Category Archives: Some Early Lines

Posts about lines and branches which ceased operations – some restored, some sadly lost for ever.

Some Early Lines The History of the Wotton Tramway – From The ‘Mercian’ March 1970

Some Early Lines

The History of the Wotton Tramway


From The ‘Mercian’ March 1970 

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

The line was opened by the Duke of Buckingham as a private venture in 1871 to convey workers on his estate to Wotton.  Construction started at Quainton Road being opened as far as Church Siding, in 1871 and one year later further extensions took the line to Brill after the townsfolk had petitioned for a passenger service.  This was duly inaugurated and two Aveling Porter geared locomotives were purchased from the makers for motive power over the line.  These curious machines were more like traction engines with flanged wheels, each had a single overslung cylinder 7¾” X 10” connected through the countershaft and pinion to further pinions on the axles.

Nos. 807 and 846 Aveling & Porters

The first to arrive was No.807 in 1872, and No.846 followed later the same year, the cost being £400 each.  Their maximum speed was about 8 miles per hour.  The early timetables show a time of 95 – 105 minutes for the 6½ mile journey, this being an average of no more than 4 miles per hour.  The trains were mixed and ran daily and there were additional freight trips if required.  Watering facilities were in the Church Sidings and turntables were situated in Quainton and Brill, and on the Kingswood Branch.  The engines seemed to have worked more satisfactorily chimney first.  Horses were still used for shunting and light duties, they also worked the three short branch lines.

Aveling Porter No.807 – IRS

In the month of December 1876 a new engine arrived, this was an 0-4-0ST named ‘Buckingham’ built by Bagnall’s Ltd. of Stafford, it was followed a year later by another 0-4-0 ‘Wotton’. Buckingham was that first loco on Bagnall’s lists.  It was very unlikely that either were ever built at Stafford because facilities for standard construction were not available at the factory at that time.  Little is known about these locomotives and their purchase at a total cost of £1,240, as for the Aveling & Porter locos, these remained in traffic until 1894, as traffic on the line never justified four locos, and with such a tiny wooden engine shed at Brill.

When it was proposed to extend the line from Brill to Oxford it was announced that the name would be ‘Oxford, Aylesbury and Metropolitan Junction Railway’.  It was then altered to ‘Oxford & Aylesbury Tramroad Company’.  At one stage of the proceedings electric traction was thought of, but this fell through. The Company then bought two new steam locos, these being supplied by Manning Wardle Ltd.

Manning Wardle locomotive Huddersfield at Quainton Road railway station: the photograph was published in The Locomotive Magazine Vol III, No. 35, November 1898, and on p. 168 of the compilation

 The first, ‘Wotton No.1’ was originally named ‘Huddersfield’ and was built in 1876, the second ‘Brill No.2’ was bought new from the makers and had a covered cab, in place of the weatherboard on the sister loco.  In 1899 the loco was replaced by a new Manning Wardle named ‘Wotton No.2’.  The inside cylinders were 12” x 17” and with 3’ driving wheels, the weight of the locos in working order was about 18 tons.

The two newest locos remained in service on the line when the Metropolitan Railway took over in 1899, these two together with two coaches and one wagon cost the Company £2,375.  The two Manning Wardles were sold, one of them surviving for many years in the stock of a Civil Engineering Contractor, and replaced by Sharp Stewart Tank locos.  The Aveling Porter locos were withdrawn in 1894 and were sold to a brickworks at Nether Heyford, Northamptonshire.  No.846 failed its boiler test soon afterwards and was dismantled for spare parts for the other loco which survived until 1940 on the closure of the brickworks.

It was then rescued by a band of enthusiasts in 1951 and went to Neasden Works where it was restored to its original condition by London Transport.  No.807 now rests at Clapham Museum as a reminder of the early days of the line, once part of the ‘Underground’ system.

 Photograph taken at Quainton Road station in 2006 of original locomotive used by Brill Tramway.


Some Early Lines – Railways Around Titley, Herefordshire

Some Early Lines

Railways around Titley, HerefordshireG.F.Bannister

Leominster and Kington Railway was one of four branches which served the Welsh Marches border town of Kington, Herefordshire.

1420 at Titley Junction after a trip up the Presteigne branch in August 1964.  B.J.Ashworth

Opened in August 1857, its peak was during World War II, when it served two US Army hospitals. Decling post war due to competition from buses, it closed to passengers in 1955, and freight from 1964.

Today, a 1 mile (1.6 km) section is preserved at Titley Junction railway station.

Proposed in 1853, the company was formed by William Bateman-Hanbury, 2nd Baron Bateman of Shobdon Court. It received Royal Assent as a broad gauge line in July 1854, subject to provision for a junction with the standard gauge Kington and Eardisley Railway be provided.

A delightful rural picture of the Kington – Presteigne goods in August 1964, a month before its demise.  B.J.Ashworth

On 14 November 1854 the company agreed the offer of Thomas Brassey and William Field to construct the line for £70,000. Further, they would work from opening and pay the shareholders a 4% dividend per annum. Engineered by David Wylie of Shrewsbury, Lady Bateman cut the first sod at Kington, with a silver spade into a special built barrow that can be seen preserved today at the Leominster Folk Museum. Section from the Leominster railway station of the Shrewsbury and Hereford Railway to Pembridge, opened for goods traffic on the 18th October, 1855, at a cost of £7,000 per mile.

The Kington branch was single throughout and worked by electric train staff between the main line junction and the original 1857 terminus.  The New Radnor and Presteigne sections operated with train staff and ‘one engine in steam’.  GWR 0-6-0PT 7416 approaches the road crossing at Kingsland with the daily goods returning from Kington in August 1956.  The single platform with station building and small signal box was on the up side and beyond lay a small goods yard and siding.  G.F.Bannister

But, with additional costs, the company was struggling, and in April 1856 Brassey and Field, who held £20,000 or one quarter of the company’s stock, advanced the company £10,000 at 5%. The second section from Pembridge to Kington opened in August 1857. There were no tunnels or viaducts on the entire single track line of 13 miles 25 chains (21.4 km) in length, which had cost £80,000 to construct.

