Oxfordshire Ironstone Railway
Oxfordshire Ironstone Railway
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. The line was opened between 1917 and 1919 and closed in 1967; 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. The line also served the Banbury Alcan works at one point. The popular footpath from Drayton to Drayton Lodge crossed the railway at Drayton Crossing.
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. Dyke Lane Bridge was built in 1940 and abandoned in 1967.
The line was extended to the Balscote Quarry which was worked between 1956 and its closure in 1967. Balscote Quarry, a shorter-lived working, was built by 1956, but closed and filled in 1967. 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. The track works' permanent way huts (p-huts) still stood at Drayton in 2007 and Horley in 2002. 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) 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) and major active Pen Hill maintenance depot (Beaumont Road). Despite the development that has occurred north of Banbury since closure, much of the line of the route can be walked today.
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. They also purchased thirteen Rolls-Royce Sentinel diesel-hydraulic locomotives fitted with Rolls-Royce C range engines in the 1960s.. Several of these locomotives are still in existence on preserved railways such as the Nene Valley , East Somerset  and Rocks By Rail .
The Edge Hill Light Railway connection
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.
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