Trivia - abandoned railways with intact track

Worm

Member
Joined
13 May 2020
Messages
40
Location
Manchester
There's a length of track at Hadlow Road station on the old Hooton-West Kirby line at Willaston, just west of Hooton.
The line now forms the Wirral Way, and Hadlow Road has been restored to its BR/Birkenhead Railway character of the 1950s, including the station buildings, platform signal box, lineside signals and level crossing gates.
It's a favourite starting point for the walk.

View attachment 93900
Could’ve sworn I saw that on a TV show, I think it was a Rob Bell show.
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

janahan

Member
Joined
13 Feb 2014
Messages
66
There is some wide gauge railway track along the former Uxbridge branch of the GwR near Brunel university together with a boiler from the SS great Eastern.
having studied at that university.... the tracks were a recent thing probably by students of the university itself. Whilst the line may have started with Broad guage, it was very much standard guge for most of its life until closure.
 
Last edited:

Berliner

Member
Joined
8 Oct 2020
Messages
30
Location
Edinburgh
Not for several years now. It's a cycle path all the way from Shawfair to Roslin now. Ignore what it shows on the online versions of the OS 1:50,000 and 1:25,000 maps, that's well out of date.

That said, the satellite view on Google Maps does seem to show track(s) in situ on the curve east of Millerhill Road. I haven't been there to check in person recently.

Google's satellite view also suggests that the line through Abbeyhill has been lifted, presumably since the plan (IIRC) to use it as a layover for Borders Railway trains was abandoned.

I believe the track to Powderhall from Meadowbank is in situ while the powers that be work out what to do with it. Practically every other such abandoned route in Edinburgh (with the exception of the Western Approach Road) is now a foot/cycle way but for some reason that seems to be difficult to do in this instance.

The track out to Powderhall is still there and is cut off just behind the council buildings which appear to be housing grit and/or debris removed from the tram works from what I can see. That line is intact all the way back to the mainline around Craigentinny. Sticking with Edinburgh, just further East from where the Powderhall line joins up, there is still a branch that runs down to Seafield and Leith docks. Although it doesn't appear to have been used for a long time, the track is still there. Some of it, certainly the parts closer to the mainline, may still be used as active storage or sidings, but it's clear that the area around the Seafield sewage works is very much closed with 2 large gates permanently shut over the tracks, allowing unhindered public car access to the seafront and the tracks running into abandoned parts of the docks, with several permanently closed, large iron gates in the way and rubbish strewn all over them at various points. The area is prone to fly-tipping on a large scale and some burnt-out portacabins. What confuses me though is that there appears to be a permanently Red, very modern looking, signal light facing INTO the clearly unused area, and someone has gone along and removed the old iron footbridge which used to span the tracks (although pedestrian access to it was all fenced off and had been for some time). This was done in the last few weeks, so someone is still maintaining these long-unused tracks for some reason.

I wonder why so many are left in place when these areas could do with better walking/cycling paths or be renovated into tram tracks in some areas?
 

alf

Member
Joined
1 Mar 2021
Messages
24
Location
Bournemouth
There is more than half mile of abandoned 2 foot gauge track north of Bratton Fleming in a deep cutting. It passes below 2 public road bridges. Remarkably its weed/tree free.
Was it left behind as too hard to remove when the Southern Lynton & Barnstaple line closed 75 years ago?
 

najaB

Veteran Member
Joined
28 Aug 2011
Messages
24,024
Location
Scotland
I wonder why so many are left in place when these areas could do with better walking/cyclin
Because in many cases, the line is officially "out of use" rather than having been abandoned/mothballed. It's surprisingly difficult these days for network rail to take lines off the network permanently.

All it takes is one FOC to object due to a contract or project that's "just around the corner".
 

dubscottie

Member
Joined
4 Apr 2010
Messages
852
A lot of track, still sitting round Inverkeithing and wouldn't the Rosyth branch still be pretty much intact but unused?
The Rosyth branch is intact but completely overgrown in places with trees etc growing between the sleepers.
NR completely fenced the line off to stop trespassers/cable thieves.
I believe the mainline signal cables still run along the branch from Inverkeithing to the south of Jamestown viaduct. (easiest route).
The Crombie and Westfield branches are intact also I believe.
 

GOEdwards

New Member
Joined
21 Nov 2018
Messages
3
There is more than half mile of abandoned 2 foot gauge track north of Bratton Fleming in a deep cutting. It passes below 2 public road bridges. Remarkably its weed/tree free.
Was it left behind as too hard to remove when the Southern Lynton & Barnstaple line closed 75 years ago?

