Lynton & Barnstaple Railway History
This iconic narrow gauge railway (1ft 115/8in) was opned in May 1898 and ran between Barnstaple and Lyton in North Devon, a distance of about 20 miles. The Southern Railway bought the line in 1923 and a programme of improvements took place which included trackwork, a new locomotive and rolling stock.
Despite these investments the potential for increasing income was not large and eventually the line closed on the 29th of September 1935. The day after the last train had run the stationmaster at Barnstaple Town placed a wreath on the buffer stop with the inscription, 'Perchace it is not dead, but sleepth'
The L&B was and is not dead - only sleeping. Back in 1979 a keen band of volunteers got together and undertook to restore this lost railway. Since those early days, great progess has been made and today (2018) you can baord a train at Woody Bay Station and travel to Killington Lane and back on a two mile round trip behind a narrow gaue steam locomotive - the Lyton and Barnstaple Railway is once more carrying passengers on a section of old trackbed.
The railway's original three locomotives (2-6-2T) were built by Manning Wardle & Company of Leeds in 1897 and were named after local rivers; YEO, EXE and TAW. Some modifactions were completed duringthe lives of the lcos including alterations to the cabs. A fourth lcoo joined the fleet in May 1898 which had been ordered throigh the Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia, USA. She was a 2-4-2T and was to be named LYN. The loco fleet was completed in July 1925 when the Southern purchased a further Manning Wardle lco which was to become LEW. In a further development of the loco fleet the Ffstiniog Railway Constructed a 'new-build' replica Manning Wardle almost identical to he orginal 'LEW'. This new-build was maned 'LYD' and carrying the number 190 was the steamed in August 2010. Although owned by the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways 'LYD' appears on the L&B for occasional gal duties truly recreating the L&B of its glory days.