Rites of Passage for a Model Railway - 26: Non-Locomotive Operations, Double and Single-Track Self-Acting Incline
Minerals moved minus motive power
A Gravity Railway or Self-acting Incline
A Gravity Railway (US: Gravity Railroad) is in plain language a railway on a gradient that allows mineral wagons (or passenger vehicles) to ascend/descend a slope using either four-legged or stationary engine power with a cable, chain or one or more wide, flat iron bands. A much later version - in California, USA - used standard gauge steam engines to haul gravity vehicles back to the summit of Mount Tamalpais.
In the UK a self-acting incline uses laden wagons to pull up empties via cable and brake-operated drum. There are often separate tracks where wagons pass, and common tracks where up and down traffic uses a common centre rail. The system has been used on lead, coal or ironstone mine operations across the mainland from Cornwall to Carlisle. A variation is the passenger cliff lift with two cars, both fitted with water tanks that fill at the top to counterbalance the upward journey of the lower car (which has emptied its tank).
The Ffestiniog Railway in Snowdonia (Gwynedd, North Wales) was built 1832 to carry slate from quarries in the hills to Porthmadog on the coast. The line was laid out for wagons to descend by weight. Horses were initially used for hauling empties uphill and would ride downhill on a Dandy Waggon at the rear of the train. Steam haulage was later adopted with the increase in train weight. This narrow gauge railway is still operational but traffic is now loco-hauled.
Elsewhere in the UK, in the North East mines adopted steam operated cable drums until these were replaced by self-acting inclines. Opening May, 1834 the Stanhope & Tyne Railway was an early mine railway that linked Stanhope with South Shields near Tynemouth, then both in County Durham. Limestone was carried from Stanhope, coal from Consett and elsewhere on the Durham Fell, to the banks of the Tyne to local consumers or for export to the Continent. Passengers were later carried on some sections of the line. The line was not initially financially viable, the heavily debt-laden partners floated a new company, the Pontop & South Shields Railway, to take over the debt and work the line. Part of the branch was bought by the Derwent Iron Co., later to become the Consett Iron Co. Much of the S&TR was built through hilly, lightly populated country over the Durham Fell and incorporated several rope-worked inclines as well as horse-operated sections until steam locomotion was employed. Although the line - by then incorporated into the national network - was gradually run down in the mid-late 20th Century with pit closures, a short section near South Shields still exists. Most of the route is part of the national Sustrans and cycle path network.
Rails to the moor-top... Let's start from the bottom, at Battersby on the North Yorkshire & Cleveland Railway
Ingleby Incline (Rosedale Railway)
A self-acting incline that conducted laden standard gauge wagons from Rosedale Ironstone Mines, whilst hauling empties from Incline Bottom a couple of miles south of Ingleby (latterly Battersby) Junction. The gradient averaged 1:5.5 to 1:5 at its steepest. The incline length overall measured 1,430 yards and climbed from 600 feet above sea level to the moortop near Blakey Rigg (Ridge) at 1,370 ft a.s.l.
Operation on the line was standardised on raising four empty wagons with the weight of four laden ones weighing 52 tons combined weight. The rakes of wagons were were attached to a one inch diameter wire cable wound around a 14 ft diameter drum that was housed in a tall stone structure known as 'Drum House'. On the same shaft a separate 14 ft dia. drum bore a second cable that was wound out and attached to four empty wagons at Incline Foot. The four laden wagons at Incline Top were let down and as one cable was played out the two drums turned, with the empties hauled by the second cable. The two sets of wagons passed at around halfway on the passing loop (see diagram above). They were released from their cables when they reached the opposite ends of the incline on the level.
The system was controlled remotely from a brake cab at the head of the incline by a two-man crew. The view from the top was unimpeded to assist smooth running. Accidents happened frequently, with wagons breaking free from their cables. 'Run-offs' were installed to divert runaways from the main tracks, and to stop them hurtling the length of the incline (if they hadn't de-railed by then), thus avoiding greater potential damage.
