Above: This is part of the former GWR line from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Bala Junction, viewed near Nant Ddu looking towards Bala. The grid reference is SH 804383, where a footpath from the nearby A4212 crosses the line; the location is between the former stations at Cwm Prysor and Arenig. About 5 miles further east, Llyn Celyn Reservoir has submerged 1½ miles of the trackbed, but elsewhere most of the old line survives in remarkably good condition. This old ganger's hut still keeps watch over the empty trackbed, which must be grazed by sheep to keep it this trim. The last passenger train passed this way on 4 January 1960. March 2005. (Richard Lewis)

Above: This is the classic view that got many of us started on exploring old railways – the empty trackbed leading enticingly into the distance. Where did it go? Why was it built? What survives? What were the views from the carriage window? This is again part of the Blaenau Ffestiniog to Bala Junction line, seen here from Clogwyn Du (SH 823392) looking towards Bala. The trackbed here is just 3 miles from the icy waters of Llyn Celyn Reservoir. Both this and the photograph above were taken in Snowdonia National Park. March 2005. (Richard Lewis)
Above: For much of its length, the former GWR branch line from Yelverton to Princetown is now an official railway path. Here the old line, seen looking towards Princetown, curves around Burrator Reservoir, the main water supply for Plymouth which lies some 7 miles to the south west. September 2005. (Richard Lewis)
Above: The Princetown branch is not the best old railway on which to go looking for engineering features, since it does little more than follow the contours to gain height, which explains why its route is so serpentine. However, just beyond the site of Ingra Tor Halt, this fine bridge survives at grid reference SX 563725, with a view of North Hessary Television Transmitter beyond. The transmitter is situated 1½ miles away to the north east on top of North Hessary Tor (SX 578742). September 2005. (Richard Lewis)
Above: Visitors to this website who are unfamiliar with west country railway history may be surprised to learn that two separate railways served Princetown in their time. The first of these was the Plymouth & Dartmoor Railway, which was promoted by Thomas Tyrwhit and opened in September 1823 as Devon's first iron railroad. (Tyrwhit is remembered principally for building Dartmoor Prison to house captured French soldiers during the Napoleonic wars.) Tyrwhit's iron railroad linked Princetown (then Prince's Town, after the Prince Regent) with Crabtree Wharf in Plymouth, and conveyed large quantities of freight from his local quarries. The P&DR started by crossing Princetown Square, but much of its route was later absorbed by the GWR. However, in this photograph, taken near the Princetown terminus, the two lines can be seen diverging – the GWR branch line on the left, and the earlier P&DR on the right. Most of the P&DR can still be traced; Eric Hemery's Walking the Dartmoor Railroads (ISBN 1 872640 12 5) gives details. September 2005. (Richard Lewis)
Above: In the annals of obscure railways, few are less known outside their immediate vicinity than the Mow Cop Tramway, a line built to link collieries in the area west of Biddulph with Kent Green Wharf on the Macclesfield Canal. There were two Mow Cop Tramways altogether, one succeeding the other; the second was heavily engineered with a tunnel beneath Mow Cop, plus two self-acting inclines. The route survives as a well-signposted public footpath. (Click here for a schematic map and here for a brief history of local collieries and tramways.) Apart from its tramway, Mow Cop was also served by Mow Cop & Scholar Green station on the still open line from Macclesfield to Stoke. This quaintly named station was closed on 7 September 1964 as part of the Beeching closures, but not before it had been immortalised in verse and song (along with other wonderfully named lineside stops such as Trouble House Halt) in 'The Slow Train' by Michael Flanders and Donald Swann. August 2005. (Richard Lewis)
Above: Redbrook, Gloucestershire, used to be served by the GWR branch line from Monmouth to Chepstow, although its station was on the 'wrong' side of the river, i.e. in Monmouthshire, Wales. The railway's girder bridge over the River Wye, officially known as Penallt Viaduct, still stands and is now used as part of the Wye Valley Walk, which uses the trackbed for the next two miles south, as far as Whitebrook. July 2008. (Bob Prigg)
Above: A close-up of Penallt Viaduct, looking from Monmouthshire towards Gloucestershire. Nowadays, villagers and walkers use the viaduct to reach The Boat Inn on the west bank of the river. Redbrook received its name on account of the local reserves of iron ore, which used to impart a dark red colour to the brook which ran through the village. Note that, even in this soil-free location, small shrubs and trees are taking root in the old timber decking. July 2008. (Bob Prigg)