Inspected by Colonel Yolland for the Board of Trade on the 22nd July, 1857, a certificate authorising the opening was withheld because a level crossing had been built at Pembridge instead of the overbridge authorised by the Act of Parliament.

Eventually, it was agreed to open the line under a temporary order, subject to retrospective application and government approval of the level crossing. The line opened on Tuesday July 28, 1857, with a train consisting of 32 coaches and 2 engines travelling from the joint GWR/LNWR station at Leominster to Kington, stopping briefly at all stations along the line. When they reached Kington, the directors retired to the Oxford Arms Hotel, where with 300 guests then Rear Admiral Sir Thomas Hastings CB presided over lunch. The return journey was completed with diner for the same 300 guests at the Royal Oak Hotel, Leominster, presided over by Lord Bateman. Bateman remained chairman for 22years, and had a private station built at Ox House.

Bullock’s Mill Crossing, September 1964, 1420 is returning to Hereford from Kington.  B.J.Ashworth

In 1862 the line was leased to the West Midland Railway, which taken over by the Great Western Railway, amalgamated the line on 1 July 1898. This meant that by 1874 a journey from Kington to Leominster took 40 minutes, to Hereford 1 hour 20 minutes, and to Shrewsbury 3 hours and 30 minutes.

As the line was rural, and based in the Welsh Marches farm district, the main revenue was earned from transporting goods to the various markets. Sheep and cattle which had been driven to Kington on the various drovers trails, were now transported to their original destination of Hereford by train. Often on market days, seven or eight cattle trucks were attached to the Hereford bound passenger service, specifically for bull transportation.

Titley Junction was the busiest intermediate station on the line with up to 30 trains a day passing through. It was the connection point for the LK&R with the Kington and Eardisley Railway south to the Hay Railway, and the L&KR’s own line to Presteigne.

When the line was extended to New Radnor in 1875 the old L&KR station of 1857 was abandoned in favour of a completely new structure built on the north side.  In this view, the locomotive of the Presteigne branch freight takes water from a column adjacent to the line leading to the old station, long since converted to a goods depot.  Two wagons of coal and a van full of animal foodstuffs make up the load of the day on 11th April 1956.  G.F.Bannister

After completion of this extension, the K&ER extended north from Kington to a small station at New Radnor, in the hope of completing a cross-Wales mainline to Aberystwyth, but this never happened.

A GWR pannier tank arrives at Presteigne with the daily goods from Kington on 11 April 1956.  After the cessation of passenger services the whole system required the leisurely attention of one train per day with a locomotive provided by Hereford shed.  In the years prior to 1951, two engines and three crews were allocated to the small sub-shed at Kington, sufficient to cover all passenger turns.  The GWR Appendix to the Working Timetables stressed the importance of anticipating bad weather conditions by the operating staff on the branches under the heading ‘SNOW STORMS’.  Kington acted as the control centre for coordinating action – ‘If snow falls on Saturday and Sunday, gangers must proceed to their station and communicate with Kington.  The Station Master must arrange to run a light engine over the branch…’  G.F.Bannister

The Kington & Presteigne Railway opened on 9 September 1875. Commencing at Titley Junction, it passed through Leen farm, to Staunton-on-Arrow, in front of the Rodd farm via Corton into Presteigne.  By 1929 it was possible to join one of the three steam trains a day – each way – and make the 6 hour journey to London. The passenger service on this line ended in 1951, but a freight service continued to run every other day until the line was finally closed for good in 1961.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Nowadays, Titley Junction station has been lovingly restored, and its owners have relaid one mile of the branch to Kington, making this the longest privately owned railway in Herefordshire. Group visits can be organised by prior arrangement, but casual visitors cannot always be accommodated.

Pic by Railway Ramblers

Entrance to Titley Junction Station (long disused).

© Copyright Peter Evans and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Some Early Lines – Narrow Gauge – Llanberis Lake Railway

Llanberis Lake Railway

Rheilffordd Llyn PadarnThe loco “Dolbadarn” pulls into the Llanberis station which was opened in June 2003.  

 Personal photograph taken by Mick Knapton on 16th June 2004 Transferred from en.wikipedia ; transferred to Commons byUser: oxyman  using CommonsHelper

Locale Wales Map of Llanberis Lake Railway.18.08.2011. Author  OpenStreetMap contributors

Dates of operation 1971–present

Track gauge

1 ft 11 1⁄2 in (597 mm)[1]

Length 2.5 miles (4 km)

Headquarters Llanberis

Elidir at Gilfach Ddu station   Date 2/18/07 Author Dan Crow Permission ( Reusing this file) GFDL

Alice Class locomotive Thomas Bach leading a train for Llanberis out of Gilfach Ddu station on the Llanberis Lake Railway Author: Vanoord This file is licensed under theCreative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 

The Llanberis Lake Railway (Welsh: Rheilffordd Llyn Padarn) is a narrow gauge heritage railway that runs for 2.5 miles (4 km) along the northern shore of Llyn Padarn in north Wales in the Snowdonia National Park. The starting point is the town of Llanberis at the eastern end of the lake ( 53.1175°N 4.1193°W), with the western terminus at Pen Llyn in the Padarn Country Park ( 53.1370°N 4.1495°W). The return journey takes around 45 minutes.

Early proposals

The Llanberis Lake Railway runs along part of the trackbed of the defunct Padarn Railway, a 4 ft (1,219 mm) gauge line which connected the quarry with Y Felinheli (Port Dinorwic) on the Menai Strait. The Padarn Railway closed in October 1961 and was lifted between 16 May 1962 and February 1963. Following the closure of the Padarn Railway, various plans were made to open a 2 ft (610 mm) gauge tourist railway on the trackbed. The first serious attempt was made by G. Ward a local resident, who proposed a railway that would circle Llyn Padarn using the trackbeds of the British Rail Llanberis branch and the Padarn Railway. This plan would have utilized track and locomotives from the Dinorwic slate quarry, but the company did not pursue the proposal.

