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Ribble Steam Railway
Preston Docks Swing Bridge - Linda (Princess).JPG
Linda crossing the swing bridge
Locale Preston, Lancashire, England
Terminus Riversway
Commercial operations
Name Ribble Branch Line
Built by North Union Railway
Original gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Preserved operations
Operated by Ribble Steam Railway
Stations 1
Length 1 12 miles (2.4 km)
Preserved gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Commercial history
Opened 1882; 141 years ago (1882)
Closed 1990s
Preservation history
Opened 2005
Strand Road - end of the line for the Ribble Steam Railway
The Ribble Steam railway terminus at Strand Road

The Ribble Steam Railway is a standard gauge preserved railway in Lancashire, in the United Kingdom. It was opened to the public on 17 September 2005, running along Preston Docks. The railway began by housing much of the collection from the previously closed Southport Railway Museum (Steamport), which was based in the old Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway engine shed at Southport (BR shed code 27C).

The railway lines around Preston Dock largely fell into disuse after the closure of the docks. A preservation group that was operating in Southport relocated to Preston in 1999 and started operations as the Ribble Steam Railway in 2005. Its operations base is at Preston Riverside but they run trains as far as Strand Road although there is no facility for locomotives to run round their train here.

The Riverside station is quite a way from Preston city centre, but proposals have been made for a platform to be constructed at Strand Road. This would be close to the Portway terminus of the Preston park and ride service, Guild Wheel walking trail and the River Ribble.


The project was first started in 1973, a preservation centre opened in Southport, on the former Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway steam shed at Derby Road, However, the shed was becoming a costly burden to handle for the museum, so a relocation scheme was started. Preston Docks was chosen as the new location for the museum. Preston Docks has a large railway network, that used to serve the vast docks and quays. But when the docks closed, the railway was not used. The project finally closed the Southport Railway Museum in 1999.

The project's new site now could be re-developed with new large workshops, platforms and a museum. The first building to open was the workshop, in 2001. Locomotives could now go into the building, and more space could now be utilised. Next to the workshop, is the machine shop, built in 1978. At the other end of the workshop is the visitor centre, which contains the museum, cafe, shop and railway platform. The museum was finally completed in 2004. The collection of locomotives (61, one on loan from the National Railway Museum, one from the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Trust. 55 are currently on site.), is one of the largest collection of locomotives in the United Kingdom.


The museum also operates passenger services to Strand Road Crossing and back, from its own station – Preston Riverside. The frequency of its trains is hourly, and are usually made up of two or more Mark 1 coaches and a small steam engine or diesel engine. This service is only operational in the summer months.

A separate company, Ribble Rail, handles the freight traffic that uses the dock lines. Ribble Rail takes over from the Colas Rail locomotive, and carries the load – Bitumen – down to the Total plant near the Preston Riverside station.

A Colas Rail-operated train arrives at the riverside sidings near Strand Road Crossing with loaded oil tanks. The locomotive uncouples, runs round and takes the empty wagons. This process occurs very early in the morning on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

From here Ribble Rail shunts these wagons to the siding serving the nearby Total bitumen plant. After unloading, Ribble Rail returns the wagons to the riverside sidings for pick-up.


The museum is currently located in an industrial estate, and is not well publicised. There were plans to build a station at the Strand Road Crossing, so that the railway could serve the busier side of the docks, in order that the line might be marketed as a passenger service in addition to pleasure rides.

One of the more recent projects that is now planned to be underway in 2017 is the installation of a turntable at Riverside station, this will allow the operational running fleet to be turned in a bid to even out flangewear, it will also be ideal for when visiting locomotives visit the line.

A L&YR signal box was bought for the railway. It will be restored to its original condition, and put near the Preston Riverside station. Main foundation works are now complete, now awaiting a block construction wall to sit the box on to.

There have also been plans to extend the railway to the Ribble Link canal. The route would offer 1.5 miles extra to the line, although plans for this have not been finalised as major funding streams need to be found, in order to raise the huge amount of funds required for such a significant project.

Strand Road Crossing

Red Flag man - - 829477
A train crossing Strand Road towards the docks in 1989

Strand Road Crossing (53°45′21″N 2°43′3″W / 53.75583°N 2.71750°W / 53.75583; -2.71750) is a level crossing in Preston, Lancashire. It is situated on a freight-only branch line from Preston railway station which is used by trains serving Preston Docks. The Ribble Steam Railway terminates adjacent to the level crossing and it is proposed that a station should be built on the site.

