The last rolling bridge in Cumbria and the Glaxo branch

kevsmith Mar 7, 2021

  1. kevsmith

    kevsmith TrainBoard Member

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    This will be another one of my rambles, although there is a point, I might just take a while to get to it!

    Way, way back in 1988 I took a railride down the Cumbrian Coast and Furness Line. Long before I moved up her.e I photographed every station and signal box from the front window of a diesel railcar. little did I realise at the time how 33 years later I would still be finding relevant things

    Seen from the DMU was Plumpton junction signalbox. This was a big box that used to control the junctions to the Lakeside branch and the Glaxo branch

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    in 1996, as a member of the Cumbrian railway society we celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Furness railway and were allowed to visit the box

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    A big lever frame

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    This was the scene to the west. on the left curving away past the home signal was the 'Glaxo' branch which had served the large Glaxo pharmacuetical plant situated on the site of the former North Lonsdale iron and steelworks in Ulverston

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    The up and down main lines are on the right and on the hilltop is the 'Hoad' monument

    The line had ceased working in 1994 but the signaller still had the staff (token) for the branch which had been worked 'One engine only'

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    more soon

    kev
     
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  2. kevsmith

    kevsmith TrainBoard Member

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    In 2000, I decided to walk the short branch line from Plumpton to the Ulverston Canal. Although only closed for six years nature was already taking over

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    At the canal I found the entrance to the Glaxo works and sidings
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    The bridge. still with track laid didn't register with me at all. I assumed it was a swing bridge and didn't take many pictures of it. Doh!

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    more soon
     
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  3. kevsmith

    kevsmith TrainBoard Member

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    On Sunday Brooklyn and i walked the length of the canal to have a look at the remains of the bridge and branch line and were very suprised to find that the area had been the subject of some local community work. The bridge it turns out is the last survivining rolling bridge in Cumbria and has had a preservation order put on it.It is not readily apparent how it worked at first

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    basically the centre section retracted into the far bank to allow ships to pass

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    it was powered by hydraulic rams fed from an accumulator tower which still exists

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    There is a display that demonstrates the principle of the bridge which Brooklyn would have played for hours with!

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    turning the hand wheel moves the bridge and the boat can be pushed through. It is really rather neat
     
  4. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Fascinating. I have never seen such a unique bridge design.
     
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  5. Doug Gosha

    Doug Gosha TrainBoard Member

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    Yes, very clever design. Thanks for posting.

    Doug
     
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  6. kevsmith

    kevsmith TrainBoard Member

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    With the bridge closed on the model

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    No sidings anymore sadly

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    and nature has run riot in the last twenty years

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    Wonder whether we could get it going again?

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    Kev
     
  7. kevsmith

    kevsmith TrainBoard Member

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    Now the one thing that has always eluded me was the Glaxo locomotive. This was a former British Rail 08 diesel shunter that was given a fancy paint job to work the site. 08 678 should have been one I photographed when it was based at Tinsley TMD but never got and even more strange it survives to this day at West Coast Rail's Carnforth HQ and I still haven't seen it!

    However my mate Paul Fuller did manage to photograph it in the Glaxo colour scheme thankfully

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    Kev
     
  8. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    That bridge is certainly unique. Never heard of such a thing before! Thanks for sharing!
     
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  9. logging loco

    logging loco TrainBoard Supporter

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    Your already ahead of the game. Most of my rambles never get to the point!

    Seriously though, I enjoy reading about all of your adventures with your grandson. You photos all have great subject matter.

    This bridge is very interesting. I've never seen a bridge of that type before.

    Was there any information on how long it would take for one full opening or closing?
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2021
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  10. kevsmith

    kevsmith TrainBoard Member

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    Interesting question.

    I need to contact some of the older CRA guys while they can still remember!