Quarry closure and formation of the railway company

In July 1966, A. Lowry Porter of Southend-on-Sea proposed a shorter railway running from the quarry company’s workshops at Gilfach Ddu near Llanberis to Penllyn, along the eastern-most three miles of Padarn Railway trackbed. Negotiations were progressing with the company, when in July 1969 the quarry closed at short notice.[2] The quarry’s workshops at Gilfach Ddu were purchased by the Gwynedd County Council with the intention of creating a Country Park.

The quarry’s land and equipment were put up for auction, and Lowry Porter’s fledgling railway company purchased three steam locomotives and one diesel locomotive for use on the planned lake railway. In June 1970 the County Council purchased the trackbed of the Padarn Railway and agreed to allow its use for the lake railway.

The Ruston diesel locomotive was quickly put into service laying track. Meanwhile, the first steam locomotive, Dolbadarn, was restored to working order. The new railway was built to the gauge of 1 ft 11 1⁄2 in (597 mm) instead of the more unusual 1 ft 10 3⁄4 in (578 mm) used in the quarries. This required all the rolling stock to be regauged, including the locomotives. Tracklaying progressed during 1970 using track recovered from several sources, including some originally used on the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway.[2]

New carriages were built using the chasses of bogie wagons. These initial efforts at creating passenger stock proved unsatisfactory — they had a tendency to derail due to their very rigid construction. This caused a delay in opening, and a subsequent rapid redesign of the carriages.[2]

Early years

The railway officially opened on 28 May 1971 but because of the need to redesign the carriage stock, the first public trains did not run until 19 July 1971. By the end of the first season, more than 30,000 passengers had been carried. In the winter of 1971 the railway was extended to its current terminus at Penllyn. For the beginning of the 1972 season, a second steam locomotive Red Damsel was returned to service with a new name: Elidir. The locomotive roster was expanded that year to include Maid Marian (now operating on the Bala Lake Railway) and an 0-4-0 tank locomotive built by Jung in Germany.

Llanberis extension

In June 2003 the railway was extended to the town of Llanberis, with a new station close to the start of the Snowdon Mountain Railway. The original terminus at Gilfach Ddu is now a through station serving both the National Slate Museum and the nearby Dolbadarn Castle. On the return journey from Pen Llyn, passengers may stop off at the Cei Llydan station for a picnic and a chance to enjoy the magnificent views of the Snowdonian mountains above Llanberis Pass.


The railway uses three steam locomotives (“Elidir“, “Dolbadarn” and “Thomas Bach”) all of which ran on the internal 1 ft 10 3⁄4 in (578 mm) gauge lines of the Dinorwic Quarry. There are also several diesel locomotives which are used for works trains and when the steam locomotives are unavailable for passenger trains.

When the Quarry closed down in 1969 the lakeside section of the trackbed was utilised for the current Llanberis Lake Railway, originally running from the National Slate Museum at Gilfach Ddu to Pen Llyn. Gilfach Ddu was the main engineering workshop of the Dinorwic Quarry and provided repair facilities for all of the steam locomotives of the quarry system.

Some Early Lines – Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway

Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway

Windermere Lakeside Station carries no regular passenger service, but this ex-Furness Railway branch comes to life during the summer months. LMS Fowler-designed 2-6-4 tank No.42376 leaves with the 7.18 pm train to Ulverston and Barrow on 1st August, 1953. W.A.Camwell

Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway – Cumbria, England

Terminus – Lakeside

 Ulverston to Lakeside Line

Built by Furness Railway – Original gauge 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)

Preserved operations – Operated by Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway

Stations 3 – Preserved gauge 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)

Commercial history

Opened 1 June 1869 – Closed 6 September 1965

Preservation history

Opened 2 May 1973

The Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway is a heritage railway in Cumbria, England.


The L&HR runs from Haverthwaite at the southern end of the line via Newby Bridge to Lakeside at the southern end of Windermere. Some services are timed to connect with sailings of the diesel excursion vessels or steam vessels on Windermere, sailing from Lakeside to Bowness and Ambleside.

Furness Railway operation of the branch line

The railway is a former branch line of the Furness Railway (FR) and was opened on 1 June 1869.[1] The line was served by local passenger trains which started their journey at Ulverston on the FR’s mainline from Carnforth to Barrow-in-Furness. The FR branch trains travelled east to the triangular junction at Plumpton and then turned north via Greenodd and on to stations at Haverthwaite, Newby Bridge halt and Lakeside. The FR’s weekdays passenger service in July 1922 comprised eight trains in each direction. There were advertised train-to-boat connections that were established in 1869. During the summer season, excursion trains from Lancashire and elsewhere used the east-to-north side of Plumpton Junction to reach Lakeside, where their passengers joined the boat sailings on the lake.

Closure of the branch and re-opening by L&HR

British Railways closed the line to passengers on 6 September 1965, and to all traffic two years later.

A group of enthusiasts chaired by Dr Peter Beet formed the Lakeside Railway Estates Company, with the idea of preserving both the line and the former LMS 10(A) shed at Carnforth, to provide a complete steam operating system. However, although backed by then transport minister Barbara Castle, the need to build a number of motorway bridges and re-routing of the A590 road from Haverthwaite via Greenodd to Plumpton Junction, meant that the complete vision was unsuccessful. Beet acquired 10(A) in partnership with Sir William McAlpine, 6th Baronet, which became the visitor attraction Steamtown from 1967. The venture folded as a public access visitor attraction in 1987, but the preserved site was taken over by businessman David Smith to become the base for his West Coast Railway Company.

Resultantly, Austin Maher became chair of the LREC, which then re-opened the truncated 3.5 miles (5.6 km) L&HR as a heritage railway on 2 May 1973.[4] Maher and fellow L&HR director Jim Morris each bought one LMS 2-6-4T Class 4MT, Nos. 42073 (Maher) and 42085 (Morris), which eventually restored as L&HR Nos. 3 and 4 became the lines core steam power units.

