Forest of Dean Railways and Tramways (General)

by rogerfarnworth, Monday, March 19, 2018, 07:04 (629 days ago)

Hello,

I have just joined this forum. My wife and I travel to the Forest at least once a year for a holiday and we are both fascinated by the industrial heritage of the Forest.

I have been undertaking some research and wondered whether this might be of interest to others who frequent the forum.

If so, there will be occasional posts about the Forest and its railways. The first will follow shortly.

Forest of Dean Railways and Tramways

by rogerfarnworth, Monday, March 19, 2018, 07:06 (629 days ago) @ rogerfarnworth

My wife and I enjoy an annual holiday in the Forest of Dean. We have been there almost every year since the year 2000. During that time we have enjoyed exploring a number of the different railway routes in the forest and have begun to realise just how complex a network of tramways supported the standard vague railways which themselves had replaced much earlier tramways. I hope this thread will be of interest to some.

This is the first of a series of blog posts about the forest and its railways and tramways and focusses on Lydney Harbour and its transport links, particularly rail and tramway/tramroad. ...

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2017/09/26/lydney-harbour

Forest of Dean Railways and Tramways

by rogerfarnworth, Monday, March 19, 2018, 07:08 (629 days ago) @ rogerfarnworth

Parkend in the Forest of Dean is currently the terminus of a preservation line, the Dean Forest Railway, http://www.deanforestrailway.co.uk

Historically it was a small through station on the Severn and Wye Joint Railway with a short branch to transhipment wharfs that allowed tramways to transfer good to the main line. Further back still t was the centre of some major forest industries which were heavily served by tramways. The first image on the blog below ius a map of the tramways at Parkend in its prime as an industrial centre in the Forest.

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2017/09/29/parkend-forest-of-dean

Forest of Dean Railways and Tramways

by rogerfarnworth, Monday, March 19, 2018, 21:55 (629 days ago) @ rogerfarnworth

Another post. This one is centred on Parkend, and covers two significant lengths of tramroads.

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2017/10/02/oakwood-and-dikes-tramways

Forest of Dean Railways and Tramways

by rogerfarnworth, Monday, March 19, 2018, 21:56 (629 days ago) @ rogerfarnworth

This may be old hat to readers of this site but here is a post on New Fancy Colliery in the Forest of Dean ....

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2017/09/23/new-fancy-colliery-and-it-railways

Forest of Dean Railways and Tramways

by rogerfarnworth, Monday, March 19, 2018, 21:58 (629 days ago) @ rogerfarnworth

Forest of Dean Railways and Tramways

by rogerfarnworth, Monday, March 19, 2018, 21:59 (629 days ago) @ rogerfarnworth

There is a company within the Forest that spends its time repairing and building railway locomotives.

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2017/09/30/the-flour-mill-colliery

Forest of Dean Railways and Tramways

by rogerfarnworth, Monday, March 19, 2018, 22:00 (629 days ago) @ rogerfarnworth

In the last few days I have been looking at the route of the Forest of Dean Tramway which was a major innovation in its day. Haie Hill Tunnel which was built for it in the very early 19th Century was for a short while the longest tunnel in the world. It was also one of the earliest tunnels built.

The tramway linked significant industrial concerns in the Forest of Dean with the Severn Estuary at Bullo Pill. The owners of the tramway were also behind the first serious attempt to tunnel under the Severn Estuary.

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2018/03/13/bullo-pill-and-the-forest-of-dean-tramway

Forest of Dean Railways and Tramways

by rogerfarnworth, Sunday, September 15, 2019, 20:35 (84 days ago) @ rogerfarnworth

My wife and I stay in the Forest of Dean most years. September 2019 was no exception. We stayed in a cottage close to what were Cannop and Speech House Collieries which were both rail served when they were active collieries. I have already posted about Cannop Colliery as part of this series of posts. It seems appropriate that I post something about Speech House Colliery.

http://rogerfarnworth.com/2019/09/14/speech-house-hill-colliery-and-railway

Forest of Dean Railways and Tramways

by rogerfarnworth, Sunday, September 15, 2019, 20:50 (84 days ago) @ rogerfarnworth

The industrial history of the Forest of Dean is such that the intensity of activity was high throughout the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. Innovation was rife and nowhere was this more true than in its transport infrastructure.

