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British Industrial History

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Forest of Dean Railway

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Forest of Dean Railway Company - The Bullo Pill and Forest of Dean Railway.

From 1797. The Bullo Pill ran from the place of that name on the river Severn to Cinderford Bridge and was built without parliamentary sanction.

1809 The Forest of Dean Railway ran from Cinderford to a junction with the Severn and Wye, and the powers for its construction was given by 49 Geo. III, c. 15 , of June 10th 1809 to enable the formation of the Forest of Dean Railway, covering the whole distance, 7 1/2 miles.

1810 'Several vessels have arrived the Quay, Glocester, with cargoes of coal, the produce of the Forest of Dean, being the first importations from the works, and down the new rail-way, of the Bullo Pill Company.'[1]

1814 Extension of the tramway to Churchway came into use, over a year later than scheduled.

1826 By 7 Geo. IV.,c. 47, of May 5th, 1826, the Forest of Dean Railway Company took over the Bullo Pill Railway. The tramway was sold and and an Act of Parliament passed to establish the Forest of Dean Railway Company.

As time passed, the line became less well suited to the needs of its users.

1845 The South Wales Railway Act authorised a broad gauge line as far as Chepstow from West Wales. A proposal to extend the line along the west bank of the River Severn to meet the Gloucester and Dean Forest Railway was considered

1846 Extensions were authorised which ultimately linked the South Wales Railway and the Gloucester and Dean Forest Railway at Awre.

1849 The Forest of Dean Railway was bought by the South Wales Railway .

1851 The South Wales Railway opened between Gloucester and Chepstow. Conversion of the Forest of Dean Railway to broad gauge began.

1854 The line was opened as a branch of the South Wales Railway, handling freight only.

1863 A serious accident at Shakemantle resulted in a restriction of 45 wagons per load on the line.

1870 - 1880 Line constructed from Whimsey to Micheldean Road on the Hereford, Ross and Gloucester Railway but never used. A small section was opened in 1885 but the rest remained domant.

1872 The Forest of Dean was converted to standard gauge when the South Wales Railway was converted.

1877 Soudley Iron Works closed, reducing freight traffic on the branch.

1884 Whimsey renamed "Cinderford". The old Cinderford facilities became "Ruspidge"

1894 Cinderford Ironworks was blown out, resulting in another drop in freight.

1906 GWR made a proposal for a passenger service between Cinderford and Newnham and to make use of the dormant line from Cinderford to Micheldean Road.

1907 Passenger services from Newnham to Steam Mills Halt introduced

1908 The extension of the branch into Cinderford Station opened for passengers. The Forest of Dean branch continued to use Whimsey for Cinderford goods services.

1910 Auto-trailer working on the line authorised.

1928 A quarry north of Drybrook was opened resulting in the reinstatement of the line from there to Drybrook Halt.

1930 Passenger services between Cinderford and Drybrook Halt were withdrawn.

1932 Extra loops provided at Bullo to ease the traffic congestion

1940 Lightmoor Colliery closed.

1951 The Severn and Wye line into Cinderford was closed.

1952 Line north of Whimsey closed.

1958 April: Drybrook branch demolished. The bridges on the Cinderford Extension were removed around this time.

1958 Passenger services on the branch were withdrawn.

1959 Eastern United Colliery closed; the Forest of Dean coal mining industry was in terminal decline.

1965 Northern United Colliery closed, and consequently so did the Churchway branch. The last steam workings on the branch occurred.

1966-1967 Cinderford was closed to goods and parcels traffic. This left Berry Wiggins as the only major user of the branch; after they relocated to Lydney, there was no further use for the branch.

1967 The Forest of Dean branch closed. The line was lifted by the end of 1969.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Cheltenham Chronicle - Thursday 27 September 1810
  • Forest of Dean Railways [1]