oldpway.info Details of:

"David Wroe Archive".
Collected by the late David J Wroe and now privately owned.

This is an archive of papers, drawings, photos and research notes collected by the late David Wroe.
It covers all aspects of permanent way, but is particularly strong on the Southampton area, the LSWR and the Southern Railway. There is much to do with the Southampton Branch of the PWI.

opwID D_Wroe_archive
Type Archive
Status The permanent way archive of the late David Wroe is privately owned. oldpway has a set of high resolution scans made from the archive and has been given permission to put pdf versions on-line.
All this material is free of copyright, as far as is known.
Availability All of the David Wroe archive can be read on-line (and downloaded and printed) from the "Read" and "View" links given below.
David Wroe David J Wroe
Joined the Great Western Railway in 1947 as a temporary tracer in the Chief Engineer's Office, Paddington Station, London.
He subsequently worked for the Southern Region of British Railways. In 1983 he worked at the Area Civil Engineer's Office at Bournemouth Station.
He was active in the Southampton branch of the PWI, and was secretary of that branch between at least 1983 and 1992.
Description David Wroe worked for the Southern Region of British Railways in Dorset. He had a great interest in historical permanent way and he collected much information about it throughout his life. His work gave him opportunities to see many things and drawings that were normally inaccessible.
He was specially knowledgeable about the LSWR. He undertook research into some railways on the Isle of Purbeck and he wrote papers for the Southampton branch of the PWI.
After his death, his collection of permanent way material was purchased by a private collector and subsequently made available for scanning by oldpway and for on-line access here.
Books by David Wroe "The Atlantic Coast Express: The Bude Branch". Published by Kingfisher Railway Productions and by Waterfront Publications. ISBN 978-0946184439. 1st edition, 1988 and 1989. 2nd revised edition, 1995. A detailed, and well illustrated, account of the construction and operation of the London and South Western railway branch line to Bude on the north Cornish coast.
"An Illustrated History of the North Cornwall Railway: The Southern Railway Route Between Okehampton, Launceston, Wadebridge and Padstow". 1st edition, published by Irwell Press, ISBN 978-1871608632, 25 Jan 1995. 2nd revised edition, published by Irwell Press, ISBN 978-1903266892, 1 Sept 2008.

Contents of David Wroe Archive

The contents of the archive are listed under the headings "PWI Papers", "Other Papers", "Drawings", "Ellson Joint", "Photos", "Permanent Way History Notebook".

PWI Papers

DWA_Cantrell_1962, Read (0.5MB)
"Track Problems on the Southern Region of British Railways". By A H Cantrell, 5 Feb 1962.

Read to PWI London Section, 5 Feb 1962.

DWA_Turner_1975, Read (0.5MB)
"The Permanent Way Institution Past and Present". By J A R Turner, 13 March 1975.

Read to PWI South Wales Section, 13 March 1975.

DWA_SR_pway_~1984, Read (1.9MB)
"Southern Railway Permanent Way". By unknown author, undated, but probably 1984 as Arthur Maber was Chairman.

Was read to PWI Southampton Section. Refers to Arthur Maber as Chairman, to T.Page of the South Western Circle and D.Wroe for LSWR information, and to Alan Blackburn of C.C.E. Croydon for Southern Railway information.

DWA_Wroe_1988, Read (4.3MB)
"Short History of the Southampton (formerly Bishopstoke and at one time Eastleigh) Permanent Way Institution Section, 1888 - 1988". By D J Wroe, 1988.

Was read to PWI Southampton Section.

Other Papers

DWA_Middlebere_Plateway, Read (9.5MB)
"Middlebere Plateway, Dorset". Materials collected by and written by D J Wroe, 1985.

In 1984 the PWI Southampton Section explored the remains of Middlebere Plateway, on the Isle of Purbeck, Dorset. These papers describe the track of this early plateway and all that is known of it. They include drawings of the track, extracts of published information and related correspondence.

DWA_Fayles_Tramway, Read history (0.8MB), View photos (4.1MB).
"Fayle's Tramway, Dorset". Materials collected by D J Wroe.

Fayle's Tramway was on the Isle of Purbeck, close to the Middlebere Plateway.
The history file is a copy of "Clay From The Heath", which is chapter 4 of a book (unidentified) about Purbeck Island. This chapter deals with Fayle's Tramway.
The photos file is copies of pages 89 to 91 of a book (unidentified) which includes this section showing trains and stock on Fayle's Tramway.

DWA_Bude_Plateway, Read (2.9MB)
"Bude Canal Sand Plateway". A paper, including drawings, by D J Wroe, 1987.

This paper, with title "The Four-Foot Sand Plateway", documents the sand plateway on the south side of Smmerleaze Beach at Bude. It includes drawings of the plateway rails and of the design of points and crossings.

