Spring 2018

It's easy to take for granted the awesome endeavours of 19th Century railway pioneers which thread us through, around or over the nation's natural barriers. It was an age of speculative adventure, built on innovation, will power and elbow grease.

But many magnificent creations were abandoned during the industrial vandalism of the Fifties and Sixties. Forgotten Relics of an Enterprising Age celebrates some of them.
Operating Notices

Welcome to the Spring update of Forgotten Relics.

Three bores at Woodhead; two more at Standedge. Beyond these, the UK's next longest disused railway tunnel - at just short of two miles - connects Blaengwynfi and Blaencwm in South Wales. Buried since the 1980s, Rhondda Tunnel is currently the focus of a campaign to reopen it as a cycle path, with the hope that it will bring social and economic rebirth to this former coal heartland. But what condition is it in? We were lowered down a narrow access shaft to find out.

Another tunnel now hoping to benefit from a recycling scheme was driven under Pudsey, West Yorkshire, by the Great Northern Railway in the early 1890s. Greenside Tunnel is in fabulous nick and offers the most benign of conditions: clutter free and entirely dry. Well almost. One single area of considerable water ingress is encountered 170 yards from its eastern end. We investigate the cause.

Newbold Tunnel hosted the historic Coleorton Railway - a product of the 1830s - but looking at it today, you’d think a waterway had passed through it. So it’s wellies on as you venture forth to check out the spalling brickwork and squatting arch. This is a structure that’s feeling its age; however, at 185, it has more reason than most to feel a bit decrepit.

Treffry Viaduct was multi-purpose, designed to carry both water and rails. Costing £6,708, it was regarded at the time of its construction (early 1840s) as the most advanced engineering project on the Cornish peninsula. Although rather lost in trees now, it remains a substantial feature in the landscape, comprising 200,000 cubic feet of locally-quarried granite.

Concrete blocks were fashioned for the eight arches of Tavistock Viaduct which Jon Tuckett has been to awe at. A memorial date stone was laid by the engineer’s wife, Mary Szlumper, on 12th July 1889 to mark its completion, the structure having been decorated specially for the occasion. Now restored to accommodate a walkway, it offers panoramic views over the town and the Devon countryside beyond.

New this time
Treffry Viaduct
Greenside Tunnel
as well as...
Campaigners hope that reopening the two-mile long Rhondda Tunnel for walking and cycling will help to bring rebirth to a remote corner of South Wales.
Newbold Tunnel
Tavistock Viaduct
You can reach pages about these relics by clicking on their name. Across the site, new content is identified by a symbol whilst updated pages have a .
Main site areas
The site has stories about some of our more notable railway relics, with a hike through their history and reminiscences from those who worked there. You'll also find galleries showing dozens of bridges, viaducts, tunnels, earthworks, stations and junctions.
Online coverage of our disused network.
Bridges & viaducts
Great structures spanning a gap.
Tunnels & earthworks
Holes blasted
through hills.
Stations & junctions
Destinations torn from the timetable.

All the site areas are available via links in the tab bar and right hand column.

We add more structures on a seaonal basis. We hope you enjoy your visit and come back to see more Forgotten Relics soon.

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