Thursday, 2 June 2011

Ask a question ...

Ask a question, get an answer. That is usually the way of it on this '150 Diary'. And today David Rayner has reminded me that the answer to my question about locomotive water supply is already answered in Keith Richardson's excellent book on the history of Kirkby Stephen East.

You might remember that yesterday I commented that I'd noticed an old cast iron pipe revealed in the trench being dug for the new Tebay Platform facings and I speculated that it must be the old feed for the Stockton & Darlington water column. That is it at the head of this 'blog'. Well, checking old photographs today it must indeed be the locomotive water feed - if you look at the photograph below you can see that this pipe was heading directly for that water column next to the tender of the locomotive (although I think this 'ironmongery' was a replacement column of NER vintage).

But David reminded me that the North Eastern Railway (nor the LNER nor BR after) never trusted the new-fangled electricity supply for anything as essential as locomotive water supply. In Keith's book it records that right up until the end of steam they relied on a pump driven by a small stationery steam engine in the locomotive shed to lift water out of the River Eden. Presumably that was the same pump that had been used ever since Stockton and Darlington days. I wonder if it went for scrap in 1960, or was rescued by someone?

It doesn't surprise me. The railway never trusted new-fangled technologies. At Barney West and many other signal boxes for example they had gas lighting right up until closure although for the price of 50 metres of cable they could have run electric over from the station.

Or could they? That is an interesting question. Did 'Barney' station actually have electricity installed? Can anyone remember?

No comments:

Post a comment