Bream Heritage Walk

30 – Dean Forest Railway

The Railway

A horse-drawn tramway was first opened here in June, 1810 by the Severn and Wye Company. They didn’t carry goods themselves but charged a toll to the mine and quarry owners who used their own wagons and horses. There were many grumbles about the poor facilities, particularly about the lack of steam engines on the line.

It was not until 1868 that the line was modernised by building broad gauge edge railway to replace the tramway, and introducing the first steam engines.

Passenger services were not introduced until 1875 but were always meagre, reaching a peak in 1910 of 6 trains per day. It had dropped to 3 by 1920. Finally the line closed to regular passenger traffic in 1929.

The lack of passenger services meant that people along the line would flag down passing goods trains to get a ride to Lydney or Coleford. There is even a story of people in the cottages along the line flagging down trains for boiling water to fill their teapots!

Dean Forest Railway

However, the passenger line is open again thanks to the hard work and persistence of the Dean Forest Railway. The line was extended from just a few yards in 1971 to the four and a half miles that are open today.

An image showing Rail crossing at point 30
The Dean Forest Railway crossing at point 30. The loco is LMR ‘Austerity’ no. WD152 “Rennes”.