York Civic Trust President Andrew Scott is due to unveil a new plaque at 4pm on Saturday 17th July to mark the site of the recently unearthed New Walk Ordnance Railway.

The narrow-gauge railway tracks, just 18 inches apart, were used to deliver explosives from the Ordnance Wharf to the Munitions Depot at Fulford Army Barracks. Known today known as Imphal Barracks, the depot was built in the 1870s and began operating in 1888. The line ran parallel to Hospital Fields Road, but much of it has now been covered over by new developments. The road is so called as it once featured a military hospital and cavalry barracks. Built in 1862, the hospital was in use up until 1958, however in 1976 it closed and shortly after was demolished.

Soldiers on the Ordnance training ground with the military hospital in the background. Credit: The CH Thomas Collection.

Crossing New Walk near the Millenium Bridge, the tracks were uncovered in 2000 when the bridge was built, however due to flooding, they were gradually covered up by silt. As of March 2021, thanks to Friends of New Walk and volunteers from Goodgym, the full extent of the tracks can now be seen.

Goodgym volunteers digging out the tracks at the Ordnance Depot wharf. Picture Chris Rainger for York Press

Research into the Ordnance Depot Railway, and the role it played in WW1, has been carried out by Fishergate, Fulford and Heslington Local History Society. Visit their website to find out more.

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