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Author Topic: Folkestone Harbour Swing Bridge - History and Model  (Read 4983 times)

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Offline conan

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Re: Folkestone Harbour Swing Bridge - History and Model
« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2018, 19:59:01 »
A different perspective on the station and connecting trackway

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZj5YfLCxbc
To remain ignorant of what happened before you were born is to remain a child......Cicero

Offline CommanderChuff

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Re: Folkestone Harbour Swing Bridge - History and Model
« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2017, 10:50:26 »
There has been some feedback from an ex docker and they have confirmed that the capstans were installed for wagon hauling on the south quay and were electrically powered.
David,
Royal Navy, Aircraft Engineer, Project Manager, Yachtsman, Eroica Cyclist,  Railway Modeller

Offline CommanderChuff

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Re: Folkestone Harbour Swing Bridge - History and Model
« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2017, 15:39:56 »
Martin and Mike,

Thank you for your comments which are most welcome.   The capstans appear on the maps in 1898 just when steam powered ships were coming into service.  I understand the issue of sailing ships as I have a sailing yacht myself.  And I did wonder why a capstan was needed for powered ships which were just coming into service. 

The point about there being no locos on the quay siding is a good one, and I hadn't considered the operational side of shunting on closed sidings.  I can see that whilst single wagons can be man pushed I would think several in train would need some mechinal assistance.   

So thanks once again for the feedback and hope that you have a happy Christmas,

David
David,
Royal Navy, Aircraft Engineer, Project Manager, Yachtsman, Eroica Cyclist,  Railway Modeller

Offline MartinR

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Re: Folkestone Harbour Swing Bridge - History and Model
« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2017, 21:41:05 »
The capstans may be to warp sailing ships out, not in.  Square rigged vessels leaving harbour were warped out to the harbour entrance since the buildings and land might lead to light variable winds at low level.  A ship leaving would only be setting topsails or course.  She would be slow (therefore not manoeuvrable) and if the wind was forward of the beam it was difficult, if not impossible, for a square rigger.

Offline mikeb

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Re: Folkestone Harbour Swing Bridge - History and Model
« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2017, 11:53:39 »
C. Chuff, many thanks for your interesting up-dates.A couple of observations re the capstan question:-

In my (limited) experience, a ship, sail or steam / motor, always warps itself alongside a quay, thereby giving the captain / pilot control of the operation. The ships own ropes are used, secured to a shoreside bollard, which also makes it easier to secure the ship with this warping rope once along side. Certainly in an emergency a shore capstan may be used, but it would need to be powerful enough to pull a ship, sideways, against a tide possibly, rather than a wagon or two. Do we know the power rating of this capstan?

I don't think the sidings on South Quay could have been loco worked (access appears to be by wagon t.table only) so all movements would  have to be made by either capstan, horse, or good old "hand-raulic" power? I suggest that wagon shunting was the primary function of your capstan.

Keep shunting!

Offline CommanderChuff

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Re: Folkestone Harbour Swing Bridge - History and Model
« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2017, 10:16:26 »
Am unable to load the images, any advice would be welcome
David,
Royal Navy, Aircraft Engineer, Project Manager, Yachtsman, Eroica Cyclist,  Railway Modeller

Offline CommanderChuff

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Re: Folkestone Harbour Swing Bridge - History and Model
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2017, 10:14:26 »
Some more pictures of the work in progress on the model.
David,
Royal Navy, Aircraft Engineer, Project Manager, Yachtsman, Eroica Cyclist,  Railway Modeller

Offline CommanderChuff

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Re: Folkestone Harbour Swing Bridge - History and Model
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2017, 09:48:55 »
There has been some discussion on the possible uses of a capstan on the south quay in Folkestone Harbour.  Such a device is identified on an OS map dated 1907 and also appears on other maps dated 1898 and from 1907 onwards. 

The capstan was probably hydraulic powered, and possibly driven by water pressure although electric power is an option given that the new south pier was all electric.  We are discounting steam as the capstan is situated right next to the very large goods warehouse and there appears to be no suitable building (boiler with tall chimney) nearby.  There is a water pumping station near to the Folkestone Junction station and sidings at the top of the incline.  This was constructed and operated by the railway in 1860 to provide water for loco,  this water being very soft after springing out from the chalk cliffs and wasideal for steam boilers.   There was a spa at Folkestone which was tapped into for its health giving properties.

