This page provides links
to other organisations (local, national and international) with an interest
in disused railways. Some are interested in only a single local route,
but others are involved in the re-use of old railways on a huge scale.
Click on the logo to access the site you want.
(the name stands for 'sustainable transport') is a national path-building
charity which, since 1995, has been developing the National Cycle
Network. Much of the NCN is based on former railways.
|| In 2009, Sustrans
launched an excellent online mapping service. The zoomable maps appear
to be based on the Ordnance Survey, but show all cycle routes (including
those based on old railways) very clearly.
broad terms, Railway Paths Limited is the body which ended up owning
that part of British Rail Property Board's estate which could not
be sold. Looked at another way, it is the least known part of the
railway privatisation process! The company is a registered charity
which exists to create multi-use trails on old railways suitable for
cycling, walking, horseriding and wheel-chair use.
Britannica is mainly concerned with 'underground Britain' - tunnels,
old mine workings and the hundreds of secret places that often lay
beneath our feet. However, it has also produced this first rate on-line
guide to disused railway stations in the UK.
||Nothing on the
TV – again? This fascinating website, edited by Graeme Bickerdike,
will keep railway buffs, transport historians and industrial archaeologists
entertained for hours. 'Forgotten Relics of an Enterprising Age' does
exactly what its name implies, i.e. celebrates many of this country's
forgotten railway engineering features which somehow managed to escape
the 'industrial vandalism' of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. The site
is updated regularly, and includes many excellent photographs of lost
stations, signal boxes, tunnels, viaducts, etc. throughout the UK.
Network Rail Virtual Archive will delight anyone interested in the
history of the nation's railways – it lets you print off the
original drawings for Bristol Temple Meads, London Paddington, plus
various bridges and viaducts. It also contains histories of past railway
companies, which comprise a short synopsis followed by a list of key
dates, and a list of useful links to other sites that specialise in
railway history and records. The website has clearly been designed
with expansion in mind, so we hope that it will just get better and
Barwick has travelled much of England, Wales and Scotland in pursuit
of lost railways, and in the process has built up an interesting and
substantial photographic collection on flickr. There are some nicely
composed shots here, featuring many major engineering works such as
viaducts, bridges and tunnels, plus a number of favourite routes such
as the S&D and the Waverley line.
you are looking for information about railway history in the UK, you
could find this free archive site – established in 2005 –
to be very useful. To quote from the its introduction, the archive
contains 'acts of Parliament, accident reports, publicity material,
financial and economic reports, strategy documents, technical documents,
white papers and more.'
Bromley on RailUKForums has been 'putting together a site depicting
historical railways of the UK and Ireland. I've been working on the
maps for many years, and have now decided to try and create a Google
Maps based site to display them. The site is now up and running, and
I'd really appreciate some feedback on, firstly, whether it works,
but more importantly if this is something that would be useful to
the rail enthusiast community and also if there are any mistakes or
omissions.' We think that the rail enthusiast community will welcome
this resource as a very worthwhile addition to the research tools
is a website 'dedicated to British train videos'. Much of the material
is modern, but there's an interesting archive section which includes
a mixture of archive film and more recent documentaries, including
BBC West's 1988 documentary on the The Weston, Clevedon and Portishead
Light Railway. The site's index includes a list of bygone railway
companies, which is another way of tracking down historic content.
At the time of writing (January 2015), the site contained over 6,000
railway videos. It is very popular so, at certain times of the day,
the response times can be a bit slow.
Northumberland Railway Walks Society (NRWS) organises walks throughout
the north, taking in not just Northumberland, but also Scotland, Tyne
& Wear, County Durham, Cumbria, Yorkshire, etc. A number of the
club's walks offer one-off access to old railways which are now privately
owned. Some walks are open to members only, but an on-line membership
form is included (follow the link to 'Programme of Events'). If you
like Northumberland, you may also enjoy Isaac's
Tea Trail, a 36 mile circular route which links together sites
associated with the life of Isaac Holden, a local tea seller and fund
raiser for good causes who used the Haltwhistle-Alston and Newcastle-Carlisle
railways to extend his work beyond the Alston/Allendale lead-mining
area where he was born.
– 'The History Files' – is provided by KA Digital Services,
a company which specialises in 'digital software services'. The railway
walks section is a spin-off from the BBC television series featuring
Julia Bradbury but, as yet, is in its infancy, since it features only
London, the South East and the South West. However, the site will
be worth watching if all the promised features are delivered.
||This site, re-launched in 2014, describes a project
which aims to convert the old railway line from Clevedon to Shepton
Mallet into a network of safe paths for both walkers and cyclists,
and families and residents to enjoy. The spine of the network is not
actually one old line but two (Clevedon to Yatton and Yatton to Witham
Friary), or more accurately three if you dig back into the history
books. We commend this project to readers: it will be one of the longest
railway paths in the UK, second only to the North Dorset Trailway
which is slowly recovering the trackbed of the old Somerset &
Dorset Joint Railway between Templecombe and Poole. Do have a look
at this site and consider becoming a member..
||This site has
been developed by Ron Strutt, who has kindly supplied a number of
the photographs used on our own site. While the emphasis is mainly
on cycling, there is a useful section on 'Cycling old railways', which
covers a number of railway-based walking and cycling routes in the
south and south west of the country.