DWA_Bude_Canal_Inclines, Read (4.3MB)
"Bude Canal Inclines". Materials collected by D J Wroe, 1992 - 1995.

Bude canal had tracked inclined planes by which tub boats were moved between different levels of the canal. This is the information which David Wroe collected about these inclines. It is copied from:
Bude Canal Society, Newsletter no.12, Sept 1992: Illustration of incline.
Bude Canal Society, Newsletter no.19, Summer 1994: Robert Fulton & Hobbacott Incline.
Bude Canal Society, Newsletter no.21, Winter 1995: Hobbacott Down Inclined Plane.
Merrifield Wheel Pit.


Note: If anyone knows the whereabouts of the microfilm (presumably owned by British Railways) from which David Wroe obtained these drawings, please contact oldpway so that copies of all the microfilmed LSWR drawings can be obtained.

DWA_LSWR_switch, View (2.2MB)
"LSWR No.3 Switches". LSWR drawing, numbered (2), neg. no. 2437, March 1908.

For rails 90lbs "BS" section. Switch length 20ft, using switch rails 30ft 0in long. Stock rails 45ft 0in long. Shows general plan of switches, including switch anchors. Shows details of chairs.
David Wroe's copy is a print from microfilm. View at 400% zoom to see details.

DWA_LSWR_crossing, View (2.9MB)
"LSWR Common Crossing 1 in 10". LSWR drawing, numbered (4c), neg. no. 2474, March 1908.

For rails 90lbs "BS" section. Shows plan and elevation of acute (vee) crossing. Shows details of chairs, bolts and keys.
David Wroe's copy is a print from microfilm. View at 400% zoom to see details.

DWA_LSWR_double_slips, View (1.0MB)
"LSWR Double Slips, 1 in 7 Lead". LSWR drawing, but only partial copy, showing top left part of drawing, 1908.

This was used on the cover page of David Wroe's 1988 PWI paper on the history of the Southampton PWI Section. Although only a partial drawing, it shows many useful details of a "1 in 7 Lead" double slip. Includes partial plan of double slip with switch rails. Includes full plan, elevation and side elevation of the "SP" chair, dated 1908, which is made with one corner cut away to allow use in restricted spaces. Includes partial drawing of special switch rod for double slips.
David Wroe's copy is a print from microfilm. View at 400% zoom to see details.

Ellson Joint

DWA_Ellson_joint, Read (2.6MB)
"Ellson Rail Joint photos and correspondence". The Ellson rail joint was devised in 1939 by the Chief Engineer of the Southern Railway and was used in places on the Southern Railway. David Wroe found official Southern railway photos of the Ellson Rail Joint and provided them to people who wanted them. These are the photos and the relevant correspondence.

These are the only known photos of the Ellson Joint. The 2 fishbolt version is shown by Southern Railway Photograph 1769/42 of 29 June 1947. The "new" 4 fishbolt version is shown by Southern Railway Photograph 1910/42 of 29 June 1947. For more details and a drawing of the Ellson Joint, see page 351 and dwg 14.3 of Andrew Dow "The Railway; British Track since 1804", pub. Pen & Sword Transport, 2014.
High resolution scans of these photos are available from oldpway.


Note: High resolution scans of all these photos are available from oldpway.

DWA_misc_photos, Read (1.9MB)
"Miscellaneous photos". Photos with permanent way interest, collected by David Wroe.

The subjects are:
* Broad gauge train and track.
* LSWR Engineer's Dept loco, no.13 "Rich", circa 1880.
* Rivetting (?) machine in use on conductor rail, by Notting Hill signal box, 1910.
* Gorey station, on Island of Jersey.
* Level Crossing at St. Cross.
* Relaying Up Relief at Maidenhead East, 14 Aug 1949.
* Relaying flat bottom crossing at Waltham, 1 Mar 1953
* Furzebrook Sidings.
* 4-way turnout at Swindon; British Railways (Western Region), Chief Civil Engineer's Office Photographic Section, neg.no. C50166, 2 May 1967.

DWA_PWI_photos, Read (2.2MB)
"PWI photos". Photos relating to PWI activities, collected by David Wroe.

The subjects are:
* PWI Southampton Section members at Southampton Docks, circa 1928.
* PWI visit to Meredith memorial at Bedwas, 19 May 1953.
* PWI visit to Symonds Yat, 20 May 1953.
* PWI London Section visit to Sotteville (Rouen, France), 4 Apr 1964.
* PWI dinner at Lucerne, 13 May 1972.
* PWI visit to Dow-Mac at Tallington, 5 Jul 1978.
* PWI Southampton members helping Mid-Hants Railway volunteers at Alton, 11 May 1985.
* PWI Southampton members investigating Middlebere Plateway, 27 Apr 1985.
* PWI outing, Yarmouth, 12 Sept 1987.
* PWI Southampton members at Haven Street, Isle of Wight, 12 Sept 1987.
* PWI outing, Seaton Tramway, 4 June 1988.
* Southampton PWI's exhibition of 1838 stone blocks, at "Woking 150" exhibition, 27 & 30 May 1988.
* PWI Southampton members at South Gosforth, Tyne & Wear Metro, with tamper, 17 May 1989.
* PWI Southampton members recovering 12ft of bull-head rail at Basingstoke, 14 Feb 1991.

