15 Minutes With… Exmouth Miniature Railway
When Exmouth’s Fun Park closed in 2017, East Devon locals Henry Mock and Romy Langley went on a mission to find the much-loved Exmouth Express with the aim of restoring mini-rail joy to Devon locals and visitors… with no prior experience!
Q: I’m guessing this isn’t your first foray into the world of trains? This is actually our first time! Henry has enjoyed miniature railways since he was little and has fond memories of riding the Exmouth Express, but that’s it as far as experience goes. We both have quite different backgrounds, I’m an event manager for a charity and Henry is a tree surgeon.
Q: What made you go looking for the Exmouth Express after the fun park closed? When the park closed in 2017 we didn’t quite have the funds to purchase the railway at the time. Lappa Valley purchased the loco and had kept it at their site in Cornwall since then, gathering rust and not in use. After saving for a few years, we brought the Exmouth Express home at the end of 2019 and couldn’t wait to get started on her restoration.
Q: Tell us more about the restoration… The Exmouth Express needed A LOT of TLC. Her engine was about 40 years old and unfortunately there was no chance of saving it, so that needed to be replaced. We replaced the wheels and running gear too. We also wanted to put the cab back onto the locomotive which she had when she first came to the seafront in 1980. Then it was onto the colour – the Exmouth Express has been many colours through her time but we wanted to restore her to green like she was when she first arrived. We also wanted to give the carriages a facelift and so they’re now a cream and brown just like the old GWR carriages.
The lockdowns allowed us to spend a lot of time in the workshop. Henry worked many long hours with his late father Tim who had incredible mechanical mind and was instrumental in getting the Exmouth Express to where she is now.
Q: Part of the work was making the Exmouth Express portable. Why was this decision made? When we purchased the railway, we didn’t have a permanent site to go to, so we decided to run as a portable miniature railway, taking inspiration from Whitfield Light Railway in Yorkshire. Since the beginning of 2021 we have been working with the council to see what options we could have for a temporary site this year in Exmouth. We were offered to share the Queen’s Drive Event Space with the Anderton & Rowland funfair and Bubble Fun and we snapped it up. We really hope we can bring some joy to the locals and holidaymakers this year!
Q: How has the feedback been so far? We’ve met many people who remember riding the miniature railway and are now riding with their children and grandchildren! We’ve also had some of the community share photos of their parents and grandparents on previous locomotives that were on the seafront too. It’s been so nice to have such positive messages from everyone!
Find the Exmouth Express on Exmouth seafront most weekends from now until the 31st of October, and at other attractions around Devon including the Mid Devon Show and Newton Abbot Country Show. For updates visit www.facebook.com/exmouthminirail and for more pictures of the restoration visit
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This manageable there and back route offers easy walking and wheeling along the eastern side of the reservoir and to the dams, plus additional access to the wildlife trail in the Burrator Arboretum