Member & Visitor Information
Directions for Members & Visitors
Follow main directions - when you spot the BP Garage, turn on Day House Lane, take the first right. Drive straight until the Members & Visitors carpark on the right.
For those of you who are unloading, follow the directions above but continue past the Members & Visitors carpark until you reach the level crossing gate
The Coate Water Miniature Railway Route
The main route is a combination of an outer circular route of 1,013 feet, the new extension loop of 1,935 feet and an inner figure-of-eight with a bridge of 1,344 feet. The routes are usually combined using the avoiding line or by running through the station giving a total length of around 3,900 feet (or approximately 1,250 metres). The original old loop is rarely used as a running line and is mainly for access to and from the main steaming bay.
Depending on the signalman numerous routes are available to give the driver and travelling passengers lots of variety. The description below is for the current main route (as of January 2019).
On leaving one of the three platforms, trains are usually signalled onto the outer circuit. A downhill start is followed by the long straight before rounding the bottom curve. A rising gradient of 1:132 along the back straight leads to the point onto the new Richard Jefferies extension, opened Easter 2016. A level track and gentle left hand corner through a 60 foot long tunnel leads to double track running as the line descends at around 1:100 until further left hand corners lead past the Richard Jefferies halt on the up line.
A short sharp climb on reverse corners as the track enters the balloon loop, into a second 75 foot long tunnel. Sloping gently downgrade a long right hand corner through cuttings leads to a long level 1.5 metre high embankment just before the point to divert trains into an emergency passing loop. Most trains will run straight on and may stop at the newly opened Richard Jefferies halt. Your driver will be working hard to ensure that the water levels are correct and that the fire is in good health for the long 900 feet climb to rejoin the main line at mainly 1:110.
As the down line swings in from the right a short bridge is passed under giving the impression of a twin-portal tunnel and the climb stiffens through the deep cutting. The line from the original outer circuit joins from the right on a new scissor crossing and here you will usually be signalled onto the avoiding line, crossing the track from the inner figure of eight circuit. In some circumstances you will be signalled straight on to head back towards the station, climbing at 1:60 to the gantry, and running parallel to the track coming off the bridge and inner circuit.
The avoiding line is slightly downhill before you cross the track leading to old loop / steaming bay, and regain the main line; the line from the left leads in from the station area. Running downhill at around 1:50 the line curves right again and runs under Bailey's bridge before the ascent of the bank, pitching to 1:57, for several hundred feet. The track can be quite greasy in this stretch as it rarely benefits from any direct sunlight, although recent pruning of the trees has opened up the visibility.
Towards the top of the bank the line swings left and over the bridge before heading down hill towards the old loop / steaming bay exit and the crossing over the avoiding line. Beware of the signals at this point. A short climb at 1:60 leads towards the station, where signals control the direction into one of the platforms, the direction of the point being indicated by the feather. Further signals permit access to the station; amber to proceed with caution and the use of call-on lights to allow access to the station platform when it is occupied (most trains will be stopped here by the signalman).
The track radius on the main running lines is mainly around 75ft with 60ft radius points. There are tighter curves of not less than 45ft radius on the station approach / exit and the old loop has a short length of 40ft radius on a 1:37 incline.
The layout is fully colour signalled with interlocks to the points and controlled from Lakeside signal box. The maximum line speed is 8mph, except near points and cross-overs where it is reduced to 4mph. A 3mph speed limit is in force within the station limits. All signals, speed restrictions and whistle boards must be observed in line with standard railway practices. Signalling on the new extension, and on parts of the inner circuit, is fully automatic. In the absence of signals running is on a line of sight basis, and the driver must be prepared to stop if there is another train in front or approaching from another converging track.
The North Wilts Model Engineering Society would inform / remind all visiting engine drivers to travel SLOWLY over the aluminium points in the siding areas, to avoid damage to them.
The gradient profile, track plan showing the extension, public running notes, visitor notes and visitor information are provided as downloads below.