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Unusual cast iron aqueduct

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  • Unusual cast iron aqueduct

    This is a cast iron bowstring suspension aqueduct at Stanley Ferry, north east of Wakefield, Yorkshire. I don’t know why it was made so ornate. It’s not as though it passes through some toff’s landscaped estate.

    Built 1836 - 1839 to carry the Aire & Calder Navigation over the River Calder. Apparently it is one of the earliest compression arch suspended-deck bridges in the world. Possibly the largest cast iron aqueduct?

    You’d think it might be a tourist attraction, but it’s certainly not on any tourist route, and it is something of a hidden gem in a former industrial area. Next door is a British Waterways workshop that does big woodwork, presumably mainly replacement lock gates.

    The partial columns intersected by the arch are actually separate section that are riveted on.

    Clickable thumbnails.......

    This shows how the arch webs are locally fattened up to accommodate the pins for the suspension rods. Also note the tapered cotters to hold the arch flanges together. They don’t need to be very beefy.

    Wrought iron rods and turnbuckles. Tuning to equalise load sharing was quite tricky.

    More information:-

  • #2
    The fluting on the columns would seem to be dictated only by fashion. At least I can't think of any other reason for it.

    Thanks for these great photos. Now this is another place I'm marking for my next "non-tourist" travels in England.
    Allan Ostling

    Phoenix, Arizona


    • #3
      That is a beautiful structure.

      We have a Bollman cast, and wrought iron bridge in Savage Maryland.

      I don't mean to steal the thread but it is also an interesting, but not as impressive structure.

      This was built to service the mills around 1869.

      The cast compression members have the detail of fine wood work cast in.

      The tie bars and pins are of wrought iron.

      This bridge is preserved at the Savage Mill Historic area in Maryland.

      Savage is North of D.C. near Laurel just off US Route #1.

      Those on this side of the pond may be interested in a look.

      Picture stolen from the internet.



      • #4
        Both structures are fascinating and impressive. Thank you for posting the pictures. I didn't know such things still existed.

        Best regards,

        So many projects. So little time.


        • #5
          We bought the barge to which I refer in another thread, about 1974, from a scrapyard which was right opposite the British Waterways yard. In your Pic3, the BW yard is to the left after the aqueduct, the entrance to the former coaling basin (site of the scrapyard) can be seen on the right.
          They used to haul out the 40-ton compartment boats ('Tom Puddings') onto a railway track here, and take them to the pit for loading.

          That had long gone when we were there refurbishing our barge, though I do remember the trains of Tom Puddings working.
          I seem to remember there being a concern when heavily loaded motor barges entered the aqueduct, they would run out of water and the bottom would strike the end of the cast iron channel. I think this was one of the principal reasons for building a new wider aqueduct alongside.



          • #6

            A very interesting site. Pity the photos are so small, especially the one showing the blokes lifting the sunken tub using very long wooden beams and screws!

            I suppose the system was an early form of containerisation, with the added versatility of avoiding the need for a boat.

            I'm curious about barges 'running out of water'. Is this something that happens with a vessel moving through a narrow shallow channel at a speed sufficient to create a void under the hull??


            • #7
              I'm interested in that too, been thinking on it, and I may be wrong here, but it would seem that when the bow wave is contained as it is in a canal, there's not enough room for the water to return, so since the chain of tubs is flexible, you end up with the containers following the bow sections floating lower.



              • #8

                Not sure if its just me, but I am having trouble with the "clickable thumbnails" in this and other threads. They appear in the thread as an address (not a thumbnail), which I then click. A thumbnail then appears, not clickable.


                • #9

                  Sorry. They work OK for me. Do these links work?.....




                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Asquith
                    I don’t know why it was made so ornate. It’s not as though it passes through some toff’s landscaped estate.
                    Did the taxpayers pay for it? Nothings too good for government when they ain't paying for it.
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                    It is true, there is nothing free about freedom, don't be so quick to give it away.