The alternatives for the capstan which have been considered are: 1 - for hauling railway wagons down the siding, 2 - for warping ships to the quayside.  The position of the capstans at the end of the sidings on the Horn seem to be too far away from the quayside to allow their use to turn or draw in any vessels.

The major improvement work to build the current south promenade pier and the south quay was completed in 1904 so these capstans could been made available for the modern turbine steamer ferries which berthed at this quay.  Prior to this there were sailing colliers and barges entering the inner harbour to discharge at the grid iron, and cargo and passenger steamers unloading at the quay.  Paddle steamers from 1880 to 1910 and turbine steamers from 1903 to 1940 for cross channel passengers.

The typical uses for capstans on the shore side is for warping ships around the harbour.  The capstan allows sailors to attach ropes to a ship and to pull the ship into place against the berth with one or two men and against strong winds or tidal stream.   Sometimes it is difficult to turn ships in a confined space as most need some forward way to make the rudders effective to turn the vessel.  In the case of a sailing barge without an engine then this vessel would certainly need help to move. 

It is possible that the volume of cross channel passenger traffic was increasing dramatically in the late 1800's and the SER plans to expand the ferry terminal for new and faster ships had to accomnodate the existing trading shipping into the harbour.  Since the harbour was built in 1810 this included coal, ice, wood and fishing boats, and these were all sailing vessels. Most of these had no engine and were therefore subject to winds and tides. In some extreme conditions there was the possibility that a ship could become stuck across and block the narrow harbour entrance.  This would prevent a channel passenger ship from entering and making harbour in a gale in a worse case scenario but could also delay a ferry on a tight schedule.  The railway trains at each end of the sea crossing were now not on a tidal timetable which had allowed some leeway in timings to suit the arrival or departure of the ferry.

Assuming this situation then the capstans could have a dual purpose, hauling wagons dwon the dead end siding and being available in an emergency for warping ships.

As ever please comment and thanks,

David
David,
Royal Navy, Aircraft Engineer, Project Manager, Yachtsman, Eroica Cyclist,  Railway Modeller

Offline CommanderChuff

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Re: Folkestone Harbour Swing Bridge - History and Model
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2017, 17:54:04 »
David,

Many thanks for your appreciation,
David,
Royal Navy, Aircraft Engineer, Project Manager, Yachtsman, Eroica Cyclist,  Railway Modeller

Offline Dave Smith

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Re: Folkestone Harbour Swing Bridge - History and Model
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2017, 12:38:00 »
CC.   To say FANTASTIC would be an understatement!  Patience & Dedication must be in your blood.The model falls into the category of those Naval ships that we see from bilgerat from time to time.Congratulations & thanks for sharing with those of us who THOUGHT we were modellers!

Offline CommanderChuff

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Re: Folkestone Harbour Railway - A Modelling Adventure
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2017, 09:28:06 »
There has been some real progress in constructing the trackwork for the quay area of the harbour that it seemed timely to update this thread to chart the build.

The starting point for the layout was made five years ago when a number of opportunites came to fruition to allow the project to be planned and designed. The first major task was to build the swing bridge and to install it. There was a lot riding on the success of this bit not least to show that trains could climb the famous gradient to the London - Dover mainline, but also to actually design and build the bridge, and to install it in the layout so that it was the centrepiece in the layout. With all these objectives achieved, here are the pictures of this stage of the build.

Putting the bridge together and painting it was attended by an immense sense of relief. and of satisfaction and pointed towards the next challenge. Can my, or indeed any, locos get a train up the Fearsomely Famous Folkestone (FFF) incline?

The home for the layout is in a 20 foot long garden shed with an 8 foot wide base. The intention is to have the London to Dover mainline running around the top of the garden in a 50 by 40 foot oblong and entering the shed (cunningly disguised as a Southern Railway signal box) on the back wall. The junction to the harbour starts at the point that the mainline bursts through the Shakespeare tunnel and the branch line descends down the incline over the viaduct and bridge to the south quay area. The relative heights of the mainline and the dock side were set by best guesstimate on what was thought to work for those poor old R class shunters. There had to be enough downwardness to mimic the FFF incline but level enough to  allow trains to work up it in a manner which resembled the real thing. As a consequence of intermittent periods of will-it-or-wouldn`t -it work the levels of the two track boards changed constantly as several attempts to install the bridge were made. In the end, hands on hips, frown on brow, I said sod it and ‘nailed’ down the bridge base board in a final and desperate effort so that track laying could actually start. The incline was built and tracks connected to the bridge. A little LBSCR Terrier was plucked from the loco storage shed and volunteered to push a carriage and a few vans up the FFF hill. At the slightest hint of gravity the Terrier slipped and then stalled and the train was subjected to a few more F’s. But after a little gentle talking too, some cleaning and fettling, and oiling, and generally being a proper railwayman, the next few runs produced the longed for result. The train arrived at the junction and all was well with the project. With these double successes in the back pocket the quay and pier were to become a hive of activity as long forgotten skills involving sleepers and rails and chairs were quietly resurrected and refined.

