Autumn 2018

It's easy to take for granted the awesome endeavours of 19th Century railway pioneers which thread us through, around or over the nation's natural barriers. It was an age of speculative adventure, built on innovation, will power and elbow grease.

But many magnificent creations were abandoned during the industrial vandalism of the Fifties and Sixties. Forgotten Relics of an Enterprising Age celebrates some of them.
Operating Notices

Welcome to the autumn update of Forgotten Relics.

Challenges were plentiful every time the Victorians embarked on a tunnel project, the two greatest being water and geology. Jordan Thompson has produced a fascinating piece for us, looking back over 400 million years of the Earth’s history as recorded within Whitrope Tunnel on the former Waverley line, pushing through a ridge in the Scottish Borders where four geological groups are encountered.

Rhondda Tunnel took an eternity to excavate despite the use of rock drills, but no-one can argue with the surveying accuracy. Driven 1.9 miles without intermediate access, the levels were out by just half-an-inch whilst the line was spot on. We ventured from one end to the other in a very straight line to recount the tunnel’s story 50 years after the last train passed through. Will the next chapter involve its reopening for foot and cycle traffic?

Passing beneath Nottingham’s urban clutter, Victoria Street Tunnel is dry, benign and gently warmed by heating pipes supplying a nearby block of flats. Dave Brown went to take the temperature. A century ago, the steam came from locomotives heading to and from the capital on the Great Central’s triumphant main line. The big construction headache came with the need to cut through building foundations in order to turn the arch.

Brunel’s engineering was fearless and ambitious, although he didn’t always get it right. Jon Tuckett and Paul Twyman have separately visited Ham Green Viaduct on his line from Plymouth to Tavistock, one of six erected originally in timber but later rebuilt in brick. The redundant stone piers remain in situ alongside their replacements, cloaked in vegetation to remind us that there is a hidden tale to tell here.

There are many crossings of the River Clyde but Westburn (aka Carmyle) Viaduct to the south-east of Glasgow has a rather chequered history. The five-span steel structure was the principal engineering feat on a strategically useful extension to the Glasgow Central Railway; however its retirement was marred in 2012 by violent conflict between rival gangs. Might its future involve building bridges between two communities as part of a foot and cycle path?

And don't forget to check out our video report on the campaign to reopen Queensbury Tunnel as part of an ambitious cycle network connecting Halifax to Bradford and Keighley.

New this time
Westburn Viaduct
Rhondda Tunnel
as well as...
This former Waverley line structure pushes through a ridge in the Scottish Borders where four geological groups are encountered.
Victoria Street Tunnel
Ham Green Viaduct
You can reach pages about these relics by clicking on their name. Across the site, new content is identified by a symbol whilst updated pages have a .
Main site areas
The site has stories about some of our more notable railway relics, with a hike through their history and reminiscences from those who worked there. You'll also find galleries showing dozens of bridges, viaducts, tunnels, earthworks, stations and junctions.
Online coverage of our disused network.
Bridges & viaducts
Great structures spanning a gap.
Tunnels & earthworks
Holes blasted
through hills.
Stations & junctions
Destinations torn from the timetable.

All the site areas are available via links in the tab bar and right hand column.

We add more structures on a seaonal basis. We hope you enjoy your visit and come back to see more Forgotten Relics soon.

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