Mixed gauge track in the British Isles

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geoffk

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Moving on from the recent thread about interlaced or gauntletted track, where in the British Isles was mixed gauge track used, other than during the GWR Broad Gauge era? There was some mixed 5' 3" and 3' gauge track in Ireland, at Larne Harbour and in the port area at Derry/Londonderry, until the 1950s or 60s. Were there any other examples?

Where the two gauges to be mixed are too close in value, e.g. standard and Russian gauge, you have to have four rails and not three. Does this count as mixed or interlaced? I suppose it's a bit of both!
 
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A0wen

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Moving on from the recent thread about interlaced or gauntletted track, where in the British Isles was mixed gauge track used, other than during the GWR Broad Gauge era? There was some mixed 5' 3" and 3' gauge track in Ireland, at Larne Harbour and in the port area at Derry/Londonderry, until the 1950s or 60s. Were there any other examples?

Where the two gauges to be mixed are too close in value, e.g. standard and Russian gauge, you have to have four rails and not three. Does this count as mixed or interlaced? I suppose it's a bit of both!

Probably stretching it a bit, but you've got the Welsh Highland Line (narrow gauge) crossing the Cambrian Coast line (standard gauge) as a level crossing ?
 

zwk500

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Probably stretching it a bit, but you've got the Welsh Highland Line (narrow gauge) crossing the Cambrian Coast line (standard gauge) as a level crossing ?
Doesn't really mix, does it? Although there might be cases of sidings have mixed-gauge tracks at the various narrow-gauge railheads?
 

Shimbleshanks

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It's a good question. I can't think of many examples outside Ireland except perhaps short sidings in goods yards and the like. Maybe because we didn't have much narrow gauage owned and operated by the big rail companies? Most England and Welsh narrow gauge lines were built to connect specific quarries and mines with ports or the standard gauge network and were never envisaged as part of the national network.

I can think of one example of a line that started out as narrow gauge and was then converted to standard - the Festiniong & Blaenau - which could have had a dual gauge incarnation. My 1972 edition of JIC Boyd's Narrow Gauge Railways in South Caernarvonshire speculates on page 72 that the line could have become dual-gauged after being taken over by the standard gauge Bala & Festiniog company (a GWR proxy effectively) but there is no information on how the conversion was handled.
I don't have the later edition of the book, so cannot tell you if Mr Boyd ever got further information on this.
 

Beebman

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At Laxey on the Isle of Man there's a section of mixed gauge where the 3 ft 6 in track of the Snaefell Mountain Railway meets the 3 ft of the Manx Electric Railway. This is used to transfer SMR cars onto MER bogies for transportation to Douglas for maintenance.



(Picture source: https://www.rideonrailways.co.uk/paul/page108.html)
 

DB

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Leek & Manifold?

The added attraction of Standard Gauge wagons being carried on narrow gauge wagons.

Regards

Ian

Was about to mention that one! There was an article about it a few years ago in one of the magazines.

Also, doesn't Didcot railway centre have some dual-gauge running line?
 

Cheshire Scot

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In an industrial context there used to some in the Aluminium works in Fort William, standard gauge for main line wagons, and 3ft gauge from the Pier Railway and Upper Works Railway.

Also in ports where a standard gauge rail line ran between the wider gauge rails which the dockside cranes run on - I had Southampton in mind but can't find any photos but I have found one in the docks in Glasgow.

I imagine there may have been other industrial sites with similar arrangements and possibly even within railway workshops if they had some internal wagonways.
 

hexagon789

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Obviously the Great Western before the end of the broad gauge, otherwise I can think of mixed gauge sidings at Welshpool and at Blaenau but not proper mixed gauge out on the open railway so to speak.
 

david1212

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Probably stretching it a bit, but you've got the Welsh Highland Line (narrow gauge) crossing the Cambrian Coast line (standard gauge) as a level crossing ?

