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Friday, 29 January 2016

Daffodils in January

You might expect this sort of thing in the Scilly Isles but this is Settle Station Water Tower on 29th January.   The daffodils might not win any prizes but they are putting on a brave show.

Monday, 25 January 2016

Bridge SAC7 Revealed

Among the many problems of maintaining a railway line is keeping nature in check.   This was the north east wing wall of railway bridge SAC7 over Station Road - about 100 yards from the tower:

click to enlarge

Unsightly and almost obscured by trees and ivy.   Today, a blisteringly hot (13 degrees) and dry January day fellow volunteer Dave Freer and I decided to act.   Just two hours later voila :

Still tidying up and finishing jobs to do but already some magnificent Victorian masonry revealed.

More importantly we found worrying damage from tree roots, which will be reported to Network Rail for urgent attention.   A wing wall about 60 miles further north collapsed recently, closing the up line when the embankment gave way.

Tedious maintenance work like this is low on NR's priorities and is an area where our volunteers can help.   But - there are well over 1,000 wing walls between Settle and Carlisle!

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Old Dogs and Lifts

Our border collie Bess (9) is hardly on life's scrap heap but she is slowing down a bit.   In particular she is cautious about the wooden stairs from the ground to first floor where she has been known to lose her footing.   She has recently discovered the benefits of our lift - if her staff are around to operate it for her:

When she first met the lift, wild horses would not drag her into it.   Now, she will stand by the lift door and quietly bark - increasing the volume until service is provided.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

The First Settle-Carlisle Locomotives

Not sure why but I have not until now looked into what type of locomotive would have taken water at our newly completed tower in 1876.   Well, here is the answer:

click to enlarge

It is a class 1070 (hence the locomotive's number), 30 of which were built during the run-up to the opening of the S&C.   This photograph comes from a glass negative, digitally enhanced.   The engine is either brand new or had undergone a meticulous refurbishment when photographed.

A huge amount of detail can be found at

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Snow on the Tops Today

Winter is about to descend on us, foretold by snow on the tops above Settle station:
click to enlarge

But just a little way up the line winter had arrived this morning as seen by our Ribblehead Viaduct camera.   The train is laden with coal, headed for Drax power station, helping to keep everybody warm:

This particular train usually goes via the Tyne Valley line to Newcastle, then down the East Coast Main Line.   Flood damage has closed the Tyne Valley line so the good old S&C is back in action, saving the day.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

They Always Come Along in Threes

click to enlarge
This one is curious.   The cast iron panels and the stanchions for the handrails appear identical to ours but the tank sits on reinforced concrete supports - presumably of 20th century date.   The station is said to have been RE-built in 1864.  The tank was at Whitacre station on the Hampton Branch between Whitacre and Nuneaton.

For the full story see

And Another One

Olney, Northamptonshire:

click to enlarge

This seems to have been a drive-through water tower.   The smoke stain is a clue.

The tank colours appear, just, in this picture from April 1962.   The more of these pictures that crop up online the more confident I am that our tank colours are right. 

The pictures are taken from this excellent website:

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Another Midland Railway Water Tower

This one was the tower for the engine shed at Canklow, Rotherham in 1949:

click to enlarge

Canklow would have been a busy place, in the heart of the Yorkshire coalfield and steel area.   The tower is brick built but is of the same basic design as Settle's.   Canklow shed, and presumably the tower, opened in 1900.   The tank has an extra row of cast iron panels so would have been nine feet deep.   There is a chimney at the near end and windows are not to be seen, at least on the two visible elevations.   

The Johnson locomotive was built in 1876, the year of our tower.   It remained in service until withdrawn in December 1957.   I wonder if it ever got to Settle?

Friday, 8 January 2016

Tower-top Video Cameras

Darling daughter and son-in-law got us a security camera set for Christmas - not particularly for security but to enable us to get the very best views from the top of the tower on TV screens anywhere in the building - or anywhere in the world for that matter, with the necessary passwords.

There are four HD live streamed colour cameras which feed into a box of tricks which records things.

Our bedroom is on the ground floor and although it has windows, they are too high up to see the views from them.   The further up the tower you go the better the views are.   It is mildly frustrating to lie in bed of a morning and not to know if it's raining.   Well that problem is now overcome as soon as we turn on the bedroom TV.   We can  admire the all-round views from the very top of the tower at the press of a zapper.

Still playing with the new toy just yet but today saw camera number 01 temporarily strapped to the iron railings at the north end of the tank.   That is quite a few feet below its final position but the early results are very encouraging indeed:

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Still work in progress but you get the idea.   The January sun shone and we even had a rainbow.   The flash photograph of the TV screen does not do justice to the HD picture.   One down and three more cameras to go.

Though wet, it is unseasonably warm.   Whilst aloft playing with the camera a swarm of midges came to see what was going on.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Water Tank Colours part vindicated

We went to a good deal of trouble and research to get the colours of our water tank correct.   Even so, you can't please everybody all the time.   Most who have commented have praised the results but some have criticised the strong contrast in tone between the middles and the outsides of the individual tank panels, resulting in a very prominent landscape feature.

By way of comfort I was delighted to come across this 1960s black and white image of the Midland Railway water tower at Charfield Station in Gloucestershire:

click to enlarge