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Ross-on-Wye

The Ross to Monmouth line

Development2,3

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.

The Line

The Ross to Monmouth line ran from Ross though Walford, Kerne Bridge, Lydbrook and Symonds Yat to Monmouth.

This is a photo of the under-bridge at Hildersley where the A40 passed over the Ross to Monmouth line.

The A40 crossing the Ross Monmouth Line
The A40 crossing the Ross Monmouth Line
[Photo: J.C.Coombes]
(Click for a larger image)

Part of the line between Ross and Monmouth has been preserved as a walk and cycle way. Here we see the remains of the route as it passes by the rifle range, Ross.

Ross Monmouth Line
The view south (towards Monmouth) along
the site of the Ross to Monmouth Line
(Click for a larger image)
Ross Monmouth Line
The view north (towards Ross) along
the site of the Ross to Monmouth Line
(Click for a larger image)

Tudorville

The Ross to Monmouth Line (21-1-07)
The Cutting towards Tudorville
(Click for a larger image)

Just before the line ran west of Tudorville, it ran through a cutting. This is part of the cutting, that has been partially filled in, just before the line passed under the Ross to Walford road. This is where the "Town and Country Trail" separates from the route of the railway line.

After crossing the Ross to Walford Road, it then the line is then followed by the "Betzdorf Walk", Betzdorf is one of the towns Ross is twinned with. The fences bordering the line are still visible along this stretch (see the two photos below).


The Monmouth Line (21-1-07)
The Betzdorf Walk
(Click for a larger image)
The Ross to Monmouth Line (21-1-07)
The Betzdorf Walk
(Click for a larger image)

Line at Tudorville (21-1-07)
The line along side Tudorville
(Click for a larger image)
The line at Tudorville (21-1-07)
The line along side Tudorville
(Click for a larger image)

The path (as seen in the two photos above) becomes much rougher once it starts to pass behind the new Lovell housing estate at Tudorville.

The line was bridged here (photo to the right) which was a farm or field access and the embankment was added to replace the bridge once the line closed. The access road is now closed off because the new estate blocks it. The stone bridge has been repaired up using red brick at some point in its history (as seen the photos below).

The bridge at Tudorville (21-1-07)
The bridge at Tudorville
(Click for a larger image)

The bridge in more detail (Click for a larger image)

The line through Tudorville (21-1-07)
The line
(Click for a larger image)

After the embankment the line becomes completely impassible where the drains and culverts alongside the line have become blocked (photos left and below). Then there is another embankment blocking the line to allow access to a farm.


Tudorville Bridge (21-1-07)
The bridge in more detail
(Click for a larger image)
The Tudorville bridge (21-1-07)
The bridge in more detail
(Click for a larger image)

The line then passes on to Walford and Kerne Bridge among other places, and finally ends up in Monmouth. At this point the line is used as a private access route to farm buildings.

The line to Walford (21-1-07)
The line on to Walford (Click for a larger image)

Coppet Hill Tunnel

The north end of Coppet Tunnel (03-01-2011)
The north end of Coppet Tunnel
(Click for a larger image)

The tunnel under Coppet Hill is 630 yards long and runs from Kerne Bridge to Lydbrook and was in use between 1873-1965. Along its length it has a righthand bend when going from the north to south.


Inside Coppet Tunnel seen from the north end (03-01-2011)
Inside Coppet Tunnel seen from the north end
(Click for a larger image)
The roof of Coppet Tunnel (03-01-2011)
The roof of Coppet Tunnel
(Click for a larger image)

The majority of the tunnel walls are stone faced with a brick cap which forms the roof. The tunnel is mostly dry and clear except at the southern end where there is significant amounts of water coming in through the roof and large pools have formed on the floor of the tunnel.

