Sunday, 16 November 2014

Littlehampton Miniature Railway

All copyright Steve Sainsbury/Rail Thing 17.6.1973

Thye miniature railway at Littlehampton has had a long and fascinating history. Opened in 1948 it runs from Norfolk Road to Mewsbrook Park - 760 metres of running line. It uses the very rare gauge of 12¼" and was steam worked well into the 1970s. It used a number of ex-Surrey Border and Camberley engines. It has also been extended around 50 metres towards the town centre in recent years, the trains run through the overgrown platforms of the original Norfolk Road station shortly after leaving the new one.

The line was in trouble a few years ago but under new ownership it has rebranded itself and is now more like a miniature heritage line with big plans for the future.

I was brought up in LA (as the locals call it) and this line was a big part of my life back in the 60s and 70s. These pictures from 1973 show the line when it was diverted during building works, needing a  new temporary route for a year or two. They may be the only pictures of this temporary route that have surfaced so far!

The new route veered sharply from the platform line at Mewsbrooks station, skirted the putting green then rejoined the original line close to the sea road. I seem to remember this new route included a bridge over a stream, I may have a photo of this bridge somewhere but it will need another trip up to the attic before I can find it!

The pictures show the line during this period. The original main line is overgrown and the second picture shows the diversion veering sharply from the platform road. Pictures 3 and 4 show the steam loco on the new line and the train skirting the putting green.

The Littlehampton Railway first opened in 1948, to the unusual gauge at the time, of 12 ¼ inches. Two 4-6-4 steam locomotives built by T.J.Thurston, a former employee of famous miniature locomotive builder H.Bullock. The line has gone through many changes, both stock wise and line wise, but is now a similar formation to that built. Trains run from Mewsbrook Park Station where there is a large engine shed, footbridge and turntable, through woodland and past a mini golf course, tennis courts and bowling green to reach Norfolk Road Station, a simple run round station with turntable. The line has recently been refurbished by TIR Ltd, and new stock introduced to the line, comprising of a heavy duty Bo-Bo diesel locomotive and two enclosed coaches.

Address: Hendon Avenue, Mewsbrook Park, Littlehampton, West Sussex, BN16 2LX
Telephone: 01460 221303
Operator: TIR Ltd
Line Length: 800 yards, End to End
First opened: 1948


Fares: Adults £3.00, Children £2.00, Under 3's Free.


  1. Wish I'd taken pics of the overgrown and temporarily disused main line - but lack of access (and film) meant it never happened!

  2. Hi Steve,
    Your blog on the Littlehampton Miniature Railway is very interesting. The previous operator (TIR ltd.) ceased operations late last year. The good news is that a group of volunteers, all members of the Littlehampton Heritage Railway Association, have taken over the line, with the assistance of Arun District Council. We started running our summer service on 23 July. Full details on our website I am the Publicity manager for the LHRA and my next task is to write a short history of the line for the website. Any photos or other information you have would be most welcome. You can get in touch with me via the Contact page on the website. Kind regards, Derek Shephard.