Help us to continue raising funds for the Evelina

by Riley’s Miniature Railway in Isfield, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 27th October 2019 we successfully raised £1,562 with 18 supporters in 55 days

With fares and donations collected being sent to the Evelina Children’s Hospital, London, a little financial help is needed with maintenance

by Riley’s Miniature Railway in Isfield, England, United Kingdom

New stretch target

Running a miniature railway is not cheap. Additional funds would be very welcome to go towards insurance costs, both public liability and to cover the locomotives and stock. Maintenance is a constant battle with rotten wooden sleepers continually needing replacing, as well as replacing worn rail. Fencing, loco sheds and station canopy all require maintenance either with paint or wood preservative. Loco and stock also require maintenance and in the future will require further wheel sets and batteries, etc.

Riley's Miniature Railway is a not for profit railway with 100% of fares and donations made being sent to the Evelina Children's Hospital in London. Charging a very reasonable 50p per person per ride, we give rides to both children and adults alike. We are one of the few, ground level, 5 inch gauge railway's open to the public in the UK and as such, is considered to be the smallest practical ride on track gauge. We are run entirely by volunteers who give up their spare time to give pleasure to families and to raise funds for this very worthwhile charity.  

It is located at The Lavender Line at Isfield Station, Near Uckfield, East Sussex, TN22 5XB. This is a delightful standard gauge heritage railway with preserved steam and diesel locomotives offering a two mile round trip.  

With all the fares and donations collected being sent to the Evelina Children's Hospital in London we are completely against taking money from raised funds knowing they go to such a worthwhile charity. We are in need of financial help to assist in the maintenance of this much loved miniature railway which is now showing signs of wear and tear and is essential we keep the railway safe, however we also have plans to help with the efficient running of the railway. 

It's all dependent on how much we raise but the money would be spent on track work such as replacing worn rail, sleepers, ballast, a new point and materials for a new loco shed. Any additional funds raised would be secured in a pot for future maintenance such as new wheels/bogie sets for passenger wagons, paint, wood preservative, fencing, etc. 

We thank you in advance for you financial contribution and support in helping to keep this miniature railway going, which in turn helps a very worthwile charity. All updates to be posted at 

For further information on why we raise money for the Evelina Children's Hospital and the history of Riley's Miniature Railway, please see below:

Riley's Miniature Railway exists because of a little boy called Riley who was born at the Evelina Children’s Hospital in London on Christmas Day of 2010. He was born with six separate heart defects, including a hole in the heart, reversed arteries, back to front valves and various conditions that made his arteries thick, which made it difficult for blood to pump around his body.

One year, three operations and two procedures later, he made it home to celebrate his first birthday. Over the years Riley has needed constant care and monitoring since his birth. He has had several operations and is still to this day very much under the care of the Evelina Children's Hospital, which incidentally is part of Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Trust. Naturally, the Evelina cannot be thanked enough!

Grandparents Larry and Sandra Lewis from Bexhill on Sea, East Sussex wanted a way of raising money for the Evelina but knew that a skydive, climbing a mountain, running a race or riding from Land's End to John o' Groats wasn't going to happen.  Having an interest in model engineering, miniature railways and railway's in general, Larry and Sandra, were at the time involved with a 5 inch gauge miniature railway at Knockhatch Adventure Park in Hailsham, East Sussex.

Around the same time news was given that this railway was due to close. Subsequently, Larry and Sandra had a great idea of constructing and running a charity railway where children and families could benefit, with all fares and donations collected going to the Evelina Children's Hospital.

Several attractions and places of interest were considered, however after a conversation with the management at the Lavender Line at Isfield Station, East Sussex, their idea was welcomed with opened arms. The Lavender Line had realised how this would benefit the Evelina and of course the Lavender Line itself and were very pleased to offer a rent free site, meaning all money collected could be sent to the Evelina. Larry and Sandra were and still are very grateful for the Lavender Line's kindness and support.

The site was surveyed and the best location found to construct the mini railway. It was decided to lay the track at the back of platform two with its station located just to the north of the gift shop. Track was obtained, with the points from Knockhatch being available for re-use. Donation's of ballast, fencing and other materials were gratefully received. Larry already had a diesel outline battery powered Class 73 loco in his possession, although a passenger and drivers wagon had to be built.

Opened in July 2011, the railway had been constructed and maintained by Larry and Sandra almost single handedly with assistance on hand, notably with the construction of two loco/carriage sheds, turntable and station canopy. Over the years, further locomotives have been sourced and sidings have been added. The track has continued to creep northwards, making the journey longer and longer.

A signal box, tunnel and girder bridge have also been constructed and various advertising signs from days gone by can be seen in the station. Much time has spent creating lovely flower beds which are full of colour in the spring and summer months. Miniature vehicles and figurines have been added to the line side, all of this brings a little interest to the journey and would appear to be appreciated by all.

Riley's Miniature Railway has become a welcomed addition to the Lavender Line with the word of it being there slowing spreading. Kids as well as adults enjoy visiting and riding on the little railway and apart from a disaster back in August 2013 where considerable damage was caused to the track and line side fencing by several escaped cows, the railway has gone from strength to strength.

More importantly though, Riley's Miniature Railway has proved to be a great way of raising funds for the Evelina Children's Hospital with well over £10,000 having been collected and donated since 2011. Considering this has been made up from 50p fares per person per ride and small donations, that's pretty good going.

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