Mon, 06 Jul 2020

Photogallery: Walks: Kinder Scout

Sat, 03 Oct 2009

Photogallery: Rail: D4 and other Peaks

D4 Great Gable 50th birthday weekend 2009-09-27

Wed, 24 Sep 2008

Corris and Aberllefeni

Aberllefeni Slate Quarry

Wed, 17 Sep 2008

Killamarsh MS&LR

Howard Sprenger reported in September 2008 on derbyshirerailways, "Killamarsh station (latterly the premises of an architectural reclaiming company) is now due for demolition and has been offered for sale for £1. This is the last intact MSLR wooden Derbyshire Lines station"

Spurred by the ensuing thread I visited Killamarsh. Pictures of the attractive station are attached. The canopy has been clad in corrugated PVC and can't be seen from the trackbed, though a few small holes high up give a tantalising glimpse inside - although not large enough to identify any features.

Killamarsh MS&LR gallery

Upperthorpe & Killamarsh GCR

Ralph Rawlinson also asked,
>Incidentally am I correct in thinking that there is no trace trace of Upperthorpe & Killamarsh
>station (closed 1930) located where Field Lane bridges a cutting on the nearby Shirebrook line?

I spent a little while poking around the cutting at Upperthorpe & Killamarsh too and couldn't find anything identifiable. The single track platform must have been demolished as there's no sign of it other than an uneven and partial earthen bank along the cutting - no stone or brick remains. Very heavily overgrown as another poster commented so it was hard even to make out where the site had been.

The area where the attached extract (Derbyshire 1:10,560, 1924, copyright shows the Upperthorpe&Killamarsh station buildings is now encroached by tipping of garden spoil from above, so it's possible something has been built on the site. I didn't think of checking until I got back, and had previously assumed the buildings would have been nearer the bridge so may have missed something.

However the screenshot from Multimap Birdseye view also suggests the buildings are long gone, though one does have to be careful as I belive their 3d views are sometimes synthesized from a single aerial viewpoint.

What may be the original (cast iron?) station gate posts survive, supporting some quite out-of-keeping modern gates. On the old-maps screenshot they are located where the station drive joins onto Field Lane near Old Hall farm; on the Multimap view they are just off the bottom of the shot.

En route to Killamarsh I first called in at Spinkhill (Spink Hill), the next station south towards Langwith Junctions.

Upperthorpe & Killamarsh GCR gallery

Chesterfield Canal, Killamarsh

According to footpath signboards, the water course under the bridge just north of Upperthorpe & Killamarsh was the Chesterfield Canal. West of the bridge the canal is infilled, but starting under the bridge and heading east for a few hundred yards it has been cleared out and is "in water" as I believe they say, albeit very silted up and overgrown with rushes etc.

Regrettably it then disappears north-eastwards under the barrack-like housing which is rapidly taking over the area and also encroaching on the railway remains, see the contruction hoardings at

The towpath is still open as a footpath even on the infilled section, and seemed to be well used by local people. The path is called Cuckoo Dyke. According to the Chesterfield Canal Trust this was the local name for the canal, which ran from Chesterfield to Retford, Gainsborough and the Trent.

A few hundred yards south, beyond the infilled bridge and some fishing ponds in old workings, the canal (with water) re-appears and on Multimap it can be followed for perhaps a further half a mile towards Chesterfield before its course becomes unclear again.

Killamarsh Stations, Derbyshire

At Killamarsh the Midland main line, the GCR main line, the GCR Langwith to Beighton branch, plus river Rother and Chesterfield Canal, all ran parallel within a span of a quarter of a mile wide.

This is the site of the Midland's station, on the original York and North Midland line, the "Old Road" from Chesterfield to Rotherham avoiding Sheffield.

Thu, 14 Feb 2008

Nottinghamshire and ex-Nottinghamshire Buses

Reading and ex-Reading Buses

Photogallery: Rail: Zimbabwe 1984-86

Sun, 30 Sep 2007

Gorseddau Tramway: History

Whilst in Porthmadog with the family visiting the WHR(P), I went to look briefly at the route of the Gorseddau Tramway in the town. Time didn't allow wider exploration of this historic slate tramway but I hope one day to return and walk more of the route.

The Gorseddau had a convoluted history and spent most of its physical existence in states of quiet decay. Opened around 1857 as a 3' gauge horse worked tramway, it was older than many better-known slate lines such as the Talyllyn, the Corris Railway, the Croesor Tramway and even than the Cambrian main line through Portmadoc, as the town's name was spelt in those days.

The Gorseddau Tramway was promoted and built by entrepreneurs hoping to make a killing by developing new slate quarries in the mountains south of Beddgelert. Spurred by the profits achieved at better sited quarries, they built a large mill and the streets of a small village in an empty cŵm high in the hills. To move the finished slate they adopted the progressive method of an unusually well engineered narrow gauge railway – the Gorseddau Tramway. At Tremadoc near Portmadoc, the Gorseddau connected to and ran over the disused remains of the even earlier Tremadoc Tramway (one source names it the Portmadoc & Penmorfa Railway), a 1½ mile long horse tramway of 3' gauge dating from the late 1830s originally carrying ironstone to the wharves at Portmadoc. The slate was to be brought down by the Gorseddau for dispatch by ship from Portmadoc alongside wagons from the competing Festiniog, itself still horse worked at the time.

