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British Industrial History

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Severn and Wye Railway

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1869.Broad and Narrow Gauge Tank Locomotive By Fletcher, Jennings and Co


1875. Severn Railway Bridge.

The Severn and Wye Railway was sanctioned by 49 Geo. III., c. 159, of June 10th, 1809, for a railway or tramway from the river Wye at Lydbrook to the river Severn at the Lower Forge or Cross Pill at Lydney - built in West Gloucestershire to allow exploitation of the mineral resources of the Forest of Dean.

1810 As there was not sufficient accommodation at the latter place for shipping coal, powers were given by 50 Geo. III., c. 215, in 1810. to make a canal, 1 mile in length, to Naas Point, and to build docks.

1810 Formed as the Lydney and Lydbrook Railway but name changed on 12th June 1810.

1813 Opened as a plateway.

1818 November 16th. Legal action in King's Bench to make them repair a rail-road. [1]

1865 The line was worked by horse power until 1865, and in 1870 powers were obtained to convert it to a paseenger-carrying line, and to join it to the Great Western system.

1868 the tramway was converted to broad gauge, and then to standard gauge in 1872.

1875 Work started on the Severn Railway Bridge.[2]

1879 Severn Railway Bridge completed

1893 Upon bankruptcy the line was purchased jointly by the Midland Railway and Great Western Railway

1960s The railway mostly closed but a short stretch lives on as the Dean Forest Railway. Many of the other parts of the route have been converted into cycleways.

The 'Main Line' ran from Sharpness across the Severn Railway Bridge to Cinderford where trains reversed to continue to Lydbrook Junction on the GWR line from Ross-on-Wye to Monmouth.

There were many branches: to Coleford and various collieries and a 'Mineral Loop' line was built to avoid reversal at Cinderford and the steep gradient from Speech House Road to Serridge Junction.

Apart from the bridge over the Severn, the only major engineering features were a tunnel at Mierystock (now blocked) and a viaduct at Lydbrook (now demolished).

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, Tuesday, Nov 17, 1818
  2. The Engineer 1877/01/05