PoppyBuilt in 2004, Poppy was the first steam engine at Poplar, coming from the Grosvenor Park Railway in Chester, where she was called Stevie B after the owner of that line.

Poppy’s design is known as a Thomas II. The first of the class was built by Roger Marsh for the Beer Heights Miniature Railway in Devon, where they already had a loco called Thomas. It’s modelled on a Hunslet narrow gauge tank engine that worked in North Wales and, like the prototype, Poppy is built for heavy commercial use, with features making her simple to operate and rugged. Poppy carries water in side tanks as well as the tender making her an 0-4-2T and T designation.

Poppy has been the mainstay of our services since 2014 and has covered over 2000 miles around out 1/5 mile circuit in that time. At Poplar she has had extensive re-engineering to correct some build defects as well as modifications to improve her reliability.

She is a very easy and comfortable engine to drive, with ample power and a very good boiler that makes plenty of steam. Poppy weighs nearly 3/4 ton in working order.

Popular LadyPoplar Lady was built new for our line in 2013 and is the third loco of this type built by the builders, Ride On Railways of Romford. The design is based on a diesel locomotive built for the Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway in Kent.

Poplar Lady is powered by batteries and has 8 motors driving all four axles. She has electronic control similar to that used on hybrid cars and has both regenerative and vacuum braking systems.

The loco is well liked by our drivers as she is easy and comfortable to operate, as well as being instantly available for use when compared to a steam engine.

A full charge of the batteries will last all day in normal service although we keep the batteries topped up during the day to prolong their life.

Poplar Lady operates our off-peak services, usually in the mornings before the steam engines are ready, or on quieter midweek days.

She was overhauled for the 2018 season, after over 800 hours and 3000 miles of service at Poplar.


Freddy is the newest arrival at Poplar and was brand new when he arrived at railway in 2018.

Made by Station Road Steam in Lincolnshire, Freddy is one their standard designs known as a large Stafford, which is made using computer design and controlled machinery, just like a modern car. This makes Freddy very simple to maintain and ensure that all of his parts are made to a very high standard.

Freddy carries his water in a large saddle tank, like the prototype Bagnall steam engines on which he is based. He has a marine type firebox, which requires a different driving technique to Poppy and operates at a higher pressure of 150lbs per square inch. Freddy has a distinct roar and is very powerful for his size.

Freddy does not yet have a tender, so the driver sits on an adapted coach. It is planned to build a tender for Freddy that will match his colourful paintwork.

Freddy is named in honour of Flt Officer Frederick Southon RAF, who served in 83 Squadron as a Pathfinder in WW2. He died on his 43rd mission in April 1943 when his Lancaster was shot down over Holland.


The latest addition to our fleet, Tommy is the second loco at Poplar to carry that name and is modelled on a Great Eastern tram locomotive. Unlike his predecessor (see below) Tommy is a fully working locomotive that can pull a couple of coaches round our circuit if required, but we have decided to use him on a short track so that children can drive him themselves. Tommy was built in 2019 and has already proved extremely popular with our younger customers.


AliceALICE operated at Poplar from 2015 until 2018 and was one of the largest engines on this gauge in the country. Weighing in at well over a ton, she is a scale replica of an American narrow gauge Baldwin loco that used to operate in Maine.

ALICE has a 2-4-2 wheel arrangement and is 12ft long including the tender. American engines were designed for ease of maintenance rather than beauty and this gives ALICE her rugged good looks and plain black livery.

She came to us from the Van Hage garden centre near Ware and was used on busier days and our night trains. Alice was a great favourite with the operating staff at Poplar but was really too heavy for our railway. Whilst at Poplar extensive mechanical work undertaken on her, before she left for pastures new in early 2018.

YeoYeo is a 1/3rd scale replica of an engine that was built in the 1895 for the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway in North Devon. The original Yeo was one of three engines named after local rivers and ran until 1935 when the line closed.

Our Yeo was built by well known company Milners in 1979 for the Gorse Blossom Railway in Devon. It was one of a pair, the other being in the National Railway Museum.

Yeo is one of the largest and most powerful engines available in 7 1/4" gauge and is a very well known engine. Weighing almost a ton she has no flanges on the centre driving wheels to allow her to negotiate tight curves. Yeo carries the livery that the prototype was delivered in back in 1895.

TOMMY ( 1 )

For the 2017 season we had a coin operated tram, that operated as a stand alone ride for small children.

A great favourite with the kids, Tommy came to us from a closed railway in Weston Super Mare. Built as a kiddie ride rather than a true locomotive, Tommy was not very robust and was hard to maintain in service. Track alterations and a new station layout meant that Tommy was sold in 2018.


Big Toby and Stinky Pete are a pair of small locomotives powered by a single cylinder Petter PAZ1 engine that has to be hand cranked to start.

They were built by an engineer in Norfolk for his private line and arrived at Poplar in 2017.

Of the two, Toby is built to resemble the famous Great Eastern Railway steam tram engines, whilst Stinky Pete is based on a Lister industrial loco design, frequently used at quarries and brickworks.

Simple and basic machines, they are cramped, noisy and dirty but work very well, pulling 3 coach loaded trains on occasions. Toby and Stinky Pete are currently at our private railway in North Essex but return when needed at Poplar