Could it be the Exmoor Steam Railway (now apparently closed)?

 

D6975

Established Member
Joined
26 Nov 2009
Messages
2,268
Location
Bristol
If you know where to look, the remains of some of the track of the old narrow gauge railway at Blaise Castle (near Bristol) could still be found hidden in the undergrowth last time that I was there.
 

d9009alycidon

Member
Joined
22 Jun 2011
Messages
626
Location
Troon
Just been checking on Bing Maps and the track still seems to be in place on the old Bilston Glen Branch as far as the new alignment of the Borders Railway, Is this the case or is Bing Maps out of date?
 

Trackman

Established Member
Joined
28 Feb 2013
Messages
1,418
Location
Lewisham
is any of the remaining track from the main junction to that crossing still used for stabling or anything do you know?
What I saw of it, it was a bit overgrown with no juice rail but I think it does have some third rail nearer the junction.
Looked liked it hadn't seen any trains in a long time.
 

alf

Member
Joined
1 Mar 2021
Messages
24
Location
Bournemouth
Could it be the Exmoor Steam Railway (now apparently closed)?

No.
It is true that is within 3 miles of the exmoor steam railway but that 2ft gauge railway is in open country on the top of high ground.
The mysterious & secret track we discovered in 2019 is in remote hilly wooded country lower down, bisected by little valleys.
The track is in a deep cutting under Button lane, the road past the old Bratton station & then it continues in the deep cutting under the public lane from bratton fleming to the hamlet of Knightacott.
We decided someone might be using it as their own private railway. Apart from drainage problems it was in good condition with wagons in a separate siding. All very hidden away. You can only see it from the 2 bridge parapets & you have to be brave or foolhardy to park your car on the narrow steep lane to look.
 

ejstubbs

Member
Joined
19 May 2016
Messages
162
Location
Scotland
Just been checking on Bing Maps and the track still seems to be in place on the old Bilston Glen Branch as far as the new alignment of the Borders Railway, Is this the case or is Bing Maps out of date?

See my post #99: there are certainly no tracks west of Millerhill Road, and most of the solum has been turned in to a cycle/walk way. East of Millerhill Road I'm not sure: I haven't been to look recently. Both the 1:50,000 and 1:25,000 OS maps are out of date and as far as I can tell Bing Maps simply duplicated the error in the OS 1:50,000 map, which is horrendously out of date. The stretch from Straiton Pond as far as Lasswade Road was turned in to a very nice cycle/walk way five years ago; south from there through Loanhead and over the Bilston Viaduct to Roslin was definitely open for cycle and foot traffic a number of years before that. From Lasswade Road to Shawfair opened three years ago.
 

Irascible

Member
Joined
21 Apr 2020
Messages
564
Location
South-West
No.
It is true that is within 3 miles of the exmoor steam railway but that 2ft gauge railway is in open country on the top of high ground.
The mysterious & secret track we discovered in 2019 is in remote hilly wooded country lower down, bisected by little valleys.
The track is in a deep cutting under Button lane, the road past the old Bratton station & then it continues in the deep cutting under the public lane from bratton fleming to the hamlet of Knightacott.
We decided someone might be using it as their own private railway. Apart from drainage problems it was in good condition with wagons in a separate siding. All very hidden away. You can only see it from the 2 bridge parapets & you have to be brave or foolhardy to park your car on the narrow steep lane to look.
IIRC an organisation has been buying up bits of the trackbed to hold for the current L&B as they become available, so perhaps it's something to do with them.
 

InOban

Established Member
Joined
12 Mar 2017
Messages
3,093
The track out to Powderhall is still there and is cut off just behind the council buildings which appear to be housing grit and/or debris removed from the tram works from what I can see. That line is intact all the way back to the mainline around Craigentinny. Sticking with Edinburgh, just further East from where the Powderhall line joins up, there is still a branch that runs down to Seafield and Leith docks. Although it doesn't appear to have been used for a long time, the track is still there. Some of it, certainly the parts closer to the mainline, may still be used as active storage or sidings, but it's clear that the area around the Seafield sewage works is very much closed with 2 large gates permanently shut over the tracks, allowing unhindered public car access to the seafront and the tracks running into abandoned parts of the docks, with several permanently closed, large iron gates in the way and rubbish strewn all over them at various points. The area is prone to fly-tipping on a large scale and some burnt-out portacabins. What confuses me though is that there appears to be a permanently Red, very modern looking, signal light facing INTO the clearly unused area, and someone has gone along and removed the old iron footbridge which used to span the tracks (although pedestrian access to it was all fenced off and had been for some time). This was done in the last few weeks, so someone is still maintaining these long-unused tracks for some reason.

