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Miscellaneous

LMS Route: The Shakespeare Route

Warwickshire's Industrial Railways

Ettington Limestone Company

Very little information exists on the Ettington Limestone Company. According to John Jennings, historian of the SMJ Association, it was trading between 1905 and 1916 with records showing that it generated 'useful revenues' for the East & West Junction Railway'. The four photographs seen below would appear to have been taken at the same time and relatively early in the existence of the company. They show that the exchange facilities, where the limestone was loaded into standard gauge wagons from narrow gauge side-tipping trucks, was sited at the eastern end of Goldicote Cutting approximately three-quarters of a mile from Ettington station. The quarry and limestone works were situated on the north side of the East & West Junction Railway's single line track. It is the writer's belief that the quarry was not a large enterprise being limited to the extraction of limestone on one side of the cutting. It has been implied that the quarry extended into surrounding fields and subsequently backfilled to the original agricultural profile. This is very unlikely as the cost of agricultural land is not only much cheaper than the cost of such an operation but mainly because the volume of material needed would have been enormous and unlikely to have been available locally. Examination of the photograph showing the buildings indicates that at the time they were taken the excavation adjacent to the cutting ceased immediately behind the two buildings whereas inspection of a satellite image taken in 2014 show the excavation of the quarry now continues for some distance beyond. Perhaps the clue to how extensive the quarry was lies in the quarry's alternative name - Goldicote Quarry.

The facilities comprised an unloading dock at the eastern end of the cutting where the connection between the E&WJR and the sidings was provided. The sidings to the quarry consisted of a single line running more or less parallel with the E&WJR's line towards Clifford Chambers with two short sidings running in the opposite direction, both fitted with buffer stops, and located in a field behind a gated entrance. The crushing plant was located approximately half way along the cutting as it exists today. Goldicote cutting was sixty feet deep and presumably it was when it was being excavated that the limestone was first exposed and also provided the means to extract it commercially. Mike Christensen in his booklet Signalling of the SMJ states that the siding was closed after the newly formed SMJ withdrew the preferential rate which the quarry owners had previously enjoyed. John Jennings states that 'the LMS had removed the connection by 1928 in their general tidy up of the line in the late 1920s'. It's interesting to note that on all photographs there is no evidence of branding, either as the Ettington Limestone Company or as the Goldicote Quarry.

It's believed that the quarry was worked by horse rather than steam traction, not only because the quarry was small and its output very low, but as the photographs show the narrow gauge track around the buildings would not have carried the weight of the locomotive. A reference in Arthur Jordan's book on the SMJ supports this view as he describes that 'in 1910 a horse wandering on the line through an open gate caused the derailment of a cattle truck' the damage costing £70. The use of a horse would also provide the necessary motive power for both narrow and standard gauge traffic. The siding running adjacent to the E&WR's single line appears to be laid with light weight short section flat bottom rail which are fixed by spikes to unballasted timber sleepers. The two short sidings located at a 90º angle to the E&WJR line behind the gated entrance appear to be at a higher level than the siding running adjacent to the E&WJR's single line. It would therefore be possible for empty standard gauge wagons to be stored on the two short sidings (wheels suitably chocked) and when required, released to run under gravity into the exchange landing dock. John Jennings also notes that 'there were special arrangements for collecting loaded trains from the sidings so as to eliminate the risk of run away unbraked trucks down the nearby Godicote cutting'.

View of the exchange facilities between the limeworks and the E&WJR located at the east end of Goldicote cutting
Ref: smjel100
G Freeston
View of the exchange facilities between the limeworks and the E&WJR located at the east end of Goldicote cutting
Close up showing four of the side-tipping wagons standing on the loading bank siding in Goldicote Cutting
Ref: smjc100a
G Freeston
Close up showing four of the side-tipping wagons standing on the loading bank siding in Goldicote Cutting
Close up showing the gated entrance protecting the two short sidings, both of which are fitted with buffer stops
Ref: smjc100b
G Freeston
Close up showing the gated entrance protecting the two short sidings, both of which are fitted with buffer stops
Looking along the E&WJR's line to Ettington station with the limestone exchange facilities in the distance
Ref: smjel189
G Freeston
Looking along the E&WJR's line to Ettington station with the limestone exchange facilities in the distance
Close up of the limeworks' exchange facilities and the undulating unballasted trackwork of the siding
Ref: smjel189a
G Freeston
Close up of the quarry's exchange facilities and the undulating unballasted trackwork of the siding

Men from the crushing plant pose with their bicycles with the E&WJR main line in the foreground
Ref: smjel192
G Freeston
Men from the crushing plant pose with their bicycles with the E&WJR main line in the foreground
Close up of some of the narrow gauge side tipping wagons as some of the workmen prepare to go home
Ref: smjel192a
G Freeston
Close up of some of the narrow gauge side tipping wagons as some of the workmen prepare to go home
G Freeston<BR>The brick built crushing plant and the narrow gauge tramway provided to move the limestone
Ref: smjel99
G Freeston
The brick built crushing plant and the narrow gauge tramway provided to move the limestone
Close up showing the three side tipping narrow gauge trucks and the narrow gauge flat wagon
Ref: smjel99a
G Freeston
Close up showing the three side tipping narrow gauge trucks and the narrow gauge flat wagon