Trivia: Abandoned railway lines that have been turned into cycle/footpaths

InOban

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Most of Edinburgh's local lines have become cyclepaths particularly in the north of the city. The best known probably being the Innocent Railway and the Balerno line along the Water of Leith
The two you mention are in the South! But you are right in that the network of lines which connected the Caledonian Railway (Princes Street) to the docks at Leith and Granton are almost all cycle/footpaths.
And also the line towards Penicuik.
 
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DerekC

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The Meon Valley Trail (old Meon Valley Railway) is listed in Wiki as West Meon to Wickham but in fact it goes as far as Knowle Junction, where you can look through the fence at services on the Fareham to Eastleigh line. Only problem is that Hampshire County Council have never been able to afford to bridge the river at Knowle to link the cycleway into Fareham, so you just have to come back again to Wickham!
 

steamybrian

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Couple of more obscure ones I’ve walked in the last few days:

* Witham to Maldon (“Blackwater Rail Trail”). A pleasant walk, although disjointed as it has a couple of detours, in some cases quite lengthy. More for walking than cycling.

*Cilgerran to Cardigan - firstly an access road then nearer to Cardigan there’s a section of path which has been incorporated into a nature reserve. A couple of obscure railway relics, and a pleasant walk with some opportunities for birdwatching.

*Johnston to Neyland (“Brunel Trail”). We haven’t covered this one yet.

This would make a good pinned thread like was done with the train crew depot locations.

Thanks- I have added these to Wiki article

The Meon Valley Trail (old Meon Valley Railway) is listed in Wiki as West Meon to Wickham but in fact it goes as far as Knowle Junction, where you can look through the fence at services on the Fareham to Eastleigh line. Only problem is that Hampshire County Council have never been able to afford to bridge the river at Knowle to link the cycleway into Fareham, so you just have to come back again to Wickham!

Thanks- I have amended Wickham to Knowle Junction
 

Leyther

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Where to start.

Lancaster to Morecambe.
Preston, well from West View Leisure centre up towards Grimsargh on the old Longridge line mostly footpath though about 100 metres plus is cycle path for the Guild Wheel cycle route.

Preston towards Bamber Bridge on the old East Lancs line out of Preston including part of the triangle towards Southport as that path now drops down to Leyland road in Penwortham.

Hawarden Bridge back towards Chester on the old avoiding line from Shotton steelworks to Mickle Mickle Trafford line.

The Granite way footpath cycle route from okehampton to Lydford over Meldon viaduct.
This forms part of the Devon coast to coast cycle route from ilfracombe to plymouth which also includes the previously mentioned tarka trail route barnstaple to meeth and the ilfracombe to barnstaple cycle and footpath routes.
All three cycle routes are great to explore.

The innocent railway cycle footpath at the back of Arthur's seat in Edinburgh.

Elgin towards lossiemouth

Forgot to mention the
Padiham greenway on the old line from rose grove towards Blackburn.
Certainly cycle footpath through padiham towards Great Harwood.
 
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LocoCycle

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The Longniddry (ECML nr Edinburgh) to Haddington branch.

The Pencaitland path in East Lothian has a few information boards at the sites of various historic coal mines which the railway served.

The Strathpeffer branch from the Dingwall and Skye railway is in the process of being turned into a cycle/foot path.
 

DerekC

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There are considerable sections of the narrow gauge tramways in the Porthmadog area which are either official footpaths or can be walked on open moorland and mountain:

Gorseddau Junction & Portmadoc Railway - Porthmadog Harbour to Penmorfa and then most of the way from the crossing of the A487 west of Penmorfa to Gorseddau Quarry, plus the branch to Prince of Wales Quarry in Cwm Trwsgl

Croesor Tramway - various sections above Croesor Junction on the WHR into upper Cwm Croesor, plus some of the quarry inclines
 

GusB

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I saw Elgin to Lossiemouth mentioned upthread, but nobody has mentioned my local path - the Hopeman to Burghead section of the former Highland Railway branch. It largely follows the trackbed, except one part where the embankment has been partly eroded by the sea.
 

themiller

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Two sections of the Coniston branch have been converted. About a mile starting at Broughton-in-Furness and another starting at Torver. I believe that the plan is to extend these as land becomes available until most of the route is joined up.
https://www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/visiting/things-to-do/walking/mileswithoutstiles/mws18

Another track bed which has been converted is the Egremont to Rowrah cycleway which has a couple of extras added.
 