Operations were monitored visually in clear weather, but low cloud, rain squalls, mist and heavy snow in winter made this difficult. A system of bells, later telephone links, enabled the men to monitor progress. Speed of ascent was around 20 mph, the average descent taking 3 minutes. A turnaround of 10 minutes was achievable in favourable conditions.
Railway employees were housed at Incline Top and Bottom. At the Top were four houses, conditions there described as 'Siberia'. Employees were not meant to ride the wagons on the incline, but there were many who ignored the rule-book. It was therefore possible to ride from Rosedale - East or West - to Stockton-on-Tees and back on a Saturday for the market. Passage to Incline Top would be in the NER 'Birdcage' Brake van, down the incline on the wagon ends to near Battersby and from there in another brakevan. The railway was also used to attend the Stokesley Show annually in September.
Incline Top and Drum House
Alan Thompson and Ken Groundwater take you through the past from the early days of the railways in Cleveland and North Yorkshire to closures, staff and service cuts and all-line monitoring from Middlesbrough on the Whitby route. Picton to Battersby is covered from p.73, Rosedale from p.84-87
Accidents and bad weather, they always come together
Locomotion top and bottom - real and model
A final chapter in Mr Chapman's work here covers the Whitby-Battersby-Picton route and touches on the Rosedale branch with a track diagram for Battersby Junction in 1914 plus the extensive exchange sidings to the south of the station and trackwork leading to Ingleby Incline. The Rosedale Railway closed in mid-1929 after the last rolling stock and remaining wagons were lowered, laden with the calcine dust from the kilns at Rosedale East and West. This dust was processed by Imperial Chemical Industries on Teesside.
The S&DR Bouch Class 1001, Wilson Worsdell Class P/P1 0-6-0
Despite trawling through the Net, different sites and so forth, I have established that both the 4mm and 7mm scale S&DR Bouch Class 1001 0-6-0 are currently unavailable. Maybe if you try at some time in the future Chilton Iron Works' 4mm kit (www.worthpoint.com) and Medley Models' 7mm version may have come back onto the market. Meanwhile I have found the Wilson Worsdell NER Class P and P1 in 4mm scale:.
Falcon Brassworks LK89B NER Class P/ LNER and BR Class J24 (www.falconbrassworks.com)
London Road Models NER Class P1/LNER and BR Class J25 (http://traders.scalefour.org/LondonRoadModels)
At the time of writing [2nd September, 2016] I am informed by John Teasdale, Editor of the NERA EXPRESS, that the Furness Railway Wagon Co. are developing a Class P/J24.
A small firm named 'NER Days' do a Class 1001 and Dgm S1 8 ton hopper. Send S.A.E to them at Little Church Lane, Leeds LS26 9EF (West Riding of) Yorkshire
Wagons... models that reflect yesteryear
Options in 7mm and 4mm scales
See below for a web site you might like to look through for an excellent range of 7mm/O Gauge Pre-Grouping wagon kits that call for a reasonable skill level in assembly. The manufacturer is Furness Railway Wagon Co. who produce several suitable kits to model the Ingleby Incline. Take a look at these:
FRWC37 NER Diagram P5 11 ton wooden-bodied hopper; FRWC52 NER 10.5 ton (21,000 built 1889-1922); Ancillary vehicles that might be seen hauled to the top: FRWC34 NER 7 ton Gunpowder Van (important for mining, gingerly handled when laden); FRWC69 8-10 ton 4 plank goods wagon (useful for transporting crated/tarpaulined loads; FRWC78 8-10 ton NER Box Van (useful for taking tools and supplies that need to be kept under cover).
