About Millerbeck


The privately owned Millerbeck Light Railway is situated in the grounds of Millerbeck House, in the Lakeland village of Staveley-in-Cartmel, just a few minutes from Newby Bridge, and a quarter of a mile south of Lake Windermere and the National Trust's Fell Foot Park in Cumbria.


Although normally the private home of the owners, they and their volunteers, open the railway to the general public and private charters on an occasional basis throughout the year. Often called ‘Lakeland’s Best Kept Secret', this stunning and well respected railway
is well worth a visit!


The Railway runs through meadows and woodlands, and crosses the Millerbeck itself several times. The track twists and turns as it travels on varying gradients of up to 1 in 50 along its length of around a mile. This 7¼" gauge line operates steam, diesel and electric locomotives in this beautiful Lakeland setting.



History of Millerbeck


Construction was started in 1985 by the then owner Arthur Bailey and a group of three local friends. This private railway is built to track gauge measurements between the rails of 7¼". This is one of several gauges for miniature railways, ranging from 3½" to 18" gauge... but 7¼" gauge is regarded as one of the most practical of the smaller gauges, where a person can sit 'in' as opposed to 'on' both the carriages and locomotives.


This railway is modelled as a 'narrow gauge' railway, with different sizes of steam, diesel, and electric locomotives, similar to the 'little railways of Wales' that ran in and through quarries and mines. This gauge of railway does not prevent miniature versions of 'standard gauge' (4'8½") main line locos from running; their scale of build just makes them look smaller!


In 1990 and 2005 the Railway hosted the '7¼" gauge Society's A.G.M.' with over 60 locomotives visiting from all over Europe and, although not all running on the track at the same time, this was an incredible sight!


Usually the railway likes to run 4 or 5 passenger trains at a time, giving visitors a long ride of around a mile through the bends and turns of the track weaving through this picturesque setting in the heart of the Lakes.


Always Changing


As this is a working railway visitors will often see our volunteers working on and around the track. Goods trains moving supplies and equipment will sometimes be seen running on the track too, moving items used by the volunteers to maintain the smooth running for visitors. It should be said that without the volunteers this experience would be impossible to maintain.


Come rain or shine they will all be smiling, welcoming visitors of all ages to enjoy a day not to forget. It should also be said that our volunteers are not just here during our open days. Many often take days out of their week to work and maintain the track and it's infrastructure. They take great pride in what they have helped to build.


A railway requires constant maintenance of the track, signals, bridges, and buildings not to mention that of the rolling stock and locomotives. M.L.R. is run by the owners and a group of friends. We can often be found mowing grass, levelling track, oiling points, repairing, and painting.


There are signalmen, station staff, yard masters, drivers, and guards all enjoying the camaraderie of running a small railway... and of course being able to just sit back and enjoy the amazing views around the meadow while taking in the smells and sounds of running this 'little piece of fairyland'.


In 2001 the house and grounds were put up for sale with the likelihood that the railway could be ripped up and abandoned. Luckily Arnold & Judith Gorse, with their daughter Laura, bought the estate, so the railway now enjoys a more certain future.


Not everybody is an engineer or owns their own loco, but each contributes in their own way, usually spending many of their free Sundays throughout the year to care for this beautiful location.
Without the volunteers this famous railway couldn't continue, so a huge thank you to everyone who takes time out to help maintain this lovely location within the beautiful Lake District.