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Queenborough Rolling Mill
Queenborough, Kent

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The Locos    The Wagons    The Cranes    Scenes Around the Works    Loco Shed Branch    Line to the Jetty

The Queenborough Rolling Mill was built on the site of a former cement works and its industrial railway ran to exchange sidings with the main line railway and to a jetty on the River Swale. Operations ceased in February 2013 and the physical assets were auctioned in September 2013.

Two diesel-hydraulic 0-6-0 locomotives at the works on 3rd September 2013, both originally built by Andrew Barclay of Kilmarnock for the British Forces in Germany in 1966. The blue locomotive is "873" and the red one is "871". The internal use railway wagons are ex-BR. Photograph dated 3rd September 2013.

It is known that the firm of McAlpine Ferro-Concrete Co Ltd were contracted by the Queenborough Wharf Co to build a reinforced concrete jetty on the River Swale, McAlpine having obtained a licence to use this construction technique. Details are sketchy, but it appears the jetty became operational circa 1928 and the Queenborough Wharf Company failed a few months later in 1929.
The jetty and the associated industrial railway to Queenborough Station appear to have then been used for coal traffic by Settle Speakman until the jetty was used by Shipbreakers (Queenborough).

An 0-6-0 diesel locomotive stands under one of the two travelling cranes at the jetty on 29th June 1991.
The big change was when a rolling mill was built on part of the former cement works site near Queenborough Station. The rails from recovered railway lines arrived by ship and by rail and were rolled to produce steel bar for use in reinforced concrete. The reinforcement bar was despatched by ship, rail and road. Secondhand industrial railway locomotives and wagons were used for movements between the works and the jetty. The company became Queenborough Rolling Mill.
The works was taken over by the international steel processing company ISTIL in 1999, which was purchased in 2006 by Estar. In 2010 the mill was operated under the name Invicta Merchant Bar. It is thought the railway to the jetty had ceased to be used by this time.

 An ex-BR 0-6-0 diesel-mechanical shunter hauls a former GWR chaired sleeper wagon (built by the GWR at Swindon) along the railway from the jetty towards the works in 1986.

0-6-0 diesel "Big John" was acquired secondhand from Ford at Dagenham. It was built by English Electric as their works number D1229 in 1967. Beyond is an 0-4-0 diesel mechanical locomotive acquired from the army.  Photograph dated 23rdJune 1990.
View of the works from the Rushenden Road level crossing 22nd April 2001.
 Hibbert 4-wheel diesel locomotive "Yard 9677" was acquired secondhand from the Royal Navy. The internal use wagons are ex-BR. The location is the loop on the far side of the Rushenden Road level crossing from the works, on the line leading to the jetty. Photograph dated 29th July 1991.

 An impromptu buffer stop. BR type MSV wagon B388369 was pushed beyond the remaining track and onto the ballast of the removed south curve of a triangle within the works. The wagon is thought to have been destined for Lacmots Ltd, who cut up locomotives and wagons by the jetty on the River Swale. This wagon carried a plate showing it was built by BR at Derby in 1958. The markings show it was most recently used as part of pool 7631, which was stone traffic out of the Foster Yeoman quarry at Merehead in Somerset. Photograph dated 29th June 1991. 

A rail-mounted crane built by Booth in 1964 as their works number 5990. Photograph 3rd September 2013.
Diesel-hydraulic 0-4-0 locomotive 872 was built in 1966 for BAOR in Germany. Photograph 3rd September 2013.

 End of the line. The remains of the railway to the jetty, looking away from the works and towards the jetty. In the distance on the horizon are the dockside cranes at Grain, on the far side of the River Swale. Photograph dated 3rd September 2013.


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©  Greg Martin 2020