Inside Coppet Tunnel seen from the south end (03-01-2011)
Inside Coppet Tunnel seen from the south end
(Click for a larger image)

Welsh Bicknor Pill Box

The north side of the Welsh Bicknor pill box (03-01-2011)
The north side of the Welsh Bicknor pill box
(Click for a larger image)
The south side of the Welsh Bicknor pill box (03-01-2011)
The south side of the Welsh Bicknor pill box
(Click for a larger image)

The view south out of the Welsh Bicknor pill box (03-01-2011)
The view south out of the Welsh Bicknor pill box
(Click for a larger image)

To the north of the Welsh Bicknor Bridge is a pill box built as part of the WWII defences of the area. The bridges over the Wye were of strategic importance and so defences were put in place in case there was a successful invasion.


Welsh Bicknor Rail Bridge

The bridge over the River Wye at Welsh Bicknor is of a similar design to the one that was at Kerne Bridge and the one that is still at Redbrook.

On the west side is a walkway that now forms part of the Wye Valley Walk whilst to the right is the track bed of the Ross to Monmouth Railway.

The view east off the Welsh Bicknor Bridge (03-01-2011)
The view east off the Welsh Bicknor Bridge
(Click for a larger image)
The view west off the Welsh Bicknor Bridge (03-01-2011)
The view west off the Welsh Bicknor Bridge
(Click for a larger image)

Track bed on Welsh Bicknor Bridge (03-01-2011)
Track bed on Welsh Bicknor Bridge
(Click for a larger image)
Welsh Bicknor rail Bridge (03-01-2011)
Welsh Bicknor rail Bridge
(Click for a larger image)

The west side of the Welsh Bicknor Bridge (03-01-2011)
The west side of the Welsh Bicknor Bridge
(Click for a larger image)
The east side of the Welsh Bicknor Bridge (03-01-2011)
The east side of the Welsh Bicknor Bridge
(Click for a larger image)

Walford Halt

Walford Halt destination board
The Walford Halt destination board
(Click for a larger image)

In the Kidderminster Railway Museum is the destination board from Walford Halt.


Kerne Bridge

The Wye Valley line ran south out of Ross down to Monmouth and passed through Kerne Bridge on the way. Here we see a postcard view of Kerne Bridge with Kerne Bridge railway station seen to the right side of the shot. There is an auto train in the station being pushed by 1400 class 0-4-2T ‘auto tank’ locomotive (possibly no. 1425 or 1445 both of which regularly ran the line) with it's auto trailer which were commonly used for local passenger train services.

Kerne Bridge railway station was located next to the road bridge on the left bank of the river and finally closed in 1959.It then became an outdoor activity centre and much more recently became a private house.

The railway at Kerne Bridge
Kerne Bridge
[Publisher: Lilywhite - no. 499]
(Click for a larger image)

Kerne Bridge Station (25-10-06)
Kerne Bridge Station

Kerne Bridge Station
Kerne Bridge Station
[Photo: J.C.Coombes]
(Click for a larger image)

This is a photo of the Station as seen from a passing bus prior to the closure of the line. The original size of the Station can be clearly seen prior to its extension to make it into the house as seen today.


Kerne Bridge wide
Kerne Bridge

This is a photo postcard showing the Castle View Hotel (left) [now The Inn on the Wye], the siding with trucks (centre) and the bridge (right) over the River Wye. In the middle-right foreground can be seen a tent beside the river and in the very centre of the shot can be seen the village of Kerne Bridge.

Kerne Bridge postcard
The Wye and Kerne Bridge, near Ross
[Pulisher: Unknown]
(Click for a larger image)

Castle View Hotel
Castle View Hotel
[Publisher: Unknown]
(Click for a larger image)

This is a photo postcard of the Castle View Hotel which is now The Inn on the Wye.


These two postcards both show the railway bridge at Kerne Bridge. Both appear to show the same view (except one has been hand coloured). In actual fact the one on the right has had two men rowing under the bridge added.

Castle View Hotel
714 Bridge over River Wye at Kerne Bridge nr Ross
[Publisher: Tilley & Son, Ledbury]
(Click for a larger image)
Castle View Hotel
215c Railway Bridge over River Wye at Kerne Bridge
[Publisher: Tilley & Son, Publishers, Ledbury]
(Click for a larger image)

Auto trains

Kerne Bridge Station
Kerne Bridge Station and the Auto Train

An Auto Train is an engine and carriage, called an auto trailer, that can be controlled from the end to the carriage furthest from the engine.

