A coal mine waggon running on plates - gravity would take it downhill to a canal or river and the horse would draw the empty wagon back up to the mine. The driver sits on what appears to be a braking lever. [Full image 35.1kb]
We had hoped to publish he exchange of letters between contributor Geoff Smith and member Eric Montague about the use and function of Stone Cottage on the Surrey Iron Railway.
Unfortunately, time did not allow for the obtaining of their consents before going to print. Hopefully this will be remedied next edition, or on the website.
The debate is fascinating for what it demonstrates of the gaps in out knowledge of the practical workings of the line.
On the one hand is the view that all carriage started or finished at the termini, and these were the only places where tolls were collected, and goods weighed.
On the other, that there were tollbooths along the line, as at Stone Cottage, so that casual traffic starting and stopping mid line could be encouraged.
The enabling Act is ambivalent. It contains provisions for fines if the wagoneers did not close the gates - unnecessary if there were to be gatekeepers and tollbooths - and on the other provided for charges per mile, implying a tendency to short journeys.
There were prosecutions for unlicensed vehicles, implying access other than at termini, and yet access other than at proper run off points (see plan of Mitcham Station in the next article) was difficult.
The debate, and the detailed provided by the proponents is very interesting, and we look forward to publishing it.
There the debate rests, for the moment, but there appears to be a new level of interest in the SIR, and, in the manner of these things, new information comes to light from time to time which, we must all hope, will help fill in these gaps.
Ed August 2003.