90°. A set of points about half way along the line gives access to the Smithy, where the line stops at the door.