Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Garsdale Station

The plan by Network Rail is to replace England's signal boxes with a total of 14 centralised control centres. This will save money but not I suspect in the long run lives. At the moment there are 5,600 front line staff operating signals, that is a lot of signal boxes.  It was therefore a surprise to see the Garsdale signal box covered in scaffolding so perhaps the grand plan is not happening for a while.

 All seemed quiet on the station and the buildings looked in pristine condition.  Their refurbishment using the designs of 1876 gained MFG Construction the National Railway Heritage Craft Skills Award in 2009.
On this day there were contractors busy working on the line itself on this exposed track.  In past times when there was a turntable here it was protected by walls of sleepers so the locomotives would not be spun by strong winds.  Oh look the signal is up
for a freight train which for safety reasons passed the workers at a very slow speed, ideal for the photographer.  The Settle to Carlisle line not only carries passengers but a massive amount of freight and this only happens today because people fought to keep the line open when it was in danger of closure. The short term view of the original decision shown to be wrong. 
Just seen to the left of this photograph is a statue of a border collie called Ruswarp (pronounced Russup) which both commemorates the dog and its owner Graham Nuttall, who was a founder member of the Settle-Carlisle line pressure group. Ruswarp, as he was a paying passenger of the line, signed the original petition against closure along with his human owner, but with his paw print.  Graham went missing in January 1990 while walking in the Welsh mountains never to return,  his body was discovered 11 weeks later with Ruswarp still beside him having survived the winter weather but so weak he had to be carried off the mountain.  The 14 year old dog attended his owners funeral but passed away soon after.  Garsdale was a favourite place so the Friends of Settle-Carlisle Line placed the statue here to symbolise the successful campaign to save the line for future generations and also to the memory of Graham Nuttall and his faithful dog.

An entry to ABC Wednesday - a journey through the alphabet


Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Fair Fowls and Flamigo

Fabulous flamingos living by the side of the lake at Harewood House Bird Garden take time out to have a preen. The gardens are a fascinating place to see unfamiliar birds to these shores.   At the moment the Chilean Flamingos total 17 adults and one juvenile in the flock.  They stopped breeding when a storm brought trees down on their nesting site but a recent creation of a new nesting island for them resulted in a baby flamingo.  While watching them I spotted this 
nest but perhaps this collection of twigs belongs to this fellow
who was keeping an eye out for something tasty to eat
Meanwhile the Guinea Fowl were taking a stroll but this most gregarious of birds
prefer to do it in groups and this photograph shows of their fine feathers to full effect.  There looks to be tasty treats in the grass on which they have free range but not
here in the walled garden where the fear factor tries to keep away birds from the newly planted seeds.

An entry to ABC Wednesday - a journey through the alphabet

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Aye Eye

I thought I would rest the London Eye on the Shell Building for this photograph and handily for an ABC Wednesday letter E its branding at the moment is the EDF Energy London Eye.  135 metres high its 30 minute whirl  is a popular destination.  The Shell Building is clad in Portland Stone which has meant that it has weathered better than other high rises built in 1961. London's new year countdown is projected onto the tower.   While taking this photograph I was stood on the Victoria Embankment
where an eagle flies.  Perhaps it may soar away north to York where
 the Euston railway station gates have made the journey.  Here at the National Railway Museum it is a popular resting area, maybe the essence of railway entrances lingers as a meeting place.  I wondered where they were on the original station and found this photograph from the 1950s
and they can be glimpsed by the columns. Euston was the world's first capital terminal and to mark the opening in 1837 this 70 feet high entrance was constructed of Portland Stone as a scaled up replica of a Doric Portico such as might have been seen in ancient Greece, but on a colossal scale.  Demolished in the 1960s when a lot of Victorian London was lost it was replaced by what has been described as "mundane modernism" and the dark uninviting station it is today. The Victorians also built outside the station four small lodges in matching Portland Stone for parcel collection and two of them survive but cast adrift with no purpose
I had no idea of their original use and took this photo only because of the interesting list of northern towns, one of which I sometimes change at to take the train down to London. Now knowing the original purpose I realise these are the names of the towns served by the railway.  The only other reminder of the old stations is

the reimagining of the Doric Arch on Euston's pub sign.  

An entry to ABC Wednesday - a journey through the alphabet

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Dandry Mire

 I'm a little late this week for ABC Wednesday as I just arrived home today but at least it is still Wednesday. Let me take you on a walk past Dandry Mire viaduct, 12 arches and 50 foot high; built in the 1870s it forms part of the Settle to Carlisle railway.  The small building in the distance on the left is a chapel

built for the workers on the railway here which at that time was called Hawes Junction but it has long since been renamed however the chapel retains its original name of "Hawes Junction Methodist Chapel". You also may make out a very tiny splash of yellow near the left hand end of the path on the first photo which was attracting a cloud of

these little fellows which I think are Mother Shipton moths (Callistege mi). Do I imagine that the pattern at the edge of the wings are a little like viaduct bridges? Their colour in the sunshine was more like a light mauve than this photo shows. A stunning sight.
Going around the other side of Dandry Mire viaduct shows its curve, and here is a

'sprinter'  train barrelling along the track. The story goes that originally the crossing of Dandry Mire was planned to be an embankment but wagon loads of material later (¾ m cubic feet) and it all disappearing into the mire or bog a viaduct was built.
River Ure and Wild Boar Fell   
At the moment after weeks of hot weather and little rain it is a surprisingly dry bog in relative terms although still enough water around.  This peatland is a unique habitat and
the waterfalls show how the peat mixes as they make their way down the fells
One end of the viaduct embankment is a road bridge over the A684 with nicely themed supports. No border patrols but this does mark one, on this side of the bridge it is Yorkshire but drive through and you are in Cumbria.

An entry to ABC Wednesday - a journey through the alphabet