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Author Topic: Upchat Road - Upnor/Chattenden  (Read 8129 times)

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Offline Dave W

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Re: Upchat Road - Upnor/Chattenden
« Reply #20 on: February 21, 2016, 20:31:35 »
@conan.......the pillbox of the same design up at Lodge Hill at the junction of two lines was where I use to play in.

We had to hide from the personnel that worked up there so we dodged about between the woods and the pillbox to get better views...lol

The pillbox down at the signal box. I don`t know if it could still be there in this photo either the pillbox is right next to the photographer or
it has been removed?

We never played around there due to people knocking around and were always up and down those steps by the high wall and up by the Tank Field picking blackberries.

There is a new house in the old Tank Field now and they must have the biggest blackberry bush in Kent !
Great Photographs Keith JG, so good to see pictures of this old railway emerging, think the first one showing the pill box at Upnor was probably taken in April 1956 as their was a visit by enthusiasts to the railway at about that time, and I am still trying to identify the locomotive in the1930 picture, the pillbox was still there in 1962 as can be seen in this photo, also their was another pillbox at Chattenden barracks station...

Offline Dave W

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Re: Upchat Road - Upnor/Chattenden
« Reply #19 on: February 21, 2016, 20:16:41 »
Many thanks for the post which is most appreciated I have been trying to piece together the history of this railway, here is my take on some of  it's early life and its conception. The Hoo  Peninsula has had a long military history being strategically placed between two major rivers, as far back as the 1850s there had been constant rumours of a French invasion, a nephew of Napoleon the former French emperor had come to power giving himself the title of Napoleon the 111 emperor of France and by 1858 invasion fears were beginning to reach a peak, at about this time Thomas Aveling acquired a premises in Rochester and also a yard on the opposite bank of the River Medway in Strood this was later to become their Invicta Works, by 1859 the Royal Commission for the defence of the United Kingdom was established and one of their recommendations was to completely update the defences around the repair and building yards at Chatham, with the building of two forts on the Thames side of the peninsula, some of the older forts having been built in the 1660s their recommendations being that the batteries were to have casements made of Iron plates with the result that many of the forts were not completed until the 1870s, delays were to arise in the supply of ordnance and the demand for new guns completely inundated the armaments industry, meanwhile Thomas Aveling had begun to manufacture his own engines, by 1862 Richard Porter had joined the company and the Aveling and Porter traction engine was born, during the 1860s they began building a series of tramway locomotives using a similar traction engine design.
At a request of the government Aveling considered the use of a traction engine for military purposes these would have to be specially deigned lightweight engines built to ensure that any pontoon bridges they crossed would not be overloaded and by 1868 they had produced the chain driven steam sapper (source Industrial Railway record No 12 December 1966) mention is made that part of the Chattenden and Upnor railway had been built to standard gauge and at least six Aveling and Porter engines of 2-2-0 design worked there and by 1870 a standard gauge railway had been constructed to link Upnor with an army camp at Chattenden but by 1872 the standard gauge trackbed had largely been converted to 1' 6" gauge by the Royal Engineers as a training line which also stretched from Upnor to Chattenden (ref narrow gauge museum trust Tywyn) Industrial railway record December 1966 mentions 1873 as the date a 1' 6" gauge Manning Wardle locomotive named Burgoyne was sent to the Royal engineers at Upnor to assist in the construction of a light railway and that by 1875 some four miles of track were completed from a pontoon on the River Medway Via Tank Field to Chattenden Depot and Hoo creek, an extension to to Hoo fort was started at some point in the railways history perhaps before the conversion to narrow gauge but was never completed, in the 1880s discussions about trench railways centred around the 18inch gauge as 18inch (1' 6") gauge railways were already being used at Woolwich Arsenal and later at Chatham Dockyard although the views of some of the military were that 2' 6" gauge would have been a better standard to use, that being said during the 1914-18 war both the French and Germans were using 600mm gauge (2') behind the lines for supplies and this  gauge became the norm for war department light railways on the western front.
The construction of a new 2' 6" gauge railway the Chattenden and Upnor was commenced in 1885 by the eighth company of the Royal Engineers (ref Isle of Grain Railways Adrian Gray ) but according to (Edwin Course Railways of Southern England Independent and light) the eighth company did not arrive from Egypt until 1886 and built the line before they left for South Africa in 1889 although the first four locomotive were 1885 1891 1897 and 1897, this was probably the first railway built by the Royal Engineers in this country and was certainly the forerunner of the Longmoor Military railway....

