Following The Trees. Breach Part 9. New Year 2021

Icy in Goole

New Years Eve and news from the marina, via Al and Lisa, was that water levels were good, maybe up a bit, but it was most definitely icy out there. It was good to hear that the bigger flow from the temporary fix at the breach site didn’t seem to be affecting the levels in Goole.

Mark Penn put up some frosty photos of the breach site. Water still coming through the temporary fix, but appearing to be flowing the right way. It’s a good job the Aire and Calder’s water is supplied from the river rather than a reservoir.

Mark also took his drone up to Pollington, taking photos of the north bank of the canal where we’d noticed the pilling relaxing into the canal. From his photos you can see there is another layer of pilling further back, more curved than that by the waters edge.

The post on facebook led to various comments regarding an old railway bridge across the canal at this point. This was a Bascule bridge, one of two high level moving bridges on the canal, the other was a swing bridge below Knostrop Lock. An act of parliament was drawn up saying that anything that crossed the Aire and Calder had to be either moveable or high enough for sea going ships to get under, intending the canal to be like the Manchester Ship Canal but this fell by the wayside. Thank you Alf Huckitt for this info.

The bridge

Then Phil Pritchard provided a photo of the bridge, built by John Butler Ltd of Stanningly, Leeds in 1884 to carry the Hull and Barnsley Railway over the canal. The mechanism to lift it was never fitted as it wasn’t required for the vessels that were using the canal. It was demolished in 1974.

The line just to the East of Pollington in 1947

Mick looked for evidence on maps of the route the railway had taken. Quite often tell tail signs of embankments and lines of trees give away an old route.

There’s the line of trees crossing the canal

Looking at old maps and then comparing them to Google satellite view we could trace out the route, joining the lines of trees and pale lines in fields.

Route just traceable
My wiggly line shows the route of the line through Gowdall to Drax.

An interesting bit of detective work to keep us busy.

Happy New Year

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 more day away from the boat, 1 new year, 3 of us in the house.

11 thoughts on “Following The Trees. Breach Part 9. New Year 2021

    1. pipandmick Post author

      Thanks Dave. Mick did use an OS map whilst I tracked it on Google Satellite to see how much of it was still obvious from the air. You’ve just reminded us that our OS subscription will have just run out.

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    1. pipandmick Post author

      Thank you Kevin Too. I’ve just had a hunt round to get a map that shows the railway. I’ve bookmarked the site for future reference. Vert handy, although I quite like trying to guess where things were, but then I’d be able to see if I was correct.
      Happy New Year to you too.

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  1. Paul (from Waterway Routes)

    I have just spent a large part of my lock-down time adding historical bridges and features to my maps. You will see them “greyed-out” all over my maps now. This one got missed because it wasn’t there on the very old OS maps I was using as it hadn’t been built and it isn’t there today. It’s now on my master map for the mid-January update. The bridge was at SE 62671 18845 where you can see the green line of trees to mark the route just to the right of Cowcroft Bridge.

    But – I don’t think the towpath edge collapse is where the railway bridge was. Google aerial photos show lots of trees along the line of the old railway right up to the boundary hedge. The photos on your blog show an open field just behind the collapse site.

    When I matched the hedge lines in the photos on your blog to those on Google’s aerial maps it seemed to place the collapse a little to the west at SE 62786 18817. Then I went through your blog to see if I could find any more photos and I found the map on https://oleanna.co.uk/2020/12/27/breach-part-5-25th-and-26th-december/ where your own flag shows it’s not where the railway bridge was but in a very similar position to my estimate.

    I also discovered that your blog doesn’t have any “previous post” or “next post” type of links which made navigating to other posts very difficult.

    I’m not sure what lifting mechanism is said to be missing from the bridge. It only needs a pipe which might not be visible in the photos. The large tank is simply filled with water and it’s weight lifts the bridge which rolls bank on the quadrants. Water is let out of the tank to lower it. It isn’t usually fully emptied but just enough let out to keep the bridge reliably down so it only needs a little water to be added to open it next time.

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    1. pipandmick Post author

      Hi Paul
      So glad we’ve helped you find something that isn’t there again even if we weren’t there either!

      You are correct the towpath edge collapse isn’t actually on the site of the bridge but a bit further east towards the woofing house at Balne Croft Swing Bridge, shortly before the canal widens. We had noticed ourselves that the original comment on Facebook suggesting this was where the bridge had been was not exactly correct, but about 400ft out. I considered saying this in the blog post, but as we were wanting to head out for the day I was under time pressure and thought instead I would leave it for someone to spot, knowing you would be a likely candidate. 😉

      Will have a look at ‘previous post’ etc links and see if I can add them.

      Thank you also for the information regarding how Bascule bridges work, it had to be something simple. I had a brief hunt around for more information on this bridge, but found next to nothing.

      Happy New Year
      Pip

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