By Tony Beardsell and Martyn Young
This is a large area with four tramways of 2ft gauge and a main line at the top of the site. There are two tramways on embankments, one for the Savin kilns, one for main line rock transfer, a third for the Hoffmann with a parallel main line track in the cutting. The fourth tramway is the present main walkway up through the site. Unburnt rock could leave the site direct by main line trains or down tramway four to the docks. This tramway splits just north of the stable block, and feeds direct to the Middleton or Bridgeman docks on the canal.
Working west to east, the long Savin embankment produced regular pairs of 3½” spikes as recorded, and several trackbars from the brick-built WM or Tally house on the map to a point adjacent to the Hoffmann kiln, where major disturbances had occurred in the rebuild of the larger Savin kiln. The track bars prevent the track spreading out of gauge.
The rock siding embankment with the static truck to the east had only a few spikes but a 40ft length of tramway rail with loose fish plates was found in the ivy, just by a passing loop. There was a wooden shoot for rock at this point, which has now rotted away, where rock was tipped into main line trucks. In the cutting, there is evidence that main line and tramway track run parallel. The main line spikes which are 6¼” long were found in pairs in what is now a stream flowing down the track bed.
The 1902 map is not clear, but the spikes run up to the eastern side of the Tally House, so a long train could load several trucks and push them adjacent to the Tally House. There are still areas of coal at the transfer point, an interesting long rod with handle stuck in the ground, main line sleepers visible in the nettles, and a broken mainline chair was recovered from here.
Also, see report Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust (CPAT) 1209 dated May 2013. This report covers the railway siding and adjacent embankment which was constructed to carry a tramway onto the top the Hoffmann kiln for loading coal.
Below are two of the maps detailing where finds are located and what they are.
Click on the map for a larger version.