Skip to content

Seven heritage highlights of 2019

Our railway is rich in heritage, which we are proud to preserve for the nation. Here are seven stories we’ve shared this year:

1 – Film: Discover the Network Rail archive

A deed signed by Sir Christopher Wren, a letter from Isambard Kingdom Brunel and the earliest plans for modern rail travel.

The millions of historic and legal documents held by Network Rail are “crucial to the running of the railway”, says Kathryn Wright, a records controller at our National Record Centre in York.

Kathryn and John Page, a records assistant, are among the vital teams overseeing the vast number of items that prove our land ownership and enable projects across Britain – and they’re busier than ever…

2 – Film: The railway at war – 1914-1918

A hundred years ago a special service commemorated the railway workers who had served and lost their lives during the First World War.

The railway industry came together to mark the centenary, at a service at Southwark Cathedral in London.

Network Rail has collaborated with London Transport Museum and National Railway Museum to tell the story of the role of the railway during the conflict…

3 – Proud to support the Railway Heritage Trust

We’re proud to support The Railway Heritage Trust in its important work to restore listed buildings across the railway for practical use in communities all over Britain.

Its funding and expertise make significant contributions to the railway, from the maintenance and restoration of water fountains and bicycle shelters to full refurbishments of some of our best-loved stations.

It’s just had its busiest year since its 1985 inception…

A blue plaque unveiled at the restored Wemyss Bay station in Scotland

4 – Film: Ribblehead Viaduct

At the heart of the Settle-Carlisle line – one of the world’s most beautiful railway routes – lies an incredible feat of Victorian infrastructure.

The Settle Carlisle Railway Development Company, which promotes this scenic part of the railway, says the viaduct and the nearby railway station “probably represent the very heart of the Settle-Carlisle line”.

Watch this film for stunning shots of one of our best-loved rail bridges, also known as Batty Moss Viaduct…

5 – Film: The Magic of the Glenfinnan Viaduct

“Harry peered out of the window… He could see mountains and forests under a deep purple sky…” JK Rowling

The Glenfinnan Viaduct – one of the world’s most famous pieces of railway infrastructure and the longest mass concrete rail bridge in Scotland – captured the imaginations of a new generation when it appeared in the Harry Potter films.

Watch this film to see the famous Jacobite Steam Train crossing the viaduct…

6 – Folkestone Warren: The Great Fall to SSSI

Between Folkestone and Dover lies an extraordinary stretch of railway.

It’s one of our main routes from Folkestone to London and runs on an active landslip – on a bed of chalk and gault clay.

Folkestone Warren is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and in Europe is comparable with just one other place, in Italy, says Derek Butcher, route asset manager, geotechnics, drainage and off track on our South East route.

A hundred years ago, the railway here reopened after the worst landslip in the Warren’s history.

Watch this new film to see incredible historic images in 3D and find out more…

7 – WWII-damaged signal box celebrates 120 years

A doodlebug, a blast-injured signaller and one of the longest frames on the South Eastern railway – Maidstone West signal box has had an extraordinary history.

The Grade II listed box turned 120 years old on June 4 but remains fully operational. In fact, it’s one of the last remaining examples of the original signal box design by Evans O’Donnell &Co.

Look inside Maidstone West signal box…

Together we can end domestic abuse