August 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 August update of Forgotten Relics.

This month we doff our caps to the dozens of tunnels - now long-forgotten - that were erased from the landscape following closure of their railways in the Fifties and Sixties.

Notwithstanding the economic realities prevailing at the time, it does feel hugely disrespectful that some very considerable structures - which cost life and limb to build - were sacrificed with little thought for their potential or engineering significance. Fortunately some of them were photographed - often by Ian Gill - before their burial.

Back in the early Eighties, Morcott Tunnel was one of 39 offered for sale by British Rail for conversion into nuclear fallout shelters. Seriously. It seems content with redundancy today - east-west relations having thawed a little - but there is still a potential bombshell behind its neat brickwork in the form of four hidden construction shafts.

If you like your engineering to be elegant, look no further than the single span of Rawthey bridge, built by Coulthard & Allen. This fabulous structure formed part of a route blessed with glorious scenery and matching viaducts, connecting the 'Little' North Western's Ingleton branch with Lowgill on the West Coast Main Line. Well worth exploring if you can find a spare day.

K-Burn's latest photographic adventures have taken him to see the high-flying Gairney Glen Viaduct which helped Scotland's Devon Valley Railway to clear a burn by 110 feet. He's also poked his camera into Trinity Tunnel, another part of the Edinburgh Leith & Newhaven Railway. Like Rodney Street last month, this one was brought to us by 'cut and cover' and some highly skilled masons.

New this month
Rawthey bridge
Morcott Tunnel
as well as...
Whilst most tunnels survive in whole or in part, some have been completely erased from the landscape. This month we unearth a few notable ones.
Trinity Tunnel
Gairney Glen 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.
News
stories
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