Ribble Steam Railway

Coordinates: 53°45′32″N 2°45′22″W / 53.7588°N 2.7561°W / 53.7588; -2.7561

Ribble Steam Railway
Linda crossing the swing bridge
Locale Preston, Lancashire, England
Terminus Riversway
Commercial operations
Name Ribble Branch Line
Built by North Union Railway
Original gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Preserved operations
Operated by Ribble Steam Railway
Stations 1
Length 1 12 miles (2.4 km)
Preserved gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Commercial history
Opened 1882
Closed 1990s
Preservation history
Opened 2005

Ribble Steam Railway

Steam Railway Workshops
Preston Riverside
Ribble Rail Shed
Lanfina Sidings
Lockside Road LC (AOCL)
Swing bridge / Navigation Way LC (TMOB)
Marina Way LC (TMOB)
Exchange Sidings
Strand Road LC (TMOB)
Ribble Steam Railway
Network Rail
To Preston and West Coast Main Line

The Ribble Steam Railway is a standard gauge preserved railway in Lancashire, in the United Kingdom. It was opened to the public on 17 September 2005, running along Preston Docks. The railway began by housing much of the collection from the previously closed Southport Railway Museum (Steamport), which was based in the old Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway engine shed at Southport (BR shed code 27C).


The project was first started in 1973, a preservation centre opened in Southport, on the Derby Road, in a refurbished Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway steam shed. However, the shed was becoming a costly burden to handle for the museum, so a relocation scheme was started. Preston Docks was chosen as the new location for the museum. Preston Docks has a large railway network, that used to serve the vast docks and quays. But when the docks closed, the railway was not used. The project finally closed the Southport Railway Museum in 1999.

The project's new site now could be re-developed with new large workshops, platforms and a museum. The first building to open was the Workshop, in 2001.[1] Locomotives could now go into the building, and more space could now be utilised. Next to the workshop, is the machine shop, built in 1978. At the other end of the workshop is the visitor centre, which contains the museum, cafe, shop and railway platform. The museum was finally completed in 2004. The collection of locomotives (61, two on loan from the National Railway Museum, one from the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Trust. 58 are currently on site.), is one of the largest collection of locomotives in the United Kingdom.[2]


Ribble Rail locomotive Enterprise and bitumen wagons

The museum also operates passenger services to Strand Road Crossing and back, from its own station – Preston Riverside. The frequency of its trains are every hour, and are usually made up of two or more Mark 1 coaches and a small steam engine or diesel engine.[3] This service is only operational in the summer months.

A separate company, Ribble Rail, handles the freight traffic that uses the dock lines. Ribble Rail takes over from the Colas Rail locomotive, and carries the load – Bitumen – down to the Total plant near the Preston Riverside station.

A Colas Rail-operated train arrives at the riverside sidings near Strand Road Crossing with loaded oil tanks. The locomotive uncouples, runs round and takes the empty wagons. This process occurs very early in the morning on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

From here Ribble Rail shunts these wagons to the siding serving the nearby Total bitumen plant. After unloading, Ribble Rail returns the wagons to the riverside sidings for pick-up.


The museum is currently located in an industrial estate, and is not well publicised. There were plans to build a station at the Strand Road Crossing, so that the railway can utilise the more popular end of the docks. Then, instead of just a 'ride' on the train, it can be used as a 'service'.

One of the more recent projects that is now planned to be underway in 2017 is the installation of a turntable at Riverside station, this will allow the operational running fleet to be turned in a bid to even out flangewear, it will also be ideal for when visiting locomotives visit the line.

A L&YR signal box was bought for the railway. It will be restored to its original condition, and put near the Preston Riverside station. Main foundation works are now complete, now awaiting a block construction wall to sit the box on to.

There have also been plans to extend the railway to the Ribble Link canal. The route would offer 1.5 miles extra to the line, although plans for this have not been finalised as major funding streams need to be found, in order to raise the huge amount of funds required for such a significant project.[4]

Steam locomotives

The railway has a large collection of industrial steam engines and one main line locomotive.

Operational steam locomotives

Number & Name Type Photograph Livery Notes
No. 272 Grant, Ritchie and Company 0-4-0ST Dark Green Recently undergone major restoration, returned to traffic in early 2016. FW
No. 2680 "Birchenwood No 4" Bagnall 0-6-0ST Dark Lined Green Built in 1942. Returned to service in February 2014. Painted to resemble "Courageous", a long lost Preston Docks engine. FE
No. 3931 "Linda" Hawthorn Leslie 0-6-0ST Blue Built in 1938. Returned to steam in May 2015. FW

