From early mining applications and experiments on country estates, the industrial narrow gauge railway came of age during the First World War when it provided the logistical support to armies on all sides and in the theatres of the conflict. The equipment from the war then provided the starting points for applications throughout any industry where large, heavy or bulky items needed to be moved.
The advent of the conveyor belt and the dumper truck rendered most of these industrial railways redundant from the 1960s, but some survive to this day, and still fulfill a vital need. For example, the Channel Tunnel construction railway was narrow gauge; for a time, this was the third largest railway system in the UK (after Network Rail and London Underground). Narrow gauge trains are still used occasionally in civil engineering projects , particularly tunneling. Significant railways supported projects associated with the 2012 Olympic Games and the London Crossrail scheme.
These railways have existed largely out of the public gaze. The Moseley Railway Trust ensures that this important part of Britain’s industrial past will be preserved and remembered for future generations.
In order to fulfill that objective, the Moseley Railway Trust is currently developing a major railway, workshops and museum complex in conjunction with the existing Apedale Heritage Centre at Chesterton, near Newcastle-Under-Lyme, North Staffordshire. This development will also act as a catalyst in the regeneration of the Apedale/Chesterton area.