Ilfracombe Gas Works

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euryalus

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Looking at a relatively modern (ie post-1928) signal box diagram of Ilfracombe station, it appears that the "down siding" at the rear of the signal box extended towards the gas works, although the 1938 RCH Handbook of Stations makes no mention of a private siding. I wonder, however, if Ilfracombe Gas Works been served by a private siding at some earlier period?
 
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Dr Hoo

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The 1904 RCH Handbook makes no mention of any private sidings at Ilfracombe.
 

30907

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The down siding was the headshunt for the carriage sidings, and relatively level, hence it diverges slightly from the main line. A quick look at photos in the Irwell Press volume The North Devon Railway shows no sign of any industry, though the plan shows a slaughterhouse.
 

euryalus

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I was getting confused. There was a cluster of old industrial-style building alongside the headshunt on the down side, and I had always assumed that they were the remains of a gas works. It would obviously have made more sense for the gas works to have been located at sea level and near the quay!
 

Romilly

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Until 1904, the gas works were on the east side of Wilder Road (the new gas works were built off Watermouth Road in the Hele area of the town in 1905).

Wilder Road is somewhat north of the northernmost end of any sidings shown on old maps, and any extension of those sidings towards Wilder Road would have needed to go through, or skirt, the eastern side of the churchyard, which makes any such extension somewhat unlikely. And Hele is the other side of town from the station.

For old maps, a good place to start is the national library of scotland website: maps.nls.uk

From the 6" OS maps, it would seem no sidings went north of the northernmost edge of the station buildings.
 

30907

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For old maps, a good place to start is the national library of scotland website: maps.nls.uk

From the 6" OS maps, it would seem no sidings went north of the northernmost edge of the station buildings.

ISTR there's rather a drop at that point?
 

euryalus

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ISTR there's rather a drop at that point?

There was a difference in levels between the main line and the down side headshunt, the latter being on the level whereas the main line was rising at 1 in 36. However, the headshunt was sited at a convenient level in relation to the unidentified industrial building that I thought might have been a gas works (or perhaps some kind of pumping house?)
 

30907

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Sorry, was referring to the drop at the buffer stop end.
True about the headshunt too, but it was only put in when the major rebuild was carried out, and I doubt if a dual purpose was in mind.
 

Taunton

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Looking at an old OS map the industrial building alongside the Ilfracombe down side headshunt was an abattoir. It was indeed a huge climb at 1 in 36 right off the platform end at Ilfracombe, leaving the sidings well below (despite this the station was really in the outskirts and well above the town centre), and in steam days a Southern banker, commonly an M7 0-4-4T, was outstationed from Barnstaple to assist outward trains. The through GW/WR trains to Taunton, under running powers, were not allowed use of this loco [typical!], right to the end of steam in BR days, and Taunton shed had to send a 43xx all the way to Ilfracombe on summer Saturdays to assist their multiple departures up to the top of the bank at Morthoe. I never got there in steam days, but did a few trips in dmus in the last years, where the 3-car sets would grind up at full throttle to the top.

There were several points along the Bristol Channel coast which used to import coal from South Wales. The notably shorter distance compared to the rail route through the Severn Tunnel meant this could be quite efficient. Among the harbours that had facilities for small coal ships from Wales (very visible across the water) were Barnstaple, Ilfracombe, Watchet, Bridgwater and Burnham. The coal was for both household and gasworks, and quite possibly early and simplistic electricity generating stations as well, and was commonly brought from harbour (or station) by horse and cart. A few of the early coastal electric power "stations" actually supplied current at DC, Dunster was certainly one, and everyone needed special electrical appliances and lighting for this.

Anyone who has read "Stalky & Co" by Rudyard Kipling, about Kipling's time around 1880 at a major boarding school in nearby Westward Ho!, North Devon, will recall the multiple references of how the boys played with the pretty much unguarded gas supply in the small town, which was typical of the installations of the time, being only run by one man (who the boys called "Cokey").
 
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randyrippley

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Among the harbours that had facilities for small coal ships from Wales (very visible across the water) were Barnstaple, Ilfracombe, Watchet, Bridgwater and Burnham. The coal was for both household and gasworks, and quite possibly early and simplistic electricity generating stations as well, and was commonly brought from harbour (or station) by horse and cart.

Don't forget that from Bridgwater the Parrett / Tone / Isle / Yeo river complex for a while provided access for coal to the Somerset towns and villages. Those rivers were fairly effective canals and went the right way - north/south - unlike the railways.
 
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