In, what history will ultimately regard as, a very short period of time, tramroads were built and became the dominant form of transport. They waned and were replaced by broad gauge railways which in turn lost out to what was the dominant but probably inferior standard-gauge. For a time, all were active in the Forest at once. ....

http://rogerfarnworth.com/2019/09/15/different-railway-gauges-in-operation-the-forest-o...

Forest of Dean Railways and Tramways

by rogerfarnworth, Monday, September 16, 2019, 16:33 (83 days ago) @ rogerfarnworth

Another Forest of Dean Colliery. .... Flour Mill Colliery. ...

http://rogerfarnworth.com/2017/09/30/the-flour-mill-colliery

Forest of Dean Railways and Tramways

by rogerfarnworth, Tuesday, September 24, 2019, 20:34 (75 days ago) @ rogerfarnworth

Yet another Forest colliery and its railways and tramways - Trafalgar Colliery

http://rogerfarnworth.com/2019/09/24/trafalgar-colliery-and-railway

Forest of Dean Railways and Tramways

by rogerfarnworth, Sunday, October 06, 2019, 18:53 (63 days ago) @ rogerfarnworth

I have recently encountered two small books, both of which are facsimile editions of much older books. The first is a 19th century guide to the Forest of Dean for early holiday makers. The second provides a guide to the various coal mines in the Forest. ...

http://rogerfarnworth.com/2019/10/05/two-pocket-books-about-the-forest-of-dean

Forest of Dean Railways and Tramways

by Jefff @, West London, Middlesex, Monday, October 07, 2019, 03:39 (63 days ago) @ rogerfarnworth

Hi Roger,
yes those are both excellent little books, well worth a mention.
By coincidence I recommended the second one, "Fine Coal", on this forum only a few months ago.
https://forum.forest-of-dean.net/index.php?id=51431
Just to add to your notes, the original publication dates from c1930 so details the later, larger mines.
It was produced by the Forest's own Ian Pope. By another coincidence, just this week he announced the latest in his series of truly excellent books about the Forest's railways and associated industry has just gone to the printers. "Severn & Wye Railway Volume 5" is about Lydney Docks, and should be available to buy for Christmas from Black Dwarf Lightmoor publications.
atb Jeff

Forest of Dean Railways and Tramways

by rhianonturrell @, Tuesday, March 20, 2018, 10:29 (628 days ago) @ rogerfarnworth

Fascinating-thank you for posting these which pull together a lot of information into a coherent account.

Forest of Dean Railways and Tramways

by rsligi @, Friday, March 23, 2018, 18:04 (625 days ago) @ rogerfarnworth

Thank you for sharing this knowledge with us. I used to live in Lower Lydbrook and our cottage had the incline down to the Wye to the west side, standing back to the river in The Tump park area the incline ran between the bungalow and the old Courtfield Pub (now holiday lets). The line of incline is marked by line of trees and old walls of the incline are to the west of our old cottasge (used to be called Sudi, may stillbe?) If you walk to the top of the 116approx steps on corner opposite the Tump you can look over the wall and see how steep the incline was. The coal was stacked in the area now unused part of Courtfield and then loaded on the flat bottomed boats on the warf which was in front of the Courtfield, some stones remain, also a warf opposite Wyebank Cottage 100yds downstream. Some old track single stone sleepers with single hole in centre can be seen in wall by Courtfield and also many in the garden at Sudi from the incline. When I rebuilt the terraces at Sudi I uncovered the base of a winding shed level with the Courtfield but its now recovered.

Forest of Dean Railways and Tramways

by rogerfarnworth, Saturday, November 03, 2018, 17:04 (400 days ago) @ rsligi

The railway served a lot of industrial sites in the Forest of Dean. Cannop Colliery was one of these ...

http://rogerfarnworth.com/2018/08/31/cannop-colliery

Forest of Dean Railways and Tramways

by rogerfarnworth, Friday, February 08, 2019, 21:09 (303 days ago) @ rogerfarnworth

Recently, I have begun researching some of the tramways/tramroads in the valleys of South Wales. The first of these that I looked at was the Penydarren Tramroad.

