Thursday, 9 August 2007

Calstock Viaduct centenary celebrations

Yesterday saw the start of various celebrations marking the centenary of the opening of the Calstock Viaduct. On 8th July 1907 a truckload of spoil made the first crossing of the new viaduct but it wasn't until March 1908 that the connecting lines were completed and open for business. For many years prior to the completion of these works there had been access for goods in and out of the valley via an in inclined railway to The Butts. In 1872 the East Cornwall Mineral Railway was opened from The Butts north to Drakewalls and then around the back of Kit Hill to Kelly Bray. From the bottom of the incline trucks were pulled along to the relevant quay on the riverside by carthorses.

The Calstock Footpath Society had organised a walk on this special day, ably led by David, to include the lower section of the incline not normally accessible to the public and on what turned out to be one of the best days of the summer so far we took advantage of the opportunity presented.

Roger, one of the most assiduous researchers from the Calstock Parish Archive, had previously looked into the history of the incline and his investigation had suggested that the incline railway whose alignment we see today was the third one to be built to get out of this part of the Tamar Valley.

An interesting fact is that the bridges associated with this incline still have to be maintained by 'Network Rail' although one can be sure that they wished that wasn't the case!

This proved to be a fascinating couple of hours that we both thoroughly enjoyed.

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