    I would like to see if any of them have a pic of a train going over it

    watch this space

    Kev
     
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  11. kevsmith

    kevsmith TrainBoard Member

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    someone has done an interesting animation of how it worked



    also looking at some of the U.k sites it appears it is the last surviving one in Europe

    Kev
     
  12. kevsmith

    kevsmith TrainBoard Member

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    The end of the canal where it meets Morecambe bay. One lock gate has been concreted up but even back in the day it does not look as if you can get a decent size cargo vessel through this

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    The tides in the bay are notorious though

    An idylic scene just inside the lock gates

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    Kev
     
  13. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for the animation. It explains the action nicely, correcting my faulty assumption.

    I assumed the retraction would be along the roadbed. Instead it's perpendicular to the canal shoreline which is a far more substantial anchorage. Granted that makes rail alignment more critical as it's coming in from an angle. There must be a massive steel block to jam the incoming rail and hold it fast.

    Your photos showed the bridge in a closed position. I assume there's no more barge traffic in the canal?

    BTW, your comment as to the lock width may not reflect the canal cargo traffic for which it was designed. There are vacation rental canal barges available for transiting existing canals in the UK. They were cargo barges converted as water borne recreation vehicles which are about seven feet wide.

    Admins, I posted the link for information only. I'm sure TB policy will permit this since it does not compete with our advertisers. Unless one of them is offering an operating N-Scale canal boat. If there is one available, I'm sure John Moore would have told us about it, and have installed it in his harbor.
     
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  14. Pastor John

    Pastor John TrainBoard Member

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    Much depends, I suppose, on when the canal was built. Not far from here, we hike on what was once the Ohio and Erie Canal. Since it was all hand dug 200 years ago, it was generally pretty narrow (40 ft.) and canal boats were long, even more narrow 14 ft. wide and 80 ft. long), and pulled by teams (2) of mules or horses. Locks were barely wider than a boat.

    Sent from my moto g(7) play using Tapatalk
     
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  15. kevsmith

    kevsmith TrainBoard Member

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    The scene in 2013 at Plumpton with little evidence of what used to be here

    DB Class 67 026 Diamond Jubilee heasd east on a charter train

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    A pair of our class 68s head east light engine last summer. The scene is completely rural now

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    Kev
     
  16. logging loco

    logging loco TrainBoard Supporter

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    Kev, I take it mules never pulled boats along this canal after the bridge was built.
     
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  17. kevsmith

    kevsmith TrainBoard Member

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    Looking into it, the canal ceased to be used commercially during the first world war. It would have been horsedrawn for nearly all the vessels and was finally abandoned just before WW2 so the bridge would not have rolled for decades.

    Found this in the archives

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    an LMS Class 2MT 2-6-0 heading east over the bridge. These small locos had the nickname 'Mickey Mouses' and the 2-6-2T version as 'Micky Mouse tanks'

    A mate of mine is sending me a picture of the canal signalbox which I will add here

    Kev
     
  18. kevsmith

    kevsmith TrainBoard Member

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    The Ulverston Canal signalbox as promised

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    have to say I'm struggling to work out where exactly it stood from this pic, That looks like the slag bank behind which suggests it is on th East side of the canal but I'll do some more digging

    No doubt about where the photographer was stood for this pic of a an SLS (Stephenson locomotive society) railfan charter

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    The loco is a Midland Railway Johnson 0-6-0 No. 43252 which dates the picture pre summer 1958 as it had been withdrawn by then. This design dated from 1885 and in the Ian Allen Combine volume loco numbers book in 1958 there were still 249 in service!

    kev
     
  19. Doug Gosha

    Doug Gosha TrainBoard Member

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    Am I correct that, in that view, the tracks upon which the train is situated, would move to the left if the bridge were operated?

    Doug
     
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  20. kevsmith

    kevsmith TrainBoard Member

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    Hi Doug

    Left and towards you.

    By the way. There was a Treble-0-lectric layout in last month's Conttinental modeller magazine running the American models, Did you see it?

    Kev
     
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