Archives: May 2023

Peak Railway Association Funded Water Tower at Rowsley

May 10th 2023

Work started at Rowsley on May 3rd for the excavation for the foundations.

The hole for the foundation was dug in a morning. A service duct was installed for the mains water supply and marker pegs installed to get the correct depth on stone. Eight 1 tonne bags of Type 1 MOT stone was levelled and compacted, but we soon realised that more would be required.

This brought an end to the first day, thanks to Mick, Clive, David and Martyn with his telehandler.

Second day Tuesday May 9th.

With another 5 bags of stone delivered and the hire of the vibration plate collected by Harvey, the team completed the stone layer for the foundation.

The foundation design was specified by our structural engineer. The steel reinforcement was ordered a few weeks ago and was installed on 50mm concrete spacers. The shuttering was installed and the boards backfilled.

The next stage is to install the hold down bolts in the steel reinforcement and get the concrete poured.

During a lunch break one of the team asked how much it had cost and did we get any quotes for labour. The team over 2 days work have saved almost £3000 in labour costs. All materials used so far have been sourced from within 20 miles of Rowsley which is in line with our policy using local suppliers.

Water tower project

It was mentioned at the Peak Railway Association AGM in May 2022 that they will fund a water tower and crane at Rowsley. Since then, it has turned into a collaboration of support for the railway. A generous donation from the family of Mike Shelton, a steam loco driver who served on the railway for many years started the funding. The remainder of the money will come from the donations made to the Peak Railway Association by their members when they renewed their subscriptions over the last few years.

The Braithwaite water tank and water crane were donated to the Derwent and Wye Valley Railway Trust some time ago, and they have given permission to use them on this project as a permanent loan.Some years ago, when the idea of this project first started the design of the tower was engineered on computer aided design (CAD) by a member and volunteer Andrew Treves. At the same time the water tank was refurbished. Andrew has dusted off the design and updated it, and in the process checked the latest standards and confirmed the structural calculations. The design, calculations and foundation design were passed to the civil engineering company Engineering Consultancy Services Limited (ECSL) who have certified the design on our behalf. This company is well known to Peak Rail as they conduct the necessary inspections of our infrastructure. Anyone watching Railway Architecture programmes on TV may have seen one of their directors Dave Gent talking about bridge structures.

The water tower structure is like a big Meccano set as most of it is bolted together. The vertical legs are a welded assembly which is 6 meters long, just under 20 feet. We will be looking at the most cost-effective way forward and hope to utilise the workshop facilities at Rowsley. Another consideration is what is the best surface protection we can have for the structure to minimise the future maintenance.

The positioning of the water tower will be at the end of the Rowsley platform on the Darley Dale side. The water crane will be next to it. Peak Rail has two identical water cranes available, both of which came from Mold junction. The intention is to refurbish the one currently in store at Rowsley for the project. The other water crane can be seen on the Peak Railway land behind Aldi in Buxton.

The order for the steel work has been placed with a company in Buxton in April for a delivery in July / early August. At the beginning of May the foundations were dug for the reinforced concrete raft.

This joint project of Peak Rail, Derwent and Wye Valley Railway Trust and Peak Railway Association is hopefully the start of a new beginning in taking the railway forward.