Cookham Light Railway - Roy Bernard
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Brief History of the Cookham Light Railway
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Saturday 1st April 2017

Saturday 29th April 2017

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My first railway at Cookham was built in the summer of 1988 consisting of two Mamod locos and Mamod track; this lasted for just one year. The second railway using the same Mamod locos and tracks lasted again for just one year.

1994 saw the beginning of a permanent railway using Peco track again situated at the bottom of the garden and the arrival a Salem battery diesel and later a Salem osculating steam loco. The steam loco was soon retuned in exchange for a second Diesel. Trucks, coaches were added including buildings and a Salem Railcar.

June 1996 saw the first real steamer arrived a Roundhouse Lady Ann named Lady Margaret.  

1998 saw the arrival of the second Roundhouse engine and the increase in the size of the railway but still contained at the end of the garden. Another extension was added to the railway which extended the railway completely across the whole of the bottom of the garden. The railway now settled down with regular Steam Days with members of the Association of 16mm Narrow Gauge Modellers from Maidenhead, Wooburn Green, Bracknell, Reading and David Pinniger (just down the road in Cookham.)

2000 The biggest change for me and the railway was the death of Margaret, a very big gap in my life. Over the last few years a number of new steam locos, railcars and further diesel units were purchased with many buildings added.  As perhaps would be expected there was then a slow down By early 2001, now retired for the first time and with good weather it was decided to extend the railway all round the large garden with an extension through a utility room into the garage where four large sidings were built and large made up trains could be stored.

The railway now boasted seven stations and numerous routes around the garden. Yet more steam engines were added to stock including an Accucraft Superior, Cheddar Hercules, Archangel Russell and much more rolling stock. Regular weekly Steam Days continued throughout the summer months.

It was decided in 2006 that the house and garden were just taking too much time to maintain and would be put on the market and the railway was closed in sections over the next two years.

A move was made in 2009 to a smaller property with a smaller garden but large enough for a railway of reasonable size. The railway would be built at waist height and what a great decision this would prove.

The Cookham theme would continue as with the larger railway but with a “what-if” the railway between Maidenhead, Wycombe and Marlow had been built to narrow gauge rather the standard gauge as in reality.

The Grand Opening of the railway took place on 22 August 2010 but trial runs began in January in thick snow and the coldest winter for many years. May had already seen phase two, an extension into the garage again to allow the storage of loco’s and trains allowing direct access to the main railway.  

Later Phase Three, the final leg of the railway with an extension at the side of the home to “Marlow” a terminal station with two platform faces and a number of sidings and later a thriving summer market. More buildings were made and are still being added to give more interest to the railway with between 100 and 200 little people waiting for trains or carrying out various tasks around the railway.

Steam Days continue throughout of the year with the more hardy friends appearing during the cold weather and during the next year it is the aim of the railway management to encourage new faces to run at Warfield.  

Steam Days on the Cookham Light Railway at Warfield.

Monthly Steam Days are held though the year normally on Saturdays - additional days, afternoons and evenings can be arranged. The railway is 32mm Narrow Gauge line with continuous running or terminal working.

Dates are only agreed between members normally a month in advance and information is available by clicking the email link above.

It is advised to carry a mobile phone for directions once arriving at the park as all roads are private and unnamed. On road parking is prohibited but some additional overflow parking is now available. Domino Pizza lunch is normally available at a small cost.          

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