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A Brief History of The Ickenham Miniature Railway
The first suggestion for the building of a continuous live steam track was made in 1964, but it was to be several years before work started. In part it was down to the fact that part of the new railway was to be on council owned land and it was not until 1969 that the lease for this land was signed. Thereafter work proceeded quickly and the main line circuit was completed by mid July. Society locomotive ‘Speedy’ became the first to complete a circuit of the new track on 20th July 1969.
During 1970 the railway was open to the public on Sundays, but attendance was sparse and for 1971 the public opening days moved to the first Saturday of the summer months, where they have remained ever since.
At this time the method of operation was for passengers to board the train in the loop. The train would then complete several laps of the main line before returning to the loop where the passengers would alight. The train would then run over the turntable ready to pick up the next load of passengers.
The railway was equipped with a colour light signalling system controlled from a small signal box next to the water tower.
With work on the station complete, attention focussed on upgrading the facilities in the steaming bays where steam locomotives are prepared for service. Over the years following the opening of the station the old turntable on the steaming bay loop was replaced by a traverser and several parallel, raised tracks. At the end of the 1980s a new workshop was built and the opportunity was taken to provide covered storage sidings below it for our passenger carrying trolleys and these sidings are also accessed by means of the traverser.
The signalling system with the trackside buttons did not last in service long and by the mid 1980s had been removed. Subsequently points were controlled by signalmen at two locations. Drivers were given authority to proceed by means of hand signals. At first the signalmen were out in open but 1989 saw work start on the construction of a new signal box. That same year a tunnel appeared over the line for the first time.
The late 1990s saw the construction of a new, larger, booking office, complete with features, such as an open fire place, that make it very popular with members on the colder running days. Not long after this a roof was provided over the steaming bays, vastly improving conditions on inclement running days.
Over three years from 2010 to 2013 the original station roof was replaced by a new structure which now also provides cover for the arrival platform.