Oxfordshire Ironstone Railway

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Oxfordshire Ironstone Railway
Banbury on the Cherwell Valley Line
Left arrow Leamington SpaBanbury Right arrow
Stone terminal
Alcan Factory depot (lifted late 1950s)
Alcan Factory sidings (lifted early 1950s)
A423 road bridge (demolished 1967)
Railway bridge and footbridge after 1967 over a
local brook, replaced in 2007 by a short culvert pipe
Hardwick signal box (closed and demolished since 1967)
Hardwick loco sidings and depot (lifted 1964)
WW2 pill box, demolished by 2000
Hardwick Farm Crossing (line lifted 1967)
Pin Hill workers' halt (demolished 1967)
Pin Hill maintenance depot (demolished 1967)
Pin Hill Farm grading plant (demolished 1967)
Nethrop Fields loco sidings (lifted 1964)
B4100 road bridge
Niethrop Fields Signal Box (demolished 1967)
Drayton tool shed/privy (closed since 1967)
Drayton P-hut/signal box (closed since 1967)
Drayton Village Crossing (line lifted 1967)
The bridge over Stor Brook,
replaced in 1967 by a short culvert pipe
Farm Lane Crossing (line lifted 1967)
Woxton-Hanwell Road Crossing (line lifted 1967)
Moor Mill Hill Path Crossing (line lifted 1967)
Bridge over Horley–Wroxton road (Demolished 1968)
Horley signal box (demolished 1967)
Horley Village Crossing (line lifted 1967)
Horley tool shed/p-hut (closed since 1967)
Horley sidings (closed and lifted 1967)
Wroxton Depot (built by 1925, closed and lifted 1967)
Friars Hill Sidings(built by 1945, closed and lifted 1952)
Drift Lane Crossing\Wroxton Village Crossing (line lifted 1967)
Wroxton worker's halt (built 1919, closed 1967, demolished 2006)
Wroxton Central Ironstone Quarry
opened by 1919, closed and filled in 1967)
Ragnel sidings (built by 1945, closed and lifted 1952)
New Inn spurs and Ragnel mine workings
(built 1952 and 1947, both lifted 1967)
the Heath Farm workings and Gentra spurs
(built by 1945 and 1952, both lifted 1967)
Langley Ironstone Quarry (built by 1926, closed and filled 1943)
Dyke Lane Bridge (built 1940 and abandoned 1967)
Dyke Lane Bridge workings and siding
built ~1940–1941, closed 1949, filled in by 1967
A422 road
Water tower (built by WW2 and demolished ~2004–2005)
Balscote crossing, lifted 1967)
Balscote Quarry (built by 1956, closed and filled 1967)
Sidings (built by 1952, closed and lifted 1967)

The Oxfordshire Ironstone Railway was a standard-gauge mineral railway that served an ironstone quarry near the village of Wroxton in Oxfordshire.[1][2][3]

The line's history[edit]

It linked the quarry with the Great Western Railway about 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) to the east at a junction just north of Banbury. The OIR was opened between 1917 and 1919,[4] was closed in 1967[4] and the line was 'lifted', that is the line was formally closed and physically removed from the site, between 1967 and 1968. The quarry was heavily worked in the Second World War.[5] The line also served the Banbury Alcan works at one point.[6] The popular footpath from Drayton to Drayton Lodge crossed the railway at Drayton Crossing.[7]

Wroxton Central Ironstone Quarry was opened by 1919, closed and filled in 1967. Langley Ironstone Quarry was built near Balscot by 1926, and was closed and filled during 1943 when it ran out of ironstone.[8][9] Dyke Lane Bridge was built in 1940 and abandoned in 1967.[2][8][9]

The line was extended to the Balscote Quarry which was worked between 1956 and its closure in 1967.[10] Balscote Quarry, a shorter-lived working, was built by 1956, but closed and filled in 1967.[2][2][10]

A newer quarry close by is now served by road haulage only.

The mine buildings, manager's house and workers' halt are now a small set of new light industrial buildings, built circa 2006–2008.[4] The track works' permanent way hut (p-hut) still stood at Drayton in 2007 and Horley in 2002. A few old OIR fence posts/gates remain to this day along the route. Banbury's Ruscote and Hardwick estate are also built over a large part of its route, including most of the former Pin Hill farm grading works.

Train fleet[edit]

The OIR operated its own fleet of steam locomotives: 0-6-0T and 0-6-0ST locomotives built by Hunslet and 0-4-0ST's built by Hudswell Clarke.[11] They also purchased two diesel Rolls Royce Sentinel units in the 1960s.[12]

Local geology[edit]

Many heavy clay and Ironstone deposits surround Banbury and Wroxton.[3][13]

The Edge Hill Light Railway connection[edit]

The firm behind the Oxfordshire Ironstone Railway was one of the backers of the ill-fated 1920–1922 Edge Hill Light Railway.[14]

There was talk of reopening the by then overgrown, but workable line early in to World War II but, it was decided that the Oxfordshire Ironstone line was to be considered adequate to serve the area's requirements.[15]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]


  • The Ironstone Quarries of the Midlands Part II, The Oxfordshire Field. ISBN 1-870754-02-6.
  • Tonks, Eric (April 1988). "Wroxton Quarries". The Ironstone Quarries of the Midlands. Part II The Oxfordshire Field. Cheltenham: Runpast. p. 146. ISBN 1-870754-02-6.

Historic imagery of the site[edit]

Coordinates: 52°04′N 1°24′W / 52.067°N 1.400°W / 52.067; -1.400