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JohnRegular

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The Meon Valley Trail (old Meon Valley Railway) is listed in Wiki as West Meon to Wickham but in fact it goes as far as Knowle Junction, where you can look through the fence at services on the Fareham to Eastleigh line. Only problem is that Hampshire County Council have never been able to afford to bridge the river at Knowle to link the cycleway into Fareham, so you just have to come back again to Wickham!
The trail used to be in very bad nick south of Wickham, but a few years ago vegetation was cut back and a new suface laid, so it is now perfectly passable. The end of the trail normally has its fair share of confused walkers wondering why it doesn't go anywhere.

Very close by is the old Funtley Deviation Line, which is also a foot and cycle path. Hopefully these paths will get joined up one day- perhaps if the railway is ever doubled, provision can be made for a path alongside.
 

Stroud Man

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Not yet mentioned on here is the former MR branch from Stonehouse to Nailsworth Goods Yard. The Wiki article mentions the section from Nailsworth to Dudbridge but not the continuation through Ryeford to Bridgend (near Stonehouse). The route from Dudbridge into Stroud Wallbridge is also a cycle path and, on this section, you can still see some of the shunting capstans and turntable pits associated with the old Stroud Gas Works, as well as a superb stepped brick overbridge, carrying Rodborough Hill over the trackbed.
The vast majority of these routes are now metalled. Where they aren't they are good, solid, gravel surfaces.
 

brad465

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Two paths I'm familiar with from my Uni days in Bath are:

-The Two tunnels greenway, which incorporates the old Somerset & Dorset railway from Bath through to Midford and a bit beyond, which includes Combe Down tunnel and music occasionally playing inside.
-Bristol & Bath railway path; connects the two cities going along the route of the old Mangotsfield & Bath branch railway, while the path also runs alongside the Avon valley heritage railway that incorporates some of that old line.
 

swt_passenger

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The trail used to be in very bad nick south of Wickham, but a few years ago vegetation was cut back and a new suface laid, so it is now perfectly passable. The end of the trail normally has its fair share of confused walkers wondering why it doesn't go anywhere.

Very close by is the old Funtley Deviation Line, which is also a foot and cycle path. Hopefully these paths will get joined up one day- perhaps if the railway is ever doubled, provision can be made for a path alongside.
The original formation is definitely wide enough, there were 3 tracks over the Meon bridge, but you’d have to somehow get your footpaths from one side of the operational track to the other.

I did the section along the deviation line a good few years ago, maybe 20 or more, so I‘ve no idea what state it is in nowadays.
 

JohnRegular

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The original formation is definitely wide enough, there were 3 tracks over the Meon bridge, but you’d have to somehow get your footpaths from one side of the operational track to the other.

I did the section along the deviation line a good few years ago, maybe 20 or more, so I‘ve no idea what state it is in nowadays.
Had no idea it used to bee 3 tracks- bigger issues with doubling would be in the Fareham tunnels but I digress. The road bridge at Knowle is very narrow, dare I suggest it could use rebuilding to accomodate two way traffic and footpaths? A man can dream... for now anyone hoping to go along the whole lot will have to double back to Wickham and go along Mayles Lane.

The deviation line is mostly in good nick- a bit muddier and narrower than the Meon Valley Trail but perfectly cycleable, although the path down from the road is a bit rocky.
 

swt_passenger

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Had no idea it used to bee 3 tracks- bigger issues with doubling would be in the Fareham tunnels but I digress. The road bridge at Knowle is very narrow, dare I suggest it could use rebuilding to accomodate two way traffic and footpaths?