It was an ambitious social and economic scheme to create a profitable local slate industry from scratch. Sadly for the Gorseddau Tramway, the quarry owners, and especially for their shareholders and the inhabitants of the desolate new village, the prospecting (assuming the promoters had done any) had been inadequate. The slate at Gorseddau was poor quality and the quarries were unproductive. The Tramway, its traffic even at its peak in 1860 being counted in wagons per week rather than the hoped-for wagons per day, was out of use by 1870.

Nevertheless in 1872-75 during a further Welsh slate boom, other local quarry owners bought the Gorseddau, rebuilt it as a 2' gauge line under the name The Gorseddau Junction & Portmadoc Railway and extended it to their quarries at Prince of Wales Quarry. They used steam traction in the shape of a solitary De Winton vertical boilered loco, a primitive design even then. Slate from the Gorseddau could now be carried either by main line train (an interchange yard was planned with the Cambrian, though it never amounted to more than a siding) or by ship (the new Gorseddau reached the wharves via the tracks of the Croesor Tramway). But these quarries proved little more productive; the loco was soon replaced by horses and then by manpowered propulsion of single wagons. By 1892 the Gorseddau Junction had lapsed back into sleep, and it had been dismantled before the end of the 19th Century.

The short section of its route pictured here was used for a fourth time between 1903 and 1907 as part of the Moel y Gest quarry tramway. Although that tramway too was soon abandoned, I believe this section may have remained in situ until the 1950s – any clarification would be welcome.

"The Slate Railways of Wales", Alun John Richards, pub. 2001 by Gwasg Carreg Gwalch ISBN 0-86381-689-4

This site
Gorseddau Photo gallery
More on schemes to extract slate from the area around Beddgelert: Tunnels in the Pass of Aberglaslyn

Much more historical detail, present-day pictures and an extensive Bibliography at the Bangor/WHR page about the Gorseddau.
FR Heritage Wiki about the Gorseddau Junction.
"The Slate Industry of North and Mid Wales" at has images and history on Gorseddau Quarry and Prince of Wales Quarry.
Iain Robertson's superb pictures of Gorseddau Quarry and Prince of Wales Quarry.
Ron Fisher's pics of the route of the Gorseddau in the 1960s and 2000s.
Wiki: Gorseddau Tramway and the Gorseddau Junction and Portmadoc.

Gorseddau Tramway: Gallery

Photogallery: Rail: BR Privatisation: Network Rail era

British Railway Privatisation: second round of passenger franchising and the Network Rail era: approx 2002 to 2007 (coverage era subect to further random changes of government policy).

By 2001-02 the privatised railway was very much in crisis. Many of the first round of franchises had been withdrawn and re-let. The reasons behind this varied but included insolvency of the franchisee and inability to actually organise the running of trains. Other franchises had been extended (Virgin West Coast following Railtrack's WCML PUG1 fiasco)

Railtrack itself was forced into administration by the actions of the Government who, as the controlling shareholder via their Golden Share, declined to exercise a proper oversight and control of the company when it hit financial crisis as a result of mismanagement and a string of serious rail accidents.

This gallery covers the first five years of Network Rail - a time of recovery for the railway as it licked the wounds imposed by the ideologies of successive Tory and Labour transport policies (or, in Labour's case, lack of policies).

Covering the following passenger rail franchises: Southern,
as well as photos to come from the following first generation franchises and takeovers: Virgin WC/XC, First Great Western, Central Trains

Wed, 12 Sep 2007

Photogallery: Rail: France

See locations (requires Google Earth).

Tue, 04 Sep 2007

Cwm Ebol tramway

"The Slate Railways of Wales", Alun John Richards, pub. 2001 Gwasg Carreg Gwalch [Cymraeg] [English] ISBN 0-86381-689-4

Fron Goch tramway

"The Slate Railways of Wales", Alun John Richards, pub. 2001 Gwasg Carreg Gwalch [Cymraeg] [English] ISBN 0-86381-689-4

Fri, 31 Aug 2007

Slate Railways of Wales

Tue, 12 Jun 2007

Photogallery: Rail: BR Privatisation: Railtrack era

BR Privatisation and the Railtrack era: approx 1996 to 2002

Photogallery: Rail: BR era: BR Blue

BR Blue and contemporary national liveries, 1972 to approx 1985.

Photogallery: Rail: BR era: Sectorisation

BR Sectorisation era: approx 1986 to 1994

Sectorisation, the creation of commercially focussed business sectors within British Rail, came in as a policy as far back as 1977, with sectors such as Inter City, London and South East and Other Provincial Services.

At first this was chiefly an accounting change, aimed at giving Government visibility of the need for the hard-fought Public Service Obligation grant, as negotiated by Sir Peter Parker. The intention as far back as 1980 was that, as and when business permitted, the various Sectors should be removed from the PSO and turned to profit. but little difference was visible on the ground until Sectorisation took full effect in 1986 with the public launch of Network South East, InterCity, Provincial Railways, Rail Express Systems and the three heavy freight business Sectors.

Sectorisation liveries are included here but because of the long overlap and the slow re-branding, early sectorisation era photos may be included in the BR Blue era, and Sector liveries may also overlap into the post-privatisation galleries.