Lost ‘Little Giant’


Can you help?

Bassett Lowke Class 10 ‘Little Giant’ class 4-4-2 in the Breslau Amusement Park. Photo from The Little Giant Story: History of the Bassett-Lowke 15″ Gauge Little Giants and the Railways on Which They Ran.

Peter Bryant of Miniature Railway World is researching the history of the 15 in gauge miniature railway and (two?) Basset Lowke ‘Little Giant’ Atlantics that ran in the Breslau Vergnügungspark that was constructed as part of Breslau’s (pre-war Wroclaw’s) celebrations of the centenary of the Battle of Leipzig.

Peter is particularly interested in the subsequent history of the line. What happened when the amusement park closed? When the Breslau Zoological Garten expanded into the former amusement park grounds around 1935/7 did it take over the line as a going concern? When did the line close and what happened to the steam engines and rolling stock?

If you think you can help Peter with his research you can contact him directly at:

peter [at] miniaturerailwayworld [dot] co [dot] uk

or leave a comment here.

The original ‘Little Giant’ as displayed at the National Railway Museum.

9 Responses to “Lost ‘Little Giant’”

  1. Gavin Whitelaw Says:

    Possibly. If I knew what it actually was…

  2. Gavin Whitelaw Says:

    The loco still exists, is in good condition and is still steamable and I have emailed him about it.

    It is on a line near Koscian as far as I can remember when I saw it about two years ago. I will try and find out more today.

  3. Gavin Whitelaw Says:

    Is he sure that the Breslau Railway was 15 inch gauge? The custodian of the Chichowo Railway said that the loco had come from Wroclaw and it is dated 1937 on the builders plate. I can’t see there being TOO much of a market in Breslau for miniature locomotives from Britain when Krupps were capable of producing them!

    • dyspozytor Says:

      The loco(s) at Breslau was/were certainly bigger than the Cichowo Atlantic. You can check this by scaling both locos against the size of neighbouring humans. It does appear that the loco(s) and closed carriages which ran in the Breslau amusement park were the Basset Lowke international exhibition stock.

  4. Gavin Whitelaw Says:

    I think that it MAY have been a newer loco in 1937 and the line MAY have been regauged. It was amazing that the loco survived the war, I don’t think 3 locos (This one and the two LIttle Giants) would have been that lucky…

    • dyspozytor Says:

      Hmm. A very interesting theory which could just stack up.

      The 1937 date on the boiler of the Chichowo engine is significant in so far as that was about this time that the Breslau Zoo expanded into the former amusement park area. By this time the original loco(s) would have been some 30 years old and ready for re-boilering.

      A number of questions come to mind. Was the amusement park line originally laid to 15 in gauge or was it the narrower 12 in gauge? (Re-gauging from 15 in to 10 1/4 in would have been quite difficult; from 12 in to 10 1/4 in possibly less so.)

      Could the Zoo on acquiring the amusement park site have relaid the line to 10 1/4 in gauge and rebuilt the loco(s)? to suit?

  5. Peter Bryant Says:


    There is no way that the Class 10s that ran at Breslau, International Exhibition in 1913 were anything other than 15 inch gauge.

    Both the exhibition locomotives (assuming there were two) were 15″ gauge, and ran at other exhibitions in 15″, so it would make no sense to have new track, coaches and regauged locomotives for this, in a different gauge. So 99.9% it was 15 inch gauge.

    There are many differences, from the 1937 loco, compare the photo of Little Giant at the NRM, and this loco. Bassett Lowke also built smaller locos, so it is likely it is one of these. I think the builder is the only relation, and they should not be confused.

    I personally predict that after 1913, the railway didn’t stay at the exhibition, and was sold off somewhere else, which is why any stock is so hard to track. The line on Wikipedia about a 15″ line till 1945, in the zoo, could be just a mistake and mix up with the exhibition.

    Let’s keep the search up!


  6. Gavin Whitelaw Says:

    So, where did the 1937 loco come from then? It must have been in Breslau pre war and I was told that it was used during the war for training hence its survival. I know this isn’t the loco you are looking for and I presume they no longer exist, but it would be nice to find out more about the 10 1/4 in gauge loco that does survive. I don’t think the Basset Lowke archives survive however so any tracing may be difficult.

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