Leverton loves 'the romance of old railway viaducts, bridges and tunnels',
and presents here some striking photographs of forgotten Victorian
railway engineering. Have a look at his pictures of St. Pancras Chambers.
Some of the restored ceilings look like something out of the Arabian
Nights utterly extraordinary, and all the moreso since they
were built by a railway company.
Around Birmingham and the West Midlands' is a labour of love by Andy
Doherty, who has clearly spent a huge amount of time developing this
site. His long term ambition is to visit and document every railway
station – disused or operational – within the region.
Members of this club will probably be drawn to the 'Quick Start' menu
of abandoned stations, but there is plenty else to enjoy here, including
Andy's collection of railway postcards and tram photos. His research
tips are pretty handy for anyone trying to trace a long-lost station.
Dorset Trailway Network' is arguably the most exciting railway path
project in the country at the moment. It is supported and financed
by a consortium of Dorset local authorities (Dorset County, East Dorset
District and North Dorset District Council) who seek to convert the
former Somerset & Dorset Railway from Stalbridge to Poole into
a multi-use trail. The economic benefits for this part of rural Dorset
will be great, and already completed parts of the route are attracting
ca. 80,000 users per year. Committee members are fully aware of the
work of the Two
Tunnels Project which is developing the same line south of Bath,
and the potential for creating a multi-use trail from Bath to the
south coast …
West Somerset Mineral Line Association exists to 'inform people about
the history of the West Somerset Mineral Railway (WSMR) and its associated
mines and communities'. This standard gauge freight line once linked
Gupworthy in the Brendon Hills with Roadwater, Washford and Watchet.
Railway ramblers will be interested in the monthly walks, which provide
an opportunity to see the old railway and its environs in all seasons
and weathers. The companion site for the West
Somerset Mineral Railway is an excellent source of contemporary
and archive photographs and drawings, including graphic re-constructions
of many of the railway's principle buildings and features.
Way is a planned 26 mile circular route through the beautiful Hampshire
downlands and Itchen Valley north-east of Winchester. What interests
railway ramblers is that it aims to re-use the abandoned Mid Hants
line between Alresford and Winchester Junction, and the abandoned
Didcot, Newbury & Southampton Railway between Winchester Junction
and Sutton Scotney. The group is actively seeking friends, and runs
runs a number of special events each year to raise awareness of the
project. The 'Walks' page on their website also features three railway
walks of varying length which thread together, via public rights of
way, those parts of the old trackbed which are open already.
will come as no surprise that the Northern Viaduct Trust works to
preserve and, where possible, re-use the many disused railway viaducts
which feature in the region's landscape. These people are amazing.
They began as a small pressure group trying to stop their local viaduct
on the Stainmore line from being demolished, but have gone on to acquire
some of the trackbed and three superb viaducts ... and if
that issn't enough, they've also built a footbridge to replace one
of the railway bridges which was removed after closure! On top of
all this, they also played an advisory role in the restoration of
Lambley Viaduct on the Alston branch.
||The Great Southern Trail in the Republic
of Ireland is something rather different. It's based on the former
railway line from Tralee to Limerick and is still owned by Coras Iompair
Eireann (CIE), Ireland's public transport company, which has made
it available to a local group that is working hard to convert the
whole 53 miles into a long distance rail trail. The group deserves
support to complete this worthwhile community project, which crosses
the beautiful south west of this unspoilt country.
is a site for anyone interested in exploring old railways in the United
States. The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) is something else in
the world of railway rambling at the time of writing, its site
covers 1,359 separate rail trails, the longest of which is the American
Discovery Trail at 6,356 miles. If you are interested in walking or
cycling old railways in other countries, follow the link to 'Trails
Around the World'. There is even a downloadable 'International Trails
Directory'. By the way, the RTC has over 100,000 members, so who says
that old railways are a minority interest?
||There are now railway paths all over Australia,
and Railtrails Australia provides a one-stop guide to where they are.
As might be expected in such a large country, some of the trails are
very long, such as the Munda-Biddi Trail from Mundaring to Collie
in Western Australia, which weighs in at about 220 miles. Click on
'Trail Descriptions' for a series of maps which will help you to find
your way around the site.
||New Zealand does not have a central agency or website
which promotes all of its rail trails, but it too has recognised the
recreational potential of old railways. Protective legislation kept
the country's rail system intact longer than elsewhere, but the repeal
of these laws in 1983 led to the closure of many rural lines. The
Otago Central Rail Trail was the country's first railway conversion,
thanks to its purchase in 1993 by the Department of Conservation in
Otago, which opened it in 2000. The trail is situated on the south
island and runs from Clyde to Middlemarch, a distance of just over
100 miles. Choose 'About the Rail Trail' and then 'Take a Slide Tour
of the Rail Trail' for a good selection of photographs. This trail
was recently voted the 16th most popular of 101 'must do' activities
for New Zealanders.
