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Abandoned rails in the road.....(or elsewhere...)


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2 hours ago, ejstubbs said:

South of Millerhill village in Midlothian, the buffer stop at the end of what I believe to be the only section of track still in situ on the route of the defunct Edinburgh, Loanhead and Roslin Railway:

 

DSC_2939.png.c8093b20722a22b417b031c1a4f03947.png

 

Behind the photographer is the old alignment of Millerhill Road, which crossed the railway by an overbridge, few if any signs of which still remain.  (It looks as if the road has been re-laid since the line was truncated there.)  Beyong that is the route of the new Borders Railway, with the new alignment of Millerhill Road beyond that.

 

Just visible in the undergrowth on the left of the track in the above photo is the still-illuminated position light signal number EM41:

 

DSC_2942.png.f7ecda887d204a09642b326a9ce76567.png

 

(There is a facing turnout a score or so yards further along.)

 

The tracks run across a field, with mature/overgrown hedgerows along each side but nothing in the way of effective fencing.  It's easy enough with a long lens to get photos without actually encroaching on the track.

 

The tracks which in the photos above are running east-west curve through 90° to cross under Old Craighall Road on a north-south alignment.  Note another still-illuminated signal to the left of the track (I couldn't get close enough to that one to see its number):

 

DSC_2948.png.0a6eb5f2a69e567322a724adfe9148cd.png

 

(I'm pretty sure that this is effectively a remnant of the Waverley Route - or the Edinburgh & Dalkeith Railway as it originally was at this point.  The maps on the NLS web site do show the EL&RR branching off the E&DR south of Millerhill  station, which seems to have been on the site where the new building is is being constructed in the photo.)

 

Last bit of actual track, looking north from the Old Craighall Road overbridge towards Millerhill 'yard', such as it is these days.  There is a 5mph speed restriction sign just visible in the trees on the left of the track:

 

DSC_2945.png.64f497453724c3b42f514d2a7994ccd8.png

 

We're on the other side of the Borders Railway route here, on an unsurfaced track called "The Kaims" which crosses the route of the old railway on an overbridge.  This shot is looking back east towards Millerhill village.  The remains of the trackbed can clearly be see, but there are no rails at this point:

 

DSC_2951.png.1189e032cf65b4f2fde6b9364413f760.png

 

Final photo, looking the other way from the same overbridge towards the new Shawfair development:

 

DSC_2953.png.375e0ed1c300186dee8053fcac45eb4d.png

 

From Shawfair onwards the route of the EL&RR is now a cycle path as far as Roslin.  The cycle path emerges on to the main road through Shawfair (which appears not to have a name, even on the council's own map) at the somewhat bizarre cluster of 'artworks' here*.  Behind the camera is the other end of the bit of trackbed shown above; for some reason it's obscured in the Streetview image but in any case it's only really identifiable from the road by the hedgerows on each side heading east across the fields.

 

* For some reason the 1:25K OS map still shows actual railway running from this point as far as Gilmerton - and the 1:50K map shows it running beyond there all the way to Loanhead!  The bits of cycle path from Straiton to via Lasswade Road to Shawfair have only been opened withiin the last five years or so but I reckon it must be getting on for ten years since I first rode the bit from Straiton to Loanhead (and on to Roslin) so how the OS have managed not to notice the disappearance of that bit of railway in that time I can't imagine.

 

 

I find that the side by side option on the NLS website is quite handy for placing older remnants in the modern context.

 

See here:

 

https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/side-by-side/#zoom=16&lat=55.91162&lon=-3.08563&layers=170&right=ESRIWorld

 

(I hope that I've got the bit you were talking about)

 

Regards

 

Ian

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4 hours ago, Ian Smeeton said:

(I hope that I've got the bit you were talking about)

 

Yes, that's it.  I said I'm "pretty" sure because there could always be someone who has more precise knowledge of how the track layout there might have evolved, rather than my amateur efforts based on the nonetheless fascinating online historical mapping.

