Rudyard Lake Steam Railway

The Rudyard Lake Steam Railway is a ridable miniature railway and the third railway of any gauge to run along the side of Rudyard Lake in Staffordshire. The railway runs for 1 12 miles (2.4 km) on the track bed of an old standard gauge North Staffordshire Railway line. After the NSR line closed down, a small narrow gauge train ran on the site for two years before moving via Suffolk to Trago Mills in Devon. The current line started in 1985 and is 10 14 in (260 mm) gauge, and operates to a timetable. It was built by John Eastman of Congleton working on his own over a period of ten years. He sold the railway to Rudyard Lake Steam Railway Ltd in October 2000 who have developed it since that date.

Excalibur at Rudyard Lake Steam Railway

Trains are about half the size a normal narrow gauge railway and are steam hauled. The railway runs from Rudyard railway station to the dam, then along the side of the lake to terminate by the lakeside at Hunthouse Wood. This is about a mile south of the site of the old Cliffe Park railway station.

The railway was purchased by the Leek and Rudyard Railway on 18 December 2015. This company owns the assets of the former Mull Railway and has plans to combine the two railways at Rudyard.[citation needed]

Trains run at weekends and bank holidays from March to November, with more regular services from Easter to October and daily during school holidays. The railway is a member of Britains Great Little Railways and was a member of the Heritage Railway Association.


Rudyard Lake Steam Railway
Distances are approx.
1800 m
end of line
1750 m
Hunthouse Wood Station
crossing point
500 m
Dam Station
107 m
LC 50 m
0 m
Rudyard Station
to sheds



It has five steam locomotives, mostly named by the former owner's wife after the legends of King Arthur:

No. Name Wheel arrangement Builder Date built Notes
6 Excalibur 2-4-2T Exmoor Steam Railway 1993 Previously named River Churnet prior to rebuild in 2003, when regauged from 12 1/4 inch gauge
7 Merlin 2-4-2T Exmoor Steam Railway 1998 Overhauled 2020
8 King Arthur 0-6-2T Exmoor Steam Railway 2005 Overhauled 2019
196 Waverley 4-4-2 David Curwen 1948 On permanent loan from a group linked to the Isle of Mull Railway
- Victoria 2-6-2T Mouse Boiler Works 1993 Based on scaled-down Victorian Railways NA class.Victoria is owned by the Leek & Rudyard Railway Ltd who also owns all the closed Isle of Mull railway along with diesel loco's Frances and Glen Audlyn. Victoria ran regularly at Rudyard until Autumn 2015. She was removed for overhaul in Sheffield on 22 December 2015 and returned to service in December 2018 following 3 years work.
Merlin runs along the side of Rudyard Lake

There is also :

  • A 4wPM loco No. 2 Modred (also known by the volunteers, as the Ferret)
  • A 4W+4W bogie diesel loco. No. 5 Rudyard Lady
  • A 4W+4W bogie diesel loco. Glen Auldyn, from the closed Isle of Mull Railway
  • A 4W+4W bogie diesel loco Frances, from the closed Isle of Mull Railway

These are normally only used for maintenance although they are often used for occasional mid-week services.

Visiting steam locomotives often attend the annual steam gala held each year over a weekend in late September. The 2011 guest locomotive was Victoria from the closed Isle of Mull railway which remains at Rudyard and is used on many normal services. Pendragon, as shown in the top right of this section, left the railway in 2019 as it is privately owned.[1]

A fleet of 13 carriages and a wide variety of goods wagons are also used. A further enclosed brake carriage was constructed in 2011 and brought into service in August and another 12 seat enclosed coach added in December 2012. The carriages from the closed Isle of Mull Railway are also slowly being brought back into service after restoration.


"Merlin" coupling up at Rudyard station in 2013

Rudyard Station comprises Platform 1 with a shelter where the trains depart. A footbridge links this to Platform 2 where the cafe, a large covered picnic area, signal box and toilets are located. Platform 2 is, in fact, the original standard gauge platform built by the North Staffordshire Railway. The original flower beds and retaining walls are clearly visible. At a higher level than platform 1 is a good vantage point. To the South end of the station are the engine shed, water tower, coal bunker, storage shed and workshop.

The railway offers learn to drive a steam train courses, of either a half or full day for individuals or groups. Children's parties are hosted and the Platform 2 Cafe provides hot and cold refreshments all year around whenever the railway is running.


  • Hanton. Peter The Heywood Society Journal No. 34 Spring 1994
  • Williams John K. The Heywood Society Journal No. 52 Spring 2003
  • Hanson Michael The Heywood Society Journal No. 56 Spring 2005

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 53°08′05″N 2°04′56″W / 53.1348°N 2.0821°W / 53.1348; -2.0821