Oxfordshire Ironstone Railway

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Infinite Construction - STEAM

Oxfordshire Ironstone Railway
Banbury on the Cherwell Valley line
Left arrow Leamington SpaBanbury Right arrow
Stone rail terminal.
Alcan Factory sidings (opened early 1920s, lifted mid 1950s)
Alcan Factory depot (lifted late 1950s)
Alcan Factory sidings (lifted early 1950s)
A423 road bridge (demolished 1967)
The railway bridge over a local brook, closed and became a
footbridge after 1967. It was replaced in 2007 by a short culvert pipe.
Sidings (opened early 1920s, lifted mid 1950s)
Hardwick signal box (closed and demolished since 1967)
Sidings (opened early 1920s, lifted mid 1950s)
Hardwick loco sidings and depot (lifted 1964)
WW2 pill box class bunker, demolished by 2000.
Hardwick Farm Crossing (line lifted 1967)
Pen Hill workers' halt (demolished 1967)
Sidings (opened late 1920s, lifted mid 1950s)
Pen Hill maintenance depot (demolished 1967)
Local stream culverted in the 1920s.
The planned Pin Hill maintenance depot (planned in the 1920s).
Sidings (opened early 1920s, lifted mid 1950s)
Pen Hill Farm grading plant (demolished 1967)
Highlands Road, Banbury
Nethrop Fields loco sidings (lifted 1964)
B4100 road bridge
Niethrop Fields Signal Box (demolished 1967)
Drayton tool shed/privy (derelict, assumedly closed since 1967)
Drayton P-hut/signal box (closed since 1967)
Drayton Village Crossing (line lifted 1967)
The bridge over Stor Brook,
replaced in 1967 by a short culvert pipe
Farm Lane Crossing (line lifted 1967)
Woxton-Hanwell Road Crossing (line lifted 1967)
Moor Mill Hill Path Crossing (line lifted 1967)
Bridge over Horley–Wroxton road (Demolished 1968)
Horley signal box (demolished 1967)
Horley Village Crossing (line lifted 1967)
Horley tool shed/p-hut (closed since 1967)
Horley sidings (closed and lifted 1967)
Wroxton Depot (built by 1925, closed and lifted 1967)
Friars Hill Sidings(built by 1945, closed and lifted 1952)
Drift Lane Crossing\Wroxton Village Crossing (line lifted 1967)
Wroxton worker's halt (built 1919, closed 1967, demolished 2006)
Wroxton Central Ironstone Quarry
opened by 1919, closed and filled in 1967)
Ragnel sidings (built by 1945, closed and lifted 1952)
New Inn spurs and Ragnel mine workings
(built 1952 and 1947, both lifted 1967)
the Heath Farm workings and Gentra spurs
(built by 1945 and 1952, both lifted 1967)
Langley Ironstone Quarry (built by 1926, closed and filled 1943)
Dyke Lane Bridge (built 1940 and abandoned 1967)
Dyke Lane Bridge workings and siding
built ~1940–1941, closed 1949, filled in by 1967
A422 road
Water tower (built by World War II and demolished ~2004–2005)
Balscote crossing, lifted 1967)
Balscote Quarry (built by 1956, closed and filled 1967)
Sidings (built by 1952, closed and lifted 1967)

The Oxfordshire Ironstone Railway was a standard-gauge mineral railway that served an ironstone quarry near the village of Wroxton in Oxfordshire.[1][2][3]

The line's history

The OIR linked the quarry with the Great Western Railway about 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) to the east at a junction just north of Banbury.[4][2][2] The line was opened between 1917 and 1919[5] and closed in 1967;[5] the line was 'lifted', that is the line was formally closed and physically removed from the site, between 1967 and 1968. The quarry was heavily worked in the Second World War.[6] The line also served the Banbury Alcan works at one point.[7] The popular footpath from Drayton to Drayton Lodge crossed the railway at Drayton Crossing.[8]

Wroxton Central Ironstone Quarry was opened by 1919, closed and filled in 1967. Langley Ironstone Quarry was built near Balscot by 1926, and was closed and filled during 1943 when it ran out of ironstone.[9][10] Dyke Lane Bridge was built in 1940 and abandoned in 1967.[2][9][10]

The line was extended to the Balscote Quarry which was worked between 1956 and its closure in 1967.[11] Balscote Quarry, a shorter-lived working, was built by 1956, but closed and filled in 1967.[2][2][11][4] A newer quarry close by its former site is now served by road haulage only.