The dock side area of the south quay has a number of modelling features, including sleeper laid track through the harbour station, in-laid rails in the dock sidings and berth side lines, cranes in three versions and several bits of marine equipment, a lighthouse and a life boat, baggage containers and several types of trolleys, not to mention signals with many posts and huts of all sizes.

There is one bit of equipment which had defied identification. A very tall A-frame on the dock side has been spotted around the railway in this and other images. The frame is in the centre of the picture to the left of the corrugated hut on the dockside left of the bridge. From the helpful responses of fellow O gauge modellers it has been described as a pile driver. There is another image with the A frame positioned at the end of the east trestle where it was clearly performing the pile driving job into the water. The location can be seen where the buffer is in the picture bottom centre left of the swingbridge. It was noted that the A frame may be attached to the corrugated shed and it certainly looks so, but the other image shows the frame standing alone on the trestle, so it may be that the shed is a trolley which moves the frame to a working location and provides lifting power for the pile driver, but which can be detached as required. 

The photos show the beginning of the harbour station area with the branch line coming off the swing bridge, and the south quay area. The Folkestone harbour railway has the tightest curves on the whole southern area system according to a note from Wainwright in 1911 at 150 ft, or 41 scale inches, but luckily I have managed to maintain 5 ft curves as the norm on the layout so far.
David,
Royal Navy, Aircraft Engineer, Project Manager, Yachtsman, Eroica Cyclist,  Railway Modeller

Offline CommanderChuff

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Re: Folkestone Harbour Swing Bridge - History and Model
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2015, 16:15:23 »
Runaways and special Incline Brake Vans:

The inspecting officer of the branch line was Captain Wynne and his report was very clear on the need for adequate braking power for the trains ascending and descending the steep incline.  So it passed that just 4 years after the opening of the branch line the first runaway occurred.  In August of 1851 the Paris Boat Train was ascending the incline when the coupling broke at rear of the engine and train ran away down the incline.  Despite the efforts of the guard and the solitary hand brake in his vehicle the nine carriages of the train, with their passengers, hurtled unchecked to the bottom. Fortunately for all concerned the breakage occurred on the first curve from the harbour viaduct and no passengers were injured, although it is said that the body of the brake vehicle, complete with guard, was ejected over the buffer stop onto the shingle beach.  The accident was investigated by Captain Wynne and the Board of Trade (BOT) ordered that additional brake wagons to be added to trains.  At the end of 1854 a train of baggage vans ran away when descending the incline into the harbour station.  The railway company produced a design for a simple 12 ton brake wagon. It was an open wagon with a hand brake at one end.  The brakesman was given the protection of a handrail around the end of the wagon.  Sandboxes were provided on both sets of wheels.  There were four incline brakes built from 1865 and these were used in on all trains.  At some time around the turn of the century a wooden box cab was fitted over the brakesman position and the wooden brakes replaced with normal metal pads.  These unique vehicles were used in the defence of Britain in 1940 providing braking effort for the large railway guns in the St Margaret’s Cliffe area of Dover.  In 1878 a train of fish wagons ran away from the top of the incline.  The details of the incident are not recorded but in their absence it could be supposed that the incline brake wagons of the Folkestone Harbour branch line did a good job in stopping the train before the loads of fish were returned to the sea.
David,
Royal Navy, Aircraft Engineer, Project Manager, Yachtsman, Eroica Cyclist,  Railway Modeller