 

I actually prefer the georeferenced option on NLS maps, which allows you to fade back and forth between "now" and "back then".  Either way, the NLS web site is an invaluable resource.  I've actually made 'virtual' acquaintance with one of the members of the teams responsible for the NLS maps web site.  Apparently they've done most of what would be useful in Scotland for railway history, but they're planning to get all the OS large-scale town plans for England and Wales online, which should be excellent for urban railways.  See this one for Bristol, for example: https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=17&lat=51.45045&lon=-2.58294&layers=117746211&b=1  He recommended the georeferenced layer for railways up to about a century ago, and the OS 1:1,250 / 1:2,500 layer for 1940s onwards.  They're in the process of adding 1970s mapping which went out of copyright on 1st Jan this year.

Edited by ejstubbs
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Stretching the theme a bit, abandoned rail line alongside a roadway in a railway cutting, viewed from a road overbridge.
This is the connection to the Tata Chemicals Winnington site, in the Northwich area, Vale Royal, Cheshire, viewed from Winnington Lane.
IMG_20210417_123933.jpg.78b810d55cd1c5f45686f4d54cbcd685.jpg

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14 hours ago, ejstubbs said:

I said I'm "pretty" sure because there could always be someone who has more precise knowledge of how the track layout there might have evolved, rather than my amateur efforts based on the nonetheless fascinating online historical mapping.

 

In fact, according to this 1828 map, the original E&DR took a rather more meandering route through the Millerhill area:

 

1932695899_Screenshot2021-04-18at11_04_14.png.a09f32ad2f1e83ba90582379327881c8.png

 

The map claims to be: "Map of the county of Edinburgh, made on the basis of the trigonometrical survey of Scotland / surveyed in the years 1827 and 1828 ... by ... Thos. Sharp, C. Greenwood and Wm. Fowler. (Engraved by John Dower)."  So one might suppose that it is reasonably accurate*.  One interesting detail is the "Edmonstone Railway" which doesn't appear to have survived for very long (though remnants of it do seem to pop up on occasional OS maps through the rest of the 19th century).  There's an online article about the Edmonstone railway/waggonway here.

 

The 1854 os six-inch map shows a rather smoother line through Millerhill for what is by then the Hawick branch of the NBR:

 

647665443_Screenshot2021-04-18at11_04_44.png.3ca4c17a93a6a54ffcc175ed190d5c6c.png

 

It's understood that the NBR re-laid a lot of the E&DR when it took it over (not least because the E&DR was originally built as a 4'6" gauge line) as part of its grand plan to reach Carlisle, so it's possible that they took the kinks out of the route - if they were ever really there to begin with.

 

By the time the 1909 six-inch map comes out the EL&RR is there, branching off the NBR line just south of Millerhill Station (which apparently didn't exist when the earlier map was surveyed):

 

1360458220_Screenshot2021-04-18at11_05_33.png.d8e75481343870fb3f93d40016095051.png

 

I included a bit more to the west in that screenshot because it also shows "THE KAIM", marked as a "Supposed ANCIENT WAY".  The bridge that takes The Kaims (as it's now known) over the EL&RR is where I took the two photos of the track bed sans track in my earlier post.

 

* Although the E&DR isn't supposed to have opened until 1831, so maybe that line on the map is based on the proposed route rather as-built.  It did take a long time to complete after receiving its original Act of Parliament in 1826, due to "unforeseen difficulties" and shortages of capital.

Edited by ejstubbs
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On 17/04/2021 at 17:50, melmerby said:

According to earlier comments it was for transporting products from an iron works to the main street.

Meant to comment on this earlier.  It was for transporting goods from the market place (where they’d been carted up from Richmond station) to an ironMONGERS - not an iron works. No industrial development in that bit of Richmond!

 

Richard T

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Another variant on the theme, not quite abandoned but 'rails' in the road.  At Tetbury today, the former station and yard site has a car park where the bays are marked by steel 'rails' supported by bricks either side.

IMG_20210418_171418.jpg.61b1bc8c8cb7caee9a154cc160c1f18c.jpg
A similar arrangement is used to mark lorry and access bays and reversing space, maybe slightly acknowledging the site's railway connections.

