⛏ Turntable and trackwork progress ?>

⛏ Turntable and trackwork progress

Following our September 2023 Open Day we were able to purchase a wagon turntable and our volunteers have been working to install it along with associated trackworks.

The space between the points and the turntable site has some uneven ground so once the sleepers had been treated with creosote they were packed up with rocks from our stockpile to achieve a level. The rails were curved using a jim crow and then cut to length in order to meet up with the turntable.

With the aid of the Simplex locomotive, we made a number of trips to the stockpile to collect rocks and these were packed around the sleepers to provide support. The next job will be to lift the rotating section out of the turntable to remove debris and water, and to grease the bearings.

📅 Open Day — Sunday 24th September 2023 ?>

📅 Open Day — Sunday 24th September 2023

We will be opening the site at Lea Bailey for visitors between 10am and 4pm on Sunday 24th September.

Our resident Simplex 21282 will be operational on the day, with other locomotives and items of interest on static display.

We will be requesting a donation of £5 per person, towards our new appeal to raise funds for a wagon turntable which will form an integral part of the new line we are planning to construct on the mine tip. Along with the wagon traverser and new set of point this will allow us to demonstrate multiple techniques which were used to move and process wagon loads of materials in historic mining operations.

Our volunteers will be on-hand to answer queries, and to give information about the history of the site and our heritage activities.

📅 Open Day — Saturday 24th September 2022 ?>

📅 Open Day — Saturday 24th September 2022

To coincide with the 50th Anniversary Open Day at Alan Keef Ltd. we will be opening the site at Lea Bailey for visitors between 10am and 5pm on Saturday 24th September.

Our resident Simplex 21282 will be operational on the day, with other locomotives and items of interest on static display.

Our volunteers will be on-hand to answer queries, and to give information about the history of the site and our heritage activities.

⛏ New Project: Rail Loop F ?>

⛏ New Project: Rail Loop F

Whilst the rest of the country was in lockdown, members of the Lea Bailey Light Railway Society were working behind the scenes on ambitious plans to extract and process a rare mineral from the Bailey Level mine.

During a routine mine inspection, a rich deposit of Coprolite was discovered in a partially-collapsed side working just off the main level. After work to stabilise the collapse, a partnership was soon formed with a local manufacturer of garden fertiliser to process the Coprolite ore into a consumer product at a new site inside a disused quarry on Wigpool Common.

To avoid transporting the ore by road on the narrow lanes around Wigpool a scheme was devised to move the ore by rail, utilising a new narrow gauge railway laid on existing forestry tracks. The project will be known as Rail Loop F with the “F” representing Fertiliser and also the Forest under which it is mined.

Rail Loop F logo
Rail Loop F — Stercore lacerti, pro horte.

On 31st March 2021, approval was granted by the Mines And New Underground Railways Executive to begin construction. The ore will be drilled and blasted by trained Nonex operatives before being loaded into wagons using an Eimco 12B rocker shovel loader. The society would like to thank the Association of Rocker Shovel Experts for undertaking training and certification for this machine as well as providing servicing manuals.

An ore conveyor will move the coprolite up the steep incline to the forestry track above the mine entrance, where it will be loaded into wagons for the journey along Rail Loop F to the processing plant. The wagons will be hauled using the Continuous Rope And Pulley system, similar to the cable-hauled “creeper” utilised by the Arthur & Edward Colliery in Lydbrook many years ago.

Once the ore reaches the processing plant, it will be crushed to a fine powder by a set of Cornish Stamps along with dried organic silt from Wigpool Water Works. This Partially Oricaceous Organic Powder will then be mixed with a top-secret blend of natural fertilisers derived from plant and animal sources. These ingredients will be obtained from local farms to minimise the impact of road transport. The blend will then be stabilised using a proprietary formula to create Mineral Infused Liquid Fertiliser which is to be sold to consumers through a network of local distributors. The end product is designed to be diluted with water as a plant food supplement, suitable for both ornamental and food crops.


  • Professor Owen Lee and Dr. Joe King of the Sharlston Hill Institute of Technology for mineral analysis
  • Councillor April Fuller for her invaluable assistance with the statutory planning process
  • Mapping services by the Ordnance Survey with route overlay by Amos E. Wolfe
  • Label vector created by pch.vector – www.freepik.com
💉 COVID-19 Update ?>

💉 COVID-19 Update

During the lockdown, individual volunteers have been visiting the railway for regular site checks, and so far no problems have been found.

Travel restrictions are being eased in Wales from Monday 6th July, and as some of our core group of volunteers travel to us from over the border, the Chairman is considering re-starting volunteer working parties from Sunday 12 July 2020.

We are currently consulting Government guidelines and drawing up a risk assessment and a set of guidelines for the various tasks that can be carried out on the railway whilst maintaining appropriate social distancing.