Offline CommanderChuff

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Re: Folkestone Harbour Swing Bridge - History and Model
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2015, 15:03:05 »
Role of the South Eastern Railway:
The railway was enacted in May of 1836 for the purpose of establishing a line of communication from London to Paris through the Kentish channel ports. The small harbour of Folkestone was selected as the English terminal on the basis of consultations with Telford. William Cubbit advised on the route from Boulogne port to Amiens for the Nord railway.  A route was selected through the middle of Kent, passing through Reigate, Ashford and, upon the completion of the magnificent Foord viaduct, arriving at the high cliffs of Folkestone in 1843.  In August a rail/sea service was offered with a replacement bus service to the harbour.  But by this time the harbour had silted up again in sympathy with a reduction in maritime trade and resulting in the bankruptcy of the harbour commissioners.  Accordingly, the railway was able to purchase the harbour and constructed a branch line from a junction on the main line to the harbour pier.  As the original act did not include this branch it was described as a tramway and that name has been perpetuated in the road running alongside the line.  The tramway was passed by Major General Pasley for a goods only line and, with its steepest gradient of 1 in 32, fell over 100 feet in 1330 yards.  It was to become a test of steam engine traction as the maritime traffic in the harbour grew and the boat trains become longer and heavier.  The line finished at the brick viaduct which acted like a pier in the harbour.  Wooden jetties were thrown up on each side to provide for the unloading of ships onto carts and wagons. The railway was built on a brick viaduct to cross the harbour and this division created the inner and outer havens for boats and ships. Vessels of over 200 tons had been bringing coal, wood and ice to the harbour and the gap from the viaduct to the south pier was about 130 ft.  A railway swing bridge was planned to cross the gap and to provide access for the cargo ships to the inner harbour. The original bridge of 1847 was the largest of its type and the first of two to be installed.  A goods depot and harbour station were constructed on the shingle bank on the south side of the harbour.  The branch line was inspected and passed for passenger trains in January of 1849 by Captain George Wynne of the Royal Engineers. The inspector was very concerned with the ability of the company to provide sufficient braking power in the trains.  Following tests and trials he recommended a minimum of one ‘break’ carriage in every three vehicles for the larger carriages and one in six for the smaller types. At least the harbour station provided the intrepid passengers with some protection from the famed channel weather as they boarded the steam ship ferries.

The line on the French side was completed in 1848 and the inaugural cross channel railway service started on the 1st of January, 1849, from London to Paris, via Folkestone and Boulogne. In a period of just six years the railway company had purchased the harbour and several steamships, had opened the first purpose built hotel, the South Eastern Pavilion by William Cubitt for cross channel passengers, connected the main line, and had scheduled a train-ship-train service across the Channel. The crossing in paddle steamers was taking 1 hour and 45 minutes and travellers could expect to arrive in Paris 14 hours after leaving London.   This milestone in international travel was such a great step that the leading London newspaper The Times and the Morning Herald paid £10 per day to keep a special SER trains at readiness in Folkestone and at Dover for the early receipt of news.


Developing the Port:
A new pier was built out into the Channel in 1863 to accommodate larger ships which were becoming more dependent upon the state of the tide. The range of rise and fall is about twenty feet and the draft of bigger steam ships meant that the berths within the harbour were no longer available at all states of the tide. These new berths were some distance from the railway station and more improvements were put in to provide shelter for the passengers from inclement weather.  In 1897-1905 a major rebuild of the railway and the docks was completed to provide a 900 foot long stone pier with an extension of the harbour station on it.  The railway was now able to bring the boat trains of up to 12 coaches onto the pier so that passengers could embark onto the steam ships in relative comfort. The original swing bridge was strengthened and enlarged to cope with heavier and longer trains.   

The harbour was the key point of entry for communications.  From the winged messengers of the pigeon post to the electric telegraph the harbour was at the forefront of inter-continental communications for some years.   The South Eastern Railway had pioneered the use of the electric telegraph for train command and control on the line from London.  The natural step was to extend this form of communication to the continent.  As Mr Charles Walker, the Superintendent of Telegraphs of the SER, reported in 1850: ‘Insulated as we are from other nations, and yet very deeply interested in all that transpires on the Continent, we naturally look forward to the day when telegraph communications shall be made with as much facility between Dover and Calais, and Folkestone and Boulogne, as they now are between London and Dover’.   The undersea cable was successfully tested and was laid to Boulogne to extend the reach of the technology which kick started the internet.   

