Wye Valley Railway Timeline - Railways of the Forest of Dean

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Wye Valley Railway Timeline
October 1857
A branch line is opened between Pontypool and Monmouth Troy, the first railway to serve Monmouth.

1865
Plans are drawn up for a direct rail link between Chepstow and Monmouth, with the original route being along the west bank of the river.

1866
The plans are revised to take the railway along the east bank for the majority of its route.  Perhaps the most prominent effect of the changes is the re-siting of Tintern Station, which is now half a mile north of the village, instead of a more convenient closer location.   

July 1866
The Wye Valley Railway Bill is presented before Parliament.

August 1866
The line is sanctioned by Parliament after various issues, including the gauge are resolved. Despite the Gauges Act of 1846, there have been suggestions during the planning that the line be constructed to broad gauge. However, objections are dropped when the use of standard guage is confirmed.

May 1874
After delays caused by financing issues, construction of the line begins at Tintern, and is divided into two sections: Tintern-Monmouth and Tintern-Chepstow.  

June 1875
Provision to build the Wireworks branch to to the Tinplate Works at Tintern (a result of the above-mentioned route change) is passed by Parliament. This branch ultimately proves to be an extreme liability to the WVR as it cannot charge for its use.

28th October 1876
The line finally opens, eight months behind schedule. It is immediately leased to the GWR who will work it.

March 1881
The first five years of service have not been as good as expected for various reasons and the situtation culminates in the legal action being taken against the Chairman of the Wye Valley Railway due to mismanagement and financial irregularities. The shareholders appoint a receiver to sort out the company.

September 1883
The Coleford Railway Company opens the branch from Wyesham Junction to Coleford, becoming the forth branch line to run from Monmouth Troy. It would be taken over by the GWR during 1884.

1887
Negotiations for the sale of the WVR to the GWR are started, but are halted by one of the directors of the WVR

1889
Unable to sort its affairs out, the Wye Valley Railway finally collapses and a second receiver is appointed to oversee the sale of the line to the GWR.

December 1904
WVR shareholders are informed that the takeover by the GWR is imminent.

February 1902
Tintern Wireworks is dismantled and the locomotive used on the Wireworks branch is sold. Traffic on the branch is now horse-drawn.

July 1905
The sale of WVR to the GWR is completed.

1905 - 1918
Services are improved under GWR control with new services added, overdue maintenence completed and most of all, new halts added. The tourist potential of Tintern Abbey is capitalised on with a "Harvest Moon Special" being run.

January 1917
The Coleford branch, having failed to live up to expectations, is closed. The line from Wyesham Junction to Whitecliff Quarry is lifted, and the remainder is worked by the Severn & Wye for the remainder of its life. This is the first of the lines from Monmouth to close, after only 45 years of service.  Control of the remainder of the line from Whitecliffe to Coleford now comes under the Severn & Wye Railway.

1918-1958
The rise of motor transport heralds a decline in the use of the line, despite the best efforts of the GWR to stem the tide. Traffic on the Wireworks Branch finally ceases in 1935 as maintenence is no longer remotely economical (The hot summer of that year buckles the line on the branch), and the branch is removed by 1941.

4th January 1959
The last passenger service along the line is run. The Ross and Monmouth line also loses passenger services at the same time, leaving Monmouth with no rail passenger services anywhere (services to Pontypool having finished in May 1955).

January 1964
The line is completely closed from Monmouth to Tintern Quarry and this section of the line is lifted shortly afterwards. Trains for the quarries would continue to use the line until 1992.

2019
Dismantling of the remaining track begins with a view to building a cycleway on the trackbed.   The Dean Forest Railway takes custody of the removed track.
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