Chasewater Railway Museum
A New Local Boundary Marker
A recent purchase for the collection – a Cannock & Rugeley Colliery Boundary Marker.
Other boundary markers in the collection are shown below.
In their heyday, the railways were the biggest landowners in Britain after the Church, and it was inevitable that boundary disputes sometimes arose. It was to resolve this problem that many railways designed boundary posts or markers.
The oldest tend to be in stone, while those from about 1870 onwards are in cast iron – some companies using lengths of surplus rail, suitably inscribed.
The Great Western Railway (GWR) markers were made of Brunel-designed bridge rails cut into lengths, with an angle iron T-piece on the bottom, and a cast iron top, moulded round the rail. Between 1880 and 1920, the year of manufacture was included on the cast top. The Midland Railway (MR) used pieces of ordinary bull-head rail whose tops were stamped into an oval shape, with the raised letters ‘MR’.
These two types are by far the most common available to collectors, though the cast iron posts of the London & North Western Railway (LNWR) and Great Northern Railway (GNR) are also frequently seen.
It appears that several railways never had any boundary posts, and no examples are known from the Great Eastern, London, Brighton & South Coast, South Eastern & Chatham, or from any of the five main Scottish lines.
On the other hand, two of the small South Wales companies had boundary posts which often come up for sale – the Barry and Rhondda & Swansea Bay railways. The GWR, MR, GNR and LNWR all made boundary posts for their joint lines, and some of these are both exotic and extremely rare.
For example, the GWR produced posts for an area of land at Reading which abutted with the South Eastern& Chatham. This was the only meeting point of the two companies, and just two markers are known to exist, both dated 1915.
Boundary markers are usually placed in the fence line at the side of the railway, or in adjacent land by bridges, viaducts or crossings.