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Colchester Zoo Miniature Railway

Discussion in 'Miniature Railways' started by Hicks19862, Oct 20, 2016.

  1. nine elms fan

    nine elms fan Active Member

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    I like a bit of nervous disposition, anything that gets the heart pumping that little bit more.
     
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  2. RLinkinS

    RLinkinS New Member

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    The Great Western 2-6-0 looks like the one that was built for the Saltwood miniature railway (near Hythe in Kent). It is quite distinctive as it has outside Walschaerts valve gear. It has now been rebuilt to represent a Southern U class called "River Itchen" I believe. The original dessign was by Henry Greenly.
     
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  3. richards

    richards Part of the furniture

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    Brief shot of the Chessington railway in action at this end of this video:

    (starts at 1'41" but watch from the beginning if you like 1960s southern electrics)
     
  4. richards

    richards Part of the furniture

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    And more here at 1'51" in colour:
     
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  5. Axe +1

    Axe +1 New Member

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    More years ago than I care to remember back in the mid-1960s whilst still at school, I worked at Chessington Zoo on Saturdays to earn some pocket money. Some days were spent at the boating pool ("come in number 5"), other days I was guard on the miniature train. To check the track was neither damaged or obstructed, the train had to run round the circuit prior to the zoo opening to visitors. During this test run we would stop at the storage facility (adjacent to the staff restaurant/cafe/greasy spoon? and not far from the monkey house) to top up the loco with petrol.

    My point is that at least during the 1960s the loco was powered by petrol fuel and not diesel as stated previously. I do recall that the motor was a reconditioned unit out of an old car of that time, but I cannot recollect the make of car from which it came.

    Chris
     
  6. 30854

    30854 Well-Known Member

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    The colour rendering in those old clips, like some colour stills I have from 'back then', always has a bit of a "candy stripe" quality and I could swear the locos and stock were a darker green than that. For those under about 40, grass did actually came in the same shades of green as today, though dog poo could also come in white (they used to pack out some tinned dog foods with chalk in those days).

    Those poor lions looked so bored (I always thought the same of the London Zoo bears, housed on the old Mappin Terrace in those days). The years of animal behaviour studies have payed off in the form of far better accomodation for captive animals. Roll on the human race learning not to keep destroying natural habitat.

    I remember the funfair roundabout .... as a great place to leave the family while six year old me snatched another ride on the train! I also recall one empty cage which, my Uncle Jan informed us gullible sprogs, housed the "Rainbow Coloured Oozlum Bird", insisting (with suitably serious face) we must have just missed it's daily performance! After half a century forgotten, that memory - along with the looks my Nan and Great Aunt Nell gave him - came back to me when thinking about this thread. Happy days!

    @Axe +1 Can you recall whether tickets were issued on the train during the 60's? Also, I've a vague memory of the only turnout (a trailing point when going clockwise around the circuit) being to access the sheds, 'outside' the loop and a few yards before the 'station'. Was that so?
     
  7. Shoddy127

    Shoddy127 Well-Known Member

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    The railway does still run but it is diesel only now, a diesel dressed up like a steam loco in fact and you have to pay extra to have a ride. It's a shame as a steam loco would really finish it off nicely but it's clearly about the convenience of maintenance and up keep by keeping it as a diesel service. We've just renewed our yearly passes as it's a great day out and my boys love it there. We also went to Colchester Zoo last year and it was great, well worth a visit too with as the yearly passes allow you to visit another 6 zoo's I think it is off the top of my head.
     
  8. Axe +1

    Axe +1 New Member

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    Yes, tickets for the Chessington Zoo entertainments (train, boating pool, and circus) were sold to visitors from 2(?) small man-sized ticket booths. I was required to ensure that only ticket holders were allowed on the train or boating pool.

    Yes there was a shed siding where the spare locomotive and carriages were stored. On busy days there were two trains running round the loop.

    Chris
     
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  9. nine elms fan

    nine elms fan Active Member

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    Was there a monorail at Chessington Zoo, I remember taking my children on one when they were young, it took us over the big cats enclosures if I remember right but not sure if it was Chessington or another Zoo.
     
  10. richards

    richards Part of the furniture

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    Have you tried searching on YouTube for Chessington Monorail?!
     
  11. nine elms fan

    nine elms fan Active Member

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    Yes just found it, called the "safari sky train" Thanks for that.
     

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