The International Steam Pages

Narrow Gauge Steam Loco Heaven, 2011

For convenience I have now grouped lifestyle illustrated features by topic:

This page is just one of several describing aspects of our '2011 new life', for earlier and later pages use the West Gloucestershire link above.

Just two miles (3km, 20 minutes on the bicycles) from Mitcheldean, the small engineering firm of Alan Keef ( have their workshops where they construct and repair all kinds of narrow gauge railway equipment. Once a year they hold an Open Day for the enthusiasts and there are always two or three locomotives in steam for the occasion with short rides available on their test track. It's very much a family occasion and, while the average age of the visitors probably exceeds 60, there are plenty of members of the younger generation of enthusiasts present too. Parts of the yard have multi-gauge track to test locomotives - 600/610mm, 750/760mm and 914mm (that's 2ft, 2ft 6in and 3ft in old fashioned units)

It's all in a good cause as the proceeds are split between the local church and a hospice. Only on occasions like this can a complete stranger come up to my wife and say "You must be Yuehong Dickinson". It was a well satisfied 'customer' from my 2001 Java tour which predates Yuehong and whom I hadn't seen since - that shows the power of the internet... This is the 2011 line up outside with the usual gallery of photographers waiting for the crowds to clear. The numbers are healthy without being overwhelming, probably several hundred over the day.

On view were the following steam locomotives, at least four more were in pieces inside the workshops. Jack is a cut down Andrew Barclay which saw service at the Provan Gasworks in Glasgow. Taffy is an Alan Keef built De Winton replica. Peter Pan is Graham Hall's Kerr Stuart. All these are 600mm gauge but the loco in grey undercoat is a metre gauge Krauss which has just had a replacement boiler fitted.

Inside my 'English lady' admires the model railway layout while I keep my hands out of my pockets with a fine array of literature available.

The demonstration line is only short but with its horseshoe curve, there's always somewhere with the light right:

Rob and Yuehong Dickinson