Dudbridge to Stroud Cycle Track and Gas Works

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Between Dudbridge and Stroud is a short mixed use path (walking and cycling).

This runs on what was once the old railway line that linked Stroud and the GWR to the LMS line that went to Nailsworth.

What’s of interest on this section are a number of big metal drums about half way along it with a large circular stone structure on the ground.

Old capstan on the Didbridge to Stroud railway line

This dates back to the days of the gas works in the 1930s that were just off Chestnut Lane. The gas works were supplied with coal that was delivered by the railway.

Back in the days before north sea gas, gas was produced from coal. If you heated coal in a sealed vessel it gave off gas so the coal was used for two purposes, to fuel a fire that heated the coal and the coal that the gas was extracted from.

I’m assuming that coal for both processes were delivered to the gas station via the railway.

Stroud gas works siding capstan on its side

The metal drums along the side of the cycle path are capstans and were in what was known as ‘The Gas Works Sidings’. Trucks of coal were pulled along the sidings by ropes or chains that were wrapped around the capstans that had an electric motor in them.

The above photo shows one of the capstans on its side and attached to a huge chunk of concrete along with the power cable entering the base of it (to the left).

Stroud gas works siding capstan

Trucks of coal were pulled onto what was then a turntable, the remains of which are in the photo below.

Old turntable on the Dudbridge to Stroud railway line

The aerial photo of the gas works shows the turntable by the yellow arrow.

Stroud gas works from the air

The turntable turned individual coal trucks through 90 degrees. There was then a short section of track that went from the turntable out across the steep slope to an end stop with a chute.

The photo below is what’s left of the concrete structure at the bottom of the chute. Higher up the bank is the old turntable.

Remains of the Stroud gas works railway coal delivery system

A ram than lifted one end of the truck up into the air thus allowing the coal to slide out the other end into the chute. The coal passed down the chute and into a 2ft narrow gauge railway shown below that took the coal to the gas works.

Chestnut Lane gas works narrow gauge railway for coal delivery

The tracks for the narrow gauge railway can be seen in the aerial photo although there is no sign of them now.

I have made a short explainer video that takes a look around the site.

The black and white photos are taken from an out of print book called The Nailsworth and Stroud Branch which is sometimes available on eBay and Amazon.

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Stroud to Nailsworth Cycle Track