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Old 17th October 2011, 15:06   #1
Kernowfem
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Default Wartime Branch lines.

I'm about to start researching Railways during WW2, in particular the branch lines. I wondered if anyone could point me in the direction of a website/books etc that would enable me to find out which were the busiest branch lines in the country at that time.

Including what they carried, such as ammunitions and troops, and just how important these branch's were to the war effort. I would dearly love to get my hands on several time tables and/or goods logs too.

I would be grateful for any information. Many thanks.
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Old 17th October 2011, 15:36   #2
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I wish I knew and could help you. There was a War Department branch, or more a long siding, that came off the ex-LSWR Windsor Line at Feltham, just after the footbridge. This ran in a curve over what was waste land when I first came across it in the early 1960s, and then across the High Street, and then via a tramway into the Royal Arrmy Ordnance Corps and Royal Army Service Corps depot at Feltham...part of which is still occupied by the MoD. There was a hand-operated level crossing that I gather was a road blocker at times as it was busy. I don't know when it stopped being used but it must have been by 1962 at the latest. My late maternal grandmother and then grandfather worked in the depot during the war. Feltham was a major automotive depot before the war, and lorry driver training was undertaken there. I know that in the war General Aircraft had a factory in what was then the Victoria Road industrial estate and I think there was a tramway into their factory.

I also know that the branch line from the ex-GWR near Slough into the Slough Trading Estate was very busy during the war. There are photos in the Slough Estates Railway book of the resident locos doing shunting work with war supplies. Citroen Cars Ltd had an assembly depot that was partly leased by the Canadian Government as a military vehicle assembly depot. Fords of all types and also Ford Jeeps were railed-in in crates and then stored around the estate pending being taken-in. I assume that vehicles were sent out by rail as well as by road after assembly. There were other wartime industries on the estate including High Duty Alloys that produced specialist alloys.

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Old 17th October 2011, 15:37   #3
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British railways illustrated magazines has articles about railways during the war. If you look at the indexes, which are on irwell press website, you may find something of interest. If you tell me of any articles you find from the index, I could probably find you a copy as I have most of the magazines still.
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Old 17th October 2011, 16:41   #4
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Thanks very much guy's for the info. Mvann, thankyou, i'll let you know what i find
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Old 17th October 2011, 16:56   #5
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Not just during the war, the Wirksworth Branch might have essential since the town is reputed to have been the major supplier of red tape for Whitehall.
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Old 17th October 2011, 17:00   #6
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The Didcot, Newbury and Southampton Railway under the ownership of the GWR, was well used during WW2. There are some details on the Wikipedia page.

Christian Wolmar had a book out called 'Engines of War' which was about railways being used in many wars, but this wasn't WW2 specific so may be too broad for your needs.

Not really helped you much here, I'm afraid.
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Old 17th October 2011, 17:14   #7
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The Derwent Valley railway near York was a link to a number of military bases in Yorkshire.

http://www.dvlr.org.uk/
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Old 17th October 2011, 17:33   #8
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Pembrey Country Park, which is alongside the railway line between Burry Port and Kidwelly, was once an RAF station and ammunition factory. There was once a network of narrow guage railway lines within the complex, as well as connections with the main line. The internal lines were used to transport the munitions around safely. You can still see the tracks in the park today.
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Old 17th October 2011, 17:59   #9
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During one of the "Stranraer" threads on this forum recently, there was a military railway at Cairnryan mentioned in passing, that was used in World War II.
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Old 17th October 2011, 18:10   #10
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Near to where I live in Kent. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lodge_H..._Upnor_Railway
Also have a look at http://www.irsociety.co.uk/Archives/12/lodge_hill.htm

This is a list of military railways that may be of use to you. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British...gauge_railways

Chatham Dockyard Railway http://www.thedockyardrailway.co.uk/

Hope this is of interest to you , good hunting.
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Old 17th October 2011, 19:44   #11
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Thorpe Arch Royal Ordnance Factory might be of interest- utilized a standard gauge railways within for transportation of men & materials within the site

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ROF_Thorpe_Arch
http://www.secretleeds.com/forum/Mes...x?ThreadID=116
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Old 17th October 2011, 21:11   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moodster020 View Post
Thorpe Arch Royal Ordnance Factory might be of interest- utilized a standard gauge railways within for transportation of men & materials within the site....
The Thorpe Arch Circular Railway not only handled goods and personel on site but bought them in and out as well. There were regular trains for each change of shift to bring them in from local towns and take them home again. Excellent short article in "Railways Around Harrogate - Volume 3" by Martin Bairstow, published 1998.

The Cleobury Mortimer and Ditton Priors Light Railway was taken over by the Admiralty to service a Naval ammunition store set up at Ditton Priors.

There was also a branch off the Midland Main Line between Houghton Conquest and Elstow to service a new Ordnance factory set up near Elstow - the box controlling the connection was named Wilshampstead.

(Both the Thorpe Arch, Elstow and Ditton Priors sites are in part industrial estates now.)

There was the Catterick Camp Military Railway which came off the Richmond Branch.

And of course both the Royal Arsenal and Royal Dockyard in Woolwich were linked to the North Kent Line and used during the war.
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Old 17th October 2011, 22:19   #13
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I had forgotten that the Bedenham branch off the Gosport branch was busy, as it served the RN armaments depot and also led to Asmiralty lines leafing to Gosport quays. There was also a branch off the Portsmouth Harbour line that ran into the RN base. Also a siding off the Test Valley line at Dean that served a massive underground armaments depot that had its own internal n.g. railway.
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Old 17th October 2011, 22:52   #14
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there was a line built off the Stone - Norton Bridge line to Coldmeece to serve Swynnerton ROF factory. It had an intensive passenger service but never appeared in public timetables.

http://www.subbrit.org.uk/sb-sites/s...ry/index.shtml

There was also an extensive system at Marchington Camp which left the Derby - Uttoxeter line at Sudbury.
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Old 17th October 2011, 23:41   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by martinsh View Post
there was a line built off the Stone - Norton Bridge line to Coldmeece to serve Swynnerton ROF factory. It had an intensive passenger service but never appeared in public timetables.

http://www.subbrit.org.uk/sb-sites/s...ry/index.shtml

There was also an extensive system at Marchington Camp which left the Derby - Uttoxeter line at Sudbury.
There was definitely an article about swynnerton in British railways illustrated or railway bylines with photos of the platforms there.
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