IMG_20210418_171221.jpg.4cf00af7a555febcdf95b72352060cbf.jpg

 

 

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On 13/04/2021 at 09:35, jrb said:

due (presumably) to the amount of foot traffic, there's actually a little less grass coverage now than in these pictures

 

Sounds like it’s actually been deliberately uncovered now: https://www.yorkpress.co.uk/news/19241550.historic-railway-uncovered-river-ouse/?fbclid=IwAR1-BghRI0IOONiNnd1jA8e6AYLE5DmhBZ3aqO0YHGONtb2ebJqNQrFtxVQ

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On 10/04/2021 at 19:21, 009 micro modeller said:

A couple of 18" (ish) gauge examples (the first is actually 18 1/2):

 

IMG_3047.JPG.27c99cbc500fc39f15abb48c1a04db96.JPG

 

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Berkhamsted Gasworks Tramway, taken last summer. This line was horse-drawn, pretty much either paved or in-filled with slightly looser material throughout and passed under the WCML in a tunnel, connecting the end of a long siding from the main line station to the gasworks, which was on the other side of the tracks and slightly further north. Mostly removed on closure but the track and pavement through the tunnel is still there. This was taken from the canal end of the tunnel - the other end now emerges in a private garden, hence the metal fence/grill on each end. Unfortunately, I seem not to have taken an overall view of the approach to the tunnel.

 

 

Hi 009

Unless it's been removed recently, most of the Berkhamstead Gasworks Tramwy is still there. There may well be nothing beyond the grille at the far end of the tunnel. It was likely lifted when the houses there were built but, if the property boundary of the houses beyond is beyond the line of the railway, who knows- someone may have an interesting garden feature.

Most of the run of the tramway was on the canal side of the main line though the diagram shows it closer to the canal than it appears to be. Last time I visited it was still there up to the steel fence that marks what was the boundary of the actual gasworks site, now redeveloped as an industrial/warehouse estate. The track is very overgrown and it's usually easier to see it in the winter. I took these photos in 2008 but I've been there more recently and, though there was more vegetation hiding the track, it was definitely still there.

I've more images of it somewhere but can't lay hands on them just now.

Bhmstd_NGR_0001adj.jpg.ad51d77158b73e810fc2a74b5e389994.jpgBhmstd_NGR_0002.JPG.36b5ed92def2019c1dd4b5ff6033e8c7.JPGBhmstd_NGR_0003.JPG.842540047af98497c0da74be2bea4555.JPG

 

Berkhamstead.gif.76e39b6c1ecc0c283661503491d02b17.gif

 

 

Edited by Pacific231G
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1 hour ago, Pacific231G said:

Hi 009

Unless it's been removed recently, most of the Berhasmstead Gasworks Tramwy is still there. I don't think there's anything beyond the grille at the far end of the tunnel: someone may have an interesting garden feature but that part was probably removed when the newe houses were built. On tbe canal side though it's all still there up to the steel fence that marks what was the boundary of the actual gasworks site, now redeveloped as an industrial/warehouse estate. The track is very overgrown and it's usually easier to see it in the winter. 

 

 

 

When I went there last summer I suspected that there might be some bits under the undergrowth and leaves that I couldn’t see. However, I’m pretty sure there is at least a short section of track missing after the curve coming out of the tunnel, as I think I found the end of some rails there rather than rails fading into the leaves. How recently was it all still there? I don’t think there’s been any activity recently so I doubt that it’ll have been removed.

 

I suspect you’re right about the other side, though I wonder whether any track on the site of the gardens of the modern houses might have just been covered over with topsoil rather than properly removed. There’s a wild-looking bit at the bottom of a couple of gardens on the site of the interchange with the standard gauge siding (where the tramway wagons were loaded) so perhaps something is left there.

 

On the canal side, how close would the tramway track be to the Network Rail boundary? Based on old photos the track seems a reasonable distance out from this but the modern high metal fence does seem to be slightly further out than the original boundary.

 

 I will have to go back at some point in winter/autumn when it’s less covered with trees and brambles.

