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Temporary Railways

An initial 5 miles of 3ft. narrow gauge light railway was built between the Tosside depot and the Stocks dam site. Over the next 10 years over 13 miles of temporary railway track was laid in the Dale Head area. In addition, for lighter and more temporary works, 2 ft. narrow gauge track running 20 & 40 horsepower "Simplex" petrol locomotives was used. 

Locomotives on the dam site

Photograph from the late May Jackson collection, used by kind permission of Mrs. J. Cowking

 

Some 13 steam locomotives and approximately 20 World War One ex-War Department "Simplex" petrol locomotives  were involved in the operation of the temporary light railways around the dam during the construction period.

"Simplex" petrol locomotives and tipping wagons for carrying concrete

2 ft Gauge "Simplex" petrol locomotives and tipping wagons for carrying concrete

Photograph used by kind permission of Mrs. J. Lawson

 

"My husband Jack worked for the Water Board for most of his life. He went as tea boy and worked his way up. He drove an engine during the building of the dam but his final position was general mechanic. He used to mend anything that used to go wrong, including any repairs that needed doing on the Water Board farms.

My father, Horace Hawkridge, came to live with my aunt, Gladys Hodgson, for a while and worked on building the reservoir. Work was hard to find around Rotherham at the time. He was an engine driver in a steelworks and so got a job here as an engine driver on the Stocks Reservoir dam-building works. Once the Reservoir was finished, work had picked up in Rotherham and he went back to his old job in the steelworks." (Mrs. I. Lawson)

Ex War Department Light Railways (WDLR) rolling stock, surplus from the First World War, was used for the transport of coal, timber, cement and supplies for the Stocks works and the navvies' village at Greenfold and later at Hollins. Ex WDLR Bogie wagons were used to carry the long baulks of timber for shoring, pipes, sleepers and the lengths of rail required for the dam works and the temporary railways. 

For transporting soil, stone and "fill" for the dam embankment, "Manchester Ship Canal" (M.S.C) type wooden 1½ cubic yard capacity side-tipping wagons carrying approximately 2 tons per load were used around the Stocks works. 

Excavating fill into M.S.C. type wagons on temporary light railway 

 

Early on in the construction of the reservoir, workmen were lodged in some of the farmhouses purchased by the Water Board near Greenfold where there was  also a canteen created from First World War ex-army huts. Each morning a train would carry the workers from Greenfold and the outlying farms to the site of the dam works and again carry them back each evening on the return journey. As the "navvies" were mainly  of Irish extraction this train became known as "The Paddy Mail".  

Train carrying workers from Greenfold to the Stocks works - "The Paddy Mail"

Train carrying workers from Greenfold to the dam works - "The Paddy Mail".  Most of the wagons are  ex-War Department Light Railway (WDLR)  rolling stock from World War 1. 

Photograph used by kind permission of Lancashire Library Service - Clitheroe

 

3ft Narrow gauge light railway line & frozen water tower c.1929

3ft Narrow gauge light railway line & frozen water tower c.1929

Photograph used by kind permission of Lancashire Library Service - Clitheroe

 

"Uncle Wally who was in the First War came back and got a job there… like a lot more of the lads did of course. They put a light railway in to build the dam and when they got an engine, the foreman said, “Anyone can drive one of these…”, but nobody said owt, so my uncle said: “Well, I can drive a tank”.  “Oh…You’ll do” replied the foreman, so he was instantly promoted to engine driver. His younger brother had been killed during the War. Wally was the oldest, but he was never really right because he had been gassed in the War." (L. Blackwell)

"Wally" Blackwell and Peckett 0-4-0 side tank locomotive "Fylde"

Photograph from the late May Jackson collection, used by kind permission of Mrs. J. Cowking

 

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