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Author Topic: RAF Chilmark  (Read 607 times)
grahame
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« on: May 17, 2020, 07:50:36 am »

As I am sure you are aware, not the only hole in the ground in Wiltshire. Not sure when the tracks were lifted at Chilmark which was mainly used by the RAF (11MU). Chilmark was partly a replacement for RAF Fauld (21 MU) after the massive explosion in 1944. The quarries at Corsham are probably the best known, used by the army as a central ammunition depot, although also used by the other services. Not sure when the connection to the Great Western main line was lifted. Various surface sites still in use.

I went off on a tangent ... posting here out of tangential interest:



from Andy Gryce / Railway line, Chilmark Quarries / CC BY-SA 2.0 2007
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Railway_line,_Chilmark_Quarries_-_geograph.org.uk_-_906101.jpg

Quote
This was a two-foot narrow gauge railway line that runs between the limestone quarries on either side of the unclassified road that runs between Chilmark and Ham Cross. The back of a 'railway crossing' warning sign can be seen on the other side of the road. The line is disused as can be seen from the way it disappears into the bushes, and is part of the narrow gauge railway of RAF Chilmark, see 905805. On this section bombs were carried for storage into the underground mines of the quarry behind the camera, see 906068.

Railway line, Chilmark Quarries. This is a two-foot narrow gauge railway line that runs between the limestone quarries on either side of the unclassified road that runs between Chilmark and Ham Cross. The back of a 'railway crossing' warning sign can be seen on the other side of the road. The line is disused as can be seen from the way it disappears into the bushes, and is part of the narrow gauge railway of RAF Chilmark, see 905805. On this section bombs were carried for storage into the underground mines of the quarry behind the camera, see 906068.

https://www.wiltshire-opc.org.uk/Items/Chilmark/Chilmark%20-%20Little%20Trains%20of%20RAF%20Chilmark.pdf
Written in 2013, transcript of a 1976 article but with updates to tell us that RAF Chilmark closed in 1995

Quote
For nearly forty years what must be one of the most efficient train services in the country has been operating in South Wiltshire. However, these trains carry no passengers and would-be visitors are discouraged by a high wire fence

Chilmark is a little village in the Vale of Wardour a few miles to the west of Salisbury. Nestling against the nearby Grovely Ridge, and set in a landscape that appears to come straight from a Constable painting, lies a Royal Air Force storage depot that takes its name from the village.

In 1937 it was decided to utilise the old disused limestone quarries – whence, in the dim and distant past, came the stone to build Salisbury Cathedral – for RAF equipment and materials. The location of the caves among woods and hills made them ideal for the purpose, especially as they were deep underground yet were accessible from the valley floor.

The surrounding countryside, wooded and hilly, inaccessible except on foot and well off the beaten track, provided further space for expansion of the unit. There are several separate sites so it was decided to connect them with a narrow-gauge railway which could be constructed and operated in the area efficiently and cheaply. It was then that the Chilmark-Ham Cross-Dinton system came into being.

A spur of standard-gauge track was laid from the nearby London-Exeter main line at Dinton into Ham Cross and along this the stores are brought, in both military and BR wagons, to the large sheds where they are transferred to narrow-gauge wagons for transporting to all corners of the 350 acre site. Altogether there are 21⁄2 miles of standard-gauge and more than 9 miles of 2ft-gauge tracks serving the three main sites.

https://www.theurbanexplorer.co.uk/raf-chilmark-underground-ammunition-bunker-wiltshire/
"Copyright 2020" but comments date back to January 2014
Lots of interesting pictures / strong copyright statement so please follow the link - not quoting here

From 2011: https://concreteanorak.weebly.com/raf-chilmark.html

Quote
RAF Chilmark is a huge site with 3 underground quarries, surface bunkers and its own railway line. The quarries were originally dug do extract the limestone rock. In 1935 the quarries closed due to lack of demand for limestone and in 1936 the site was taken over by the MOD for RAF Chilmark.

Chilmark was an ammunitions storage depot for the RAF and closed in 1994.

Trains or trucks could enter the site at the southerly end and unload into huge train sheds with loading platforms that moved the ammunition and bombs onto Chilmark's narrow gauge railway.

