Old Fordell Railway
Start location: Fife Circle Line, 0.3km east of Dalgety Bay Station (NT 152 841)
End location: A909, opposite entrance to windfarm (NT 170 907)
Geographical area: Fife
Path Type: Railway Track
Path distance: 8.6km
Accessibility info: Suitable for pedestrians
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This old waggonway is unfortunately quite difficult to access in some places as fences and an open cast coal mine obstructs it, but diversions can be found. Our surveyor's suggested route follows.
For practical reasons, the start is at NT170841, a point which can be reached by walking generally south from Cowdenbeath Rail Station along the A909 although the busy road and road junctions mean much care is needed. Follow the path through Moss Morran (occassional flooding in wood at NT166904 with dangerous slippy wooden boards, also at NT167898). At NT160895 is the site of the former Wellington Pit, although nothing is to be seen today. The line of waggonway crossed the field south of here, but instead continue west along the track to NT158894 where a signpost indicates the way south along a field boundary and dog-legs east to the side of a wood and reaches the B925. Here cross the road and follow path to Fordell. Then walk south on unclassified road for a short distance past houses. Access to the path is at the standing stone on the left hand side. Continue on the path through NT155878 and NT154876. This paved section probably follows line of railway. At NT152871, there is a problem with a new Muirdean open cast mine and the path is now lost. A detour for walkers is available to the west. Return to the line of the path and from NT149865 to NT150858 is a section of what seems to be a cutting of the railway line. Continue past Vantage House and take the path on the right hand side to see the bridge across the railway at NT151852. It should be possible to continue south from here along the line of the old railway to meet the Fife Circle Line which passes over the older line. Turn west here to access a bridge over the railway and reach the A921 just east of Dalgety Bay station.
OS Landranger 65 (Falkirk & Linlithgow, Dunfermline)
This route was originally a Waggonway coming from the Cowdenbeath and Crossgates area to St David's Harbour in Inverkeithing Bay. It was used to export coal and minerals from the area's mines for shipping from Inverkeithing. The Fordell Railway was still in use in 1939.
Interestingly there was an explosion along its route in the late 19th century where the boiler of the steam locomotive Alice exploded. The Industrial Railway Record carries a good account of this incident.
A waggonway can be differentiated from a railway line as waggonways predate them and usually had wooden rails along which carts would be pulled by horses.
There is a very well preserved section of cutting not far north of Dalgety Bay.