Haverthwaite Steam Railway loco arriving at Lakeside Windermere
The steam loco arrives just in time to off load its passengers for the onward journey by the boat Teal,for a trip on Lake Windermere
© Copyright Alan Pennington  and licensed for reuse  under thisCreative Commons License 

The company still hopes one day to possibly extend to Greenodd alongside the widened A590 road if the necessary funds can be raised as land between Haverthwaite and the old site itself still exists and is free from re-development, However a level crossing will be required as part of the possible extension (and could even see another halt halfway along the Greenodd route extension, once finances could allow).

Some Early Lines – The Bala Lake Railway, Narrow Gauge

The Bala Lake Railway – Narrow Gauge

Alice at Llanuwchllyn Station –

The Bala Lake Railway ( Rheilffordd Llyn Tegid) is a preserved railway at Bala Lake in Gwynedd, North Wales, which runs for a distance of 4 1⁄2 miles (7.2 km) using 2 ft  (610 mm) gauge rolling stock.

It was built on a section of the former Ruabon – Barmouth GWR route which was closed in 1965. This section runs along the south-eastern shore of Bala Lake. Another section of the former trackbed is today used by the Llangollen Railway .

The railway runs from Llanuwchllyn railway station, where the main railway buildings, workshops and offices are located, to Bala (Llyn Tegid). The station at Bala is outside the town, and there have been various plans to extend the railway into Bala itself, but none have been realised.

Steam locomotives on the line include Maid Marian, Holy War and Alice all built by the Hunslet Engine Company . The railway also has a passenger diesel engine, Merioneth.

The railway is a member of the Great Little Trains of Wales .  

Steam Railway
The 2ft narrow gauge steam trains give excellent views of the lake amid its surrounding pastoral and woodland scenery, and of the nearby mountains, Arenig Fawr, Aran Benllyn and Aran Fawddwy.

Start your Visit
Llanuwchllyn (the village above the lake) is the Railway HQ and regular trains link the village with the delightful market town of Bala. At Llanuwchllyn, visitors can see the steam locomotives being serviced prior to coupling onto the train, can view the 1896-built Signal Box in operation and can enjoy light refreshments in the Station Buffet. Often, visitors can visit the railway’s other engines in their shed.

Perfect Day Out

All trains start and finish their day from Llanuwchllyn and early visitors can see the locomotives being prepared for their day’s operations. There is free car parking at Llanuwchllyn Station as well as a buffet, souvenir shop, toilets and picnic tables.

Bala (Penybont) Station
At Bala Station there is limited roadside car parking with large Car Parks in the town centre, about half a mile walk away.

The railway provides an ideal centrepiece for a day’s visit to Bala Lake (Llyn Tegid). A round trip of about 1 hour can be broken at any of the stations to enjoy other activities – a pleasant 10 minutes walk into Bala town for shopping or merely browsing. Access is available to the lake shore at various points for swimming, fishing or simply lazing by the waterside.

Bala Lake Railway / Rheilffordd Llyn Tegid, at Llanuwchllyn

Showing the line at the north eastern end of the station, as it heads for Llyn Tegid. © Copyright Nigel Brown  and licensed for reuse  under this Creative Commons License .

Some Early Lines – A History of The Chattanooga Choo-Choo Terminal Station & Trolley by Daniel Towers Lewis

A History of The Chattanooga Choo-Choo Terminal Station & Trolley

by Daniel Towers Lewis

  A Stand-in for the Chattanooga Choo-Choo

Rail Travel and Chattanooga

In 1838, the Western and Atlantic (W & A) line named Chattanooga its northern terminal for trains departing from Atlanta. On December 1, 1849 W & A operated the first train to Chattanooga. Passengers and goods on board the train stopped at Tunnel Hill, were carried over the ridge in wagons, and resumed there train ride on the other side. This first train stopped at a temporary station. In 1850 W & A completed a tunnel through Tunnel Hill.

On December 11, 1845 the Tennessee General Assembly chartered the Nashville & Chattanooga Railway (N & C). In 1852 the several railway companies operating in Chattanooga began building the Union Station located at the corner of 9th and Market. The station derived its name because more than one railroad united in its construction.

Chattanooga’s Union Station ca. 1885Courtesy Chattanooga Public Library

In 1853, since the Cumberland Mountains obstructed a direct rout to Chattanooga, passengers rode the N & C from Nashville to Bridgeport Alabama, concluding their trip to Chattanooga by riverboat.

By 1857 Chattanooga had become a hub of rail travel in the South. The main structure of the Union depot was built in 1858. Pre-Civil War mainline railroad construction provided Chattanooga with rail service, while also contributing to its strategic military significance from 1861 – 1865.

The Stanton House HotelCourtesy Chattanooga Public Library  On several occasions during the war, the shed at Union station served as a makeshift hospital for wounded soldiers from both sides.Economic opportunities in post-war Chattanooga, led John Stanton of Boston to invest $100,000 in 1871 on the construction of the Stanton House, a 100 room L-shaped hotel, in the 1400 block of Market Street. On September 4, 1875 the first trolley in Chattanooga began operation.

The Chattanooga Choo-Choo

In March of 1880, the first train of Cincinnati Southern Railway (CSR) rolled into town, creating the first major link between the North and South. A newspaper columnist nicknamed the train the “Chattanooga Choo-Choo”, a name that would later go down in history. The Choo-Choo crossed the Tennessee River seven miles north of Chattanooga, and two miles further, at Boyce, connected with five miles of the W & A line to Union Station. Eventually CSR constructed its own line parallel to that of W & A from Boyce to Chattanooga. The Chattanooga Choo-Choo would not become famous for another sixty-one years. In 1881 A brick depot was constructed at Union Station.

Historic Marker about the Chattanooga Choo-Choo

Chattanooga’s First Electric Trolley

The City Street Railway Company began using electric cars in 1888. The first electric car ran from the Stanton House, located at the later site of Chattanooga’s Terminal Station, to the Tennessee River. By 1889 Chattanooga had 55.5 miles of trolley track. Eventually, the Chattanooga Trolley system grew to an amazing operation with 109 cars operating on 110 miles of track.

Central Station

By 1888 eight passenger lines operated out of Union Station, so CSR and the Alabama and Chattanooga Railroad collaborated on building the Central Station at the corner of Market and King. Central Station opened on September 16, 1888. In 1894 six of the railroad companies operating in Chattanooga merged to form the Southern Railway.