At the height of development the deviation line was basically a two track railway towards Botley and Eastleigh, and the tunnel line a third track on the east side that ran past the Knowle Asylum Halt platform and then took the Meon Valley route.

Old photographs and track diagrams in Vic Mitchell’s book suggest there was no facing crossing to allow a train from the up diversion line to get to the Meon Valley. But a down train from Eastleigh could take either route.

But regarding the narrow (and relatively high) road bridge, I think its status is unclear, but it might be the reason that Mayles Lane is/was signed as not open to the public as a through route. I’d be surprised if the local authority had any improvements in mind, I suspect they wouldn’t want the traffic it would generate at the Wickham end.
 

Tracked

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Ladybower Reservoir to Bamford - the Thorncliffe trail. Didn't show up on that Old Railway maps site, but definitely an old railway (without looking I'd guess it was to do with the construction of the dam at Ladybower)
 

DavidB

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Ladybower Reservoir to Bamford - the Thorncliffe trail. Didn't show up on that Old Railway maps site, but definitely an old railway (without looking I'd guess it was to do with the construction of the dam at Ladybower)

Narrow gauge, perhaps? I believe that most of those used for reservoir constrution tended to be.
 

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Narrow gauge, perhaps? I believe that most of those used for reservoir constrution tended to be.
Not sure, haven't looked into it too much but it appeared to be single track at most. If you look at google maps there appears to be evidence of a junction off the Hope Valley line, suppose they could've swapped to a narrow gauge near there.
 

Mcr Warrior

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Pictures I've seen of the 8.5 mile private railway from Bamford to the Derwent and Howden Reservoir sites, looks to be standard gauge. Used to transport stone and materials for dam wall construction. Work on both reservoirs started at the very beginning of the 20th century.

Ladybower Reservoir was built a little later in the 1940's, was there a railway line for this?

Apparently yes, it was narrow gauge and it part re-used the trackbed of the previous longer alignment. Known as the Thornhill Trail. Much shorter at only 2 miles or so.
 
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ANDREW_D_WEBB

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The former Weymouth and Portland Railway is part of the Rodwell Trail. Wikipedia claims it opened in 2000, but I remember walking it in the early 1980s

Part of the old track bed from Blandford station is also now a foot / cycle path.
 
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richieb1971

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Bedford to Sandy is now a cycle path for 90% of its original journey. Starts at Cardington Road in Bedford and ends at the A1.

Some of the bridges are a bit overkill for a few people walking their dogs and cycling. Seems stupid that 53 years later after its closed we need to build a new railway thats effectively doing the same thing.
 

Amlag

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Parts of Okehampton to Tavistock former SR main line; closed 1968
Parts of Barnstaple Town to Ilfracombe; closed 1970
Parts of Bovey Tracey to Moretonhampstead; closed 1958 Passr and 1964 Freight.
 

TheBigD

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Assume they've been mentioned up thread but near to me...

Brampton Valley Way, former Northampton to Market Harborough line.
Water Rail Way, except for the central section, the former Lincoln to Boston Line.
St Ives Guided Busway, former Cambridge to St Ives line.
North from Kings Lynn towards Castle Rising along the former line to Hunstanton.

With a decent hybrid/mountain bike you cycle the former Stamford to Wansford line for a couple of miles from near Stamford to near Uffington signalbox. It's also part of the Torpel Way walk from Stamford to Peterborough.There are plans to convert to Wansford end from near Sutton to NVR at Wansford to a cycleway as part of the proposed dualing of the A47 from Sutton to Wansford.

You can now cycle around the former Fletton flyash loop south of Peterborough, though you would struggle to find any trace of a railway!

I've mentioned it before but earlier this year I was cycling in Patagonia, and the first part of the tour we cycled along the disused railway south from Puerto Varas. The track and ballast were still situ!
 
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railfan john

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M&SWJ Railway in Swindon Wiltshire is a good line to walk.

It starts at Rushey Platt to Swindon Town.

I have walked it several times.

If you know where to look you can find the remains of Rushey platt Upper station.

It can get a bit of water in places if its wet.

Several good views from the cycleway. also a good view of the old canal.
 

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