Model of HP1

    Our story

    Fireless steam

    Kenavon Railway Society was set up in 2003 to assist with returning the preserved fireless steam locomotive "Huntley & Palmers No.1" to Reading for public display.

    The name "Kenavon" (a shortened form of Kennet & Avon) is derived from the road named Kenavon Drive, which was built on the site of the former Huntley & Palmers biscuit factory in Reading.

    "Huntley & Palmers No.1" (popularly known as HP1 or The Biscuit Train), and its sister HP2, worked at the biscuit factory from 1932 to 1969, when the internal railway system closed.

    HP2 was scrapped but HP1 was preserved, initially at Didcot Railway Centre. It later moved to the West Somerset Railway and then to the Cholsey & Wallingford Railway.

    In 2003, Jane Griffiths (who was Member of Parliament for Reading East at the time) started a campaign to bring the locomotive back to Reading for public display and Kenavon Railway Society was set up to assist with this.

    Unfortunately, no suitable site in Reading could be found in time and the locomotive was put up for sale and bought by a railway enthusiast in Yorkshire.  If it comes up for sale again in the future, we may well make a further attempt to acquire it.


    We retain an interest in fireless steam and try to keep track of preserved examples in Britain.  There are over 20 of these and a list (now rather out-dated) appears in Wikipedia.

    Only one of the preserved locomotives in known to be in working order.  This is at the Scottish Industrial Railway Centre  and a video can be seen here.

    Model railways

    With its own preservation project on hold, Kenavon Railway Society re-invented itself by putting on an annual model railway exhibition, in February each year, to raise money for other railway preservation projects.

    In 2019, this remains the Society's main activity but it is very flexible and is ready to take up new opportunities, in the railway preservation field, as they arise.