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terryb

target railways at ash &stoney castle ranges

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looking on google earth, you can still see the course of the two tracks on stoney castle field firing range-but the range looks abandoned now with the range wardens huts long gone

weirdly-between ash and henley park ranges there are numerous light coloured 'squigles' in the ground visible-any idea what these are?

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By the squiggles do you mean these:

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/51°16'04.7"N+0°41'14.4"W/@51.267977,-0.6887742,461m/data=!3m2!1e3!4b1!4m6!3m5!1s0x0:0x0!7e2!8m2!3d51.2679768!4d-0.6873375

Make sure you are in satellite view to see the shapes.

If the ranges are open I will take a ride over there and find out, but I suspect they are scrapes put there by the wildlife people. They strip off what little topsoil there is and it provides a window of opportunity for species that like that environment.

Edited by SimonBrown

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I really have no idea how I managed to create duplicate entries?

I will put the keyboard down and check out those shapes.

Edited by SimonBrown

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Well I took a ride out...went looking for the which house complete with its diesel engine and managed to get hopelessly lost and in a bog...I did cross the bed of where the railway once ran but except for an earth bank there was not much to see. Worth a look along the entire length perhaps to see if there are any remains?

Short story: did not find the squiggles, knew I was faced with 18kms of headwind on the return so bailed the search. 

At some point I will go back and have another look, as well as get a few images of the diesel engine that sits in the winch house. It might make a lovely 3D model.

Edited by SimonBrown

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sad how the mod eradicates history so quickly.

Stoney Castle field firing range was in use frequently, and even as a cadet we used to push trolleys up and down the line. The range was awash with ordnance, 2" 3" he mortars, energa and piat rounds, 3.5" bazooka, 40 & 60mm bofors flat nosed rounds, even found some blacker bombard rounds. I recall it was quite a haven for wildlife, but it seems to have cattle grazing now, with most of the shrub and trees gone.

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Not sure if it is still in place but there was a Range Railway serving the ranges at Strensall Camp near York.

Tracks still in place about 3 years ago last time I ventured that way.

Not known if there was ever a loco but there used to be push trolleys.

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3 hours ago, terryb said:

I recall it was quite a haven for wildlife, but it seems to have cattle grazing now, with most of the shrub and trees gone.

Its a brilliant place for wildlife. The cattle help graze the heath, keep the shrubs and trees suppressed and lets the lowland heather heath exist. Shows how nature really abhors a vacuum, and I reckon those rounds you speak of are just under the soil.

There are the remains of two target trackways in the ranges. I will nip over there again and get enough images for a 3D model now I have the GPS marks.

I too would love to see any old photographs of it in action.

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thanks-nice to see it again. Interesting to note the round weights to keep tension on the two drums

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I took a cycle over the ranges today. It was great to be out there in the sunshine. I found both engine houses and managed to complete a scan of the first one before the camera batteries died:

Link to 3D model

The engine is missing some parts - most noticeable was the radiator - but otherwise in reasonable condition.

The second engine house is harder to find but is better preserved (As per ammoman's post above) and the engine still has its radiator. This one runs from SE to NW in direction. A few iPhone pictures:

SBrown-20171119-0004.jpg.8a0146e3381b7a380ac762d02bfd4426.jpgSBrown-20171119-0002.jpg.569637d3ca97b29d36eb74dcdb0a2b7d.jpg

Comms box on the wall:

SBrown-20171119-0003.jpg.0ff630f608a209895082a32523a2b3f1.jpg

Ordnance close by. Judging by the colour, an inert warhead:

SBrown-20171119-0005.jpg.fb2215da79baf9d04dfda85ef26e0742.jpg

Edited by SimonBrown

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nice pics-thank you

(the Carl Gustav round is in good considering its age-just missing the nose rod)

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just looking at the nearest firing ranges to me here in Kent on google earth, and amazed to see Lydd ranges has an extensive narrow gauge railway system!

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On ‎19‎/‎11‎/‎2017 at 7:23 PM, terryb said:

just looking at the nearest firing ranges to me here in Kent on google earth, and amazed to see Lydd ranges has an extensive narrow gauge railway system!

When I used to go down to Lydd to work on the army dozers and loading shovels, there was an active narrow gauge railway in operation, I can recollect the little diesel engines and side tilt hopper wagons. We used to work on the Wickhams target trolleys as well, these were powered by ancient JAP side valve v-twin engines of about 1300cc with a fluid flywheel.

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I have seen many Wickhams motorized trolleys but non of the winch pull ones that just had a flat bed. Didnt know that the motorized trollies had a fluid flywheel. It would be interesting if these winch engines were the same type made and used throughout the UK during the war. 

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5 hours ago, BC312 said:

Just to add were there any makes names on the machinery.

Yes there are.

The engine and winch assembly was built by ACE Machinery and the engine itself was manufactured by Lister.

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28 minutes ago, BC312 said:

I have seen many Wickhams motorized trolleys but non of the winch pull ones that just had a flat bed. Didnt know that the motorized trollies had a fluid flywheel. It would be interesting if these winch engines were the same type made and used throughout the UK during the war. 

At Lydd they also had WW2 Ford V8 balloon winches for pulling target trolleys across some ranges, they were still used through the 80's as I recall.

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5 hours ago, BC312 said:

I have seen many Wickhams motorized trolleys but non of the winch pull ones that just had a flat bed. Didnt know that the motorized trollies had a fluid flywheel. It would be interesting if these winch engines were the same type made and used throughout the UK during the war. 

Target trolley at around 3.05. Other interesting military-related motive power too.

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Nice to see these motorized trolleys,looks like a bit of fun to work on one. Still need to see a winch towed trolley with no engine. I Have a local range near me that used non motorized trolleys that relied on a winch house that operated 3 trolleys at different angles. I wonder if such trolleys drawings are in any of the archives or if Wickham made non engine trolleys.

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Going off on a slight tangent, I've heard rumor of a narrow gauge railway running east-west direction just south of the A30 between Gibraltar Barracks at Minley and Blackwater. There is supposed to be a small girder bridge out there somewhere! Not an area I'm familiar with so does anyone else know anything?

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