The narrow gauge railway ran the entire length of the site and entered the quarries to unload the bombs.

Found at https://1991-new-world-order.fandom.com/wiki/RAF_Chilmark_and_Chilmark_village?file=Chilmark_Military_Railway_-_Telerail

https://youtu.be/VZu1lVZzES4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uh5gInToLlk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92FzA-aTVLU

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/4227500/incredible-photos-show-abandoned-nuclear-bunker-turned-into-a-2million-a-year-weed-farm-as-three-men-are-jailed/

Quote
THREE crooks who ran a multi-million pound cannabis factory in an abandoned Cold War nuclear bunker were today caged for a combined total of 18 years.

The Wiltshire factory - found during a midnight police raid in the former government property following a month of covert surveillance - was set to flood the streets with £2million worth of the drug each year.

To conclude ... some more interesting pictures at:
https://www.28dayslater.co.uk/threads/raf-chilmark-wiltshire-october-2010.54473/
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CyclingSid
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« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2020, 04:07:35 pm »

Steve Gibson's book http://bookshop.nationalarchives.gov.uk/9780750987721/Brixmis/ tells how he was caught in Chilmark when he was doing his Brixmis training. The MoD Police took it very seriously.

I believe that the transfer sheds were later used for some sort of security training; MoD and post-MoD.
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Oxonhutch
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« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2020, 01:12:43 pm »

Lesser known tramways of Wiltshire.

Certainly a new on on me!
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« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2020, 06:56:26 am »

Tim Darch has photos of another Wiltshire "railway", the Shrewton Folly Anti-Tank Range Target Railway
https://www.darch.org.uk/
All photographs are copyrighted
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Marlburian
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« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2020, 04:12:12 pm »

Great link, Sid, thanks. Some good browsing there. I was on the Marlborough Downs yesterday, bringing back lots of memories dating back 60 years. I wondered how many other parts of my beloved Wiltshire I would be able to re-visit in the "New Normal".

More here about the Shrewton Folly Anti-tank range railway

We're overlapping a bit with the Fovant Military Railway thread, but I imagine that the "usual suspects" are visiting both.

Note (post 12) the photo of the tramway that carried shells across the Larkhill Military Railway to Hamilton Battery.

(Guess who "Moonraker" is?
« Last Edit: May 21, 2020, 04:22:16 pm by Marlburian » Logged
CyclingSid
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« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2020, 08:23:33 pm »

The following maps are in the NationalLibrary of Scotland archive for the area of Shrewton Folly Anti-Tank Range Target Railway


Wiltshire XLVII.SW (includes: Enford; Netheravon; Orcheston; Shrewton; Upavon.)
Revised: 1922
Published: 1926
   https://maps.nls.uk/view/101463446

   Only disused Butts shown

41/04 - A (includes: Chitterne; Orcheston; Shrewton; Tilshead; Winterbourne Stoke)
Surveyed / Revised: No dates on map; Published: ca. 1948
   https://maps.nls.uk/view/207353333

   V-shaped railway


SU04
Publication date: 1958
   https://maps.nls.uk/view/95749812

   As shown on Darch

SU04 - C (includes: Chitterne; Orcheston; Shrewton; Tilshead; Winterbourne Stoke)
Surveyed / Revised: 1922 to 1957; Published: 1958
   https://maps.nls.uk/view/207353336

   As shown on Darch

SU04NE - A (includes: Charlton; Enford; Market Lavington; Netheravon; Orcheston; Rushall; Shrewton; Tilshead; Upavon)
Surveyed / Revised: 1930 to 1960
Published: 1961
   https://maps.nls.uk/view/189243249

   As shown on Darch

I will check elsewhere to see if there is an Mil Survey stuff.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2020, 08:52:12 pm by CyclingSid » Logged
CyclingSid
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« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2020, 08:48:09 am »

From the list of Designated Items, mention elsewhere
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599 NO 2 ft-gauge ‘Royal’ Coach, Eastriggs − used by Prince William of Gloucester; b. 1973 for RAF Chilmark 2007/02 National Railway Museum 22/06/2007 Disposa
Lots of other intriguing items in the list.
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