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British Industrial History

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Gloucester and Cheltenham Railway

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By 1800 a tramroad had been constructed to carry stone for building from Leckhampton hill to Cheltenham.

1806 A proposal was made to construct a tramroad for horse drawn wagons to carry coal from Gloucester Docks to Cheltenham, with a connection to the tramroad system serving the Leckhampton quarries.

1809 April 28. Gloucester and Cheltenham Railway Company incorporated. Received parliamentary approval. It was sanctioned April 28th, 1809, by 49 Geo. III., c. 23. It started at the basin of the Gloucester and Berkeley Canal, and ran by the side of the Gloucester and Cheltenham mail road to Knapp toll gate in Cheltenham, 9 miles. There was also a branch, 2 3/4 miles, to Leckhampton Hill, i.e., to the quarries.

1810 Opened as a 3 feet 6 inch horse-drawn tramway, 9 miles long, linking Gloucester Docks to Cheltenham and the quarries at Leckhampton.

At its peak the tramroad saw up to 60 journeys each day, and carried over 35,000 tons of general materials and 20,000 tons of stone in a single year.

1825 It was announced that "A steam locomotive on the new Major McCurdy principle for this rail-road will be exhibited in a few days. To ply between the city and coal wharf of Mr. B. Newmarch." [1] [2]

1831-32 The only recorded trial of a steam engine took place, using a locomotive built by the Neath Abbey Ironworks named The Royal William. On the first trial the rails broke and the engine stuck. A second trial started more successfully but after a short distance the boiler exploded; at this point the The Royal William was abandoned and left to rust in a siding.

1836 Purchased by the Cheltenham and Great Western Union Railway; combined with Birmingham and Gloucester Railway to complete the purchase, giving the 2 companies access to Gloucester Docks.

1859 Act of Abandonment granted

1861 The rails, etc were sold off.

A relic of the former days is to be found in the fact, that one of the Midland Signal-boxes at G1oucester was still known as " Tramway Junction." (1924)

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Berrow's Worcester Journal (Worcester, England), Thursday, January 20, 1825
  2. Royal Cornwall Gazette, Falmouth Packet & Plymouth Journal (Truro, England), Saturday, May 14, 1825
  • Encyclopedia of British Railway Companies by Christopher Awdry. Published 1990. ISBN 0 19 211697 5
  • History of the Cheltenham and Gloucester Tramroad (1811-1861), GSIA [1]