About this image
A specially posed view of 0-6-0T locomotive 'Ella' and train on Sir Arthur Heywood's 15-inch gauge Duffield Bank Railway. This section of the railway ascended the steep eastern slopes of the Derwent Valley on gradients of 1 in 10 and 1 in 12 via a hairpin bend of 25-foot radius in order to link the railway workshops with the 'main line' of the DBR. The latter resembled a giant model railway and was constructed in a dumbbell configuration within an area of woodland and old quarries above Heywood's Duffield Bank mansion and was complete with stations, tunnels and a wooden viaduct. The train seen here would have weighed at least 5 tons and as such would have been far too heavy for 'Ella' to have actually hauled up this incline.
Sir Arthur Heywood (1849-1916) came from a wealthy family of Manchester bankers and with a passion for mechanical engineering devoted much of his life to developing a 'minimum gauge' railway system that would prove an economic alternative to the horse and cart. He envisaged that this would be ideal as a light railway on country estates (he built one such line at Eaton Hall, the Duke of Westminster's seat near Chester) and also sought to interest the Military in his ideas. The Duffield Bank Railway, which existed from 1874 until 1916, was constructed both to develop and demonstrate the 'minimum gauge' principle and attracted much attention from both professional and amateur observers, although in the event his concept was not widely adopted.
'Ella' was the second locomotive built by Heywood (it was named after one of his daughters) and was completed at Duffield Bank in 1881. It remained on the DBR until the line closed in 1916 and was subsequently requisitioned (somewhat ironically) by the Ministry of Munitions for use at the Gretna shell factory in Scotland. After this use had finished it ended up on the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway in Cumbria where it was extensively used up to withdrawal in 1926. It was then dismantled with parts going into a shortlived internal combustion locomotive. Today, its main frames and side tanks survive, the latter now fitted to a different locomotive on the R&ER, the former preserved in the line's museum. Some smaller components are also incorporated into the railway's 1969-built 4-6-4DH locomotive No 7 'Shelagh of Eskdale'.