Keeping within this area were there ever any mixed gauge sidings at either Minffordd or Blaenau Ffestiniog or was it all adjacent sidings at different levels given the difference in wagon floor heights? Aberystwyth and Tywyn are outside possibilities too.
 

Western 52

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At Laxey on the Isle of Man there's a section of mixed gauge where the 3 ft 6 in track of the Snaefell Mountain Railway meets the 3 ft of the Manx Electric Railway. This is used to transfer SMR cars onto MER bogies for transportation to Douglas for maintenance.



(Picture source: https://www.rideonrailways.co.uk/paul/page108.html)
Removed a few years ago, but some rail remains I think.
 

Ayrshire Roy

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I'm not sure how many this counts as but it has somehow survived for years untouched even though it's a main road.
It's a level crossing linking two different parts of the old Andrew Barclays works in Kilmarnock.
Bonus points if you can spot the pug hiding.
 

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Snow1964

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There is some embedded in concrete in Pembrey park in South Wales. I think a wartime bomb store was amongst the sand dunes, and a standard gauge spur line ran to site, the concreted area must have been a transfer point to the narrow gauge system
 

6Gman

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Doesn't quite fit the bill, but did the Holyhead Harbour Breakwater railway share one rail with the broader gauge tracks used by the crane? (And originally I think the line to the quarry was 7' gauge)

EDIT: Wrong. The crane used a separate rail (makes sense or there would have been horrible crunching noises from time to time).
 
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Andrew S

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I've got a feeling the old Woolwich Arsenal network may have had some mixed gauge tracks. I think it initially had a narrow gauge self contained system for moving materials around the site, then later a connection to the mainline was added near Plumstead for bringing supplies in and out.
 

D6130

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The lower yard at the Guinness Brewery in Dublin had a short section of gauntletted dual gauge track (1' 10"/5' 3") on which the company's unique Geoghegan-Spence narrow gauge 0-4-0 tank locos were lifted in and out of broad gauge adaptor wagons which they powered on the broad gauge tramway between the brewery and Kingsbridge (later Heuston) main line goods yard.
 

pdeaves

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I'm reading 'Railway Centres, Swindon' at present and it includes a picture of a short length of dual standard and metre gauge track in the railway works, installed when there was an export order under construction.
 

341o2

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The LNWR works at Crewe come to mind, did any section run within the S/G tracks?

One definite is the Fairbourne railway, during the 15" gauge era, the railway aquired a replica of the Stirling Single of 18" gauge and laid a third rail as far as Golf Links to use it.

Most N/G to S/G interchanges simply had tracks alongside each other and not mixed gauge.

Edit - add the Alan Keef locomotive works, Herefordshire, multiple gauges within the works complex
 
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Western 52

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A short mixed gauge section was laid in Douglas IMR station a few years ago to allow one of the locos from the Laxey Mines railway to run there. Not sure if it has remained?
 

Cowley

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I'm not sure how many this counts as but it has somehow survived for years untouched even though it's a main road.
It's a level crossing linking two different parts of the old Andrew Barclays works in Kilmarnock.
Bonus points if you can spot the pug hiding.
That’s remarkable.
 

D6130

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I seem to remember, many years ago, seeing an old photo of mixed-gauge track at Blaenau Ffestiniog. Can anyone confirm this - or otherwise?
 

Rutland23

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Somewhere on RMWeb (I 'll have a look & post a link), someone is building a model of the Hunslet Erecting Shop with about 8 different gauges present.

I suppose most works which built for export had a multi gauge section.

Regards

Ian
 

Rutland23

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Here it is:


Regards

Ian
 

david_g

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Obviously the Great Western before the end of the broad gauge, otherwise I can think of mixed gauge sidings at Welshpool and at Blaenau but not proper mixed gauge out on the open railway so to speak.
There you go, still there at Welshpool between Tesco and the A483, vegetation cleared away a couple of years ago.
Photo lifted from MyWelshpool
1614715749599.png
and somewhat earlier
1614715768186.png
 
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