No. 24 - p50-51

© APRIL 1969



    It was not until several weeks after I took up residence at Berkhamsted, Herts, in March 1939 that I became aware of the existence of a small but interesting narrow gauge system, only a few hundred yards from, and almost within sight of, my house.

    The North Western main line here runs on an embankment. The local gasworks was situated on the west side of the line about ¾ mile north of the station, but the goods-yard (now abandoned and converted to a car park) was on the east side, and had an extension siding for gasworks coal traffic. This terminated at a kind of small staithe where coal was trans-shipped into small narrow gauge wagons for conveyance to the gasworks which was about ½ mile away on the other side of the line. From the coal stage the line immediately dived through a small tunnel in the main line embankment, from whence it emerged to run parallel through to the gasworks. The gauge was 18½in and the trains were worked by a horse; there were never any locomotives.

    Gas production at the works ceased in 1955, but the gas holder itself is still in use for storage. The coal wharf has disappeared, and is now the bottom of a private garden; the tunnel is disused as it does not provide any access, the adjoining field, as it was, being entirely built over with new houses. The rails through the tunnel and along to the gasworks are however still there, although very much grown over.

    The two photographs were taken on 9th April 1955. They show (upper) the run-round loop at the coaling stage and (lower) a train heading for the gasworks with the driver riding on the first wagon.