After the Isle of Wight, I travelled to the Hollycombe Steam Collection on the Sunday, where drizzle replaced sun, but the welcome was no less warm. The collection here is nationally significant, particularly the steam fairground, with some unique rides and a fantastic atmosphere. There are traction engines, stationary engines, a steam farm, and the railway bits which we’ll have a quick look at in a minute. I met with Trustee Brian Gooding and Michael Cates, the Project Director who has some really interesting plans for the future. But first, here’s part of the fairground, with the 1896 Burrell showmans’ engine “Emperor” to the fore and the unique “razzle dazzle” ride behind it, driven by steam and it just has to be experienced – even if only once!
Next size up is the Woodland Railway of nominal 2 feet gauge, stalwart of which is the ex Dinorwic Hunslet loco “Jerry M”, waiting here for train time under the old Hayling Island station canopy. The line runs for a mile and a half and has some amazing views – well they would be without the rain and mist…
Currently awaiting an overhaul is “Commander B”, an 1899 Hawthorn Leslie – the oldest survivor of its make. This operates a short standard gauge line laid with former Longmoor Military Railway track. The loco is named after the late Commander Baldock who founded the collection.
Last but not least are the remains of the 1870s built 3 foot gauge Aveling & Porter traction tram engine “Excelsior”, derelict since the 1920s at Scout Moor Quarries, Lancashire and has led a peripatetic existence in preservation since the 1960s. Almost picturesque in decay, a huge amount of material would be lost if it were to be restored and maybe the only choice for it now is to be conserved as it is – a fantastic survivor.