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roger
Aug 11, 2017

Meadow End Light Railway

5 comments

 

Did you know that Brockenhurst had its own narrow gauge steam railway?

 

Created by Dudley Alexander the 10 1/4" gauge Meadow End Railway operated between 1954 and 1966 in the large grounds of his private home (Meadow End) in Brockenhurst. It opened to the public on occasional Sundays with all proceeds going to charity, The International League for the Protection of Horses.

 

If you have any additional insight, information or photographs about this railway please share with Roger via the DesignHub on Brookley Road.

 

 

 

da.p
Oct 19, 2017

Hi Roger

 

I was recently reading an article about light railways and it made me think back to the time in my childhood when I used to help out with a miniature train at Meadow End in Brockenhurst. I googled it and came across your site and a few others about Dudley Alexander who used to own the train. 

 

It was in about the mid sixties and I was one of about 6 local lads who used to help out on the days when he opened the railway once a month in the summer to raise money for horse charities. There was a platform and ticket office etc., as you will see in some of the photos available online. We would sell the tickets etc., and had great fun doing this and other things on these and other days. He used to keep two or three retired horses in the fields and I remember his favourite was a chestnut mare called Honey which is in one of the online photos, and he is there as well. You would rarely seem him without that deer stalker type hat. 

 

Mr Alexander was in his mid eighties when I was there and he was very kind, likeable, slightly eccentric man who I guess was trying to encourage our interest in engineering but didn't quite work with me.  At that time Meadow End had extensive grounds including two adjoining fields, but it was in the gardens that he had laid a 10” gauge railway track of some 400 metres long, over which he ran a model train called Bubbles (named after a favourite pony I believe). This was quite a large engine capable of pulling several carriages.

 

I would guess that Mr Alexander had been some considerable engineer in his time. There were many outhouses full of engines and lathes on which he would make any replacement parts for Bubbles. We had a hut in the grounds that was a bit like a club house to us where we would make various things when not larking about. The running of the engine was done by two  brothers (Mark and Paul) from Lyndhurst, probably in their twenties at the time, although we used to get the chance to drive the train for one circuit on open days. 

As you know the house is still there but new housing was built on the grounds and fields some years ago. However I remember the last time I went past a few years ago that you could still see the outline of trees that followed the route of the old track, but now forming someone’s back garden.  

Kind regards

David

roger
Oct 20, 2017

Thank you to David for sharing the detailed local insight into his childhood experiences with the Meadow End Light Railway. To ad to the story, we've recently acquired the attached new picture, clearly taken at the same time as the general station area photograph above. Dudley Alexander can be seen wearing his deer stalker type hat mentioned by David. I wonder whether a youthful

David is in the picture also?

 

da.p
Oct 24, 2017

Thanks Roger

 

Fortunately I am nowhere to be seen although the boy standing near the end of the train might be one of us. 

 

I remember putting those flags out, but what you cant see is at the end of the station to the right, for added amusement, was a floor mounted anti aircraft gun - even in those days there was a price to pay for ticketless travel. That gun might be a clue to Mr Alexander’s possible connection with role in the war. We were told that Bubbles the engine was used during the war to practice simulated attacks on enemy railways. But not sure if that was before he owned her.

 

David

lym.flyer
May 24, 2018

The locomotive 'Bubbles' shown above at the Meadow End Light Railway, still survives and has been returned to its original name 'The Monarch' and is at the Eastleigh Lakeside Railway.

 

http://www.steamtrain.co.uk/locomotives

roger
Jun 22, 2018

Newly discovered original images of the Meadow End Light Railway, taken 29.09.1959

 

Do you recognise yourself or can you help identify anyone in the new pictures?

 

 

This image is titled 'Des Cull driving'. Dudley Alexander can be seen to the right wearing shorts and his favourite deer stalker type hat. Note the Steam Roller to the rear of the station building.

 

We believe the loco driver in all these pictures is Mark Abbott.

 

This image is very similar to the opening B&W photograph, but taken on a different day. Notice Mr Alexander's favourite Chestnut Mare 'Honey' collecting train fares and wearing an appropriate guards hat.

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