24 March 2016

A stone railway sleeper which was part of one of the world’s first inter city train lines has been moved to a new home outside Tring museum after more than 170 years.

It was one of 160,000 tonnes of stone railway sleepers used to build the first railway line from London to Birmingham in Victorian times.

A few years after the railway line opened in 1838, engineers realised that these square stone railway sleepers were too rigid, created excessive vibration and could not cope with the heavy steam trains, so they replaced them with wooden railway sleepers – making the stones ones useless.

Many of them ended up in gardens or country estates but moving these stone railway sleepers  – which weighed the equivalent of a third of a tonne – was no mean feat, and the museum drafted in six eager RAF trainees from Halton.