• The Railways and Tramways of the Forest of Dean

  • Discussion about railroad topics everywhere outside of Canada and the United States.
Discussion about railroad topics everywhere outside of Canada and the United States.

Moderators: Komachi, David Benton

  by 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 gauge 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/20 ... ey-harbour" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by rogerfarnworth
Parkend in the Forest of Dean is currently the terminus of a preservation line, the Dean Forest Railway (http://www.deanforestrailway.co.uk" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;).

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 it was the centre of some major forest industries which were heavily served by tramways. The first image on the blog below is a map of the tramways at Parkend in its prime as an industrial centre in the Forest.

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/20 ... st-of-dean" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by johnthefireman
Thanks, Roger. I spent a year working back in the UK in 1995 and was based on the Herefordshire-Monmouthshire border, very close to the Forest of Dean. I joined the Dean Forest Railway while I was there, and spent at least one day a week volunteering there. The Forest itself is beautiful, and as you say, it has a great railway history. I'll read your posts on it with great interest.
  by rogerfarnworth
Prior to the introduction of standard gauge railways in the Forest of Dean there was an extensive network of tramways or tramroads. These tramways were of a variety of gauges from 3ft 6in to 4ft. One of these was the Severn and Wye Tramroad. This post details the various branch and feeder tramways associated with this line. The tramway was replaced by the Severn and Wye Joint Railway. ...

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/20 ... e-tramroad" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by johnthefireman
Inicidentally, there is a good three-volume book by Ian Pope entitled Severn and Wye Railway.
  by rogerfarnworth
johnthefireman wrote:Inicidentally, there is a good three-volume book by Ian Pope entitled Severn and Wye Railway.
Yes, there are some fantastic books bout the railways in the Forest!
  by rogerfarnworth
David Benton wrote:Interesting history and area. Strange the railways website has no history or about us sections. Perhaps you could suggest a link to yours !
Yes David, I cannot find an obvious contact email address either, just a phone number.
  by rogerfarnworth
A recent visit to the Forest of Dean promoted some reading and reflection on Cannop Colliery. This post is the result of those reflections:

http://rogerfarnworth.com/2018/08/31/cannop-colliery" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
My wife and I were in the Forest of Dean on 30th August 2018 and visited a small garden centre that we have been to many times before - the Pigmy Pymetum. Later in the day I was reading an older copy of "The New Regard" - Number 23 from 2009. The first article in that edition of the magazine was about Cannop Colliery and was written by Ian Pope. The colliery was just north of the location of the garden centre.
  by 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" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;) 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 pints to what could have been a far earlier introduction of steam traction into the Forest.

http://rogerfarnworth.com/2019/02/08/a- ... ye-tramway" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by 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.

http://rogerfarnworth.com/2019/09/13/ra ... -a-top-ten

Walking and cycling along the old railways of the Forest is a real pleasure.
  by 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/sp ... nd-railway
  by 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/di ... st-of-dean