September 2014

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 September update of Forgotten Relics.

Look east off the platform end at Bromley South Station and you'll see a humdrum overbridge, not worthy of a second glance. But the structure looked very different 133 years ago and had you surveyed the scene on 23rd November 1882, it would have been compelling. Max Batten paints a colourful picture of Ivy bridge's unfortunate demise.

Mapperley Tunnel - or at least 12 yards of it - collapsed in January 1925, depositing 150 tons of debris onto the track. In its redundancy, locals have attempted to emulate that event by chucking modern-day detritus down its middle shaft, resulting in a sculpture to rival anything crafted by Tracey Emin. It really is something to behold...and bemoan.

Symonds Yat Tunnel enjoyed an unspectacular operational history but its east portal - pushed into the face of a sheer rock cutting - is worthy of a visit. Lenston has done just that, also penetrating the gloom to explore what lies beyond. He found a tidy little structure, curving through the hill to emerge in the grounds of a hotel. It's begging to be opened for public use; someone has even had a go at lighting it.

Drama is not always a function of scale, a case in point being Den Finella Viaduct on the former Montrose & Bervie Railway. Though it only has three main arches and a side span, this is structure made glorious by its setting. The Den is a deep gorge over which the viaduct soars at a height of 130 feet. The view skywards from the stream is breathtaking. To save you the bother of donning your wellies, K-Burn has captured it perfectly.

Lockhaugh Viaduct is twice the structure it was. So successful was the Lanchester Railway Extension (aka Derwent Valley Railway) thanks to Consett's relentless freight traffic, its single track had to be doubled in the early 1900s. Half-a-million passengers travelled the route in 1914. Today its parapet still cuts the skyline which is just as well - so dense are the surrounding trees that you'd see nothing of its handsome stonework otherwise.

New this month
Lockhaugh Viaduct
Mapperley Tunnel
as well as...
Max Batten looks back at the history of an innocuous overbridge in Bromley which gained notoriety when it collapsed in 1882, killing seven railwaymen.
Symonds Yat Tunnel
Den Fenella 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'll add more relics over the coming months. We hope you enjoy your visit and come back to see more Forgotten Relics soon.

Back to the top