Forgotten Relics of an Enterprising Age

Newchurch No.1 Tunnel

Anyone who says that there is no interest in re-using old railways should see photographs like this. The scene here was that which attended the official opening in 2019 of Newchurch No.1 Tunnel on the former Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway’s heavily engineered branch line between Rawtenstall and Bacup, Lancashire, which is now well on its way to becoming a continuous rail trail. (Graeme Bickerdike © Forgotten Relics, used with permission)

If modern TV schedules sap your will to live, help is at hand – at least if you have an interest in the UK’s disused railways – via a website called ‘Forgotten Relics of an Enterprising Age’, which ought to be a lot better known than it is.

The work of RR member Graeme Bickerdike, this fascinating site ‘records and celebrates the disused structures that formed part of Britain’s railway network before the cuts of the 1950s and 60s’. Links to pages on bridges and viaducts, tunnels and cuttings, stations and junctions, routes and sections, and ‘bits and pieces’ (to catch anything else) give access to a cornucopia of articles, which are well researched, well written and superbly illustrated. A separate section on new stories reveals the extent to which disused railways are still in the news, probably more so now than at any time in the last 25 years. A search engine at the top right of the main page enables users to treat the site almost as a ‘wiki’ on old railways, and – returning to the theme of the TV schedules – a search for ‘videos’ or ‘railway relic films’ will reveal that Graeme has been very busy indeed on the audio-visual side. Not only are a number of historic films available here, but also modern videos which Graeme and his team have produced themselves. There’s a film in this section, taken from a drone, which gives an aerial view of some of the best northern viaducts – all disused, of course. It is an impressive piece of film-making, and the fly-overs enable one to appreciate these mighty viaducts in their glorious natural context.

Visit the main menu of ‘Forgotten Relics’.

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