Summer 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 Forgotten Relics’ summer update - they seem to come around ever more quickly.

Unlike Rhondda Tunnel which enjoys considerable momentum, the campaign to reopen Queensbury Tunnel is making slower progress, generally because the issues surrounding it are more thorny and complex. Now, the formal process that could result in abandonment has started. How did it come to this given that, according to a study, a cycle network with the tunnel as its centrepiece would generate upwards of £37.6 million in benefits over 30 years? We look at the ups, downs, whys and wherefores that have influenced the direction of travel.

Staple Hill Tunnel was the first in the country to host a formal cycleway when the Bristol and Bath Railway Path opened in the Eighties. In its current form, two broad gauge tracks could be accommodated but when it first welcomed coal traffic in 1835, it was just 12 feet wide. Two rectangular shafts bring light, air and interest to any journey through it.

Kyle May has visited a couple of Birkenhead tunnels which were driven to address capacity constraints. The one leading to Monks Ferry Station - now shorter than when it first opened - witnessed a number of incidents during its operational life. One resulted in Mrs Holme breaking two teeth when her chin collided with the forehead of Mrs Gillon.

It should have been a Brunelian structure, but Charles Hutton Gregory engineered Halberton Aqueduct after the board of the Bristol & Exeter Railway fell out with IKB. The owners of the canal carried by the structure vigorously opposed the new railway and made life for its builders as difficult as possible, motivated by the expected loss of trade that ultimately closed it.

In the 1870s, the Glasgow & South Western Railway developed a collection of strategic links between the harbour at Ayr and mineral-rich districts further east. Amongst these was a line connecting Belston and Holehouse junctions which featured two viaducts at Rankinston - enjoying tranquil redundancy today - which Stevie Zerachy has been to see for us.

Don’t forget to check out our videos on Rhondda Tunnel, charting the progress that's been made there. One looks at the reopening campaign and the recently-completed detailed examination, whilst the other is a photographic journey from east to west, set to music. It’s unashamedly melancholy as the best forgotten relics are!

New this time
Halberton Aqueduct
Staple Hill Tunnel
as well as...
As the tunnel's abandonment scheme continues to gain traction, we reflect on the ups, downs, whys and wherefores of the campaign to reopen it.
Birkenhead tunnels
Rankinston viaducts
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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