The Ross to Monmouth line
The Ross and Monmouth Railway, also known as the Wye Valley line (once described as "the most beautiful journey in Britain"), was authorised in 1865, resulting in the "The Ross and Monmouth Railway Act, 1865", to build and maintain a railway between Ross and Monmouth. The cost of this was £160,000 and this was £120,000 from ordinary shares and £40,000 from a mortgage. The mortgage was raised to £80,000 in 1867 creating the "The Ross and Monmouth Railway Act, 1867". The problem was that by 1871, quite a bit of the railway had been built but they had sold only £58,360 pounds worth of shares and were not in a position to borrow any more money until the railway was complete.
So a shareholder meeting was held on the 9th January 1871 in which they voted to convert a portion of the ordinary shares to preference shares in order to raise the money needed to complete the line. This resulted in the creation of the "The Ross and Monmouth Railway Act, 1871" which allowed preferential shares to be issued by the directors. Each share could not be issued unless a fifth of the price of the share had been paid and further payment could be called in as needed. The dividend was £6 per annum up to a total of £80,000 provided profits were available to pay this.
The line was 13 miles long, and was often run using an auto train. The journey by auto train was scheduled to take 34 minutes with 8 stops. It started at Ross then ran to Walford Halt, Kerne Bridge, Lydbrook Junction, Symonds Yat, Hadnock Halt, Monmouth May Hill and finally terminated in Monmouth Troy.
In 1871 the Ross and Monmouth Railway Company proposed building their own locomotive depot in Ross but the GWR adapted their depot to serve both lines7.
The line was opened to passengers on 4th August 1873 but was never very heavily used.
In December 1904 a circular was sent from the Chairman to all the shareholders informing them that the line was to be taken over and on 1st July 1905, the Wye Valley Railway then joined with the GWR.
Passenger services from Lydbrook Junction to Monmouth stopped on 5th January 1959 due to lack of use, and the section was closed.
Just before this panier tanks 6412 (preserved) and 6439 (scrapped) pulled a special train, the "Closure Special" chartered by the Stephenson Locomotive Society on the 4th January 1959, that ran directly from Chepstow to Monmouth and then on to Ross-on-Wye. This may well have been the only train that ever made this run.
The last engine to pull the last train from Monmouth to Ross run was a pannier tank (0-6-0) no. 6412, which is still preserved and maybe seen at the West Somerset Railway near Taunton unless it's on one of it's occasional excursions elsewhere.
Although passenger services had ceased with the end of the Lydbrook to Monmouth section, freight services continued to run from Ross-on-Wye to Lydbrook Junction until 1st November 1965 when that section was also closed.
1 Track Layout Diagrams of the G.W.R and BR W.R. Section 36 Ross, Monmouth and Chepstow
- R. A. Cooke
2 The Ross and Monmouth Railway Act, 1871
- printed in London by George Edward Eyre and William Spottiswoode
3 Wye Valley Railway
- BM Handley/R Dingwall - Oakwood Press
4 Wikipedia - List of broad gauge (7 feet) railway locomotive names
5 sungreen.co.uk - Old Photos of Lydbrook & District
6 Urban 75
- Monmouth Troy railway station, 1985
Ross Gazette - Article: In Memoriam August 31st, 1835
[Page updated: Feb 15 2011 13:31:59]