Railway land plans: Introduction and index

What are railway land plans and why were they created?

The railway land plans referenced as part of the SCRCA Project were initially created during the 19th century as part of the standard parliamentary and legal processes associated with the promotion and construction of a new railway line. One set of land plans was produced for each proposed railway and the plans were typically drawn at a scale of two chains to one inch. These plans accurately defined the route of the proposed line and clearly identified the owners of all land and property that would be directly affected by the line's construction. Each set of land plans would typically be cross-referenced to a schedule listing all the land and property that would be subject to compulsory purchase as part of the relevant Railway Act. If Parliamentary approval was granted for a given railway, the land plans produced at the Parliamentary stage would typically form the basis for all subsequent construction plans (to assist with the management of the construction project) and all subsequent operational plans (to assist with the maintenance and general management of the finished railway).

What information is depicted on these land plans?

A full list of the railway-related structure-types being recorded as part of the SCRCA Project (with associated definitions) is available on the Location Types page and a full list of the associated structures is available via the Gazetteer.

The land plans obtained as reference documents for the SCRCA Project cover the full length of the railway line between Hellifield Junction and Petteril Bridge Junction (near Carlisle), including the Hawes Branch. They depict the following features associated with (or located immediately adjacent to) the railway:

  • water courses,
  • field boundaries,
  • roads and paths
  • the layout of railway tracks (including sidings and junctions),
  • key railway-related structures (including embankments, cuttings, bridges, level crossings, platforms, station buildings, signal boxes, platelayers' huts, fog huts, workers' housing, signals, mileposts, gradient posts, etc.) and
  • other adjacent (non-railway) buildings.

Are these land plans available to the general public?

Due to copyright and privacy restrictions, some of the land plans referenced as part of the SCRCA Project cannot be made available for public viewing. However, two of the sets have been made available via this website courtesy of the Midland Railway Study Centre (see acknowledgements below).

    Set 1: Settle-Carlisle land plans from the Roy F. Burrows Collection [2]

    This set was originally published in 1911-1912 and it covers the main Settle and Carlisle Railway between Settle Junction and Petteril Bridge Junction. It is available in two formats, both created using high-quality photographic techniques:

    Image 1: Cover page and key for RFB30031 - Settle to Hawes Junction published in 1912.
    (To view a larger version, click / tap on the thumbnail.)

    Reference RFB30031 - Settle to Hawes Junction (published in 1912):

    Image 2: Cover page and key for RFB30032 - Hawes Junction to Culgaith published in 1911.
    (To view a larger version, click / tap on the thumbnail.)

    Reference RFB30032 - Hawes Junction to Culgaith (published in 1911):

    Image 3: Cover page and key for RFB30033 - Culgaith to Carlisle published in 1912.
    (To view a larger version, click / tap on the thumbnail.)

    Reference RFB30033 - Culgaith to Carlisle (published in 1912):

    Set 2: Hawes Branch land plans from the Midland Railway Study Centre Collection

    This set covers Hawes Junction & Garsdale Station, Hawes Station and the branch line in between. It was photographed quickly under difficult circumstances using a hand-held camera, but the results are perfectly adequate for research purposes. The individual sheets can be downloaded in jpg format from the SCRCA Project database using the links provided on all relevant location summary pages and via the links provided in the sheet index below. Please note that these land plans are licensed for personal use only and are subject to the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

    Reference 88-1997-5_1182 - The Hawes Branch (publication date unknown) [3]:

    Acknowledgements

    1. Research and text by Mark R. Harvey (© Mark R. Harvey, 2019).
    2. This set of land plans has been made available for public viewing and / or public download as a result of the generosity of Roy F. Burrows, Jeff Mander, Dave Harris, the Midland Railway Society and the Midland Railway Study Centre. The author gratefully acknowledges the contribution made by these individuals and organisations. Further information about the Roy F. Burrows Collection, the Midland Railway Society and the Midland Railway Study Centre is available at (or via links from) http://www.midlandrailwaystudycentre.org.uk/.
    3. This set of land plans has been made available for public viewing and / or public download as a result of the generosity of Dave Harris and the Midland Railway Study Centre. The author gratefully acknowledges the contribution made by both parties. Further information about the Midland Railway Study Centre is available via the link provided for #2 above.

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