Brookside Miniature Railway is a time established miniature railway and is well known throughout the United Kingdom. The railway is situated in Brookside Garden Centre, Poynton, near Stockport and Macclesfield. Orignally as a 5 inch gauge “there and back”, it progressed by stepping up a gauge to 7 1/4 inch.
The Early Days
In 1972, a 5 inch gauge railway was laid at Brookside Garden Centre. Although the railway was only a simple out and back, it ran almost every weekend and proved as a popular attraction. The locomotives at this time were 0-6-0T Simplex and 0-6-0T Speedy, both of which are now on display in the railway museum.
Moving Up A Gauge
In 1989, Brookside Miniature Railway was updated, to cope with demand, from 5 inch gauge to 7 1/4 inch gauge. To go with the “new railway”, a 4 platform station with 2 turntables, booking office and station canopy was built. This was designed to give maximum operation flexibility in busy periods. The railway ran for 1/4 mile up to the garden centre, round the swimming pool and back to Brookside Central.
Locomotives that ran on the railway mainly were 0-4-2T ‘Princess’ and 0-4-2T ‘Lady Pauline’ on the steam side. ‘Annie’, D1706 ‘Thor’ and Class 47 ‘Brookside’ were the main diesels along side others. Most of the original locomotives now work at the Dragon Miniature Railway, Marple.
In 1999, the railway expanded even further. The layout of the railway was changed from a “balloon loop and terminus” to a continuous circuit. As a result of this, another tunnel had to be built to carry the road over the top. Beyond this a 60ft cutting had to be dug out to allow the railway to be built. This is on a ruling gradient of 1 in 36.
New and more powerful locomotives had to be purchased in order to cope with the larger run. 0-4-2T ‘Jean’ was bought from Exmoor Steam Railway in 2000 and was so succesful, 0-4-2T ‘Jane’ was purchased within a few months. Also in 2000, Mighty Max – petrol hydraulic was built by Knightley Light Railway. By far the biggest locomotive at Brookside. The steam fleet increased in 2002 with 2-4-2T ‘Billy May’ and further in 2003/4 with ‘Amy Louise’ from Exmoor.
Over The Waters
In 2007, a further extension was made over the river and into the old overflow car park. The new extension has 2 bridges and a small station halt – Bridge of Orchy. There is a large space in the middle for the Country Fairground run by the Keeling Family on certain weekends. This gave the railway an extra 2 – 3 minutes on journey time.