Back in our Summer holidays of 2016, we made a visit to the ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. This is a zoo on the outskirts of Luton. The Zoo also has its own Narrow Gauge Steam Railway (a big bonus! 😉 )
The Great Whipsnade Railway (Also known as the Jumbo Express) is a narrow gauge, railway and runs through the zoo at Whipsnade. Construction of the line started in 1970 and the starting line opened in August 1970.
Originally called the Whipsnade and Umfolozi Railway, it began life as a short length of line running near the Childrens Zoo at Whipsnade, this has now expanded into a loop which is now over a mile long.
The line has been equipped with equipment from the Bowaters Railway (formally known now as the Sittingbourne & Kemsley Light Railway, in Kent). The Railway has four steam locomotives and five diesels (one has now been sold to the Sittingbourne railway). Steam services run every half an hour, usually in the Summer Holidays.
No. 2 Excelsior at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo
Our locomotive in the video is No. 2 ‘Excelsior’. This is a steam locomotive built by ‘Kerr Stuart’ and is a 0-4-2 ST ‘Brazil’ Class of steam locomotive, Excelsior has a works number of 1049 and was built in 1908.
Excelsior was newly built for the Bowaters Paper Railway in Kent. The locomotive arrived at Whipsnade in 1970 and has been pulling passenger trains since.
- Visit the ZSL Whipsnade Zoo Website
For more information