Malleable iron spike used to secure the ends of adjoining iron plate rails

SKU: 1997/011 Categories: ,


Malleable iron spike to secure the ends of adjoining iron plate rails on the Laigh Milton Viaduct on the Kilmarnock & Troon Railway. The nail has a square chamfered head which was hammered through a pre-formed chamfered notch in adjoining castings into an oak plug located beneath within a 2 in (51 mm) diameter hole in the centre of a stone block. Each block measured about a foot (0.3 m) square and 9 in (0.23 m) deep. See image for position of nail – centre left and bottom left.

This object was found during the Laigh Milton Viaduct Conservation Project (1995-1996). The viaduct, believed to be the world’s oldest 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.

For further information on the viaduct see http://www.engineering-timelines.com/scripts/engineeringItem.asp?id=1243.

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.


Additional information

Acquisition Number


Item Type

Short Description

Wrought iron spike

Manufactured by

Date of Manufacture




Supporting Items


Makers Number




Dimensions (mm)

Shaft: 126 (L) x 12 x 6; Head: 32 x 23


Date Donated

December 1977


Wrought iron


Poor to fair (rust damage)

Display Location