SCRCA Knowledge Base for Bridge SAC/71 - Force Gill Aqueduct

Submitted by mark.harvey / Fri, 03/03/2017 - 12:37
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  • Bridge SAC/71 (also known as Force Gill Aqueduct) was constructed during the early 1870s to carry the diverted water of Force Gill Beck over the top of the Settle-Carlisle Railway and into Little Dale Beck.
  • F.S. Williams briefly mentions the aqueduct in his 1876 account of the railway's construction:

"We first run through a short tunnel and under a mountain stream called Force Gill. This gill was the source of much trouble to the engineers, for it carried away their temporary bridges and drowned their quarries; but it now runs peacefully above our heads along a large stone trough that has been set with hot asphalte to insure its being watertight.
"The cutting itself is through strata principally of millstone grit and black marble, both of which cropped out on the surface before the work was begun, and some 400,000 cubic yards of which had to be removed before the tunnel entrance was reached. How many hypothetical marble mantel-pieces were destroyed in the process we have not been informed."
Source: Williams, Frederick Smeeton: "The Midland railway: its rise and progress. A narrative of modern enterprise", published by Strahan & Co London (1876)

  • There is speculation (based on the width of the structure and the presence of adjacent earthworks) that Bridge SAC/71 may have carried a branch of the tramway used to facilitate the construction of the railway. If such a branch existed, it would have allowed limestone (some of which is known to have been obtained from quarries in Force Gill) to be transported two-miles south for use in the construction of Ribblehead Viaduct. It may also have carried shale, which records show was ground-up and added to clay during the brick-making process at the Batty Green brickworks - see paragraph 1.29 of "How they built the Settle-Carlisle railway: C - Contract 1".
  • The northern half of the bridge now carries a bridleway, which forms part of the Craven Way. It also lies on the route of 'Three Peaks of Yorkshire' challenge walk.
  • Bridge SAC/71 was Grade II 'listed' on October 24th, 1997 (List Entry Number 1031510).
  • In November 2000, the Institute of Civil Engineers awarded their prestigious "Historic Bridge Award" to Railtrack (client), WS Atkins Rail (engineer) and Costain (contractor) for the waterproofing and repair-works to this structure.
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Knowledge base compiled by and © Mark R. Harvey.