Part of cast iron plate rail found on the Laigh Milton Viaduct over the River Irvine on the former Kilmarnock & Troon Railway during its restoration in 1995 – 1996. The section is 18 in long being cut to half of its original length.
This viaduct on the Kilmarnock & Troon Railway, believed to be the world’s oldest viaduct on a public railway, was the work of leading civil engineer William Jessop. The double-track, horse-operated railway was opened in 1812, mainly for the export of coal, although it soon carried passengers. In 1816 it was the first railway in Scotland to operate with a Stephenson steam locomotive; nine years before the Stockton & Darlington.
Numerous significant railway relics were found during the restoration and this is just one of a number of them donated to ICE Scotland Museum.
For a detailed description of the conservation works click here.
Professor Roland Paxton wrote a paper for the Journal Historical Studies in Civil Engineering of the Japan Society of Civil Engineers. To read the paper click here.
For a general description and images of early cast iron plate railways see https://tringlocalhistory.org.uk/Railway/c03_track.htm.
For a film of the restoration works click here.
For an article on the history of the Kilmarnock & Troon Railway written by John Yellowlees in the Scotsman newspaper (dated 25 August 2022) click here.