The East Hayling Light Railway at Mill Rythe Camp.

Above, we see locomotive No:3 “Jack”, an 0-4-0 Steam Outline Diesel-Hydraulic built by Alan Keef Engineering of Ross-on-Wye. Still in its fully lined out ‘works finish, outside its shed at the line’s Mill Rythe depot.

The original EHLR was built in 1988 and ran entirely within the grounds of the Island’s Mill Rythe Holiday Camp.

'Jack'bringing the train into the station

‘Jack’bringing the train into the station

Here we see locomotive No:3 “Jack”, entering the simple wooden platform at Mill Rythe, hauling a train of wooden bodied four-wheeled carriages built on site by EHLR Society volunteers.

Sadly problems with public access to the site, meant that the line was never to realise its true commercial potential, and it closed in 2001 to relocate to a new site on the seafront. Where it became today’s Hayling Seaside Railway, which since 2003 has operated between Beachlands and Eastoke Corner.

Jack and these coaches were to form the basis of the fleet when operations transferred to the seafront in 2003, to become the Hayling Seaside Railway.

The coaches have since been replaced by more spacious and comfortable bogie stock, more suited to operations on the new line. All four of the original EHLR coaches have however found good homes elsewhere, having been sold on to the Tinkers Barn Railway in Sussex, and the Old Kiln Light Railway in Surrey. where they continue to provide good service to their new operators.


Meet the Author

Ian Edwards
4 comments… add one
  • ChairmanFish 29 December, 2012, 2:41 pm

    29 December, 2012, 2:41 pm

    There was a light railway at Mill Rythe (formerly Sunshine) Holiday Village before 1988. What vehicle etc was that, I wonder?

    • Ian Edwards 29 December, 2012, 3:02 pm

      Hi Paul, I wasn’t aware that Mill Rythe had previously had a railway prior to the EHLR, although that would not surprise me at all. I gather there have been many miniature railways on the Island over the years, including a couple at the Fun Fair traces of the most recent of which are still visible. At the old Gun Site, down at the Ferry and at Eastoke Corner, although information on many of them is at best sketchy.

      I’ve seen a lovely photo of the latter, showing a miniature train across the road from the Lifeboat Inn, more or less exactly where the HSR’s present terminal stands. Some of these lines only lasted a few years so if any HB50 readers have details of them, it would be great to tell their stories here, or possibly in a book. Including the Tramways at Pyecroft’s Brickworks, as well as the EHLR Mill Rythe and current Seaside Railway to bring things up to date.

      “A long line of small railways”, has been an oft suggested title!

      • ChairmanFish 29 December, 2012, 5:58 pm

        Definitely a miniature railway in the field to the left of the drive leading up to the camp in the 60’s/70’s

  • peterd 29 December, 2012, 3:13 pm

    Hi Ian,

    Great to see these photos of the EHLR and the story about it’s creation and transfer to its present location. Do you have anything on the building of the railway?