Permanent Way History Notebook

David Wroe created a notebook concerned with "Permanent Way History", in which he recorded all information that he found about the history of permanent way. This notebook of 100 pages contains a mixture of notes from published materials, copies of photos, details of his own research findings, correspondence, drawings etc.
Also included are David Wroe's 1947 appointment letter and Recollections of the Eastleigh District.
The notebook can be read in blocks of 10 pages. Partial lists of contents are detailed below.
Where railways are named in these contents lists, the notebook usually contains details of the permanent way used by that railway.

DWA_notes_appt, Read (1.0MB)
"David Wroe's 1947 appointment letter". From Great Western Railway, Chief Engineer's Office, Paddington Station, 25 Nov 1947.

DWA_notes_Eastleigh, Read (2.9MB)
"Recollections of the Eastleigh District". Letter dated 10 Oct 1983, from Arthur (probably Arthur Maber), concerning the Eastleigh District of the Southern Railway in the 1920s.

Includes details of the drawing office, the district boundaries, the permanent way inspectors, the gangs and lengths.

DWA_notes_front, Read (2.0MB)
"Front Cover of Permanent Way History Notebook".

DWA_notes_p00-09, Read (10.4MB)
"Permanent Way History Notebook, pages 0 to 9".

(p.0) 4ft 8.5in theory. London & Birmingham Railway.
(p.1) London & Sothampton Railway. Southampton & Dorchester Railway.
(p.2) Crewe LNWR 1848. Midland Counties Railway 1840s.
(p.3) LSWR permanent way.
(p.5) Midland Counties Railway 1840. Great Northern Railway.
(p.6 & 4) Liverpool & Manchester Railway and other constituents of LNWR.
(p.7) Chester & Holyhead Railway. Cromford & High Peak Railway.
(p.8-9) Bracket chairs and joint chairs.

DWA_notes_p10-19, Read (10.0MB)
"Permanent Way History Notebook, pages 10 to 19".

(p.10) Bracket chairs and joint chairs.
(p.11-13) LSWR and London & Southampton Railway rails.
(p.13) LSWR joint chair with fishplate.
(p.14) LBSCR joint chairs, 1840 and 1860s.
(p.15) GWR joint chairs. Adams bracket chair. LSWR bracket chair. Joint chair ~1840.
(p.16-18) Illustrations of early joints, taken from Fred Bland "A Century of Permanent Way", pub. Edgar Allen, 1925.
(p.19) GNR joggled rails at switches. Joint fishplate at Poole, up to 1860s. 1850s chair at Totton.

DWA_notes_p20-29, Read (12.4MB)
"Permanent Way History Notebook, pages 20 to 29".

(p.20) Illustrations of early joints, taken from Fred Bland "A Century of Permanent Way", pub. Edgar Allen, 1925.
(p.21) Rails & chairs, incl. Vignoles rails at Weymouth.
(p.22) Cast & fabricated crossings, incl. Bodmin & Wadebridge Railway.
(p.23) Eastleigh ~1875.
(p.24) LSWR joint chairs.
(p.25) LSWR joint plates drawing.
(p.26) Half-round early sleepers at Nine Elms.
(p.27) North Midland Railway (Derby - Leeds).
(p.28-29) Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway, joint chairs.

DWA_notes_p30-39, Read (11.8MB)
"Permanent Way History Notebook, pages 30 to 39".

(p.30) London & Greenwich Railway (& p.44).
(p.31) LSWR p.way design 1895 (from IRC).
(p.32) Stockbridge 1900, tilted sleepers every 3rd.
(p.33) Camden Town Depot switches. Parkstone 1890s gravel ballast.
(p.34) Bare sleeper every 4th.
(p.35) Long sleeper every 4th.
(p.36) Early switch (NRM collection).
(p.37) LSWR track at Holton Heath drawing.
(p.38) Crediton mixed gauges & ballast over sleepers.
(p.39) LSWR bared sleepers every 5th.

DWA_notes_p40-49, Read (11.0MB)
"Permanent Way History Notebook, pages 40 to 49".