 

Does anyone know if any wagons were preserved from this line?

 

Edit: from your added photos the edges of the formation also look quite well-defined - is there much of the paved surface left?

Edited by 009 micro modeller
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8 hours ago, 009 micro modeller said:

 

A couple of after pictures would have been nice.

 

Mike.

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9 hours ago, 009 micro modeller said:

 

When I went there last summer I suspected that there might be some bits under the undergrowth and leaves that I couldn’t see. However, I’m pretty sure there is at least a short section of track missing after the curve coming out of the tunnel, as I think I found the end of some rails there rather than rails fading into the leaves. How recently was it all still there? I don’t think there’s been any activity recently so I doubt that it’ll have been removed.

 

I suspect you’re right about the other side, though I wonder whether any track on the site of the gardens of the modern houses might have just been covered over with topsoil rather than properly removed. There’s a wild-looking bit at the bottom of a couple of gardens on the site of the interchange with the standard gauge siding (where the tramway wagons were loaded) so perhaps something is left there.

 

On the canal side, how close would the tramway track be to the Network Rail boundary? Based on old photos the track seems a reasonable distance out from this but the modern high metal fence does seem to be slightly further out than the original boundary.

 

 I will have to go back at some point in winter/autumn when it’s less covered with trees and brambles.

 

Does anyone know if any wagons were preserved from this line?

 

Edit: from your added photos the edges of the formation also look quite well-defined - is there much of the paved surface left?

From this photo- I'm not sure of its source- it looks about the same.

Tramway_2.jpg.fa68a4a4df56618f7e15daf906a539ae.jpg

The modern boundary fence wouldn't have been moved beyond the railway boundary: the legal costs of doing that are huge, but I'm not sure who far inside their boundary railways usually built their original fences. Probably as close to the boundary as possible to avoid encroachment though it looks lime there was a cess outside the fence. I wonder if the white post you can see alongside the train is a boundary marker. 

403438443_Berkhmastedgastwy25inch1947.jpg.9be71734ce272f29451355b6078abf78.jpg

This is the 1947 25 inch map (1938 survey)  and you can see that, as it turns out of the subway, the tramway is very close to the boundary fence, where I think there's a bit of retaining wall, but a bit futher out after the first few yards. I think the tramway marked coming out of the left  hand side of the building is probably separate  from the horse tramway and likely hand propelled for moving tar etc.  it's not there in the previous 25inch map from 1925 when the gasworks was a bit smaller. The 1898 map is before the gasworks or the tramway was built but the subway and the two footpaths were already there. The footpaths were obviously rerouted to use what I assume had been an accomodation subway by the second O of london when the new houses were built. The track was only inset in concrete or cement as it passed through the subway and turned through the tight curve, after that it was covered in gravel which would have provided a suitable surface for the horses to walk on. 

This photo was probably taken from the footpath

Tramway_1.jpg.31b67d36445c4fe55dfe369f27edb1c2.jpg

I've a feeling there was an article on the tramway in something like Backtrack which I may have. I'll have a look when I've more time.

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41 minutes ago, Pacific231G said:

The modern boundary fence wouldn't have been moved beyond the railway boundary

 

From your photos it looks as though the track is a reasonable distance out from the Network Rail boundary - before seeing those photos I wasn’t sure as when I was there it looked as though it might possibly have been somewhat closer to the boundary. Also I’m trying to work out where the cess, between WCML and tramway and visible on old photos, would be in relation to the modern fence. I’m not sure why it was decided to reroute the footpath when the new houses were built although possibly this was dictated by the preferred position of the new bridge over the canal as well. I wonder how much use the footpath got once the tramway was actually in use.

 

Based on the map and what we know about the surviving remains on the ground, the entire straight section up to the curves and points at the gasworks itself seems to have survived. I think after that the whole gasworks site is under the modern industrial estate, though possibly the surface of the modern car park is a little higher than the original surface? It looked slightly higher than expected compared to the tramway route when I was there.

 

56 minutes ago, Pacific231G said:

The track was only inset in concrete or cement as it passed through the subway and turned through the tight curve, after that it was covered in gravel which would have provided a suitable surface for the horses to walk on. 