In 4mm scale there is an excellent range of 51L NER wagons that also saw service in LNER days, some also in early British Railways' days. (see www.wizardmodels.co.uk for complete list of pre-Grouping model kits including Wizard Models' comprehensive list of signal kits and parts)
DP005 Diag. P4 10 ton wood-bodied hopper; Diag. DB015 NER Diag B15 12 ton 2 plank wagon; DC002E NER Diag. C2 8 ton open goods wagon;
See also www.davidgeen.co.uk for his 4mm NER Diag P4 Hopper Wagon kit, list reference E/020; other wagons include E/005 NER Diag C9 5-plank wagon and E/001 NER Diag B1 2-plank wagon. Take a look at the site for a comprehensive list of NER and other pre-Grouping kits
* 'NER Days': Refer to the copy on locomotives above for information on an NER S1 steel ironstone hopper
Furness Railway Wagon Company
- Wagons – Pre-grouping Railways From Furness Railway Wagon Company
FRWC01 Furness/LMS/BR/ Private Owner 12ton all Steel Hopper Wagon Built from 1907 to 1921 some examples of these wagons survived until 1981as internal user wagon in steel works around the country having been sold out of service in the 1950/60’s. Thes
One of a batch of books that covers the variety of revenue-earning and departmental wagon stock owned by the London & North Eastern Railway. Some were inherited from the pre-Grouping constituent companies (Great Eastern, Great Northern, Great North of Scotland, Midland & Great Northern, North British and North Eastern Railways as well as Cheshire Lines Committee). The variations in themselves are a revelation, even before you get to the LNER's own stock (1923-1947). I have a copy of his initial work, 'LNER Wagons - An Illustrated Overview'.which I bought shortly after publication in 1998.
North Yorkshire & Cleveland Railway
Latest in the range of books on the North Eastern Railway Branch Lines is Peter J Maynard's 'North Yorkshire & Cleveland Railway' published by the North Eastern Railway Association, ISBN 978 1 873513 98 9, paperback, 96 pages, with colour and black & white images, maps, diagrams, full history of the branch and each station is given an historical background. The Rosedale Branch and Ingleby Incline are given a short chapter.
The book is available from the Sales Officer, Mrs Janet Coulthard, 15 Woodside Drive, Darlington, DL3 8ES, cover price £12.95. Cheques made out to 'NERA' will not be banked until the order is completed. Prices by post are applicable to UK, and allow up to 28 days for delivery. Outside the UK please e-mail the sales officer, email@example.com stating publications needed with full postal address and preferred delivery method (i.e. whether surface or airmail). Total cost, including postage will be advised before orders are placed, and cheques should be made out in £ Sterling, which will be drawn on a UK bank. .
Some time ago I 'assembled' an article about the Rosedale Branch for the NERA EXPRESS, Volume 42 March 2003, No.169 titled "...Of Mines And Miners..." that runs from p4-9 and includes drawings and diagrams, period b&w images supplied by me and furnished by Editor John Teasdale (who still edits the NERA EXPRESS). In the same issue, running on from my article is another piece by NERA member Ian Holloway on the Diagram S1 Ironstone Wagon with scale drawings, (side and end elevation) and measurements. Following that is a piece by Patrick Howat on the Rosedale Branch signalling, and a plan of the Ingleby Incline Top Brakeman's cabins with elevations by David Fenney take the following three pages to round off the Rosedale Branch coverage. Back issues are available through Mrs Coulthard (see above for address and contact details).
There is a 32 page booklet titled "Rosedale Mines and Railway" by R H Hayes and J G Rutter that was published by the Scarborough Archaeological and Historical Society (Research Report No 9) in 1974, reprinted 1977, 1980 and 1984. The booklet covers the mines and the railway in two parts. Tables include a chronology of the mines and lines, railway mileage, population tables and ironstone production 1861-81. Contact The Museum, Scarborough, North Yorkshire. There are images in this book that I haven't used because they are not connected to the incline but are interesting in their own right.
Have you gained anything from looking through the pages of this series?
Have you gained from this series?
Base Board construction
See also RITES OF PASSAGE... 26: NON-LOCOMOTIVE OPERATIONS for hints on base board building. This would be an exciting project to undertake with the angle of incline and locomotive operations top and bottom. Of course you could model it in 7mm scale, but to do that you'd need a lot of space. In 2mm scale you'd never get enough detail. In 4mm scale, OO, EM or P4, you'd have the best of both worlds with enough detail, scope and size. Still ideally a club project..
The incline is now a very tough walking route
© 2016 Alan R Lancaster