Preceding station Heritage Railways  Heritage railways Following station
Preston Riverside   Ribble Steam Railway   Terminus

Freight traffic

Preston Riverside - Ribble Rail 'Enterprise' (NS663)
A Ribble Rail locomotive and bitumen tank wagons

The only regular freight traffic in 2015 is bitumen which is brought in 15 tank wagons from Lindsey Oil Refinery for Total three times each week. After crossing the road it is taken a short distance further to a group of three railway tracks. The main line locomotive switches to a train of empty wagons while a small diesel locomotive takes the full train on to the Lanfina Siding which is adjacent to Lockside Road near Preston Riverside station.

Steam locomotives

The railway has a large collection of industrial steam engines and one main line locomotive.

  • FW = Facing Riverside
  • FE = Facing Strand Road

Operational steam locomotives

Number & Name Type Photograph Livery Notes
272 Grant, Ritchie and Company 0-4-0ST Grant Richie no 272.JPG Olive Green Built in 1894 as the only 0-4-0ST constructed by Grant, Ritchie and Company. After arriving in 2014, the locomotive was restored into service in September 2016. FW
No. 2680 "Courageous" Bagnall 0-6-0ST Preston Docks Exchange Sidings - Courageous with wreath.JPG Dark Lined Green Built in 1942. Returned to service in February 2014. Painted and renamed to resemble "Courageous", a long lost Preston Docks engine. Used to be named "Birchenwood No.4". FE
No. 21 Hawthorn Leslie 0-6-0ST Preston Docks Swing Bridge - Linda (Princess).JPG Blue Built in 1938, Works number No. 3931. Returned to steam in May 2015. Used to be named "Linda". FW

Steam locomotives undergoing overhaul or restoration

Number & Name Type Photograph Livery Notes
No. 20 Furness Railway 0-4-0 Furness Railway No 20.jpg FR Red Built in 1863. FE. Owned by the Furness Railway Trust. Boiler ticket expired in 2018. Overhaul planned to commence in 2019. Boiler was lifted from frames on 27 October 2018.
No. 53 "Windle" Borrows 0-4-0WT Borrows 0-4-0 no 53 "Windle".JPG N/A Built in 1909. Undergoing restoration, boiler removed for overhaul and unusable parts removed for eventual disposal. Loco currently sat inside the workshop. FW
No 1833 "Niddrie" Andrew Barclay 0-6-0ST Andrew Barclay 0-6-0 no 1833 "Niddrie".JPG Light Green Built in 1924. FE
No. 1925 "Caliban" Peckett and Sons 0-4-0ST N/A Built in 1937. Arrived on 14 July 2015 in pieces from Carnforth MPD. FE
No. 1935 "Hornet" Peckett and Sons 0-4-0ST Peckett and Sons 0-4-0 no 1935 "Hornet".JPG Light Green Built in 1937.
No 1999 "North Western Gas Board" Peckett and Sons 0-4-0ST Peckett and Sons 0-4-0 no 1999 "North Western Gas Board".JPG N/A Built in 1941.
No. 2343 "British Gypsum no 4" Andrew Barclay 0-4-0ST Barclay 0-4-0ST British Gypsum No 4.JPG British Gypsum Ocre Built in 1953. Undergoing long-term restoration by present owner. Formerly stored in the sidings at Carnforth MPD requiring major TLC, following purchase by present owner the engine moved to Preston and is now in the process of being restored.
No. 3155 "Walkden" Hunslet 0-6-0ST Hunslet 3155 Walkden Ribble Steam railway 15-07-2017 (35933552140).jpg WD Green Built in 1944. Boiler ticket expired in 2017 and is undergoing overhaul following a couple of years on display in the museum. FW
No 3793 "Shropshire" Hunslet 0-6-0ST Hunslet 0-6-0 no 3793 "Shropshire".JPG Dark Blue Built in 1953.
No. 30072 SR USA Class 0-6-0T SR USA Tank 30072.JPG KWVR Brown Built in 1943. Formerly based at the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway until 2015 when purchased by present owner and moved to Preston. Planned to return to the K&WVR on loan following completion of its overhaul.

