The Royal Victoria Country Park is steeped in history. In its former life it was the largest military hospital in the world with buildings stretching over a 1/4 of a mile long. It had its own railway station alongside the remains of which our trains run to this day and its own electricity generating station and transformer shed, which is now our engine shed.
The Royal Victoria Railway began construction on the site in 1995, taking over from a previous railway of the same gauge, although very little was left of it.
Demolition of the main hospital. The Chapel remains as a museum.
An ambulance train arrives at the old Standard Gauge station.
The current railway first opened on the 26th August 1996 with Maurice the Major and hired in coaches from Poole. Trains ran from a temporary station adjacent to the playground to Chapel Road Station, which was at that time under construction.
With the exception of No1 Maurice The Major and No6 Sammy the Sargent, which have been built specially for the railway, all our locomotives have been acquired from other railways, most in a derelict state. All our coaches were built in our own workshops to cater for the needs of our railway and passengers. Both sets are articulated sets of two open and two closed with individual seats, for all weather running, accesability and comfort.
The former 10 1/4 railway station near the playground. Behind it is now the Sensory Garden and play area.
The old 10 1/4 railway and engine shed before we moved in.
Work to complete the circuit in late 1996
Further work was undertaken during the winter and the current full circuit opened in early 1997. Our first steam engine Isambard Kingdom Brunel also arrived that year. The carriage shed was added in 1998 to house our new carriages built in the workshops. The turntable was constructed in 2005, with the brick work being undertaken by a volunteer. Since then, we have begun construction of a new 1/2 mile extention and fully enclosed station building to help house the growing collection of vintage locomotives.
Our new Kirk Terminus Station with three of our historic locomotives in 2016
The first passengers 26th August 1996
The photographs below show some of the construction work on the railway and are scans of pictures taken between November 1995 and spring 1997