Lines From Ross-on-Wye - Railways of the Forest of Dean

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Lines from Ross-on-Wye
This section covers the lines south and east of  Ross-on-Wye, to Monmouth (part of the Ross, Monmouth and Pontypool Road Line)  and Grange Court (the junction with the South Wales line between Gloucester and  Newport).   

Timeline
1844
The line from Hereford to Ross and Gloucester is  surveyed.

August 1845
The Monmouth and Hereford Railway Bill is given Royal Ascent.    This original proposal for a railway was intended to follow a route similar to  that of the one eventually adopted.

1847-1851
A financial crisis hits the line in 1847, work ceases and the  Monmouth and Hereford Railway is officially abandoned.  The project is  resurrected in the early 1850s by two Railways : The Hereford, Ross and  Gloucester Railway and the Ross and Monmouth Railway, although the latter would  not be authorised until 1865.

July 1853
The first five miles from Grange Court is completed

June 1855
The line (which has been built in broad gauge) is opened from  Hereford to Gloucester.

October 1857
A branch line from Pontypool to Monmouth Troy is  opened.

1862
The Great Western Railway takes over the Hereford-Gloucester  Line

July 1865
The Ross & Monmouth line is authorised.

1866
The Hereford-Gloucester line is converted to standard gauge.    Financial problems hit the Ross and Monmouth Railway, with the result that  construction of this line doesn't start until 1868.

1872
An agreement is reached between the Ross and Monmouth Railway  and the Great Western Railway, whereby the latter will operate the former for  50% of the gross receipts.

August 1873
The Ross-Monmouth line reaches a temporary terminus at Monmouth  May Hill.   The opening is delayed slightly due to issues arising from the Board  of Trade inspection, but it is eventually agreed that the line to May Hill can  be opened for passengers on the 4th August, although the lack of turning  facilities at May Hill mean the line can only be worked by tank locomotives at  this point.

January 1874
The section of the Ross and Momouth line between May Hill and  Monmouth Troy is inspected, but major problems are found with the bridge over  the River Wye, and the section is not passed for public use.

May 1874
The section between May Hill and Monmouth Troy is finally  opened.

July 1922
The Ross and Monmouth Railway is absorbed into the Great Western  Railway, as part of "The Grouping" (the Monmouth to Pontypool Road section  having been absorbed by the GWR in 1887).

July 1929
The decision to close passenger services on the Severn and Wye  routes north of Lydney Town mean that Lydbrook Junction is no longer a junction  for passenger use.  

1931
The town of Ross-on-Wye is officially renamed as such (having  been just Ross up to this point).   The station would be renamed in  1933.

1935
A Camping Coach is installed at Kerne Bridge Station in order to  develop tourist traffic to the area.  

1936
Diesel railcars are introduced to the Ross and Monmouth line.   November sees the Royal Train use the Route as King Edward VIII tours South  Wales on a morale-boosting visit.

June 1955
The line from Monmouth to Usk is officially closed, although a  strike by ASLEF results in the last services being run on the 28th May.    However the line would not be lifted for several years, and a railtour was able  to work this section two years later.

January 1959
Passenger services along the Ross-Monmouth section are  withdrawn. Goods from Lydbrook Junction to Monmouth are also withdrawn, although  it is agreed to leave the infrastructure in place for three years to allow for a  possible re-opening.

[There is some controversy over the figures produced to justify  the closure of this line, especially with regards to the increased level service  provided west of Monmouth in 1954, a service that may have been more than the  line needed, and possibly skewing the figures in favour of making a loss.]   

November 1964
The Grange Court to Hereford section closes to passengers. Goods  follows a year later.
Most freight services between Ross-on-Wye and Monmouth are also  withdrawn at this time, although some private siding traffic would continue from  Lydbrook Junction via Ross until November 1965.
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