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OverviewEdit

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 HistoryEdit

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, was closed in 1967 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. The line also served the Banbury Alcan works at one point. The popular footpath from Drayton to Drayton Lodge crossed the railway at Drayton Crossing.

Wroxton Central Ironstone Quarry. (Opened by in 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 Dyke Lane Bridge was built in 1940 and abandoned in 1967.

The line was extended to the Balscote Quarry which was worked between 1956 and its closure in 1967. Balscote Quarry a shorter lived warrkingit was built by 1956, but closed and filled in 1967.

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

The track works' permanent way huts (p-huts) 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's (Daimler Avenue, Devon Way and Longends Way) are also built over a large part of its route, including most of the former Pen Hill farm grading works (Longends Way). Other built over places include the proposed minor Pin Hill maintenance depot (Pin Hill Road) and major active Pen Hill maintenance depot (Beaumont Road).

There was a bit of talk about a tram way, light railway and\or bus route in the late 1970s and early 1980s due to the groath of Banbury town. It became a poular cycle way and cenic walk in the late1980s.   

Train fleetEdit

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

Local geologyEdit

Many heavy clay and ironstone deposits surround Banbury and Wroxton.

The Edge Hill Light Railway connectionEdit

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

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.

Historic imagery of the siteEdit

See alsoEdit

  1. British railways and tramways from 1945 to 1990
  2. Trains and trams

SourcesEdit

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