I wonder why so many are left in place when these areas could do with better walking/cycling paths or be renovated into tram tracks in some areas?
The route to the docks was used to carry imported coal to Cockenzie Power Station which closed in 2013. I don't think that it's carried anything since.
 

steamybrian

Established Member
Joined
26 Nov 2010
Messages
1,361
Location
Kent
Has anyone mentioned that track is mostly still in situ on the Croxley Green- Walford High Street branch. Although closed in the mid 1990s work started on reconstruction and an aborted new connection to the Metropolitan Line Watford-Moor Park branch. A section of the track and embankment was removed between Croxley Green and Watford West to build a new road.
 

route101

Established Member
Joined
16 May 2010
Messages
8,258
Just been checking on Bing Maps and the track still seems to be in place on the old Bilston Glen Branch as far as the new alignment of the Borders Railway, Is this the case or is Bing Maps out of date?
On google streetview, looks like the track is still in place just to the east of Millerhill.

One in Glasgow, the branch to Braehead. Don't think any freight uses it.
 

d9009alycidon

Member
Joined
22 Jun 2011
Messages
626
Location
Troon
On google streetview, looks like the track is still in place just to the east of Millerhill.

One in Glasgow, the branch to Braehead. Don't think any freight uses it.
Braehead is still connected to the network and there are a number of sidings still in place within the terminal. Still an outside chance of this coming back into use I think
 

GOEdwards

New Member
Joined
21 Nov 2018
Messages
3
No.
It is true that is within 3 miles of the exmoor steam railway but that 2ft gauge railway is in open country on the top of high ground.
The mysterious & secret track we discovered in 2019 is in remote hilly wooded country lower down, bisected by little valleys.
The track is in a deep cutting under Button lane, the road past the old Bratton station & then it continues in the deep cutting under the public lane from bratton fleming to the hamlet of Knightacott.
We decided someone might be using it as their own private railway. Apart from drainage problems it was in good condition with wagons in a separate siding. All very hidden away. You can only see it from the 2 bridge parapets & you have to be brave or foolhardy to park your car on the narrow steep lane to look.
There was a BBC Film circa 1987 called The Little Train to Lynton-2 episodes-and on one of these someone was privately running a short stretch of line in one of the cuttings-perhaps this? Both episodes used to be on YouTube I think.
 

ejstubbs

Member
Joined
19 May 2016
Messages
162
Location
Scotland
On google streetview, looks like the track is still in place just to the east of Millerhill.

I agree that this Streetview image from September 2020 does fairly clearly show track still in situ under the Old Craighall Road overbridge. This Streetview image also shows track in situ east of the old alignment of Millerhill Road - but that image was captured nine years ago in June 2012. There is no track visible on the 2020 Streetview image looking west from the new alignment of Millerhill Road, but I suppose there might be something hidden in that long grass. I'd go and have more of a nosey myself but it's actually outside the Edinburgh local authority area...

(The track east of Millerhill connecting to the ECML east of Musselburgh station via a huge S-curve only went in during the second half of the twentieth century, I believe when Millerhill depot opened in the early 1960s. It wasn't part of the original Gilmerton-Loanhead-Roslin-Glencorse route.)

Google's satellite view also suggests that the line through Abbeyhill has been lifted, presumably since the plan (IIRC) to use it as a layover for Borders Railway trains was abandoned.

I went and had a look at the Abbeyhill bit last weekend. You can see the old station site very easily from Abbey Lane, and with a bit more difficulty by peering over the parapet of the London Road overbridge. There are no tracks left there - the "Danger overhead live wires" sign on the gate off Abbey Lane is a blatant falsehood!

Screenshot 2021-04-08 at 17.57.32.png
 
Last edited:

domcoop7

Member
Joined
15 Mar 2021
Messages
68
Location
Wigan
No.
It is true that is within 3 miles of the exmoor steam railway but that 2ft gauge railway is in open country on the top of high ground.
The mysterious & secret track we discovered in 2019 is in remote hilly wooded country lower down, bisected by little valleys.
The track is in a deep cutting under Button lane, the road past the old Bratton station & then it continues in the deep cutting under the public lane from bratton fleming to the hamlet of Knightacott.
We decided someone might be using it as their own private railway. Apart from drainage problems it was in good condition with wagons in a separate siding. All very hidden away. You can only see it from the 2 bridge parapets & you have to be brave or foolhardy to park your car on the narrow steep lane to look.
It is apparently in the ownership of the Lynton & Barnstaple railway a re-opening group. Their website is down, but an associated company, "Exmoor Associates", who seems to buy the railway land on behalf of the group, has it listed.