The Central Station in the Early 1900sCourtesy Chattanooga Public Library

The Terminal Station

In 1904, Southern Railway decided to construct a new station in Chattanooga. The following year, they obtained the Stanton House property, which had fallen into disuse, for $71,000. They chose the design for the new station submitted by Don Barber of New York, which included an awe-inspiring eighty-five foot ceiling. On December 1, 1909 a crowd gathered for the grand opening of Southern Railway’s new $1.5 million dollar Terminal Station in Chattanooga. This same month the Central Station was closed. The new station operated fourteen tracks.

Southern Rairoad’s Terminal Station in Chattanooga, TennesseeCourtesy Chattanooga Public Library

Track 29

When Glen Miller and his orchestra recorded a song by Harry Warren and Mack Gordon titled Chattanooga Choo-Choo, the song became an instant success, remaining on the pop charts for seventeen weeks in 1941, and all the world learned of Track 29. Many times during World War II the Terminal Station filled to capacity. After the War American rail travel began to decline. In Chattanooga, this first became apparent with the termination of Chattanooga’s trolley service. On April 10, 1947 at 12:40 A.M. Chattanooga’s last trolley, from the Boyce Line, rolled into the Trolley Barn at 3rd and Market. Today visitors can still see this Trolley Barn across the street from Shuttle Park North.

Chattanooga’s Old Trolley Barn


Union Station in it’s Last DaysCourtesy Chattanooga Public Library

Historic Marker about Union Station

Historic Terminal Station

Over the years Terminal Station greeted Presidents Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, President and Mrs. Franklin Roosevelt and William Jennings Bryan. In 1948, Southern Railway installed a $265,000.00 switch system. The system, consisting of 100,000 feet of cable that took three years to complete. Today the console from this system is on display next to the Depot Shop. At this point 35 trains arrived each day at the Terminal Station. By the 1970s, declining rail traffic to Chattanooga forced Southern Railway to close the doors of Terminal Station. The Birmingham Special, Southern Railway train No. 18, became the last regular passenger train to pass through the Terminal Station. On August 11, 1970 at 11:35 p.m. the Birmingham Special departed Terminal Station and headed to Washington D.C. The windows of the station were boarded up, as its once immaculate interior began collecting dust. The abandoned station faced the sad prospects of demolition. On May 1, 1971 the Georgian, leaving from Union Station bound for Atlanta, became the last passenger train from Chattanooga. Union Station was razed in 1973.

Rebirth of the Golden Age Of Railroads Fortunately, a group of two dozen local investors had a much better idea for the old station. The investors obtained the property from Southern Railway, and with an initial investment of $10 million dollars converted the old Terminal Station into a family vacation complex. In March of 1973 the United States Department of the Interior placed Chattanooga’s Terminal Station on the National Register of Historic Places. Historic Landmark Plaque at Terminal Station

The Grand Dome in the lobby of Terminal Sation

One of the Victorian Parlor Cars Hotel History The new twenty-four acre hotel complex opened May 30, 1973. It included 48 train cars divided into 96 40’ x 10’ rooms, and a 103 room Motor Inn (which today is Hotel Number 1). By 1976, the Chattanooga Choo-Choo averaged over one million visitors a year, and announced expansion plans. These plans included expanding the hotel’s convention center and building an additional L- shaped building of hotel rooms (this became Hotel Number 2). By July of 1977 both expansion projects were completed. In March of 1978 the Choo-Choo continued its expansion by opening an ice-skating Ring. Today this is Grand Central Station., used for special meeting. In March of 1981, the Choo-Choo opened a third hotel building, bring the total number of rooms at the complex to 361.
In 1989 the Choo-Choo Partners Ltd. assumed ownership of the hotel complex, providing $4 million in improvements, and the Choo-Choo joined the Holiday Inn family of hotels.

The Choo-Choo Today

Without question, the Choo-Choo provides both out of town guest and Chattanooga natives a unique experience. Just a few steps from Market Street takes the visitor into a charming world recalling the golden age of railroads, carefully accented by quaint shops and restaurants. At night, the Victorian splendor of the Choo-Choo transforms into a magical atmosphere as forty gas torches illuminate the gardens located between its historic buildings. The Choo-Choo is a living history book of early twentieth century America, when railroads were king. A full exploration of this history book lacks completeness without a ride on the Choo-Choo’s authentic trolley.

The Gardens at the Chattanooga Choo-Choo

1924 Trolley at the Choo-Choo The Trolley From the opening day of the Choo-Choo hotel complex in 1973, the 1924 Trolley provided one of the most beloved activities on the property. In 1924 Pearly Thomas Car Works of High Point North Carolina built the Trolley. The Trolley operated on the Canal Street Line in New Orleans from 1924 to 1960. The Tennessee Valley Railroad museum obtained the Trolley and brought it to Chattanooga in 1964.
This vintage 52 seat Trolley operates with electricity provided from a 600 volts (D.C.) electrical line above the Trolley. This power runs two electric motors propelling the trolley. The reversible seats were manufactured in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. The electricity also powers an air compressor that provides its breaks and opens and closes its pneumatic doors. After being restored in Wallasivlle Georgia, the Trolley began operating at the Choo-Choo in 1973. Inside of the 1924 Trolley

For More Information Visit

Or Call 1-800-TRACK-29

The Chattanooga Choo-Choo is not affiliated with in any way

Published @ by

The Simon Moon Historical Society


Copyright 2002

Duplication limited to free or at cost distribution,with the acknowledgement that such duplicationis by courtesy of the Simon Moon Historical Society

Some Early Lines – Carmarthen, Lampeter and Aberystwyth Line

Carmarthen, Lampeter and Aberystwyth Line

 Lampeter railway station, which was situated on the Carmarthen to Aberystwyth Line in Wales, was built to serve the town of Lampeterr. It opened in 1866, six years after the line, which reached Aberystwyth in August 1867.

