Folly Point

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Stone filled gabions at Folly Point
1901 OS Map showing Folly Point and the Elan Valley Aqueduct

Folly Point is situated between Bewdley and Arley, or more specifically between Northwood Halt and Trimpley Reservoir north of milepost 139½. The area, which takes its name from the promontory on the opposite bank of the River Severn, is the narrowest part of the valley along the line, with the River Severn running close to the line and around 40 feet below it. This has made the area prone to landslips both in history and preservation.

An 1863 article describing the railway referred to a ford at Folly Point, noting that "Between Bewdley and Upper Arley the river is full of shoals and rapids. One of these — the Folly ford — must be a great obstacle to the navigation, as the river falls over a ledge of rock which runs directly across the stream, leaving one narrow passage on the west side through which the boats are steered".

Preservation

The area received attention from the Permanent Way Department in autumn 1976, including lifting, packing and slewing the track.[1]. In 1977-78 a school project saw children from Warren Farm School in Birmingham make a number of visits under SVRSevern Valley RailwaySVRA:Severn Valley Railway AssociationSVRS:Severn Valley Railway Society supervision to help clear the land and improve views around Folly Point.[2]

A major slip in 1980 required excavation of the formation to a depth of 2-3 metres stepped downwards in intervals of 1 metre, installation of new drainage, the insertion of stone filled ‘gabions’ and the lifting of the track by around 18 inches over a length of some 60 feet. Services ran only between Bridgnorth and Arley for several weeks while the work was carried out,[3][4] and the slip curtailed the Western Locomotive Association’s spring diesel weekend.[5]

Substantial re-railing was carried out at Folly Point in 1982. Folly Point has some sharp reverse curves and the 'high rail' on the outside each curve is subject to wear on its inside edge as the flanges of each wheel pass, this fault being known as 'side cutting'. On this occasion, rails in better condition recovered from flat bottomed relaying elsewhere on the line were used.[6]

In spring 1993 SVRSevern Valley RailwaySVRA:Severn Valley Railway AssociationSVRS:Severn Valley Railway Society News noted that a tightening up of workshop and inspection procedures had been introduced following an investigation by Chief Engineer Alun Rees into the causes of a derailment at Folly Point.[7]

In 2006 the area between Trimpley Waterworks and Folly Point was relaid with new concrete sleepers and flat bottomed rail.[8] The following year, Folly Point was affected by the freak storms of June 2007, and was one of the first places along the railway where remedial work began.[9] A description of the damage and photographs of the repair work in progress are included here.

Immediately south of Folly Point, the Elan Valley Aqueduct carries water from the Elan Valley across the River Severn. During construction of the aqueduct in 1899, a siding known as 'Folly Point Siding' was constructed for the contractor’s use, but removed in 1906 when the aqueduct was completed.[4] The pipes from the aqueduct that pass underneath the SVRSevern Valley RailwaySVRA:Severn Valley Railway AssociationSVRS:Severn Valley Railway Society metals were replaced in the winter of 2014-15.

See also

References

  1. SVRSevern Valley RailwaySVRA:Severn Valley Railway AssociationSVRS:Severn Valley Railway Society News 41
  2. SVRSevern Valley RailwaySVRA:Severn Valley Railway AssociationSVRS:Severn Valley Railway Society News 46-47
  3. SVRSevern Valley RailwaySVRA:Severn Valley Railway AssociationSVRS:Severn Valley Railway Society News 55-56
  4. 4.04.1 Marshall (1989) p. 95.
  5. SVRSevern Valley RailwaySVRA:Severn Valley Railway AssociationSVRS:Severn Valley Railway Society News 68
  6. SVRSevern Valley RailwaySVRA:Severn Valley Railway AssociationSVRS:Severn Valley Railway Society News 63
  7. SVRSevern Valley RailwaySVRA:Severn Valley Railway AssociationSVRS:Severn Valley Railway Society News 106
  8. SVRSevern Valley RailwaySVRA:Severn Valley Railway AssociationSVRS:Severn Valley Railway Society News 154, 156
  9. SVRSevern Valley RailwaySVRA:Severn Valley Railway AssociationSVRS:Severn Valley Railway Society News 160