Re: Researching Portable Railways

Mark Hambly


With the exception of peat harvesting operations (see below) I would hazard a guess that possibly/probably the last regular use in UK was to assist the removal of spent sand from filter beds at Llanforda Water Treatment Works near Oswestry in Shropshire. The filter bed was drained, temporary track ("Jubilee" type 2ft gauge) was laid on the floor of the bed and sand was shovelled by hand into V skips which were propelled by hand to the edge of the bed where they were lifted out by a crane (rubber-tyred) onto the permanent track which surrounded the beds. Short trains of skips were then hauled by Hunslet and Ruston locomotives to a tip. This operation continued until at least the mid 1980s.

My caveat re. peat is because although peat harvesting operations in UK (and on a much larger scale in Ireland) involve a good deal of non-permanent trackwork, that trackwork is for the most part nevertheless of the same sort of weight as the permanent (i.e. not periodically moved) track on the same operations, as opposed to being of lightweight section and construction of "traditional" portable railways.

One "PS" to Stefan's comments - at a number of mills in Java where the rail operations have been reduced to relatively short hauls from truckyard to mill there were nevertheless still (in 2010) reasonable stockpiles of portable field track held at the mills - Pangka and Sragi come to mind.

Hope this is of some interest.



--- In LRRSA@..., "stefan_matthaeus@..." <stefan_matthaeus@...> wrote:


portable tracks still can be observed on Java on these mills:

- Asembagus
- Panji
- Maybe Olean (trains are often replaced by trucks now)
- Wringinanom
- Sumberharjo
- Maybe Jatiroto and Semboro (I haven't been there yet)

All other mills have terminated their field line activities. Rail
activities in these mills have been reduced to shunting in the factory
or completely terminated.


Am 24.01.2012 08:32, schrieb Chris Stratton:

Last July I saw and photographed some bullocks pulling a couple of cane
wagons along some track in a paddock near Penang Mill in Fiji. The
track was
just laid across an already harvested section so I guess it was portable


-----Original Message-----
From: LRRSA@... <>
[mailto:LRRSA@... <>]
On Behalf
Of A C Lynn Zelmer
Sent: Tuesday, 24 January 2012 6:25 PM
To: LRRSA@... <>
Subject: [LRRSA] Researching Portable Railways

G'day all

At John Browning's suggestion I've been working on a Light Railways
on portable railways, such as those used for manual and animal power
tramways in the early days of sugar plantations, some use of which has
lasted into the current century in Fiji, Indonesia, etc.

The article has now gone well beyond my knowledge base for modelling, and
John is busy finishing up a book, so I'm appealing for help from
anyone who
knows what companies (Decauville, O&K, Hudson, Gregg, etc.) supplied
portable systems to what countries, mills or plantations, and at what time
and through what agents. I know about Decauville and Homebush Mill but

As well, under what conditions are portable railways still being used?

Many thanks for your assistance

Lynn Zelmer
Box 1414 Main Post Office
Rockhampton, QLD 4700 AUSTRALIA


Material posted on this group may be adapted by the editors of LRRSA
publications for use in those publications, including Light Railways
and the
LRRSA web-site

This group is for members who share common interests with the members
of the
LRRSA, but the contents of postings are those of their authors and
expressed do not necessarily conform with those of any LRRSA member nor of
the LRRSA Council of Management"
Yahoo!7 Groups Links

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Join to automatically receive all group messages.