Plate Rail


Fragment of plate rail found in the vicinity of the Laigh Milton Viaduct

SKU: 2015/005.2 Categories: ,


Fragment of plate rail found in the vicinity of the Laigh Milton Viaduct during the conservation project undertaken 1995-96. The rail has flanges top and bottom the purpose of the bottom flange is unknown.

It is considered likely that this fragment was fractured in use and casually disposed of nearby before being replaced. The rail had been lying in wet conditions for c. 150 years and was rusted. The rust has been removed and the rail painted black.

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

For a general description and images of early cast iron plate railways see

For a film of the restoration works click here.

Additional information

Acquisition Number


Item Type

Short Description

Plate rail fragment

Manufactured by

Date of Manufacture

c. 1825



Supporting Items


Makers Number




Dimensions (mm)

Length: 465. Weight 6.1 kg. See image for cross-section dimensions.


Date Donated

April 2015


Cast iron


Poor (rusted)

Display Location