 

But seemingly without check rails, even on the tunnel section, so presumably the level of the surface between the rails was slightly lower than rail level.

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10 hours ago, Enterprisingwestern said:

 

A couple of after pictures would have been nice.

 

Mike.

 

As this is not far from where I live, I thought I'd have a wander round there this afternoon to see whether they'd uncovered anything I hadn't seen before.  They hadn't, but as mentioned earlier, over the past few years the surviving rails had gradually become more hidden, helped by silt from the river's flooding, so it was good to see them uncovered again.

 

The line connected the quayside to the Ordnance Factory, which occupied a large site between the river and Fulford Road.  It's quite obvious where there was once a gateway in the wall, now bricked up.  Behind the wall is now a steel stockholders yard (and the ground has been made up to a higher level than it originally was.  The rest of the site is now an industrial area with a variety of uses,  but lot of the original buildings remain, repurposed but still quite impressive.

 

A map showing the extent of the system was published on a local Facebook group not so long ago.  A lot of the original buildings were served by branches of the system, but as far as I know it never crossed Fulford Road to the Barracks themselves.  Its purpose was to transport materials between the river and the Ordnance Factory.  As far as I know and could see, no rails remain within the site on the other side of the wall, or if they do they are well buried.

 

The ice cream is pretty good, too!

 

IMG_4042.jpg.8f65df940f3e6bf73556a034cb18756f.jpg

 

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37 minutes ago, 31A said:

As this is not far from where I live, I thought I'd have a wander round there this afternoon to see whether they'd uncovered anything I hadn't seen before.  They hadn't, but as mentioned earlier, over the past few years the surviving rails had gradually become more hidden, helped by silt from the river's flooding, so it was good to see them uncovered again.

 

 

I’ll have to have another look at some point. I was sort of hoping they’d have uncovered all the way to the end of both sidings though.

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39 minutes ago, 009 micro modeller said:

 

I’ll have to have another look at some point. I was sort of hoping they’d have uncovered all the way to the end of both sidings though.

 

It looked as though there was no more to uncover - they had stopped digging where the rails end!

 

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1 hour ago, 31A said:

 

As this is not far from where I live, I thought I'd have a wander round there this afternoon to see whether they'd uncovered anything I hadn't seen before.  They hadn't, but as mentioned earlier, over the past few years the surviving rails had gradually become more hidden, helped by silt from the river's flooding, so it was good to see them uncovered again.

 

The line connected the quayside to the Ordnance Factory, which occupied a large site between the river and Fulford Road.  It's quite obvious where there was once a gateway in the wall, now bricked up.  Behind the wall is now a steel stockholders yard (and the ground has been made up to a higher level than it originally was.  The rest of the site is now an industrial area with a variety of uses,  but lot of the original buildings remain, repurposed but still quite impressive.

 

A map showing the extent of the system was published on a local Facebook group not so long ago.  A lot of the original buildings were served by branches of the system, but as far as I know it never crossed Fulford Road to the Barracks themselves.  Its purpose was to transport materials between the river and the Ordnance Factory.  As far as I know and could see, no rails remain within the site on the other side of the wall, or if they do they are well buried.

 

The ice cream is pretty good, too!

 

IMG_4042.jpg.8f65df940f3e6bf73556a034cb18756f.jpg

 

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Great photo's, thanks for sharing. just want to push a tub along 'em!

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23 minutes ago, 33C said:

Great photo's, thanks for sharing. just want to push a tub along 'em!

 

Can we sneak into the NRM and ‘borrow’ Wren, and/or its match wagon (given that the line was never loco-worked), like in that scene from The Titfield Thunderbolt, only 18 inch gauge?

:jester: 

 

Joking aside, does anyone know what the original wagons would have looked like?

Edited by 009 micro modeller
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8 minutes ago, 009 micro modeller said:

 

I think there’s a little bit more of the siding nearest to the river.

 

Well maybe; it didn't look like it from where I was, but I didn't want to disturb those people enjoying their ice creams!

 

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