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Welcome to theWye Valley Railway

Introduction bits
Welcome to the Wye Valley Railway
Full History
Abridged History
Location Maps
How would we re-open it?
Main Scheme
Part 1: Wye Valley Junction to Netherhope
Part 2: Tidenham Tunnel
Part 3: Tintern Quarry to Tintern
Part 4: Tintern Station
Part 5: Brockweir to St Briavels
Part 6: St Briavels to Redbrook
Part 7: Wyesham to Monmouth
Part 8: Signalling
Part 9: Rolling Stock
Part 10: Imagine the Journey
Local Entertainment
Does that picture really show that?
From Rags to Power
Other pages on this topic
Of Roads, Railways and Cycleways
Frequently Asked Questions
The Railway
Interesting snippets of history
The originally proposed alignment
Getting money off ex-directors
Completing the Railway
Social and economic effect of building culverts
Later Wye Valley Railtours
Remains of the route
It really is 50 years ago...
The Abandoned Wye Valley Railways
The Area
Wye Valley Journey
Brockweir Bridge: Dibden v Skirrow
Wye Valley Railway Menu

 "If you build a nice, clean, reliable railway a really strange thing happens, doesn't it? Hordes of people come out of the woodwork and use it..."

This website is a branch off the website of the Order of the Bed, which aims to encourage people to take a more relaxed and easy-going life, featuring a lot of lazing around and dozing peacefully in bed. The Wye Valley Railway re-opening scheme featured on this website therefore fulfils three aims for the wider Order:

  1. To show that a slow, relaxed railway can still be proposed in this day and age;
  2. To sit heavily on a competing scheme, which wants the trackbed to be used for exercise;
  3. To provide a nice showcase for our skills at writing, taking photos and mucking about with graphical editing software.

As long as you steer clear of the "How would we re-open it" section you should fail to find anything meeting aims 1 and 2, instead finding that it also represents a bit of a clearing house for information on the WVR and surrounding lines. If you want to imagine a bias, it is probably pro-rail. However, we try to keep that to our re-opening schemes - which you probably shouldn't spend too much time reading if you believe (wrongly, of course) that all railways should be abolished, axed and done away with.

It also allows us to offer case studies into a variety of modern fads, such as environmentally-friendly energy production, and pass comment on the various definitions of the phrase "An English investment of unusually satisfactory character" (which means that you lose less than nine-tenths of your investment).

Occasionally we do show a certain lack of relaxation and bits of the area get reformatted, so we would like to apologise to anyone who linked to the planning pages before they were re-written at Easter 2011 and is consequently now feeling a bit lost.

The Wye Valley Railway section is divided into five major parts. The first is a basic introductory session. The long history is quite interesting if you have the energy to read it. The short history is shorter. The location maps are probably worth a look just to get your bearings.

The next section is how we would re-open it, which is subdivided into further sections. The main scheme is ten pages of varying degrees of comprehensibility. The latest re-write aimed to make these a bit more intuitive; the titles now largely describe what you get. Parts 1, 3, 5, 6 and 7 have lots of pictures accompanying blocks of text, while parts 2 and 4 have fewer pictures and more text. Parts 8 and 9 have very few pictures and lots of textual detail. Part 10 has a series of small but hopefully attractive views representing what you would get to see out of a train window along the way. "Appendices" is a string of articles which cover the bits which are relevant and cited in the main articles but which are slightly too long-winded to go into the main bit (being interesting and all). "Other pages on this topic" are two pages on other bits and pieces which are a bit peripheral but which we feature anyway.

"The Railway" looks mostly at various helpful bits of history. Largely this section ignores any prospect of the railway re-opening. The presence of this area means that we can produce some more specific bits of history here, rather than trying to fit them into the full history.

"The Area" tends to ignore the presence of the railway, with the exception of "Local Entertainment", and concentrates on providing some background on the Wye Valley area as a whole. This may also be a useful starting point if you don't know the Wye Valley and want some geographical background to fit the railway into.

"The Adjacent Railways" covers other lines in the area and is useful for getting a general grasp of other lines which are mentioned along the way. The main four are arranged into something approaching chronological order. The Coleford, Monmouth, Usk and Pontypool Railway came first and was the last to close. The Monmouth to Pontrilas line was never built, despite multiple schemes being promoted to construct it. The Ross and Monmouth Railway was the one which opened just before the WVR and lost its passenger trains at the same time. The Coleford Branch was the shortest-lived of the four stretches of railway to serve Monmouth. "Other Monmouth Railways" is a lengthy article connecting the history of Monmouth's four railways together and occasionally glancing at outside events.

Of the remaining three articles in this section, "The Main Line" covers the route from Severn Tunnel Junction to Gloucester, from which the Wye Valley Railway was one of several branches (it receives no preferential treatment) and so qualifies as an adjacent railway. The Forest of Dean Central Railway was another branch off this route which we refer to from time to time in the main history; it is not an adjacent route but might pass as a near neighbour. The Great Western Railway Tunnels page is primarily trivia and is only concerned with this area due to the WVR's Tidenham Tunnel being one of those featured.

Of the smaller bits at the bottom, "Other Internal Links" offers access to various other relevant pages around the Order of the Bed website, while "External Links" connects to some generally relevant pages concerning the Railway and its surroundings. The external links list is not updated very often and generally at least one of them will be dead. External links open in a new window. The Bibliography is a generally handy list of sources which we have consulted when writing these pages.

Currently, should the line be reopened, we would like it to form a bit of a prototype for similar re-openings of railways to provide clean and frequent services from more rural areas to centres of population. The idea is that the locals should be able to get in and out more easily, younger people should be able to be successful without having to completely up sticks and tourists can come in without bringing their car. Our current plan is that such a service should be offered with modern electric trains running hourly on normal days, with "peak" periods seeing some sections of the line (principally Tidenham to Tintern) given a more intensive service with various bits of historic stock. Largely the idea is a transport route where the scenery will be encouraged as an additional "revenue stream", so tourists will be welcome but it will be run as a working railway aiming to earn its keep (just).

This is a large website which makes up over half of the Order of the Bed's web presence. Don't try to read it all at once.

The Order of the Bed does not always intend to be taken seriously. However, your suggestions on how it can ponder serious things in a better way are always welcome. The Contact link is in the "Other Internal Links" section.

The quote at the top is from Nigel Harris, editor of Rail magazine, during an interview with Ian Brown, head of Transport for London, in Rail 562 (2007)

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Last modified 16/03/11

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