Slate Locomotive Festival at Leighton Buzzard - a Record Breaker!

If you own a model of a loco type which once worked in the slate industry, you could be part of setting a new world record, in Bedfordshire!

A Taste for Record Breaking!

Leighton Buzzard Railway vice-president Alf Fisher has developed a taste for breaking records at LBR events. The man behind the massively successful ‘Coffee Pot Fest’ last May, which set a new record for the number of vertical boiler steam locomotives in one location (, is at it again. This time, Alf is aiming to attract the largest gathering of locomotives related to the slate industry. The ever-popular 0-4-0ST ‘Quarry Hunslet’ type is likely to be the main focus, but any model of a locomotive which worked in a Welsh slate quarry or on a line which carried the products away from a quarry as the first stage of its journey to the consumer will be eligible – and welcome.

Welsh Slate Theme for September Gala

The idea for this new record attempt comes from the ‘Welsh Slate Fest’ theme adopted for Leighton Buzzard’s September 15-16 gala weekend.

Plans for full size visiting locos are still under discussion, although there are indications that one of the ‘coffee pot’ locos which featured during the fantastic May 14-15 2011 event could be returning for another appearance alongside LBR resident De Winton Chaloner at the Bedfordshire line, which was built to serve quarries, albeit sand rather than slate.

Meanwhile, owners of model locos based on types which worked in the slate industry are being contacted and arrangements put in hand for model layouts on which they can appear - and run - are being put together. The objective is to produce a record breaking display at LBR’s Stonehenge Works terminus to supplement the feast of 2ft gauge steam on LBR’s running line. Last September’s ‘Steam-Up’ gala at LBR produced nine locos in steam, only one of which was not an LBR resident, so no shortage of full-size action is anticipated!

What Size of Model?

The smallest are likely to be 009 models – 4mm scale running on 9mm gauge track - while 0-16.5 scale is bound to feature, these are 7mm scale models using 16.5mm gauge track.

16mm scale live steam is certain, with a layout being arranged for the locos to run round.

Moving up in size, LBR has dual gauge 5in and 7.25in gauge track at its Stonehenge Works which made its debut last May and will feature again, so the model engineering scales will certainly be welcomed.

“A warm invitation is given to all owners to bring along their locomotives for one or both days,” Alf commented. “But I do need to hear in advance from model owners who would like to join us in this fascinating event.”

For further details, contact the organiser, Alf Fisher, as soon as possible either by email at or by phone on 01923 770891 but NOT the Leighton Buzzard Railway.

Actually, it’s Alf Fisher MBE!

Alf Fisher, a vice-president and former chairman of the Leighton Buzzard Railway, was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours List. Alf saved 0-4-0VBT Chaloner for preservation in 1960 and in June 1968 the loco hauled LBR’s first steam passenger train in preservation. He is joint author of a recently published definitive book on the De Winton company – a review and more details of this terrific work of research will shortly be appearing on this website.

The MBE recognises Alf’s outstanding contribution to the art and craft of Architectural glass, work which includes designing and making stained glass windows for Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace.

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