While I was looking at the website of the Industrial Railway Society (https://www.irsociety.co.uk) I came across a story which related to the Forest if Dean and, in particular, the Severn & Wye Railway & Canal Company.

The link below highlights the story of what appears to have been the research necessary before purchasing the first steam locomotive the Forest of Dean. It also points to what could have been a far earlier introduction of steam traction into the Forest.

http://rogerfarnworth.com/2019/02/08/a-first-steam-locomotive-for-the-severn-and-wye-tr...

Forest of Dean Railways and Tramways

by Jefff @, West London, Middlesex, Saturday, February 09, 2019, 00:44 (303 days ago) @ rogerfarnworth

Hi Roger,
I've read about William Stewart's 1814 trials in various accounts going back some years, most of which seem to be based on his own letters to the Practical Mechanic etc some 30 years later. Somehow I can't help but feel he's biased in these reports - as an engineer meself I do wonder how his loco or the track would have coped with daily usage, breakages of the cast iron plateways were a major bugbear for all the early locos abt that time, as you'll know regarding Trevithick's one-off run at Penydarren, plus the Dean would presumably have meant worse gradients to tackle as well ?
I also wonder why I've not heard or read any more of Stewart's later career, if indeed there was one ??. His letters suggest he was from Drogheda, Ireland, but was resident in Newport Monmouthshire in the mid 1840s if not longer. I've tried to find him in the Census' etc, but without much luck. Please do you know anything of his activities or life after 1814 ? (William Stewart is NOT a rare name in Ireland at that time, many went to America, especially Pennysylvania which would have suited an engineer.)
As you've mentioned the S&W Railway used the exercise to reduce their existing haulage costs by a significant margin. I'm sure they'd have known the loco would probably be a fairly risky venture in the long term (eg rolled wrought iron rails wern't invented until the 1820s). As I understand it they were always very careful with their money, and throughout their existence were always reluctant to spend money unless absolutely necessary. So as much as I sympathise with my fellow engineer I can understand that they may have been happy to err on the side of caution, I guess the apparent lack ? of court cases by Stewart suggest both sides were at fault to some degree.
atb J

Forest of Dean Railways and Tramways

by rogerfarnworth, Saturday, February 09, 2019, 05:58 (302 days ago) @ Jefff

Hi Jefff

I think your reflections on William Stewart are fair. I provided the details of what I found for the sake of interest and it is clear that only one side of the story is available. I have no more information than was in the letters and the chapter about William Stewart in the book. Sorry.

Best wishes

Roger

Forest of Dean Railways and Tramways

by Jefff @, West London, Middlesex, Saturday, February 09, 2019, 16:13 (302 days ago) @ rogerfarnworth

Good afternnon Roger,
thanks for that, if you ever do come across any more info about Stewart please consider updating this thread.
Cheers, Jeff.

Forest of Dean Railways and Tramways

by rogerfarnworth, Friday, February 15, 2019, 10:08 (296 days ago) @ Jefff

Yes, of course, Jefff
Best wishes
Roger

Forest of Dean Railways and Tramways

by rogerfarnworth, Friday, September 13, 2019, 19:32 (86 days ago) @ rogerfarnworth

The Guardian carried an article on 31st August 2019 about old rail routes being used as cycleways. It suggested the 10 best routes where old railway formations are in use as cycleways. Theirs is not the only list of routes which seeks to provide a "Top Ten."

I have pulled together a few examples in the linked post below. I'd like to add at least one which does not feature in the top ten lists, and that is the Forest of Dean, a place I love.

http://rogerfarnworth.com/2019/09/13/railways-and-cycleways-no-1-a-top-ten

Walking and cycling along the old railways of the Forest is a real pleasure. I was disappointed to find that it was not included in the top 10!

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