A trip on the train is the best way to see all of the Lower Gardens. Over 4.5km of narrow gauge track, weaves its way through the trees, revealing many pleasing vistas. The railway takes you around the lake and grounds passing the Castle Folly, the Tree Circle with the “Orb” and the newly installed “Long Sleeper” sculpture on the Spiral Mound before returning to the Station. The ‘Duchess of Difflin’ steam engine, with her carriages in the traditional red and cream livery of the “Wee Donegal” and the ‘Earl of Oakfield’ blue diesel engine give pleasure to children, Thomas The Tank Engine fans and enthusiast alike. Trains run at regular intervals each day and offer an excellent opportunity to view the lower gardens in comfort. The steam train runs on the last Sunday of the month ‘Steam Sunday’.
Tickets and departure times available at the pay booth on arrival. No booking required except for group visits. The trip will take about 15 minutes.
Difflin Lake Railway
Architect: A & E Wright, Belfast
Consultant: Martin’s Models Garden Railways, Herefordshire
Gauge: 15 inches (381mm)
Length of track: 4km (2.5 miles) including sidings
Rail: Steel, S7, 14lb/yard
Min. radius: 65 ft. (22 metres)
Ruling gradient: 1 in 30 straight, 1 in 45 curves
Sleepers: Part galvanised steel, part treated softwood.
Rail fixings: Clips throughout
Turnouts: 2 at 114 ft. (35 metre) radius,
3 at 91 ft. (28 metre) radius,
10 at 82 ft. (25 metre) radius,
Manufactured by Alan Keef Ltd
“DUCHESS OF DIFFLIN” 0-4-2T
Built by: Exmoor Steam Railway Co., Devon, England.
Delivered: February 2003, Works no. 317
Overall width: 45 inches (1.1 meters)
Length: 10 ft. (3.05 meters)
Height: 5 ft. 10 inches (1.8 meters)
Weight 3.2 tonnes approx.
Driving wheels: 14 inch (355mm) diameter.
Boiler pressure: 150 lb./sq. in.
Grate area: 1.4 sq. ft. (0.13 sq.m)
Two outside cylinders, bore 4.5/8 inch, stroke 7 inch
Crosshead driven mechanical lubricator
Air cylinder and controls for train air brake.
“EARL OF OAKFIELD” 0-4-0 Diesel loco.
Built by: Alan Keef Ltd, 2002, works number
Perkins 103.10 3-Cylinder Diesel engine
Hydrostatic transmission via chain drive to rear axle
Outside fly cranks and coupling rods
Length: 8 ft. (2.4m)
Height: 6 ft. (1.8m)
Width: 4 ft. (1.2m)
Built by: Alan Keef Ltd to an outline plan by Martin’s Models.
Steel under-frames, wooden bodies,
Third class bogie third compartment carriage,
Three third class compartments, each seating four passengers
Slatted wooden bench seats
Full height doors on both sides, glazed, with raising lights
Length over drawbars: 14’ 10.3/4”
Width 44 inches (1.1m)
Height 6 ft. (1.8m)
Electrically lit with battery
Brake first carriage
One first class compartment seating four passengers
Upholstered bench seats, carpeted floor
Luggage compartment with double doors
Fitted for carriage of a wheel chair(s)
Slatted wooden bench seats
Guard’s compartment with duckets on each side
Dimensions as third class carriage
2no., four wheelers, built by Alan Keef Ltd.
Following a design by Bassett-Lowke Ltd as supplied to Sir Arthur Heywood
Each carriage with two open compartments
Steel construction with slatted wooden seats
Each carriage to seat eight persons
All built by Alan Keef Ltd
One four-wheel open wagon with steel body.
Hand brake by lever