Luscombe Valley Steam Collection in Dorset
Richard Knott's first introduction to live steam at the age of 12 was when his father bought him "Maisie" (see below) - a three and a half inch gauge locomotive.
It proved to be a defining moment. Richard would lie in bed at night and dream of building a railway around Poole Park, imitating the existing line that had been there since 1949.
And the dream didn't stop there. It became a lifelong ambition to have a railway in his garden, accessible at any time of the year. On moving to his current Poole address in 1986, the virtual railway dream turned into railway reality: the dwelling house was found to have a half acre site of spare land attached to it.
Full Steam Ahead …
Plans were drawn up in 1988 and work commenced early in 1989. The railway was created not only by Richard but also by his long-time friend John Biss.
A gang of (mostly retired) volunteers created the railway, which was officially opened in December 1996.
However, Richard is at pains to point out that a build of this calibre is never really finished, as there is an ongoing process of development and maintenance.
And so the Luscombe Valley Railway was born.
Unsurprisingly, this only served to heighten his interest in all gauges of live steam locomotives. He has numerous interests in all manner of these, with varying gauges, ranging from three and a half inches up to ten and a quarter - even full-sized locos.
He has, over the years, been privileged to have driven many full-sized, steam locomotives, including the most famous of all - "The Flying Scotsman", on the East Lancashire Railway.
He is interested in all forms of steam transport and has achieved his goal of collecting one of each form. There is one exception: the steam-powered aircraft!
His collection of road steam vehicles encompasses a one third scale, Foster crane engine, a 4.5 inch Foden showman's wagon, a full-sized, two-seater replica steam car and a 30 ft long Edwardian-style steam launch. The final addition is a restored STANLEY MODEL R from 1909 now out and running in the local area and further abroad.