“Birkinshaw” railway chair in cast iron. One of three found near the Laigh Milton Viaduct (Kilmarnock & Troon Railway) during the viaduct conservation project (1995-96). The chair weighs 9.3 kg (20.4 lb).
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.
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.