Steam locomotives undergoing overhaul or restoration

Number & Name Type Photograph Livery Notes
No. 53 "Windle" Borrows 0-4-0WT N/A Built in 1909. Undergoing restoration, boiler removed for overhaul and unusable parts removed for eventual disposal. Loco currently sat inside the workshop in-front of Douglas. FW
No 1833 "Niddrie" Andrew Barclay 0-6-0ST Light Green Built in 1924. Work recently started on removing parts off the loco for work, main restoration to commence soon. FE
No. 1925 "Caliban" Peckett and Sons 0-4-0ST N/A Built in 1937. Arrived on 14 July 2015 in pieces from Carnforth MPD. FE
No 1999 "North Western Gas Board" Peckett and Sons 0-4-0ST N/A Built in 1941. Restoration is ongoing but no date has been fixed for completion. FW
No 2890 "Douglas" Hunslet 0-6-0 NWR Black Built in 1943. Is a converted tender locomotive from a standard Hunslet Austerity. Boiler recently undergone overhaul and presently located on a flat wagon inside the running shed.

Dressed to reassemble Douglas from Thomas & Friends. Arrived from Mid Hants Railway in 2013/14 FW

No 3793 "Shropshire" Hunslet 0-6-0ST Dark Blue Built in 1953. Undergoing overhaul with fellow Hunslet engine Respite lending it its boiler and is expected to be returned to traffic speedily, currently sat at the back of the workshop. FW

Locomotives in storage

Number & Name Type Photograph Livery Notes
No. 26 Avonside 0-6-0ST N/A Built in 1918. Stored in a non-public access shed.
No. 48 "The King" Borrows 0-4-0WT Dark Green Built in 1906. Recently been moved into the shed for striping down for future restoration. FW
No. 737 "Daphne" Peckett and Sons 0-4-0ST Maroon Built in 1899. Stored in the yard with likely use as spares due to damage on boiler plus many seized parts. FW
No. 880 "Glenfield no 1" Andrew Barclay 0-4-0CT Light Green & black Built in 1902. Arrived on 21 October from the Chasewater Railway after purchase by private owner for future restoration to running order. FW
No. 1147 "John Howe" Andrew Barclay 0-4-0ST Green and Black Built in 1908. Boiler certificate expired in May 2015, parts recently removed from the loco and will shortly be moving into the museum for display before an overhaul is undertaken. FE
No. 1883 Avonside 0-6-0ST N/A Built in 1922. Awaiting Restoration.
No. 1935 "Hornet" Peckett and Sons 0-4-0ST Light Green Built in 1937. Wheels removed and sat awaiting the start of its long term overhaul. FE
No. 1954 "Kinsley" Hunslet 0-6-0ST ? Built in 1939. Work began on her restoration before the move to Preston, but efforts have been focused on other locomotives since.
No. 2003 "John Blenkinsop" Peckett and Sons 0-4-0ST Blue Built in 1941. On loan from the Middleton Railway and currently awaiting cosmetic restoration prior to moving into the museum. FW
No. 2343 "British Gypsum no 4" Andrew Barclay 0-4-0ST British Gypsum Ocre Built in 1953. Recently purchased by private owner for restoration to running order. Formerly based at Carnforth MPD. Arrived on 16 July 2015. FW
No. 3855 "Glasshoughton" Hunslet 0-6-0ST N/A Built in 1954. Boiler off site awaiting attention for the replacement of the inner firebox. Chassis is in a non-public access building. FE
No. 3696 "Respite" Hunslet 0-6-0ST N/A Built in 1950. Stored awaiting major restoration. The boiler will shortly be installed into fellow Hunslet engine "Shropshire". FE
No. 4979 "Wootton Hall" GWR 4900 Class 4-6-0 N/A Built at Swindon Works in Feb 1930. Moved from Appleby heritage centre to Preston in October 2015. Restoration of the tender is underway with the hope of commencing restoring the loco in the foreseeable future which is estimated to cost over £300,000. FE
No. 9373 "St Monans" Sentinel 0-4-0 N/A Built in 1947. Awaiting overhaul & boiler repairs. Currently sat inside the FRT shed and the overhaul is expected to commence once 272 is completed. FW

Diesel locomotives

The railway has a large collection of diesel locomotives either for shunting or use on passenger trains.

Operational diesel locomotives

Number & Name Type Photograph Livery Notes
No. 4 "Stanlow" Thomas Hill 0-4-0DH Green Built in 1966.
No. NS663 NS Class 600 0-6-0DE Yellow & Grey Built in 1956. Arrived at the railway in 2012 for varied use on bitumen trains and occasional passenger use.
No. D2148 British Rail Class 03 0-6-0DM BR Green Built in 1960. Recently returned to service following a power unit swap.
No. D2595 British Rail Class 05 0-6-0 BR Blue Built in 1959. Probably the most regular diesel locomotive on passenger trains. One of the most powerful locomotives on the line.
No. D9539 British Rail Class 14 0-6-0DH BR Green Built in 1960.
No. 10165 "Energy" Sentinel 0-4-0DM Ribble Rail Blue Built in 1965. Sees occasional use on bitumen trains
No. 10282 "Enterprise" Sentinel 0-4-0DM Ribble Rail Blue Built in 1968. Sees regular use on bitumen trains
No. 10283 "Progress" Sentinel 0-4-0DM Ribble Rail Blue Built in 1968. Sees regular use on bitumen trains
No. 27653 "BICC" North British 0-4-0 Red Built in 1957. It is occasionally used for shunting.
No. E79960 Waggon und Maschinenbau railbus BR Green Built in 1958. on loan from the North Norfolk Railway

