The Miniature Railway on the Hall Leys
|Matlock : Twentieth Century Photographs, Postcards,
Engravings & Etchings
Miniature trains have been an attraction in the park since 1st May
1948, when the first 9½ gauge locomotive was first used
to pull the sit-astride coaches to carry passengers on a track
built by Bernard and Cyril Swain.
The following year a second track was introduced into the Derwent
Gardens in Matlock Bath.
A photograph in Julie Bunting's book on Matlock and Matlock Bath shows
the train on the Hall Leys, with the same driver in the
image above, dating from 1961. The engine is very similar to the
one at Matlock Bath, but without a nameplate, and Julie records
that it was built by Stan Battison of Ilkeston.
The above photograph, though, has Kerr's Miniature Railway
Matlock written on the back. Perhaps a nameplate was added later
as, in one of Ron Duggins's books, there is an undated photograph
of Cyril Swain's "Flying
Scotsman" on the Hall Leys track; it would be brought out
on Sundays and Bank Holidays with a diesel operating at other times.
The engine in use today, "Little David", is an 0-6-0
diesel based on an industrial original. The advantage of this over
a steam engine is that it is both cheaper and easier to maintain
and will start instantly without having to wait several hours for
steam pressure to be raised.
It replaced the original steam engine in 1974 but still used the
same carriages for the passengers. They have been repainted.
Below are a series of photographs
of a locomotive on display in the West Shed at the Midland
Railway Centre, Swanwick Junction. It is one of the locomotives
that operated in Matlock and Matlock Bath during the 1950s
and was built in 1948; it is almost certainly the locomotive
show in the black and white photo at the top of the page.
Ten feet in length, it was numbered 2701 and originally painted
apple green, with the logo L.N.E.R. on the sides of its tender.
It has since been re-numbered (now 6201) and repainted in
the livery of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway.
According to information at the Midland Railway Centre this
locomotive moved to the track built by Billy Roberts in
the Derwent Gardens, where it remained until 1966 having
been fitted with new boiler tubes in 1961. It was then
sold back to Cyril Swain who returned it to the Hall Leys
to run alongside "Lady Joyce" (see the
photo of "Lady Joyce" in the Derwent Gardens).
When the 0-6-0 was introduced, No.2701 was sold to Mr. Bell
of Riber Zoo, who repainted and re-numbered it. Following
Riber's closure it was bought by the chairman of the Princess
Royal Class Locomotive Trust and after a few years it was
moved to Swanwick.
A third locomotive built by Mr. Battison was
sold to Bognor Regis pier though it was returned to Mr. Swain
in the early 1960s and then sold on to the U.S.A. Its whereabouts
is unknown today.
Photographs of the locomotives and carriages on the Hall Leys in
the collection of, provided by and © Susan
Photographs of the locomotive no.2701 (now 6201) at the Midland Railway
Centre provided by and © Bryan 'Smudger' Smith.
Written and researched by and © Ann Andrews. Intended
for personal use only.
links are to transcripts and information elsewhere on this web
 From information obtained at the Midland
Railway Centre, Swanwick Junction, by Bryan 'Smudger' Smith.
 "The Matlocks, The Official
Guide Book" (about 1950). There was also a joint advertisement
for the Hall Leys Park and the Derwent Pleasure Grounds which
said there was a miniature railway at both.
 Bunting, Julie (2002) "Matlock
and Matlock Bath", Tempus Publishing Ltd., ISBN 0-7524-2455-6.
 Although not a great deal seems
to be known about him, Stanley Arthur Battison was born in
Heanor in 1906, the son of Arthur and Rachel Battison. Arthur
was a coal miner. Stanley married
in 1923 and died in Ilkeston
in 1960, aged 54.
 Duggins, Ron (2008) "Echoes
of the Dales", the 1970s,
pub. Landmark, Ashbourne, Derbyshire. ISBN-13: 978-1-84306-365-0
 Information from by Andy Andrews.
 Information from Susan Tomlinson.