The Swing Bridge:

Bridge 1:  1847 – 1897:
The first was built and installed in 1847.  The Kent Herald reported in Spring of 1848 that the spans were sagging onto the abutments and the builder, a Mr Bull, was obliged to install suspension rods from a central anchorage to a point about halfway along the span to provide support for the timber structure.   The main construction of the bridge is wooden timbers of 14 inch by 9 or 12 inch wide.  These are assembled into three spans to give a likeness of a double cantilever bridge.  The spans are joined together by vertical braced cross beams to provide for two railway tracks.  The rails are laid on and secured to long lengths of timber and is further supported by transverse beams between main cross beams.  The structure is strengthened with horizontal diagonal braces which are laid in alternative directions at the top and bottom.   The bridge sits upon a turntable which pivots upon a brick and stone built pedestal.  At the pivot there are rising diagonals from the centre of the turntable to the top four corners of the central core.   The extremities of the span are supported by a suspension system where rods are taken from a metal tripod at the centre of each span.  The swing bridge was upgraded in 1882 by strengthening the metal tripods of the suspension rod anchorages and a cross bar connected the three spans together.  There was a steady increase in cross channel traffic as travellers discovered and liked the delights of Paris and the continental capitals.  The expansion of the continental services resulted in heavier trains which needed larger steamers and so the new pier was extended in 1897-1904 rebuilding work. 

Bridge 2:   1904-1930:
The revised bridge is the subject of SE&CR drawing 2118 and is dated 1917. The wooden body of the original was retained and the suspension system was enlarged.  The old metal tripods was replaced by an extension of the wooden timber construction to form a high tower at the centre of each span.  The towers are topped off by sturdy metal brackets to anchor the suspension wires.  The anchor brackets on each span are now connected by large (14 in x 12 inch) timber baulks. At some time around 1927 the suspension wire anchors on the metal brackets were modified.   In 1930 the railway was experimenting with replacement loco types for the old R1’s.  The use of Z class engines presented a height clearance conflict at the bridge.  This required a modification to the timber cross beam where a section was cutout and a new longer piece fastened to the top of the original beam.  This provided 14 inches of additional clearance for the up line.  The clearance issue highlighted one of the problems with the old wooden bridge with modern stock which had become larger and heavier.

Bridge 3: 1930 to date:
The increase in train weight and size, and the traffic arising from the Great War made the original wooden bridge, which was now 85 years old, obsolete. The new bridge is a box girder on the original pedestal.
David,
Royal Navy, Aircraft Engineer, Project Manager, Yachtsman, Eroica Cyclist,  Railway Modeller

Offline CommanderChuff

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Folkestone Harbour Swing Bridge - History and Model
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2015, 22:26:41 »
Article:  A Bridge (almost) Too Far:
Author: David Austin: Nov2015

Folkestone and the Shingles:
The small fishing port of Folkestone has the geographic privilege of being one of the ports closest to the French coast, and as a natural harbour, became an obvious location for our earliest communication with the European continent.  It is recorded that King Henry inspected the harbour in 1543 and that a fleet of fishing boats was the only source of income for the community. The fleet was virtually destroyed in five great storms from 1703 to 1799.  It was in 1710, and prior to the development of the telegraph and telephone, that the town became the home of the Pigeon Post. When the winged messengers had had their day the electrical wires of telegraph and telephone were used to transmit and receive stock prices between London and the continental capitals. The lofts of yesteryear were replaced by the headquarters building of the Stock Exchange.  The trading of stocks brought the monied gentlemen of means to the small town, and, with the building of their stately homes on the West Cliffs, a mini leisure resort was created from the skeletons of the fishing industry.  In 1808 the harbour was a simple shelter for the fishing fleet but the influence of the great and wealthy on the modest town was encouraging the development of the cross channel steamer trade.   The anticipation of great things with the coming of the railway from London the engineer William Jessop planned a C shaped haven with the Stade quay on the northern beach and extending towards the west side, a pier to enclose a spit of shingle on the southern arm.  A breakwater across the eastern entrance would form an enclosed harbour.  Thomas Telford was consulted on a development strategy to meet the demands of cross channel continental traffic.  Unfortunately the forces of nature in the prevailing south westerlies and tidal streams were no respecter of reputations and the engineer was again asked to advise on improvements in 1817 and 1829.  The harbour was being silted up as the currents dumped material into the entrance.  Telford, yet to become renowned for bridge and canal building, is thought to have designed the unusual harbour walls. In a series of remedial works the eastern wall was built up with large Kentish rag stones, some of which weighed up to 2 tons, and laid in rows at an angle of 45 degrees.  This superior form of dry walling has stood the test of time and presumably at a far lower cost than a neater construction of dressed stone as used in the south pier. The pier was extended to attempt to keep the encroaching shingle in check, Canute style.   The harbour was completed in 1920 but the continual silting problem caused the harbour commissioners to pass into bankruptcy in 1842.
David,
Royal Navy, Aircraft Engineer, Project Manager, Yachtsman, Eroica Cyclist,  Railway Modeller

 

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