The Coleford Railway, also known as the Coleford Branch, was a short-lived 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge railway line which ran for approximately 5 miles (8.0 km) between Monmouth and Coleford. It was constructed in the 1880s, opened on 1 September 1883 and closed on 1 January 1917. It remained an independent company for about a year until the Great Western Railway took control of the railway in 1884.
The Coleford, Monmouth, Usk & Pontypool Railway (CMU&PR) was the first company to plan a standard-gauge railway between Coleford and Monmouth, intending to construct the railway mainly over the route of the Monmouth Tramroad. However, the CMU&PR became bankrupt after the construction of the line between Monmouth and Pontypool. Although they had built a large viaduct across the River Wye in an attempt to reach Coleford, plans to extend the line to Coleford were abandoned when the Great Western Railway purchased the line. It was later in 1883 that the Coleford Railway Co. finished construction of the branch line to Coleford.
The line became the fourth and final branch line to reach Monmouth Troy Station when it was opened on 1 September 1883. The railway followed the route of the Monmouth Tramroad for nearly all of its route, only making occasional deviations to straighten out sharp curves. The railway included four tunnels over its 5-mile route. There was only one stop between Wyesham Junction (where the line met the Wye Valley Railway and continued on to Monmouth Troy Station) and Coleford; this was Newland Station. At Monmouth passengers could change for the Coleford, Monmouth, Usk & Pontypool Railway, Ross and Monmouth Railway as well as the Wye Valley Railway. The Coleford Branch never fulfilled the hopes expected of it and it closed between Wyesham Junction and Whitecliff Quarry on New Year's Day 1917.
There were several suggestions of opening the whole branch up under the control of the nearby Severn & Wye Railway; the railway which took over the stretch to Whitecliff Quarry. However, the line was never fully re-opened because of the cost of maintenance.
The Severn and Wye Railway
Coleford railway station was one of two stations in the town. The other was served by the Severn and Wye Railway which remained open for freight until the 1960s, though passenger services were withdrawn earlier.
The signal box and goods shed at the other Coleford station (operated by the S&WJR) has been converted into a museum dedicated to the railways of the Forest of Dean and the Great Western Railway. (See Coleford Great Western Railway Museum)