Locomotives in storage

Number & Name Type Photograph Livery Notes
No. 25 Furness Railway 0-4-0ST N/A Built in 1865. Owned by the Furness Railway Trust. Parts have already arrived as of October 2018 but the whole locomotive is yet to come. Awaiting restoration to steam. Previously at Steamtown Carnforth. Frames arrived at Ribble Steam Railway in November 2018 but restoration will not start until No. 20's overhaul has been completed.
No. 26 Avonside 0-6-0ST N/A Built in 1918. Stored in a non-public access shed.
No. 48 "The King" Borrows 0-4-0WT Borrows 0-4-0 no 48 "The King".JPG Dark Green Built in 1906. Recently been moved into the shed for stripping down for future restoration. FW
No. 737 "Daphne" Peckett and Sons 0-4-0ST Maroon Built in 1899. Presently stored at the far end of the RSR in a siding out of public view.
No. 880 "Glenfield no 1" Andrew Barclay 0-4-0TC Ribble Steam Railway - crane tank (Geograph 5969353).jpg Light Green & black Built in 1902. Arrived on 21 October from the Chasewater Railway after purchase by private owner for future restoration to running order. FW
No. 1883 Avonside 0-6-0ST Avonside 0-6-0 no 1883.JPG N/A Built in 1922. Awaiting Restoration.
No. 1954 "Kinsley" Hunslet 0-6-0ST ? Built in 1939. Work began on her restoration before the move to Preston, but efforts have been focused on other locomotives since.
No. 3855 "Glasshoughton" Hunslet 0-6-0ST N/A Built in 1954. Boiler off site awaiting attention for the replacement of the inner firebox. Chassis is in a non-public access building. FE
No. 3696 "Respite" Hunslet 0-6-0ST Hunslet 0-6-0 no 3696 "Respite".JPG N/A Built in 1950. Stored awaiting major restoration.
No. 4979 "Wootton Hall" GWR 4900 Class 4-6-0 GWR 4979 Wootton Hall awaiting restoration.JPG N/A Built at Swindon Works in Feb 1930. Moved from Appleby heritage centre to Preston in October 2015. Restoration of the tender is underway with the hope of commencing restoring the loco in the foreseeable future which is estimated to cost over £300,000. FE

Diesel locomotives

The railway has a large collection of diesel locomotives either for shunting or use on passenger trains.

Operational diesel locomotives

Number & Name Type Photograph Livery Notes
No. 4 "Stanlow" Thomas Hill 0-4-0DH Preston Docks Exchange Sidings - Stanlow No 4 running round.JPG Green Built in 1966.
No. NS663 NS Class 600 0-6-0DE NS 663 on shed.jpg NS Green Built in 1956. Arrived at the railway in 2012 for varied use on bitumen trains and occasional passenger use.
No. D2148 British Rail Class 03 0-6-0DM Preston Riverside - D2148 (left side).JPG BR Green Built in 1960. Recently returned to service following a power unit swap.
No. D2595 British Rail Class 05 0-6-0 Preston Riverside station - D2595.JPG BR Blue Built in 1959. Probably the most regular diesel locomotive on passenger trains. One of the most powerful locomotives on the line.
No. D9539 British Rail Class 14 0-6-0DH Preston Riverside - D9537 and D9539.JPG BR Green Built in 1960.
No. 10165 "Energy" Sentinel 0-4-0DM Sentinel "Energy" at RSR.jpg Ribble Rail Blue Built in 1965. Sees occasional use on bitumen trains
No. 10283 "Progress" Sentinel 0-4-0DM Riverside workshops - Ribble Rail 'Progress'.JPG Ribble Rail Blue Built in 1968. Sees regular use on bitumen trains
No. E79960 Waggon und Maschinenbau railbus Ribble Steam Railway - railbus E79960.JPG BR Green Built in 1958. On loan from the North Norfolk Railway

Diesel locomotives under restoration / repair

Number & Name Type Photograph Livery Notes
No. 2677 "D2870" Yorkshire 0-4-0DH BR Green Built in 1960. Currently awaiting completion of replacement clutch mechanism.
No. 03189 British Rail Class 03 0-6-0DM 24.09.83 Birkenhead Mollington Street MPD 03189 (6191677017).jpg N/A Built in 1960. Currently undergoing a major overhaul.
No. 27653 "BICC" North British 0-4-0 Red Built in 1957.
No. 965 "Hotto" Howard 4wd Green Built in 1930.
No. 10282 "Enterprise" Sentinel 0-4-0DM Preston Riverside - Ribble Rail 'Enterprise' (NS663).JPG Ribble Rail Blue Built in 1968. Under repair

Diesel locomotives stored awaiting repair

Number & Name Type Photograph Livery Notes
No. D629 "Sparky" Hudswell Clarke 0-4-0DM Green Built in 1944. Currently awaiting restoration.
No. D1031 "Margaret" Hudswell Clarke 0-4-0DM N/A Built in 1956. Currently awaiting restoration.
No. 21999 "Fluff" Fowler 0-4-0DM Yellow Built in 1937. Owned by the Furness Railway Trust.
No. 2000 "Greenbat" Greenwood & Batley 4wdBE Green Built in 1945.

Locos on display in the museum

Locomotives that are not currently planned to be overhauled or if there is not a space available in the workshop are displayed inside the museum until they're called into the workshop.