Services at the time were limited, with only three trains running every day except Sundays. However, even this service enabled Lampeter to become an important station, although the cost of building the railway was slowly bankrupting the company. A steam Locomotive, No7 “Carmarthen”, exploded at Maesycreigiau in 1890, and the Cambrian Railway took the M&M to court over unpaid bills. The railway was originally owned by the Manchester and Milford Railway Company, but owing to great financial difficulties, it was sold to the Great Western Railway in 1906.

In 1911, a branch line was constructed between Lampeter and Aberaeron, known as the Lampeter, Aberayron and New Quay Railway.

During the Second World War, specifically on Saturday 8 July 1944, Lampeter railway station received a contingent of 330 evacuee children from London who were then distributed to homes in and around the local area (including the village of Cribyn. That same day Aberystwyth railway station likewise received 400 evacuee children.

After the nationalisation of the railways, the passenger service to Aberayron ceased in 1951. Passenger trains on the main line to Carmarthen and Aberystwyth continued until January 1965, when they ceased due to flooding, never to resume. Milk continued to be conveyed by railway until 1973, when the traffic was transferred to road, and the tracks were lifted shortly afterwards [2]. The former existence of the presence of a railway in Lampeter is still obvious; the large station and goods yard are now part of the University and the Cattle Market. Station Terrace has retained its name, and the railway bridge over the river Teifi near the Co-operative Supermarket still stands. A bridge once carried the railway over the A482, but this has since been dismantled, although the track bed still remains in both directions. Local residents have been campaigning for the return of the railway to Lampeter.

The Carmarthen to Aberystwyth Line was a 4 ft 8½ in standard gauge branch line of the Great Western Railway in Wales which connected Carmarthen with Aberystwyth.

At Carmarthen, the line connected with the GWR mainline from London, Paddington to Fishguard. At Aberystwyth, the line connected with the Cambrian Line. The line also had connecting branches to Aberaeron, Llandeilo and Newcastle Emlyn.

As a result of floods and the Beeching Axe, the line closed throughout to passengers from 1965 and to freight from Pont Llanio creamery near Tregaron to Aberaeron Junction near Lampeter in 1970 and from both Aberaeron Junction and the Newcastle Emlyn branch to Carmarthen in September 1973.

The original station was built in the 1860s by the Aberystwyrh and Welsh Coast Railway to serve trains arriving on the now-closed route from Carmarthen to Aberystwyth via Lampeter and the route to Machynlleth which remains today. The original railway station was greatly extended in 1925 with the original station building on one side of the platforms being replaced by a grand terminus building. This was built by the Great Western Railway, to show the locals their power and to reassure them that the GWR had a vested interest in maintaining the railway service in West Wales – something that had been called into question at the grouping when the Cambrian Railway which owned the station and all the lines into it had been absorbed by the larger, rather more faceless GWR, that had its headquarters far away in London.

The station at this time had five platforms: platform 1 at the south end of the station and 2 island platforms. Platforms 1 and 2 were essentially bay platforms, with the same amount of indent. They were used for the Carmarthen services (though platform 2 would occasionally be used for mainline purposes). With the closure of the line to Carmarthen in 1968, platforms 1 and 2 were given to the Vale of Rheidol line; however, their trains unload at ground level, so a new ramp and island platform has been constructed in the space between the 2 original platforms. Platform 3 is on the other side of platform 2; it is the only platform still in use for mainline rail and has been redesignated as Platform 1 in recent years. Platforms 3 and 4 served the Cambrian mainline. Platform 4 is now taken up by the “Craft” ‘freecycling’ shop. The running around line between these two, for locomotive hauled trains, still exists. Platform 5 was an emergency platform on the other side of platform 4; little trace remains. This area is now an oil storage area and the marshalling yard is the Rheidol Retail Park.

With the decline of railway usage and of tourism within the United Kingdom, the facilities were far too large for its purpose. The railway yard was lifted in the 1980s and the row of shops in front, known as Western Parade, was demolished in the 1990s to allow construction of a new retail park and bus station. The 1925 station building has seen several uses, including as a local museum but was eventually sold off and converted into a Wetherspoons pub. This conversion maintained the architecture and won awards. Other parts of the building have become an Indian restaurant, office space and accommodation for a local furniture-recycling scheme.

Aberystwyth Motive Power Depot was notable as being the last steam locomotive depot on the British Rail network; all steam services ceased in 1968 with the sole exception of the Vale of Rheidol line, which was steam operated until privatisation in 1989 and remains so today. Accordingly, it was an often requested posting for staff.


The Lampeter, Aberaeron and Newquay Light RailwayAberayron, the terminus of the branch from Lampeter. (Originally the Lampeter, Aberayron and Newquay Light Railway) 7407 is about to leave to pick up milk tanks at Felin Fach on July 31, 1959 – R.O.Tuck

The Lampeter, Aberaeron and New Quay Light Railway was a branch of the Carmarthen – Aberystwyth Line in west Wales. It ran between the seaside town of Aberaeron and Lampeter.  Stations and halts included:

  • Aberaeron,
  • Llanerch-Ayron Halt (now spelled Llanerchaeron),
  • Crossways Halt,
  • Cilau Aeron Halt,
  • Felinfach,
  • Talsarn Halt,
  • Blaenplwyf Halt,
  • Silian Halt, and
  • Lampeter.

It was opened in 1911 between Aberaeron Junction which was located several miles north of Lampeter on the Carmarthen – Aberystwyth Line and the town of Aberaeron and was closed to passengers by 1951. The route was originally intended to terminate at Aberaeron Harbour, but due to lack of agreement with the harbour’s owners, it was terminated short at the Aberaeron to Lampeter main road (now the A482). In addition, the proposed line to New Quay which was intended to build after the Aberaeron line was operational was never built.

There were many halts on the route with only intermediate passing loop located at the principal station on the line which was located at Felinfach.

Passenger trains were operated as a branch line meeting main-line trains at Lampeter. Trains were operated by the GWR from the outset, typically using GWR 0-6-0PT and GWR6400 Class Pannier Tanks or GWR 1400 Class locomotives with a GWR Autocoach.