Offline bromptonboy

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Re: Upchat Road - Upnor/Chattenden
« Reply #18 on: February 21, 2016, 17:32:10 »
Great to see so much interest in this 'forgotten' bit of heritage. The collective linked installations at Upnor, Chattenden, Lodge Hill and Tea Pot Hard were in their time one of the most important naval munition complexes in the country, but little is known about what went on. Various parts of the complex had a varied 'ownership' passing to and fro from army to navy and from navy to army - sometimes more than once. The railway appears to have originated at the time of the building of the Chattenden Magazine Establishment. The Morning Post of March 8th 1872 announced the Vote of Funds to build the magazines at 'Chattenden Roughs' as an extension of those at Upnor Castle. The newspaper also reported that a tramway was to be laid linking Upnor Castle and Chattenden and also a four-mile line form Chattenden down to Hoo Creek where a new ammunition pier was to be built. By 1873 RE's and infantrymen were working on the cuttings and tracks which were originally planned to link-up with the new forts at Grain and also to those on the Thames. The laying of the tracks ran into 1875 when a detachment of RE's under Lt Barker were employed on the task. A newspaper report of the time states that 'It is expected that more than forty miles of these railways will be constructed'. The building of the actual magazines took many years until completion in 1882 at an estimated cost of 100,000. They had a very short life under army control for by 1899 the magazine establishments at Upnor and Chattenden had been passed over to Admiralty control under which the massive extension at Lodge Hill was built. Under naval control the magazine establishments continued to expand until by 1911 3/5th's of the navy's supply of cordite was stored in the Medway magazines. It was under the navy that the extension of the railway to Teapot Hard was finally built under the authority of the 'Chattenden Naval Tramway Order, 1901.'. The naval magazine establishments at Upnor, Chattenden, Lodge Hill, Grain and Chatham Gun Wharf were all closed by 1963. The Upnor, Lodge Hill and Chattenden sites passed into army control and saw major new development to prepare them for a new use by the Royal School of Military Engineering which was to move its Combat and Field Engineering Schools there from Gordon Barracks in Gillingham.

It would appear that railway construction activity by the RE's in this area continued for some years as in Sept 1891 a serious crash occurred between an ammunition train and one carrying RE's employed on railway construction. A report in the Chatham News of 19 Sept 1891 on the accident contains the revelation that there were two gauges of track operating alongside each other - one of 2ft 6in and one of 4ft 81/2in. The report has a lot of other interesting info in it.

Offline grandarog

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Re: Upchat Road - Upnor/Chattenden
« Reply #17 on: February 21, 2016, 15:54:55 »
I think the pill box would be on the left and slightly to the rear of the Photographer.

KeithJG

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Re: Upchat Road - Upnor/Chattenden
« Reply #16 on: February 21, 2016, 15:28:32 »
@conan.......the pillbox of the same design up at Lodge Hill at the junction of two lines was where i use to play in.

We had to hide from the personnel that worked up there so we dodged about between the woods and the pillbox to get better views...lol

The pillbox down at the signal box i don`t know if it could still be there in this photo either the pillbox is right next to the photographer or
it has been removed?

We never played around there due to people knocking around and were always up and down those steps by the high wall and up by the Tank Field picking blackberries.

There is a new house in the old Tank Field now and they must have the biggest blackberry bush in Kent !

Offline Dave W

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Re: Upchat Road - Upnor/Chattenden
« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2016, 21:28:28 »
Have posted two OS maps of the Upnor area showing the railway one is dated 1897 and the other is 1933,

Offline conan

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Re: Upchat Road - Upnor/Chattenden
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2016, 20:36:02 »
KeithJG,your last photo shows a WW1 pillbox,is it still there,The DOB data base shows several in the area further north to the right of Lodge hill lane and this one by upchurh road

http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archives/view/dob/ai_full_r.cfm?refno=2692
To remain ignorant of what happened before you were born is to remain a child......Cicero

Offline grandarog

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Re: Upchat Road - Upnor/Chattenden
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2016, 15:36:02 »
Historical image from Google Earth.

KeithJG

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Re: Upchat Road - Upnor/Chattenden
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2016, 13:54:25 »
I have been looking in my collection and found this picture which is the following on opposite view to the other one on here.

You can see the higher line next to the signal box  and the camera is on the lower line which travelled around to the MOD jetty.

Where the two branches crossed the Upnor Road, one on the brow of the hill and the other 50ft away down the hill towards the village, I can remember when driving down over them the two flat sections where the track`s were.

As you can see in the pictures both lines had two level crossing gates shutting off the whole section.

I am trying to find the tracks inside the large gates to the Castle but it seems they also have been lifted.

I have a picture inside the grounds of a pathway which has blocks of stones either side which if measure 2ft 6 inches will be where the lines were originally?

Offline Dave W

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Re: Upchat Road - Upnor/Chattenden
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2016, 21:15:22 »
Have you seen this Linky?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CswOxyTTpJU

You can see the steps at 2.42 minutes and the Gates to the castle at 3.28 minutes
but this is still later on in years and there is new tarmac and no rails in concrete.
Hi Keith JG, thanks for the link very interesting looks a bit different from 1962 hope to be visiting the R.E Museum this year to try to unearth some more history of this fascinating railway, this is the signal box at Upnor and that's me in 1962...

