Trivia — Largest Area of Railway Land That Has Been Abandoned

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Dr_Paul

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What are forum members' ideas on the topic of the largest single area of land containing railways in Britain that has been abandoned? Obvious examples will be large stations, especially terminus stations, and freight depots, especially marshalling yards, that have closed. There might be grey areas with, say, docks and rail-served factories and depots, where there could well be a relatively small total length of track in a large area of land. Places where there are still a few surviving sidings, such as at Tinsley (the recent posting on Tinsley prompted this thread) are eligible, whether or not they are still in use.
 
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EbbwJunction1

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Are you including areas where some or all of the land is now being used for other purposes?

If so, I'll start this off with Severn Tunnel Junction and Pontypool Road. Both of these have roads going through them, although the latter still has quite a bit of empty space; as well as the road, I think that some of the former has been built on as well, although it's not an area that I know very well.
 
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Blackpool Central - only limited development since closure in 1964. North station is also a shadow of its former self - the footprint of the main station has now re-emerged with the demolition of the 'Wilko' buiding.
 

Dr Hoo

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From a 'land containing railways' perspective I would have thought that Corby steelworks and all the adjacent ironstone quarries (with internal rail lines) was in with a chance.

Another case where looking at old maps can be most instructive.
 

Mcr Warrior

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If added up, lengthy sections of former trackbed on still closed lines must, in totality, add up to a sizeable area of abandoned railway land.

For example, Dumfries towards Stranraer, and the section of the Waverley line from the Borders towards Carlisle that hasn't yet been reinstated.
 

trebor79

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Stations:
Nottingham Victoria
Manchester Central
Blackpool Central

Other sites:
Tyne Yard (mostly abandoned)
Whitmoor yard - shadow of it's former self, prison on part of it and other parts reverted to agriculture
The maze of coal staithes and associated lines all along the Tyne from Blaydon down to the coast
Consett
 

trebor79

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Bishopsgate, East london
Oh yes. I love all the abandoned bits of the building with windows and doors leading to who knows where that you can see on the approach to Liverpool Street. In fact the suburban lines run underneath part of the structure. I wonder who is responsible for it now? Must be too costly to demolish.
 

AM9

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If land value is considered, Broad Street station site must be one of the highest return divestment.
 
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Mcr Warrior

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If land value is considered, Broad Street station site must be one of the highest return divestment.
That was much of the problem with Railtrack plc, post privatisation. Too much focus on property-related wheeler-dealing, and not enough on basic track maintenance. :rolleyes:
 

47271

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Perth station is very large and is still active, but the casual passerby, say in a car, could be forgiven for thinking that it has been abandoned.

Joking apart, Perth generally has a huge amount of dead railway land, in particular the long overgrown New Yard a mile or so up the Highland Main Line.
 

Journeyman

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Blackpool Central - only limited development since closure in 1964. North station is also a shadow of its former self - the footprint of the main station has now re-emerged with the demolition of the 'Wilko' buiding.
Blackpool Central was apparently the largest station to be abandoned as part of Beeching's closures.
 

Strathclyder

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Glasgow St. Enoch, now the site of the world's largest greenhouse in the form of St. Enoch Shopping Centre. Another Glaswegian example would be the High Street goods complex, now mostly redeveloped as student housing/accommodation.
 

Roger1973

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Not one single station / depot, but the amount of railway land that was to the north of Kings Cross / St Pancras was quite large - 1950s OS map here

South of the river, the Bricklayers Arms / Willow Walk / Rotherhithe Road complex took up quite a lot of space. Similar map here.

And Stratford (more so if you count Temple Mills as part of the same complex) - map here.

(the slider 'change transparency of overlay' lets you merge in /out of current map or satellite view)
 
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Mag_seven

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Ravenscraig steelworks - a large internal rail system as well as the rail yards on its periphery.

Glasgow St. Enoch, now the site of the world's largest greenhouse in the form of St. Enoch Shopping Centre.

I remember when it was used as a car park.
 

dubscottie

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Perth station is very large and is still active, but the casual passerby, say in a car, could be forgiven for thinking that it has been abandoned.

Joking apart, Perth generally has a huge amount of dead railway land, in particular the long overgrown New Yard a mile or so up the Highland Main Line.
I was going to mention Perth myself.
Thornton Yard is worth a mention.
 

sprinterguy

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Wath marshalling yard must be one of the largest single areas of the national network to have disappeared completely.

As noted above, industrial infrastructure such as colliery and steelworks railway systems would probably be quite high up the list as well: Ravenscraig, Backworth, Corby, etc.
 

AM9

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Further along the GEML, there's the stretch between Goodmayes and Chadwell Heath. See here: https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=16&lat=51.56796&lon=0.12080&layers=170&b=1.
The map shows that there were sizeable marshalling yards (by London urban standards) both north and south of the running tracks. Entrances/exits to these yards had separate tracks passing outside the two twin tracks paths under the Goodmayes Road bridge. The reception sidings at the eastern end also continued as goods lines passing south of the platforms at Chadwell Heath, from where the Becontree Estate railway swung south. The additional tracks joined the main line just before Whalebone Lane South bridge, all developed now as industrial/retail/residential, apart from the Chadwell Heath turnback siding between the electric tracks east of Chadwell Heath station (which is still available to TfL rail), - the formation is a plain four track.
 
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LowLevel

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Colwick yards and MPD in Nottingham? Pretty humongous place, just the few remaining sidings at the former Rectory Oil Terminal left in railway use. It's work largely transferred to Toton in the 60s.
 

70014IronDuke

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Not one single station / depot, but the amount of railway land that was to the north of Kings Cross / St Pancras was quite large - 1950s OS map here

South of the river, the Bricklayers Arms / Willow Walk / Rotherhithe Road complex took up quite a lot of space. Similar map here.

And Stratford (more so if you count Temple Mills as part of the same complex) - map here.

(the slider 'change transparency of overlay' lets you merge in /out of current map or satellite view)
Bricklayers Arms and surrounds was my immediate thought on seeing this thread.
But Nine Elms must be in with a chance too?
 

BayPaul

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Southampton Docks? I'm pretty sure they were developed by LSWR, so count as railway land, but were then sold on
 

Mcr Warrior

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If added up, lengthy sections of former trackbed on still closed lines must, in totality, add up to a sizeable area of abandoned railway land.

For example, Dumfries towards Stranraer, and the section of the Waverley line from the Borders towards Carlisle that hasn't yet been reinstated.
Still reckon that the 70 odd miles of the now closed "Port Line", multiplied by a 10 yard width for the trackbed strip, must add up to a sizeable area in total, maybe 250 acres (100 hectares) if my shaky maths is correct. :)
 
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