German site is the work of Dr. Achim Bartoschek, who explains: '"Bahntrassen"
are railway tracks (in use or after dismantling of the rails). With
a walkable trail on it, it is a "Bahntrassenweg" and when
you are allowed to cycle on it, it's a "Bahntrassenradweg".
"Bahntrassenradeln" means cycling on rail-trails.' Dr. Bartoschek's
site is comprehensive, with links to similar sites throughout Europe,
including Railway Ramblers in the UK. For those who are not fluent
in German, try out the 'Fotografien' link (Photographs). If you want
to translate the site, use this link
and scroll to the bottom of the page where you can enter the web address.
Be warned that the results can be quite comical not a reflection
on Dr. Bartoschek's German, of course, but rather the deficiencies
of computer programs which claim to translate anything at the click
of a button!
This is the Spanish railway
paths site, whose name literally means 'green ways'. Spain has over
1,800 kilometres (about 1,200 miles) of disused railways that can
be walked and cycled. This site has changed a lot since we first
discovered it: there is now a list of trails here
(scroll down), and a national map here.
Further details can be obtained from the FFE website here,
or its English language version here.
FFE is the 'Fundación de los Ferrocarriles Espagñoles',
or Spanish Railways Foundation.
Panda is not the sort of site that one might expect to find on a website
about old railways, but think again. At the very time that the Victorians
were building railways everywhere, they were admiring old ruins which
they would beat up a little more if they did not look romantic enough.
Nowadays, old railways are numbered amongst the ruins, and within
this page are some tremendous photographs of abandoned railway infrastructure.
The quality of the photography is exceptional. Look out for Michigan
Central, Abkhazia station (Georgia), City Hall subway station (New
York) and the subway tunnels of Kiev. As the site says, 'They say
that the only permanent thing in the world is change.' Note:
If the page opens displaying only one image, click on the
link labelled 'See full article'.
the Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway was axed on 7th March 1966
as part of the Beeching closures, it wasn't just a main line that
closed, but an entire rural network including its branch lines. One
lucky survivor is Shillingstone station, south of Sturminster Newton
in Dorset, which is now home to the Shillingstone Station Project,
which aims to restore the station and its surroundings to their former
glory. The local authorities in Dorset are slowly turning the S&D
into the North Dorset Trailway, a long distance walk and cycle trail
based where possible on the old railway, and a two mile
section of this runs through the site.
comprehensive site keeps alive the memory of Swindon's 'other' railway
the Midland & South Western Junction Railway, which linked
Cheltenham with Andover and provided, via the LSWR's Test Valley line,
a direct link from the south Midlands to Southampton. The webmaster
Neil Lover has even been up in a helicopter to take aerial photographs
of the line there's dedication for you!
is another site devoted to a single lost railway, this time the Fairford
branch in Oxfordshire. Martin Loader is the webmaster here, and he
has built up a fine record of the line, including historical details,
maps, past and present photographs, tickets, timetables, parcel labels
and even the occasional historical letter, such as one from the East
Gloucestershire Railway when it was seeking to connect this rural
outpost with Cheltenham.
scholarly and well written website is the work of Peter Richards,
who uses it to keep alive the memory of the remote and scenic line
that ran from Halwill Junction to Padstow via Launceston and Wadebridge.
It is still under development, but already includes good photographic
coverage of the line since closure.
name of this site tells you exactly what it does. It's packed with
interesting material, including superbly illustrated pages on all
of West Yorkshire's closed lines, plus many ancilliary articles. Dr.
Beeching gets a look in (for anyone who doesn't know, he's the 1960s
railway supremo who visited instant death on large parts of the UK's
rail network), and there's even a gazetteer by local members of Railway
Ramblers, which gives an overview of every line that the county has
site is described as 'the bewildering obsession of Mike Slocombe who
has single-handedly run [it] since 1995, ably assisted by a small
collection of contributing chums'. The section on railways is split
roughly 50:50 between London and rural locations. Check out the link
on the abandoned Pullman carriages left at Marazion in Cornwall
Chris Jennings is developing a fine-looking website recording scenes
on Britain's railways from the 1960s onwards. While this is a 'work
in progress', the site already contains plenty of interest, especially
of steam both on the national network and preserved railways. Chris
favours working in black and white, which gives many of his compositions
a timeless quality; you would be hard pressed to date some of his
photographs without a caption to help.
||If you are interested in railway history, disused stations
or 'underground Britain' generally, you will find much to engage you
in this excellent site by Hywel Williams – not to mention some
fascinating photographs which will encourage you to keep your eyes
peeled while wandering around the streets of London. Did you know
that disused stations such as Down Street (famous for its role in
World War 2) on the Piccadilly Line are kept in serviceable condition
for use as escape routes in an emergency? It's all here.
history, photos, anything about closed railways in the British Isles.
Anything concerning bygone branch lines and tramroads, particularly
stations and structures. Tracing old railway routes and tracks, personal
recollections, maps, etc. We aim to build a wide ranging photo base
and information archive for all enthusiasts and those with a passing
interest in railway history.' Note: In order to prevent
spam, applicants must complete the Yahoo profile, i.e. brief details
of their interest, full name and town where they live, although obviously
in the case of club members this should not be a problem.