Wells Harbour Railway – History

The Wells Harbour Railway started with the building of Edmund Hannay, an 0-4-2 coal fired steam engine, by David King, an engineer from Norfolk in 1972. Eddie was origionally used for going round steam fairs on the back of a lorry, which accounts for the small size. In 1976 Eddies owner set up the Wells Harbour Railway.

A second engine, Weasel, a 4 wheel drive petrol engine was made by David King in 1980. The railway was then sold on, and the original owner set up the Wells & Walsingham Light Railway at the other side of the town (this railway originally used Eddie’s “Sister” engine “Pilgrim”).

The railway was then sold on, and in 1989/1990 and was purchased by Mike and Betty Want. When the railway was taken over it was in a very poor state, with poor track and rolling stock. Up until the end of 1997 the railway was still running on it’s original rolling stock (although new bogies had been fitted) of two open and two roofed carriages. Over the Winter of 1997/1998 brand new rolling stock was built by ALAN KEEF LTD of Ross On Wye. The new stock consisted of four roofed carriages, with an extended guards section on the end of the final carriage. The new carriages were wider, longer and of all metal constrution (the old carriages had been metal chassis with wooden bodywork).

During the beginning of the 1998 season it became obvious that Weasel was struggling to pull the extra weight of the new carriages, and it was decided a new engine should be built. The new engine “Densil” was built by ALAN KEEF LTD in a very short space of time, and was delivered just in time for the summer season of 1998. The new engine was an 0-6-0 steam outline diesel engine, fitted with a Perkins diesel engine and Linde hydraulic drive.

Mike and Betty Want decided to retire after the 2000 season, and the railway was taken over by Gary and Alison Brecknell. Gary and Alison are continuing with the improvements of the railway, with considerable work having taken place on the track and Pinewoods Station over the past winters.

Over the winter of 2004/05 it was decided that a new engine would be built for the railway, to take the strain off Densil, who was covering an estimated 6000 miles per season! Howard was also built by Alan Keef Ltd. and was delivered at the end of July 2005.