July 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 July update of Forgotten Relics.

The fight to save an old railway tunnel from abandonment took an unlikely turn in June when a Minister turned up to peer into its darkness. Queensbury Tunnel is a considerable liability for the Highways Agency but instead of burying it under concrete, could impending remedial works be engineered to bring benefits for the taxpayer's investment?

Kettleness Tunnel is lucky to have ever existed. The engineer who originally developed the Whitby Redcar & Middlesbrough Union Railway didn't cover himself in glory when he plotted a course beneath North Yorkshire's unstable cliffs. Fortunately financial issues brought a hiatus mid-project, during which time parts of the route crumbled away. Common sense prevailed when the North Eastern Railway took over, pushing the line further inland through two tunnels, one of which was Kettleness.

K-Burn has been busy for us this month with two structures from north of the border. Rodney Street Tunnel is a cut-and-cover product in central Edinburgh which opened for business in the age of horse-drawn trains. Today's traffic is also muscle-powered: walkers and cyclists use it as a commuting route. Across the Forth, he also visits Glenfarg Viaduct on the former main line to Perth which has recently been the focus of remedial works. If only the trees had been cut back so we could see it.

July's final offering is the fabulous Mountsorrel bridge which features one of the finest brick spans in the country. Opened in 1860 on a quarry line - also horse-drawn, the structure is exquisitely designed with embellishments at every turn. Despite the Grade II listing, it is looking a little tired though as a result of ill-considered repair work resulting in localised deterioration of its brickwork.

You'll see that the Disused Tunnels Database has been extensively updated this month with a raft of revisions and a few new entries. Just when you think you've unearthed all the tunnels going, others emerge to catch your eye.

And finally, if, like me, you're a dinosaur and look back with dewy eyes on those days - pre-health 'n' safety - when we were allowed to have adventures, you'll love this picture. Four lads (and a fifth holding his camera) bedecked in wellies and short trousers, with smiles as wide as the portal they're in front of. Feel the nostalgia; relish the characters. I can't stop smiling!

New this month
Mountsorrel bridge
Kettleness Tunnel
as well as...
Can a Ministerial visit save Britain's 26th longest railway tunnel from losing out to the Highways Agency's need to manage its considerable liability.
Rodney Street Tunnel
Glenfarg 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.

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