 

route101

Established Member
Joined
16 May 2010
Messages
8,258
I agree that this Streetview image from September 2020 does fairly clearly show track still in situ under the Old Craighall Road overbridge. This Streetview image also shows track in situ east of the old alignment of Millerhill Road - but that image was captured nine years ago in June 2012. There is no track visible on the 2020 Streetview image looking west from the new alignment of Millerhill Road, but I suppose there might be something hidden in that long grass. I'd go and have more of a nosey myself but it's actually outside the Edinburgh local authority area...

(The track east of Millerhill connecting to the ECML east of Musselburgh station via a huge S-curve only went in during the second half of the twentieth century, I believe when Millerhill depot opened in the early 1960s. It wasn't part of the original Gilmerton-Loanhead-Roslin-Glencorse route.)



I went and had a look at the Abbeyhill bit last weekend. You can see the old station site very easily from Abbey Lane, and with a bit more difficulty by peering over the parapet of the London Road overbridge. There are no tracks left there - the "Danger overhead live wires" sign on the gate off Abbey Lane is a blatant falsehood!

View attachment 94057
I remember the Abbeyhill bit having tracks until quite recently.

I remember the old tracks still in place nearer Loanhead on the other side of the Bypass. Surely you could walk across the border! I never notice these local authority borders!
 

steamybrian

Established Member
Joined
26 Nov 2010
Messages
1,361
Location
Kent
The Kirkham & Wesham to Burn Naze track is still in situ with a Heritage railway society trying to reopen it. It is also one of the lines listed to the Department of Transport for proposed reopening.
 

Steve Harris

Member
Joined
11 Dec 2016
Messages
648
Location
ECML
Has anyone mentioned that track is mostly still in situ on the Croxley Green- Walford High Street branch. Although closed in the mid 1990s work started on reconstruction and an aborted new connection to the Metropolitan Line Watford-Moor Park branch. A section of the track and embankment was removed between Croxley Green and Watford West to build a new road.
Yes it has already been mentioned, in post #19 to be precise.
 
Joined
9 Feb 2009
Messages
807
No I’m not, but still there at the Creswell end as far as I know. My understanding was that it had been mothballed, but I could be making that up.
The line was lifted 2011 and converted to a cycleway even though the neighbouring LD&ECR/GCR line was already a footpath.
 
Joined
29 Sep 2010
Messages
93
Sections of the eastern end of the Tanat Valley light railway and Porthywaen branch, used for quarry traffic until about 1988, are still in situ, although some parts have fallen prey to the metal fairies.
 
Joined
13 Apr 2011
Messages
584
Location
Helsby
Some (most?) of the old line from West Cheshire Junction to what was then UKF, now CF Fertilizers, is still in place. The adjacent branch is in use for supplying feedstock sand to the Encirc glass plant at Ince. The rest of the line up as far as Mouldsworth was lifted in the early 90's.
 

Jamesrob637

Established Member
Joined
12 Aug 2016
Messages
3,555
having studied at that university.... the tracks were a recent thing probably by students of the university itself. Whilst the line may have started with Broad guage, it was very much standard guge for most of its life until closure.

Geoff Marshall covered that exact line in his latest video! Worth a watch.
 

james60059

Member
Joined
6 Jul 2006
Messages
692
Location
Hinckley
The Letterston Junction - Trecwn branch (on the Fishguard Harbour line) still has some track down I believe, not sure how long that's been disused for but looking at the loop and some track disappearing into the undergrowth it's been a good few years I'd say.

Closer to home, the Three Spires Junction - Prologis Park branch in Coventry is still extant although I think it's been a good 10 years since a train ran along it.

Likewise, Bedworth oil terminal still has it's track in place, along with the diamond crossing on the Coventry - Nuneaton line
 

adrock1976

Established Member
Joined
10 Dec 2013
Messages
3,354
Location
What's it called? It's called Cumbernauld
Another one in the West of Scotland is the former oil terminal at Hawkhead on the Paisley Canal line.

The rails are rusty and there is some vegetation springing up along the tracks, which suggests trains have not used it for a long time.
 

hilly

Member
Joined
12 Dec 2012
Messages
39
Another one in South Wales - abet dare to hirwaun is still in place - no trains since tower colliery opencast closed
 

Top