Beer Heights Light Railway (Updated 28th April 2019)
The Beer Heights Light Railway is a Narrow Gauge Steam Railway located at the small fishing village of Beer (near Seaton) first opened in 1975. The railway exists as part of the Pecorama exhibition centre and operates 1 mile of 7¼ inch (184 mm) track. The hillside location offers stunning views of the Devon coastline and has plenty to keep children, and adults entertained for hours. The route starts off through the formal gardens, includes many bridges, extensive sidings and a lengthy tunnel. Following this, the train seems to go out into the countryside and passes the new Deepwater station. Here passengers may choose to alight to enjoy the tranquility of Lake Charlotte, the beautiful wildlife pond in Wildway Park, where there is also a nature walk and fitness trail. The train then passes a branch line which zig-zags down very steep gradients to the Beer Mine. As well as the Peco Model Railway Centre and Railway, there's pleny of childrens activities (indoors and outdoors), and a wonderful selection of garden terraces to explore throughout. The narrow gauge line is popular with visitors and normally runs a two train service, although on special gala days more steam and diesel locomotives are often in service.
Designed and completed in 1997 by John Macdougall, Chief Engineer on the Beer Heights Light Railway. A 2-4-2 tank and tender engine with 3¼ inch by 4½ inch cylinders, 10 inch driving wheel, Walschaerts valve gear and 12 inch diameter boiler which employs the gas producer combustion system. This loco is named after the late Mr S C Pritchard, founder of the PECO group of companies as well as the BHLR. He was affectionately known to his staff as “Mr P”. The engine has become the mainstay of the fleet and operates over 1000 miles each year. It is finished in Midland Railway livery.
Completed in August 2005 and named during the railway’s 30th anniversary celebration weekend by T.V. celebrity and rail enthusiast Pete Waterman, Claudine is a unique 2-4-4 single Fairlie tank locomotive. B.H.L.R. Chief Engineer John Macdougall designed and built the loco which has an articulated power bogie and rear truck making her eminently suited to the line’s sharp curves and steep gradients. The boiler, motion and cylinders are all the same as those on “Mr P” except, in this case, piston valves have been employed on the slightly inclined cylinders. Claudine is named after the late Sydney Pritchard’s wife who was a co-founder of the Peco group of companies in 1946, and is finished in L.B.S.C. “improved engine green”; livery (yellow ochre).
Delivered in 1976 and built by David Curwen of Devizes, Wiltshire. An 0-4-2 tender engine, the design is based loosely on the famous Douglas locomotive which operates on the Talyllyn 2ft 3in gauge railway in North Wales. The loco has 9 inch driving wheels with two outside cylinders, a bore of 3½ inches and a stroke of 4 inches, with Walschaerts valve gear. The boiler has a diameter of 10¾ inches and it works at a steam pressure of 100lb per square inch. “Dickie” was named by the comedian Richard Murdoch and having been re-boilered in 1992, has seen continuous service for the past 30 years.