📅 Autumn Open Day 2019 ?>

📅 Autumn Open Day 2019

Sunday 22nd September 2019

This year our Autumn Open Day will be a low-key affair as we only have one locomotive in operation and no working compressor to run the Eimco 12B and 24 rocker shovels and 401 air locomotive. Motor Rail “Simplex” 21282 will be available for demonstration trains and our volunteers will be on hand to give progress updates on our work at the mine.

Please aim to visit us between 11:00am and 3:00pm.

💰 Fundraising Appeal for Motor Rail 21282 ?>

💰 Fundraising Appeal for Motor Rail 21282

? Update (as of 4th July 2019): Money raised so far is  £690.00  with thanks to everyone who donated (including a very generous donation from a local business owner). Please keep donating if you are able to do so. Further funds will be used to purchase new traction batteries for the WR8 battery-electric locomotive

We have now had a quote from a supplier for parts required to get our Motor Rail diesel locomotive back into working order following the theft of several engine components during a break-in back in March 2019.

This leaves us with the sum of just over £500 to raise in order to get 21282 running again. The locomotive has been a valuable workhorse for many years, and had the honour of hauling the first train when the Lea Bailey Light Railway Society first started work on the site in 2012.

Volunteers are working hard and investing their own time and money to improve the security of our storage facilities to avoid any repeat visits from thieves and vandals.


Click the Donate button below and use your PayPal account or credit/debit card.

If more money is raised than is needed to purchase the replacement engine parts for 21282, we will put any additional funds towards a full service and repaint of the locomotive once it is running. We are also aiming to purchase a set of traction batteries for the Wingrove & Rogers WR8 battery-electric locomotive owned by the Society.

Disclaimer: Whilst the Lea Bailey Light Railway Society is a not-for-profit organisation, we are not a Registered Charity in the United Kingdom. Your donation will be used at the discretion of the Society’s officers to further the aims of our projects.

📝 Details of items stolen ?>

📝 Details of items stolen

Originally published on our Facebook Page on 7th April 2019

Following an inspection of our shed at Lea Bailey, here’s a list of all the items that were stolen during the recent break-in

  • Rockers, rocker covers and air filter from Deutz engine.
  • Battery & leads, coupling pins & chains, several D-shackles from Simplex locomotive.
  • Rockers, rocker covers, exhaust manifold, crankcase covers from Lister JK6 engine. Head bolts undone in an attempt to steal heads.
  • Large bench vice
  • Metal bucket containing a set of Hudson axle boxes
  • A pair of curved-spoke axles & wheels in 2′ gauge
  • Metal Tirfor winch with steel cable
  • Battery box lid and controller cover from blue 2′ gauge Wingrove & Rogers WR5 battery-electric locomotive
  • Battery box lid from white 18″ gauge Wingrove & Rogers WR5 battery-electric locomotive
  • Plastic tub containing several large bolts
  • 14 black steel fencing pins
  • A total of 7 commercial-grade 12volt lead-acid batteries (including the one stolen from the Simplex)
  • Also the radiator of the Hydrovane compressor was deliberately punctured with a sharp object to render it inoperable.


If you know any information about these items or who took them please e-mail us web@lblr.fod.uk or report anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 Crime Reference Number is CR/008853/19

👮‍ Theft of Engine Parts ?>

👮‍ Theft of Engine Parts

Originally published on our Facebook Page on 26th March 2019

Volunteers at a heritage mine railway on the Gloucestershire-Herefordshire border have been left without motive power after thieves broke in and stole parts from two diesel engines.

Lea Bailey Light Railway Society operates the mine and associated railway system at Bailey Level in the Forest of Dean which is also home to several small independent iron and coal mines known as Freemines, operated under an ancient right granted by King Edward I.

A Lister JK6 coupled to a generator set which was stored awaiting restoration has been stripped of several parts but the real blow was the removal of the rocker covers and rockers from the 3-cylinder Deutz engine fitted to Motor Rail locomotive № 21282.

This 58-year old locomotive is known affectionately as “The Simplex” — a nickname derived from its patented two-speed gearbox design — and has been an indispensible workhorse since it arrived at Lea Bailey in 2012.

Wagons containing minerals and waste materials are moved by hand on the underground section of the railway, but a powerful locomotive is needed to shunt heavy loads including the two-ton Eimco 12B rocker shovel loader which is a popular exhibit at the Society’s open days.

Volunteers now have a race against time to source replacement parts to get № 21282 back into working order for the next Open Weekend on 18th & 19th May. Other items that have been taken include the starter battery & leads, coupling pins & chains, air filter, and a number of D-shackles.

Anyone with information is asked to contact web@lblr.fod.uk or report to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.