Oxfordshire Ironstone Railway

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Oxfordshire Ironstone Railway
( Leamington Spa – Banbury )
Banbury on the Cherwell Valley Line
Alcan Factory depot (lifted in the late 1950s)
Alcan Factory sidings (lifted in the early 1950s)
A423 road bridge (demolished 1967)
Bridge over a local brook replaced in 2007 by a short culvert pipe.
Hardwick signal box (closed and demolishedsince 1967)
Hardwick loco sidings (lifted in 1964)
WW2 pill box, demolished by 2000
Pin Hill workers' halt (demolished 1967)
Pin Hill maintenance depot (demolished 1967)
Pin Hill farm grading plant (demolished 1967)
B4100 road bridge
Drayton tool shed/privvy (closed since 1967)
Drayton P-hut/signal box (closed since 1967)
Drayton village crossing. (Line lifted in 1967)
Bridge over the Stor Brook replaced in 1967 by a short culvert pipe.
Moor Mill hill crossing. (Line lifted in 1967)
The Bridge over the road in to Horley. (Demolished in 1968)
Horley signal box (demolished 1967)
Horley village crossing. (Line lifted in 1967)
Horley tool shed/p-hut (closed since 1967)
Wroxton village crossing. (Line lifted in 1967)
Wroxton worker's halt. (demolished 2006)
Wroxton Central Ironstone Quarry. (closed and filled in 1967)
A422 road.
Water tower. (demolished circa 2004-2005)
Ragnel sidings (built by 1945, closed and lifted in 1952)
The 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)
Balscote Quarry (Built by 1956, closed and filled in 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.

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,[1] was closed in 1967[2] and the line was 'lifted', that is the line was closed and removed, between 1967 and 1968. The quarry was heavily worked in the Second World War. A newer quarry close by is now served by road haulage only. The line was extended to the Balscote Quarry which was worked between 1956 and its closure in 1967.[3]

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.[4] They also purchased two diesel Rolls Royce Sentinel units in the 1960s.[5]

The mine buildings and workers' halt are now a small set of new light industrial buildings, built circa 2006. 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.

Many heavy clay and Ironstone deposits surround Banbury and Wroxton.[6][7]

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.[8]

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.[9]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]


The Ironstone Quarries of the Midlands Part II, The Oxfordshire Field. 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