This photo was taken looking down the side of the train back towards the station. It can be seen that the engine was pushing the train up the line towards Ross.

Leaving Kerne Bridge
Leaving Kerne Bridge
(Click for a larger image)

Lydbrook Junction

Leaving Lydbrook Junction
Leaving Lydbrook Junction
(Click for a larger image)

Lydbrook Viaduct

Lydbrook Viaduct
Lydbrook Viaduct
[Photo: J.C.Coombes]
(Click for a larger image)

Lydbrook Viaduct was an impressive structure that carried the railway over the valley.

The foundation stone for the viaduct was laid on 9th November 1872 and the viaduct consisted of five stone arches and three wrought iron girders of the Warren pattern; two spans of 120ft span and the other with a 150ft span all of which was 90ft above the valley floor5.

The work was contracted, at a cost of £7,396, by the Crumlin Viaduct Works and the masonry works were carried out by Billups.


The viaduct was opened on 26th August 1874 and the first passenger train arrived in Lydbrook Junction from Lydney at 1.20pm on 23rd September 1875 which was pulled by the 'Robin Hood' which was a GWR Waverley class 4-4-0 (1855 - 1876)4 which was a broad gauge loco.

Regular passenger services were withdrawn in 8th July 1929, the line was finally closed on 30th January 1956 and the Viaduct was removed in 19655.

Symonds Yat

The following are a number of photos and postcards of the railway station and tunnel at Symonds Yat.

Railway Station Symonds Yat
Railway Station Symonds Yat
[Published: Harvey Barton & Son Ltd. Bristol]
(Click for a larger image)
Leaving Symonds Yat station
Leaving Symonds Yat station
(Click for a larger image)

Symonds Yat Station
Symonds Yat Station
[Photo: J.C.Coombes]
(Click for a larger image)
Symonds Yat Station in 1966
Symonds Yat Station in 1966
[Photo: J.C.Coombes]
(Click for a larger image)

Symonds Yat tunnel mouth
Symonds Yat tunnel mouth
[Photo: J.C.Coombes]
(Click for a larger image)
Looking out of Symonds Yat tunnel
Looking out of Symonds Yat tunnel
(Click for a larger image)

Tunnel at Symonds Yat
Tunnel at Symonds Yat (circa 1917)
[Published: Tilley and Son, Ledbury]
(Click for a larger image)

This postcard shows the tunnel mouth, with an engine coming out of it, with a building above it, several lower quadrant signals, mock crenellated walls and a worker's hut with various tools outside.


Monmouth Troy

Monmouth Troy was set in a beautiful location, with the River Wye flowing by the eastern end of the station whilst it was backed by two large viaducts carrying the lines to Ross on Wye and Chepstow.

The Station was opened in 1857 and was a busy country junction connecting Monmouth with lines to Pontypool, Ross-on-Wye and Chepstow. The station closed to passengers when the services to Monmouth stopped on 5th January 1959 and was abandoned after goods services ceased on 6th January 1964.

In 1986 the station building was taken apart and rebuilt at Winchcombe on the Gloucestershire & Warwickshire Railway. All that is left at the original site is the remains of the two platforms and the bricked-up tunnel at the west end of the station can still be seen. Until 2002 the station's large goods shed was still visible but it was demolished to make way for a housing estate.6

Monmouth Troy Station
Monmouth Troy Station
[Photo: J.C.Coombes]
(Click for a larger image)
The approach to Monmouth Troy
The approach to Monmouth Troy
[Photo: J.C.Coombes]
(Click for a larger image)

Monmouth Troy
Monmouth Troy
[Photo: J.C.Coombes]
(Click for a larger image)
The Monmouth Troy box and water tank
The Monmouth Troy box and water tank
[Photo: J.C.Coombes]
(Click for a larger image)


next Ross to Grange Court The Wye Valley Railway previous


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
7 Ross Gazette - Article: In Memoriam August 31st, 1835


[Page updated: Feb 15 2011 13:31:59]






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