Steam locomotives

Number & Name Type Photograph Livery Notes
No. 2 "Heysham" Andrew Barclay 0-4-0F Riverside Railway Museum - Heysham No 2.JPG Blue Built in 1928. Recently had a cosmetic overhaul. FW
No. 2 "Agecroft" RSH 0-4-0ST Riverside Railway Museum - Agecroft No 2.JPG Green Built in 1947. Boiler ticket expired in late 2008, and the loco will be on display in the museum until workshop space is available. FW
No. 19 "Pug" L&YR Class 21 0-4-0ST Riverside Railway Museum - LYR 19.JPG Black Built in 1910. FE
No. 1147 "John Howe" Andrew Barclay 0-4-0ST The "John Howe" ready to roll (7189409214).jpg Green and Black Built in 1908. Boiler certificate expired in May 2015 and on display in the museum. FE
No. 1439 LNWR 0-4-0ST Riverside Railway Museum - LNWR 1439.JPG Lined green Built in 1862. FE
No. 1598 "Efficient" Andrew Barclay 0-4-0ST Riverside Railway Museum - Efficient.JPG Lined green Built in 1918. FW
No. 1568 "Lucy" Avonside 0-6-0ST Avonside "Lucy" at RSR.jpg Green Built in 1909. FW
No. 1636 Fonmon Peckett and Sons 0-6-0ST Peckett 0-6-0ST 1636 Fonmon at Spa Valley Railway.jpg Lined Green Built in 1924. Last worked in 2009 at the Spa Valley Railway. Arrived in 2016 and will eventually be returned to working order.
No. 1865 "Alexander" Andrew Barclay 0-4-0ST Riverside Railway Museum - Alexander (without nameplate).JPG Green Built in 1926. Requires boiler repairs. FW
No. 1969 "JN Derbyshire" Andrew Barclay 0-4-0ST Riverside Railway Museum - J N Derbyshire.JPG Lined black Built in 1929. Arrived at the railway in 2005. FW
No. 2003 Peckett and Sons 0-4-0ST Middleton Railway.jpg Blue Built in 1941. On loan from the Middleton Railway. FW
No. 8024 "Gasbag" Sentinel 0-4-0 Riverside Railway Museum - Gasbag.JPG Blue Built in 1929. Boiler ticket expired in 2008. FE
No. 9373 "St Monans" Sentinel 0-4-0 Sentinel "St. Monans" at RSR.jpg N/A Built in 1947. FW

Diesel and electric locomotives

Number & Name Type Photograph Livery Notes
No. D628 "Mighty Atom" Hudswell Clarke 0-4-0DM Riverside Railway Museum - Mighty Atom.JPG Green Built in 1943.
No. 788 English Electric 0-4-0BE Riverside Railway Museum - English Electric 788.JPG English Electric Green Built in 1930.
No. 4160001 Fowler 0-4-0DM Riverside Railway Museum - Persil.JPG Blue built 1952.

Operational locos elsewhere

Steam locomotives

Number & Name Type Photograph Livery Notes
No 2890 "Douglas" Hunslet 0-6-0 Austerity locomotive of the East Lancashire Railway.jpg Black with Red Lining Built in 1943. Is a converted tender locomotive from a standard Hunslet Austerity. Returned to Service in September 2017. Dressed to resemble Douglas from Thomas & Friends. Arrived from Mid Hants Railway in 2013/14. Currently on loan to the East Lancashire Railway.
No. 3794 "Cumbria" Hunslet 0-6-0ST BattlefieldLineCumbriaWD194.jpg FR Red Built in 1953. Returned to steam in May 2015, presently on loan to the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Railway.
No. 5643 GWR 5600 Class 0-6-2T Crowcombe Heathfield - 5643 in up train.JPG BR Green, Late Crest Built at Swindon Works in 1925. Currently on loan to the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Railway.
No. 52322 (1300/12322) L&YR Class 27 0-6-0 LMS 12322 (14109469652).jpg BR Black, Early Crest Built in 1896. Currently on loan to the East Lancashire Railway.

Diesel locomotives


Former RSR Residents

Steam locomotives

Number & Name Type Photograph Livery Notes
No. 2261 ('No 6' "Fife Flyer") Andrew Barclay 0-4-0ST Andrew Barclay 0-4-0ST No 6 "Fife Flyer".JPG Dark Green Built in 1949, sold a new owner in early 2016 and departed for The Cambrian Railway in August 2016.
No. 46441 British Railways LMS Ivatt Class 2 2-6-0 Riverside Railway Museum - BR 46441.JPG BR Maroon Built at Crewe Works in 1950. Formerly based at the East Lancashire Railway. Moved to the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway in April 2018. Presently undergoing an overhaul.

Diesel locomotives

Number & Name Type Photograph Livery Notes
No. 2098 English Electric NS Class 600 0-6-0DE Riverside Railway Museum - NS 601 (bonnet end).JPG Yellow & Grey Built in 1955. Left RSR for Netherlands State Railway.
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