KeithJG

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Re: Upchat Road - Upnor/Chattenden
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2016, 15:48:00 »
Have you seen this Linky?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CswOxyTTpJU

You can see the steps at 2.42 minutes and the Gates to the castle at 3.28 minutes
but this is still later on in years and there is new tarmac and no rails in concrete.

Offline Dave W

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Re: Upchat Road - Upnor/Chattenden
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2016, 21:20:41 »
Some footage from whipsnade

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQOUYbu9Has

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2r8JzhRbtw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pinYJ7OazaY
Hi Conan, thanks for the reply and the youtube. link, very interesting footage, I have been trying to trace the history of the Chattenden & Upnor railway for some time, there seems to be a very limited amount of photographs and details on this railway probably in part due to its nature, being a military railway I expect photography was not encouraged although I do know that there was a special train organised for enthusiasts in I believe April 1956 and have seen photographs from that period, my parents met on the beach at Upnor prior to the second world war and my late father joined the Royal Engineers at the outbreak although not stationed at Chattenden we lived in Gravesend at that time and during the sixties I would sometimes cycle to Upnor but it wasn't until 1962 that I managed to walk the railway which we did on several occasions but by that time it had closed, and only the track remained (wish I had known it when it was operational) here's a picture which I believe was taken in 1964 when the line was being lifted.....the first picture was taken at Chattenden Station 1964 under demolition and the second one is the name of the contractor's also 1964 I think....

Offline conan

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Offline Dave W

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Re: Upchat Road - Upnor/Chattenden
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2016, 22:04:04 »
I used to play around that area back in about 1958 and i remember the old Battery Electric Locomotives but funnily not steam!

If you look on this link http://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=undefined&lat=51.4094&lon=0.5260&layers=176 The link doesn`t display correctly so put in "Upnor" and you get it all    it shows all the railway line right down to Whitewall Creek you can scroll up the top and follow the original line.

The pictures are of the pathway or footpath just below the crossing on the Upnor road and this pathway went up some concrete steps into the very overgrown even then bushes and trees and on the left going up there was a very large building where the battery electric cars were kept overnight. There were windows and you could see the loco`s in there.

The path carried on up to Upper Upnor by the high wall it comes out at the gates to Upnor Castle. You can see a newly laid surface there but the railway lines were embedded into the concrete road where they went under the large gates.

On the link map you can see where the path and steps are supposed to be and there is a rectangular crosshatched box and that is where the large shed is or was for the electric loco`s.

Can`t tell much else about it as i was just a kid but do have good memories.

Hi Keith J G , thank you very much for your reply and the link have been looking at the maps and overlay also very interested to hear of your recollections of the railway, I have been hoping to hear from someone who might also have known this line as I am trying to trace its history, I have posted a photo taken at the Sittingbourne & Kemsley railway some time ago which I hope you may find interesting, it's an engine which originally ran on the Chattenden & Upnor Railway it was purchased second hand in 1950 for re-use on the Bowater's Sittingbourne railway, it is an 0-6-2T built in 1915 by Manning Wardle and named 'Chevalier' and now runs on a railway with the same gauge carrying passengers at Whipsnade Zoo, as far as I know by the end of the war there were only about five steam locomotives left on the Chattenden and Upnor railway out of about fifteen that had originally worked there ( I need to check this out at the RE Museum when I visit) they were gradually replaced by Diesels and electric locomotives ''Chevalier'' is the last surviving steam locomotive of this railway, in 1968 ''Chevalier'' was stripped down in the works at Kemsley for a complete overhaul the boiler tanks and cab were removed and the wheels were sent away for new tyres to be fitted, but then recalled as Bowater's decided not to proceed with the overhaul, by the end of 1968 'Chevalier' had been sold to Mr W.H. McAlpine and left Kemsley Mill in a four lorry loads of parts, it was restored to working order in 1969 and in steam and by 1970 'Chevalier ' had entered service on a new railway at Whipsnade Zoo and is still there today..

KeithJG

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Re: Upchat Road - Upnor/Chattenden
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2016, 18:34:47 »
I used to play around that area back in about 1958 and i remember the old Battery Electric Locomotives but funnily not steam!

If you look on this link http://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=undefined&lat=51.4094&lon=0.5260&layers=176 The link doesn`t display correctly so put in "Upnor" and you get it all    it shows all the railway line right down to Whitewall Creek you can scroll up the top and follow the original line.

The pictures are of the pathway or footpath just below the crossing on the Upnor road and this pathway went up some concrete steps into the very overgrown even then bushes and trees and on the left going up there was a very large building where the battery electric cars were kept overnight. There were windows and you could see the loco`s in there.

The path carried on up to Upper Upnor by the high wall it comes out at the gates to Upnor Castle. You can see a newly laid surface there but the railway lines were embedded into the concrete road where they went under the large gates.

On the link map you can see where the path and steps are supposed to be and there is a rectangular crosshatched box and that is where the large shed is or was for the electric loco`s.

Can`t tell much else about it as i was just a kid but do have good memories.

 

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