Shropshire Railways History Past and present

                          Ludlow to Clee Hill

The Ludlow and Clee Hill Railway was built solely to transport minerals from quarries on Clee Hill and Titterstone Clee. The first stretch was a four and a half mile track up to Bitterley Yard which opened on 24th August 1864. Unfortunately it was another three years before the steep inclines were completed due to the sheer steepness they encountered. The gradients of the line were very tough for the trains involved and extremely testing for even the most experienced drivers. The 1 in 12 gradient from Ludlow rose to a 1 in 6 near the top and a cable line system was operated to get the engines to the quarries near the summit. The final section through Clee Hill itself was relatively flat in comparison, this connecting the incline to the crushing plant. A second line went from Bitterley Yard up Titterstone Clee; a 3ft gauge self acting rail sysyem, privately owned by the quarrying company. This particular incline closed in 1952. Minerals on the standard gauge Clee Hill incline were moved in a four wagon train plus a brake truck, travelling at a maximum speed of 6mph. If the line wasn’t already testing enough for the drivers; wet weather made the rails slippery and the maximum load of 85 tons was often reduced in order to make the journey down the incline safe. In 1893 the The Ludlow and Clee Hill Railway was taken over by The Shrewsbury and Hereford Railway. Demand for stone was still high and this continued right through the First World War. Sadly as with all lines, competition from road traffic in the 1930’s took its toll and the need for the railway to provide transport gradually decreased. The use of the line continued until the incline was finally closed on 7th November 1960. The stretch out of Ludlow survived another two years, serving as a siding for railway wagons until it also closed on the last day of December 1962. A visit today is well worth it; to see both the old workings on Titterstone and the water filled quarry on Clee Hill.
The steep incline into Clee Hill