(p.40) Waterloo 1900; with heavy over-sleeper ballasting (discontinued ~1905).
(p.41) Joseph Firbank. Lucas & Aird.
(p.42) Procedure for relaying by hand.
(p.43) LNWR p.way.
(p.44) London & Brighton Railway. London & Greenwich Railway (& p.30).
(p.45-46) "John Bull" rail drill, rail saw, & sleeper borer.
(p.46) Supported joints at Weymouth.
(p.47) Wimbledon track, ~1882 & 1921.
(p.48) Chard Joint station (later known as Chard Central), May 1872, with GWR & LSWR track, incl. baulk road. LSWR bay on left, GWR through platform on right.
(p.49) Space for mixed gauge on part of Southampton & Dorchester Railway (LSWR).

DWA_notes_p50-59, Read (12.6MB)
"Permanent Way History Notebook, pages 50 to 59".

(p.50) Portland Railway. Blackwater. Wimborne.
(p.51) Brockenhurst. Andover Junction.
(p.52) Butts Junction, Alton, long timbers. Winchester Junction, 4th sleeper baring.
(p.53) Relaying at Ewell 1930s. Southampton West 1902.
(p.54) Locke Grand Junction rails. Sleeper spacing, 1890s & 1900s.
(p.55) London & Southampton Railway 1838 chair drawing.
(p.56) Drawing of chair at Pokesdown (Bournemouth).
(p.57) Haytor Granite Tramway.
(p.58) Lee Moor Tramway.
(p.59) Short summary on London & Southampton Railway p.way, by David Wroe, for ACE News 1987. List of Grade II listed stations etc.

DWA_notes_p60-69, Read (11.2MB)
"Permanent Way History Notebook, pages 60 to 69".

(p.60-61) Bicslade Tramway, Forest of Dean.
(p.62) Birmingham & Gloucester Railway.
(p.63) Great Central Railway, 1890s construction, rail lifting by lever.
(p.64) LNWR p.way drawing (IRC Hunt 1895).
(p.65) GWR p.way drawing (IRC Hunt 1895).
(p.66-67) Paper and drawings on longitudinal track and steel sleepers, incl. GKN steel sleepers (unknown source; possibly a PWI or ICE paper).
(p.68) Notes on LSWR Engineer's Dept loco, no.13 "Rich".
(p.69) LSWR p.way drawing (IRC Hunt 1895).

DWA_notes_p70-79, Read (9.2MB)
"Permanent Way History Notebook, pages 70 to 79".

(p.70) Portsmouth and Gosport p.way peculiarities.
(p.71) LBSCR p.way drawing (IRC Hunt 1895, coloured).
(p.72) Published drawings of 8 early rail chairs, with plans and cross-sections (Unknown source; dimensioned in mm so probably a continental publication; might be an early French IRC paper. Has tee rails, vignoles rails and double-headed rails. Not from Oeynhausen & Dechen "Railways in England 1826 and 1827". Not from Whishaw "Railways of Great Britain & Ireland, 1842".)
(p.73) Notes from LMS Miscellany.
(p.74) Notes from Locomotives of the LSWR Part 1.
(p.75-76) Misc. p.way notes.
(p.77-78) Locke's rail, Grand Junction Railway, 1835.
(p.79) LSWR from Whishaw "Railways of Great Britain & Ireland, 1842"

DWA_notes_p80-89, Read (7.9MB)
"Permanent Way History Notebook, pages 80 to 89".

(p.80) Sketches of joint chairs.
(p.81) LSWR p.way drawing (IRC Hunt 1895, coloured).
(p.82) Published drawing of LSWR rail chair (Unknown source; dimensioned in mm so probably a continental publication; might be an early French IRC paper. French captions, Eclissage for Cross-section. Coussinet for Rail chair.)
(p.83) Printed page (unknown source) on first use of fishplates, on Eastern Counties Railway, and history of development of fishplates; ref. to Proc ICE vol.11 & vol.16.
(p.84) Printed page (unknown source) on keys, oak & steel.
(p.85) Part of Southamption Section PWI minutes for 19 Nov 2009, concerning earth slips in cuttings and burning of clay.
(p.86) Photo of GNR joint chair at Boston.
(p.87) Summary table of LSWR p.way design, 1842-1919.
(p.88-89) LSWR bull-head rail sections, 1890-1919.

DWA_notes_p90-99, Read (10.8MB)
"Permanent Way History Notebook, pages 90 to 99".

(p.90-94) Misc. p.way notes.
(p.95) LSWR engineering train & brake van. Faversham gunpowder train & track.
(p.96) Cosham. Netley.
(p.97) Unusual track, with turnout starting in middle of diamond crossing. Earley.
(p.98) End of broad gauge at Clapham Junction, in 1860s.
(p.99) Joseph Locke statue in Locke Park, Barnsley. Cromford & High Peak Railway stone sleepers of 1831.