Models - RAR Information

This article was published May 17, 2012.

Although generally less well known than some of their other, larger narrow gauge brethren, Britain's 18in gauge steam railways played an important part in the progress of locomotive and rolling stock design during the formative years of narrow gauge railways.


The Royal Arsenal Railway system for example, at its zenith during the First World War, with over 60 locomotives and approx 100 miles of permanent way, was the most extensive steam worked narrow gauge railway ever to have seen operation on the British mainland.

It all started in 1862 when mr John Ramsbottom at the Crewe Works installed 18in rails for transporting boilers and other materials inside the Works. After that the military did see how well it worked and did start developing there own railway system, following the same setup. 18 inch was the smallest practical gauge they could use at the same time as it could go through very sharp curves around buildings inside the area.

Royal Arsenal in Woolwich

Royal Arsenal Railway in Woolwich or RAR for short, was the biggest site for 18in military lines. It contained over 100 miles of permanent way and had over 60 locomotives.

The first locomotive for Woolwich Lord Raglan, was made 1871 by Manning and Wardle and it remained in service until shortly after the outbreak of World War One.

Chatham Dockyards

It's purpose was to transport goods from storage to ships in the docks and back. They had a very extensive network of 18in rails around the area.

Royal Gunpowder Mills at Waltham Abbey

Main purpose of this internal network was to handle transport of very delicate explosives between buildings and out to barges and standard gauge tracks outside the area.

Deptford supply depot

Was strictly created to handle transport of war supplies from the british mainland to the front, during WW1.

Crewe Works

Crewe Works is a railway workshop. They made rolling stock for all kinds of railways around the globe. It was here it all started in 1862 when mr John Ramsbottom started internal 18in rails for transporting boilers and other materials.

Horwich Works

Horwich Works is another railway workshop with same 18in rails as in Crewe.

Sand Hutton Railway

Sand Hutton Railway was originally 15in gauge but got converted to 18in. All of the new rolling stock was ex. war equipment from Deptford supply depot.

Mines with 18in gauge

There have been several mines with 18in gauge, not only in Britian but around the hole world. Even Sweden had some.