The Talyllyn Railway is one of a number of narrow-gauge lines in north and mid Wales built in the 19th century to carry slate, in the Talyllyn's case from the Bryn Eglwys quarries near Abergynolwyn. Opened in 1865, the line runs the seven and a quarter miles from Tywyn (on the Cardigan Bay coast) to Nant Gwernol, from where a series of horse-drawn tramways continued into the mountains. The slate traffic ceased in 1946 following a serious rock fall in the quarry. Read more about the railway and its Railway Letter Service on the Talyllyn Railway website
The Scottish Railway Preservation Society operates the Bo'ness & Kinneil Railway, which has been developed since 1979 on a green-field site by the south shore of the Firth of Forth. Several historic buildings have been obtained and re-erected to provide a traditional railway setting. Bo'ness station opened in 1981 Read more on the SRPS website .
The original Caledonian Railway was one of the major rail operators in Scotland, cooperating with the London and North Western Railway in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to create new, high-speed links between the English capital and the key centres of population on the western side of Britain and over a large part of Scotland. The present Caledonian Railway (Caledonian Railway (Brechin) Ltd), uses four miles of a branch line formerly operated by the original railway of the same name, founded in 1848. Read more on Caledonian website.
The Great Central Railway had its beginnings in a much smaller railway, the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire, which was incorporated in 1846 from three yet smaller companies. The MS&LR would have remained a modest east-west provincial line had it not been for plans to link by rail the industrial centres of Manchester and Sheffield with the expanding markets of Continental Europe. This was not impossible as Edward Watkin, General Manager in 1854, proposed to build a Channel Tunnel, and he became Chairman of the South Eastern Railway connecting London with Dover. It was renamed the Great Central in 1897 during construction of the 'London Extension'. Read more on the GCR website.
The Severn Valley line was built between 1858 and 1862, and linked Hartlebury,near Droitwich, with Shrewsbury, a distance of 40 miles. The original Severn Valley Railway, which borrowed locos and stock, was absorbed into the GWR in the 1870's, and in 1878 a link line was constructed from Bewdley to Kidderminster. Read more on the SVR website.
The Bluebell Railway. The Lewes and East Grinstead Railway Act, 1877, which was promoted by the Earl of Sheffield and other local landowners, authorised the construction of a railway between the towns mentioned, and the 1878 Act provided for the acquisition, completion and running of the new line by the London Brighton and South Coast Company. British Railways was forced to reopen the line after its first closure when supporters found a legal loophole, but the law was eventually repealed and the line closed. The original members of The Lewes & East Grinstead Railway Preservation Society wanted to re-open the line in its entirety from East Grinstead through to Lewes and to run a commercial service but they failed to aquire the whole line and found no enthusiasm for the idea amongst the local population. So, the idea to re-open the Sheffield Park to Horsted Keynes section as a steam "museum" railway was adopted. Read more on the website of what became known as the Bluebell Railway.
The Keighley & Worth Valley was built in 1867 by local mill owners, but with the operation of trains 'franchised' to the Midland Railway which operated the adjoining Bradford/Leeds - Skipton line. The Midland Railway eventually bought out the KWVR Company. The KWVR is a standard gauge branch line which joins the national railway network at Keighley in Yorkshire and runs 5-miles up the Worth Valley to Oxenhope. Read more at the K&VR website.