Freight trains generally also used GWR 0-6-0PT and GWR 6400 Class Pannier Tanks or GWR 1400 Class locomotives with occasional visits from GWR 2251 Class locomotives on larger trains. An engine shed which was a sub-shed of Aberystwyth Engine shed was provided to house the branch locomotives.

After the end of passenger trains, freight trains continued to provide freight service to all stations. A huge boost to freight traffic occurred in 1950 with the building of a large new Milk Creamery alongside the line at Green Grove which was 2 miles west of Felinfach. This Milk Creamery provided much extra traffic during its construction, plus after its opening it provided large quantities of milk traffic using six-wheel milk tankers which was taken firstly to Lampeter, then combined with milk traffic from Pont Llanio milk creamery near Tregaron on the Carmarthen – Aberystwyth Line to the freight yards in Carmarthen where they would be combined with other milk tankers from Whitland and other West Wales milk creameries and then on to London.

In 1963 general freight traffic from the line was discontinued and the line was truncated to the Milk Creamery at Green Grove. Several special passenger trains ran on the line before this closure including the one and only diesel multiple unit to travel the whole length of the line which was a British Rail Class 120 unit in early British Railways green livery.

The Milk Tanker Traffic from the Milk Creamery at Green Grove near Felinfach was the only traffic using the line. This traffic continued using diesel locomotives such as British Rail Class 35 into the late 1960s and British Rail Class 37 until the final end of the Milk tanker traffic in 1973. Again, several special passenger trains ran on the route in including British Rail Class 120 and British Rail Class 119 diesel multiple units.

The track was left in situ for a further 18 months before being lifted during the summer of 1975.

Some Early Lines – Midland and South Western Junction Railway

Midland and South Western Junction Railway

Not to be confused with the ‘old’ Midland and South Western Junction Railway, the original name of the Dudding Hill Line in London (authorised 1864, absorbed by the Midland Railway 1874). The two railways have no other connection.

The Midland and South Western Junction Railway (M&SWJR) was, until the 1923 Grouping an independent railway built to form a north-south link between the Midland and London and South Western Railways (LSWR) allowing the Midland and other companies’ trains to reach the port of Southampton.


The M&SWJR was formed in 1884 from the amalgamation of the Swindon, Marlborough and Andover Railway and the Swindon and Cheltenham Extension Railway.

The Swindon, Marlborough and Andover Railway

The Swindon, Marlborough and  Andover Railway was incorporated in 1873 and opened in three stages:

  • Swindon to Marlborough, 27 July 1881
  • Grafton to Andover, 1 May 1882
  • the complete line from Swindon to Andover was opened on 5 February 1883, by running trains over the Great Western Railway’s Marlborough branch and a section of the Berks & Hants Extension Railway, as the SM&AR was unable to complete its own line between Marlborough and Grafton.

The Swindon & Cheltenham Extension Railway (S&CER)

The S&CER was incorporated in 1881 and its line was opened that year from Swindon to Cirencester, but financial difficulties halted further construction.

Completion of the line

After the two railways amalgamated, the original intention of the S&CER to reach Cheltenham was realised in 1891, albeit by obtaining running powers over the final 7.5 miles (12 km) from a junction at Andoversford over GWR metals to reach the Midland Railway station at Cheltenham (Lansdown).

In 1892 the M&SWJR secured running powers over the LSWR Sprat and Winkle Line between Andover and Southampton; from then onwards through workings were operated for trains from the Midlands and beyond: Bradford, Manchester and Liverpool were all connected via the line with Southampton at various times over the following years.

The final section of the line to be built was the missing link between Marlborough and Grafton. The Marlborough and Grafton Railway was incorporated in 1893 and the line was opened in 1898; the M&SWJR took formal ownership of the Marlborough and Grafton Railway in 1899.

The success of the line was partly hampered by the GWR’s demand of high fees for connections with its metals at Marlborough and Swindon. The original plan to run shuttles between the M&SWJR’s Swindon Town railway station and the GWR’s Swindon Junction station lasted only a couple of years before being abandoned as too expensive. This meant M&SWJR passengers had to disembark at Swindon Old Town station and travel by road to the GWR station approximately one-and-a-half miles away. At Marlborough, until the M&SWJR built its own line south of the town, the GWR insisted that any passengers wanting to change to its trains at Savernake Low Level station had to travel south from Marlborough on the GWR’s branch line.Swindon Marlborough & Andover Railway Single Fairlie 0-4-4T of 1878.

Most locomotives were bought from Dubs & Co. (and its successor theNorth British Locomotive Companyand from Beyer Peacock..


At the Grouping in 1923 the railway became a part of the GWR. At this time the M&SWJR owned 29 locomotives, 134 coaching vehicles, and 379 goods and service vehicles.


On nationalisation in 1948 the M&SWJR was split between the Western and Southern Regions of British Railways. The line closed on 10 September 1961.

The M&SWJR today

  • A short length has been re-opened as the Swindon & Cricklade Railway
  • The M4 Motorway has been built over a short section of the route between Chiseldon and Swindon.
  • Station Industrial Estate now occupies the site of the Old Town station.


  • National Cycle Network route 45 uses a large proportion of the trackbed between Cricklade and Marlborough .
  • A short length, Andover-Red Post Junction-Ludgershall, remains open to serve the military depot at Tidworth.
  • There have been talks in recent years of a reopening of the Andover to Ludgershall part of the line to serve the growing town and the expanding military base.From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Some Early Lines – The Derwent Valley Light Railway

The Derwent Valley Light Railway

The Derwent Valley Light Railway (DVLR) (also known as The Blackberry Line) was a privately-owned standard-gauge railway running from Layerthorpe on the outskirts of York to Cliffe Common near Selby in North Yorkshire, England. It opened in 1913, and closed in sections between 1965 and 1981. Between 1977 and 1979, passenger steam trains operated between Layerthorpe and Dunnington — the entire length of track at that time. In 1993 a small section was re-opened as part of the Yorkshire Museum of Farming at Murton.

The line gained its nickname of The Blackberry Line in the days when it used to transport blackberries to markets in Yorkshire and London.