Diesel locomotives under restoration / repair

Number & Name Type Photograph Livery Notes
No. 2677 "D2870" Yorkshire 0-4-0DH ? Built in 1960. Currently awaiting completion of replacement clutch mechanism.
No. 03189 British Rail Class 03 0-6-0DM N/A Built in 1960. Currently undergoing a major overhaul (on hold whilst work completes on D2148).

Diesel locomotives stored awaiting repair

Number & Name Type Photograph Livery Notes
No. D629 "Sparky" Hudswell Clarke 0-4-0DM Green Built in 1944. Currently awaiting restoration.
No. D1031 "Margaret" Hudswell Clarke 0-4-0DM N/A Built in 1956. Currently awaiting restoration.
No. 21999 "Fluff" Fowler 0-4-0DM Yellow Built in 1937. Owned by the Furness Railway Trust.

Locos on display in the museum

Locomotives that aren't currently planned to be overhauled or if there isn't a space available in the workshop are displayed inside the museum until they're called into the workshop.

Steam locomotives

Number & Name Type Photograph Livery Notes
No. 2 "Heysham" Andrew Barclay 0-4-0F Blue Built in 1928. Recently had a cosmetic overhaul. FW
No. 2 "Agecroft" RSH 0-4-0ST Green Built in 1947. Boiler ticket expired in late 2008, and the loco will be on display in the museum until workshop space is available. FW
No. 19 "Pug" L&YR Class 21 0-4-0ST Black Built in 1910. FE
No. 1439 LNWR 0-4-0ST Lined green Built in 1862. FE
No. 1568 "Lucy" Avonside 0-6-0ST ? Built in 1909. FW
No. 1598 "Efficient" Andrew Barclay 0-4-0ST Lined green Built in 1918. FW
No. 1865 "Alexander" Andrew Barclay 0-4-0ST Green Built in 1926. Requires boiler repairs. FW
No. 1969 "JN Derbyshire" Andrew Barclay 0-4-ST Lined black Built in 1929. Arrived at the railway in 2005. FW
No. 3155 "Walkden" Hunslet 0-6-0ST WD Green Built in 1944. Out of action due to broken crown stays alongside the expiry of her boiler certificate in 2017.
No. 8024 "Gasbag" Sentinel 0-4-0 Blue Built in 1929. Boiler ticket expired in 2008, and will be stored for the time being whilst "St Monans" is restored. FE
No. 30072 SR USA Class 0-6-0T KWVR Brown Built in 1943. The hope is that upon completion she will return to the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway for their 50th anniversary in 2018. The boiler tubes have been removed but a new firebox is required. Due to lack of space inside the workshop at present is temporarily inside the museum. FW
No. 46441 British Railways LMS Ivatt Class 2 2-6-0 BR Maroon Built at Crewe Works in 1950. Formerly based at the East Lancashire Railway. FW

Diesel locomotives

Number & Name Type Photograph Livery Notes
No. D628 "Mighty Atom" Hudswell Clarke 0-4-0DM Green Built in 1943.
No. 788 English Electric 0-4-0BE English Electric Green Built in 1930.
No. 965 "Hotto" Howard 4wd Green Built in 1930.
No. 2000 "Greenbat" Greenwood & Batley 4wd Green Built in 1945.
No. 2098 English Electric 0-6-0DE Built in 1955.
No. 4160001 Fowler 0-4-0DM Blue built 1952.

Operational locos elsewhere

Steam locomotives

Number & Name Type Photograph Livery Notes
No. 20 Furness Railway 0-4-0 FR Red Built in 1863. Currently on loan to the Locomotion in Shildon.
No. 3794 "Cumbria" Hunslet 0-6-0ST FR Red Built in 1953. Returned to steam in May 2015, presently on loan to the Battlefield Line for 2 months.
No. 5643 GWR 5600 Class 0-6-2T BR Green, Late Crest Built at Swindon Works in 1925. Currently on loan to the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Railway.
No. 12322 (1300/52322) L&YR Class 27 0-6-0 LMS Unlined Black Built in 1896. Currently on loan to the East Lancashire Railway.

Diesel locomotives


Former RSR Residents

Steam locomotives

Number & Name Type Photograph Livery Notes
No. 2261 ('No 6' "Fife Flyer") Andrew Barclay 0-4-0ST Dark Green Built in 1949, sold a new owner in early 2016 and departed for The Cambrian Railway in August 2016.

Diesel locomotives


See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ribble Steam Railway.


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