The mine buildings, manager's house and workers' halt are now a small set of new light industrial buildings, built circa 2006–2008.[5][4] The track works' permanent way huts (p-huts)[4] still stood at Drayton in 2007 and Horley in 2002.[4] A few old OIR fence posts/gates remain to this day along the route. Banbury's Ruscote and Hardwick estate's (Daimler Avenue, Devon Way and Longelandes Way)[4] are also built over a large part of its route, including most of the former Pen Hill farm grading works (Longelandes Way). Other built over places include the proposed minor Pin Hill maintenance depot (Pin Hill Road)[12] and major active Pen Hill maintenance depot (Beaumont Road).[4][13][14] Despite the development that has occurred north of Banbury since closure, much of the line of the route can be walked today.[15]

Locomotive fleet

The OIR operated its own fleet of steam locomotives: 0-6-0T and 0-6-0ST locomotives built by Hunslet and 0-4-0ST's built by Hudswell Clarke.[16] They also purchased thirteen Rolls-Royce Sentinel diesel-hydraulic locomotives fitted with Rolls-Royce C range engines in the 1960s.[17]. Several of these locomotives are still in existence on preserved railways such as the Nene Valley [18], East Somerset [19] and Rocks By Rail [20].

Local geology

Many heavy clay and Ironstone deposits surround Banbury and Wroxton.[3][21]

The Edge Hill Light Railway connection

The firm behind the Oxfordshire Ironstone Railway was one of the backers of the ill-fated 1920–1922 Edge Hill Light Railway.[22]

There was talk of reopening the by then overgrown, but workable line early in to World War II but, it was decided that the Oxfordshire Ironstone line was to be considered adequate to serve the area's requirements.[23]

See also


  1. ^ "Geograph:: Fields on the site of the old Langley... (C) Oliver Dixon".[self-published source]
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Ironstone Enquiry Pictures". Deddington History. 2004. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Take a ride on our lost railways". Oxford Mail. 14 December 2009. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "Old-Maps - the online repository of historic maps - home page". www.old-maps.co.uk.
  5. ^ a b c "Geograph:: Oxfordshire Ironstone Quarries... (C) David Stowell".[self-published source]
  6. ^ "Geograph:: Course of Ironstone quarry railway (C) David Stowell".[self-published source]
  7. ^ "Geograph:: Site of bridge over the dismantled... (C) Roger Templeman".[self-published source]
  8. ^ "Geograph:: Site of Drayton Crossing (C) David Stowell".[self-published source]
  9. ^ a b "Geograph:: Site of Langley Ironstone Quarry (C) David Stowell".[self-published source]
  10. ^ a b "Geograph:: Dyke Lane Bridge (C) David Stowell".[self-published source]
  11. ^ a b "Geograph:: Stratford Road bridge and Balscote... (C) David Stowell".[self-published source]
  12. ^ "House Prices in Pinhill Road, Banbury, Oxfordshire, OX16". www.rightmove.co.uk.
  13. ^ "Property to let in Penhill Industrial Park, Beaumont Road, Banbury, Oxfordshire, OX16 1RW - £10000 pa". www.brown-co.com.
  14. ^ "Actecs - Banbury, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom". Yelp.
  15. ^ Hone, Chris (2017). A Walk Along The Ironstone. Witney: Robert Boyd Publications. pp. 40–45. ISBN 9781908738288.
  16. ^ Waters, Laurence (1991). Oxfordshire Railways in Old Photographs, a Second Selection. Stroud: Sutton Publishing. ISBN 0-86299-852-2.
  17. ^ Hone, Chris (2017). A Walk Along The Ironstone. Witney: Robert Boyd Publications. p. 28. ISBN 9781908738288.
  18. ^ http://www.nvr.org.uk
  19. ^ http://eastsomersetrailway.com/
  20. ^ http://www.rocks-by-rail.org/
  21. ^ https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:sppuMpvgMg8J:www.oum.ox.ac.uk/learning/pdfs/oxmin.pdf+clay+pits+in+banbury&hl=en&gl=uk&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESgn-Yi-g1qgnV32eBJ5Bi24KzjITDU7kcw_uL-KWGxPnzzgLbT8n9stdyOyB9bxEnAdJs1yyzKFGNwmj0NWApex23PAad6KTYb4lJdKEqLBNLnqifn3yk8Xc8Fp-ya8DY20dPo5&sig=AHIEtbREJLbdRHQ5aetZoqTAk3mdY2Gy0w
  22. ^ "Geograph:: Edge Hill Light Railway embankment (C) David Stowell".[self-published source]
  23. ^ "A Short History of the Edge Hill Light Railway". The Colonel Stephens Railway Museum. Archived from the original on 17 December 2010. Retrieved 30 January 2019.