So there I was walking the towpath of the Ripon Canal when, on the far bank, I saw what looked like the remains of an industrial railway.
I continued to the next bridge, crossed it and then worked my way back through some modern housing to find what I had seen. It turned out to be the Ripon & District Light Railway.
As its website says:
The permanent 2' gauge railway uses Hudson track and rolling stock and Lister locomotives. Its purpose is to move maintenance materials around a small development of houses and light industrial workshops - and to play trains!The owner, Neill Clayton, was friendly and explained that all the track and rolling stock had been purchased elsewhere and brought to the site. He showed me some of the treasures in his collection - the wagons I saw across the canal had come from an old sewage farm railway system.
And the name? Neill's website explains:
Ripon & District Light Railway draws its name and inspiration from a 1904 proposal to build a 2'6" gauge line linking Fountains Abbey and Ripon town with the North Eastern Railway's main-line station at Ripon.
The project was welcomed by the City Council - until they realised how much disruption would be caused by laying track through medieval streets. The North Eastern Railway played on these fears - and won approval for their novel 'motor bus' service as an alternative.