The south end of the railway, from Wheldrake to Cliffe Common, was opened on October 29, 1912, with the remainder of the line opening on July 19, 1913. Although it was constructed primarily as a freight line, passenger trains were introduced from 1913, and during World War 1 it was used as a diversionary route by the North Eastern Railway between York and Selby. Passenger services ended in 1926, though freight traffic prospered through World War ll.

In 1923, most British railway companies were grouped into 4 large companies, with the nearby North Eastern Railway becoming part of the London & North Eastern Railway. However, the DVLR remained independent, and continued to do so even after nationalisation in 1948.

In 1964, British Railways closed the Selby to Driffield Line, meaning that the junction at Cliffe Common became redundant. With the connection to Selby now gone, the DVLR was left isolated at its southern end. The line was subsequently run from the Layerthorpe end but traffic generated by the southern section of the track was light so the decision was taken to close the line between Wheldrake and Cliffe Common in 1965. The section between Wheldrake and Elvington followed in 1968. Elvington was closed in 1973, leaving only approximately 4 miles (6.4 km) of track between Layerthorpe and Dunnington on the outskirts of York.

Final years

In 1976, the owners of the railway decided to operate steam trains between Layerthorpe and Dunnington, which was the entire length of the line at that time. A regular summer service started in 1977, with J72 0-6-0T locomotive number 69023 Joem (now preserved at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway) operating the services. By 1979, there were not enough passengers to justify continuing and the service ceased. The railway continued to carry occasional freight trains to Dunnington until 1981 when the grain driers at Dunnington closed and the last major source of freight for the line was gone. On top of that the railway was in desperate need a major overhaul with the majority of the rails and buildings still being the 1913 originals. However, the owners decided that the lack of demand for freight failed to justify any plan of action other than to close the line down. The last train ran on September 27, 1981.

The line today

Until 1990, a small preservation group, the Great Yorkshire Preservation Society, was originally based at Starbeck near Harrogate. When this closed, the society members relocated to the Yorkshire Museum of Farming, and started to rebuild approximately 0.75 miles (1.21 km) of track towards York, including the section under the York by-pass. A new station was constructed using the original station buildings from Wheldrake, and the railway re-opened in 1993.

The line now runs a mixture of 6 diesel and 1 steam locomotive on Sundays and bank holidays.

The track-bed from Layerthorpe to Osbaldwick, along with part of the former Foss Islands Branch Line in York, has been converted to afoot and cycle path.  Whilst future extension of the line towards Osbaldwick may be possible, as of 2010 there are still no formal plans for this.

Some Early Lines – The Lambourn Valley Railway

The Lambourn Valley Railway

The Lambourn Valley Railway (LVR) was a minor branch railway line running from the town of Newbury, Berkshire north-west to the village of Lambourn. It was opened in 1898. In 1904, the locomotives were sold and two steam railmotors were hired from the Great Western Railway (GWR). The GWR took over the line in 1905.

The line closed to passenger traffic in 1960, but a section between Newbury and Welford remained open for freight traffic to RAF Welford until 1973. A special passenger service operated on 3 November 1973 between Newbury and Welford Park to give the public a final trip over the line; a nine-coach train made four runs in each direction, and unusually, a special souvenir booklet was produced.Midland & South Western Junction Railway 2-4-0, later GWR No. 1335, nears Welford Park with an up Lambourn Valley train.   J.F.Russell-Smith


At the opening, there were seven intermediate stations; after Newbury, where the GWR station was used, these stations were Speen, Stockcross, Boxford, Welford Park, West Shefford, East Garston and Eastbury, before the terminus at Lambourn.  The line ran from a bay platform at Newbury with a connection into the main London-bound platform, and ran parallel to the double track main line west of the station for half a mile (800 m) before veering to the north. It was single-track throughout with passing loops at several of the intermediate stations. Two of the stations were soon renamed (Stockcross becoming Stockcross & Bagnor, and West Shefford becoming Great Shefford).  After the GWR took over, a further station was opened at Newbury West Fields Halt between Newbury and Speen, whilst two existing stations (Stockcross & Bagnor, and Eastbury) were downgraded to halts on 9 July 1934.A pre-war shot on the Lambourn Valley line, with an 0-6-0 shedding its load. – Lens of Sutton

The connection to RAF Welford was added in the 1950s. The line north of this point was lifted in 1962.

Currently there are no plans for re-opening the disused branch line for running trains since closed in 1973. Today, the old railway remained open as a track route, known as the Lambourn Valley Way.Ex-MSWJ 2-4-0 later GWR No. 1336, brings the daily goods down the branch during the summer of 1947.  J.F.Russell-Smith


From the opening of the line on 4 April 1898 until the delivery of the LVR’s first locomotives in late 1898, the line was worked by a locomotive loaned from the GWR. This was their no. 1384, a small 2-4-0T which they had acquired from the Watlington and Princess Risborough Railway in 1883; it was built in 1876. Altogether the LVR owned three locomotives:

Aelfred, Chapman and Furneaux 0-6-0T, built October 1898 (works no. 1162)

Eahlswith, Chapman and Furneaux 0-6-0T, built November 1898 (works no. 1161)

Eadweade, Hunslet Engine Company 0-6-0T, built June 1903 (works no. 811)

Although produced by two different manufacturers, the three were generally similar: they were outside cylinder 0-6-0T locomotives with 3-foot-7-inch (1,090 mm) wheels, but Eadweade was slightly larger than the others: its wheelbase was 10 feet 6 inches (3.20 m) and it weighed 24 long tons (24 t) as opposed to 9 ft 6 in (2.90 m) and 23.5 long tons (23.9 t) for the other two. Eahlswith and Aelfred were painted dark blue, lined out in black and white. Eadweade was painted similarly, but had a copper-capped chimney and a brass safety valve cover. Nameplates were brass, with red backgrounds. On 15 May 1904, the LVR hired two steam railmotors from the GWR, and the locomotives were put up for sale. They were sold to the Cambrian Railway in June 1904, where Eadweade became no. 24, Ealhswith became no. 26, and Aelfred became no. 35.Dean Goods No.2532 heads a Lambourn to Newbury train in the summer of 1947.  J.F.Russell-Smith

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