In late 1969, the locomotive sheds at Galen Junction were destroyed in an explosion. After the site was cleared, it remained empty until 1971, when Caracus Smash made the decision to relocate his business, Caracus Smash Ltd, to the Junction. At the same time, it was decided between the railway's manager, Otthaniel Dark, and the chairman of the Dark Railway Preservation Society to also construct a railway museum on the site to house some of the line's locomotives which were coming out of service for overhaul, as the new workshops would not be ready for some time. It was also seen as a way to give visitors a reason to stop at the station again, which had been lacking since it had been closed as a changeover station for British Rail.
The museum opened in mid-1971 after an official opening ceremony. Although visitor numbers were expected to be modest, the months that followed saw a surprisingly high number of visitors attend, many wishing to learn of the stories being told by the engines on display inside.
Layout and FacilitiesEdit
The museum consists of two buildings: a large six road railway building where the locomotives and rolling stock are displayed, and a smaller building at the rear where most of the memorabilia is displayed. The main building also houses a gift shop, cafe and toilets. The museum can be accessed either by road, with a large car park at the back of the complex for visitors to leave their cars, or by rail, where there is a footpath that takes visitors across the running line towards the museum.
The museum hosts a large number of exhibits, including both rolling stock and memorabilia. The locomotives currently on display in the museum are:
- DR Hawthorn Leslie 0-4-0ST No. 2 "Otto"
- GWR 2251 Class 0-6-0 No. 3200 ("Eddie")
- L&NWR Class G2 Super D 0-8-0 No. 49450 ("Colossus")
- BR Class 40 1Co-Co1 No. D208 "Turbo"
A selection of other rolling stock is also on display, including a set of L&YR and S&DJR coaches, a steam crane, the 5-plank wagon and brake van owned by the DRPS and a variety of other goods wagons.
On the wall of the museum building are mounted the number and builder's plates of the three locomotives destroyed in the shed explosion in 1969: LMS Class 3F Jinty 0-6-0T No. 47407 ("Colin"), BR Class 20 Bo-Bo No. D8198 ("Cammer") and BR Class 02 0-4-0 No. D2992 "Owen". The building is dedicated to the memory of these locomotives.
The Dark Railway SeriesEdit
- Series 7 - Rollerskate Disco, What a Clarence!, and The Man in Overalls
- Series 8 - One More Time (mentioned), Revolution 909, Face to Face, The Great Custard Cream Robbery, and Colossus
- The main museum building is taken from the Marsdonshire route available from Just Trains. This in turn is based on the main museum building at Locomotion, the National Railway Museum outpost at Shildon.
|Locations on The Dark Railway|
|Colhapper • Galen Junction • Axley • Lake (closed) • Walschurch • Upway • Manston Fore • Merecombe • Soma • Merecombe Gasworks (closed) • Merecombe Industrial Estate (closed)|
|Motive Power Depots|
|Colhapper Shed • Galen Junction Shed (closed) • Merecombe Shed|
|Points of Interest|
|Galen Junction Railway Museum • Caracus Smash Ltd • Walschurch Viaduct • Upway Bank • Gasworks Tunnel Incline (closed)|