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Canal interchange basins

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Monmore Green Basin, Chillington.

Monmore Green interchange basin 1999

Chillington Interchange Basin was rebuilt in 1902 by the London and North Western Railway, after it had acquired the bankrupt Chillington Iron Company, which was originally served by the basin. It is a rare (possibly unique in Britain) survival of an interchange basin complete with canopy.

Chillington Wharf Canal-Railway Interchange Basin- Bridge over the entrance to the basin, the sheds of which can be seen on the right. (Photo by Alex Chatwin, July 1998)

Interchange Basin - The single remaining arm of the basin. (Photo by Bev Parker, June 2000)

Wolverhampton was remarkable for the number of railway-canal interchange 'stations' that were constructed". Six operated by the LNWR, two by the GWR and one by the MR. Of these, this one above is the only survivor.

Originally there was one basin here, later enlarged to two, all owned by the Chillington Iron Works and linked to their foundry by a 2ft 6in tramway. The Chillington Iron Company went into receivership in 1885 and their land was sold off in 1885 and 1886. The LNWR bought the basin and built the sidings and branch railway after they had acquired Parliamentary powers in 1898. At that time they built the present basin, with two equal length arms. One arm was removed in the 1930s leaving the present single arm. The entrance and side bridge were not changed.

The London Midland & Scottish Railway on formation in 1923 inherited a considerable canal network from the earlier pre-grouping railway owned canals. In addition to the canals, boats also owned by those companies came under LMS ownership. Thus boats from the North Staffs, the Midland, London & North Western (who owned the Shropshire Union fleet) all came into the company. Many of these boats were wooden, but in 1928 W.J .Yarwoods of Northwich were commissioned to build a fleet of mostly open, rivetted iron day boats, for use on the 22 railway interchange basins of the Birmingham Canal Navigations (BCN). The hulls were all iron construction, including the bottom, and measured 70ft in length by 7ft beam, with a hull side of 3ft 6in. They are recognised by the unique fore-deck, which has a typical Yarwoods stem bar; the deck having little rise, and being longer than Joshers and GUCC boats.

In 1948, all the boats passed into the ownership of British Railways, the stern bends being lettered B.R.(L.M.R.); standing for British Railways London Midland Region. BR continued the interchange traffic until 1st April 1954, when they ceased operations with canal boats, and thus 67 boats became available for transfer. The GWR owned boats as well, and some boats owned by the LMS had come from the Midland Rly, and London & North Western Railway. The fleet was taken over by British Waterways, but with trade gradually diminishing.
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Another example is Bugsworth Basin.

Work on both the Peak Forest Canal and the tramlines from Doveholes was completed in the late 1700's.This enabled limestone to be transported from the quarries by horse drawn waggons on a tramway, and either be transferred as limestone to canal barges, or burnt into lime in kilns at the basin, and then shipped out.

Once Britain's largest inland port the basin became dis-used in 1927 as a result of the dominance of the railways.

An extract from an Ordnance Survey map of 1878 showing the tramway bridge across the Black Brook and the adjacent tramway wharf.

Bugsworth Basin looking east.

The gritstone wharf is on the right and in the centre foreground is the cantilever jib crane used to load stone into boats. Gangs of wagons can be seen alongside this wharf all loaded with dressed gritstone from Barren Clough Quarry. On the wharf in front of the lime shed a neat mound of gritstone is waiting to be loaded. The post sticking out of the centre of the mound is all that remains of another crane which once stood on this wharf.
In the centre background the workshops can just be seen. These are situated by the turnout (points) for the tramway branch to Barren Clough Quarry.
On the right, the smaller building is a blacksmiths' shop and the larger building behind it is the Rose & Crown Inn.
On the left the deep pens by the wharf are filled with limestone brought down the Peak Forest Tramway from the quarries at Dove Holes Dale. A boat is waiting by this wharf to be loaded.
The timber piers on each side of the canal, at its terminus, are wagon tipplers which are used to tip limestone onto the wharf. The one on the left is still operational but the one on the right is derelict.
The lime shed is used to tranship lime, brought down the tramway in special covered high-sided wagons, to boats waiting inside it. This operation is done undercover in order to keep the lime dry.
The parapet in the foreground on the left is Silk Hill Bridge and to the right a wooden footbridge is being stored on the gritstone wharf for some reason.

Bugsworth Basin restored in 1999

Bugsworth Basin nowdays

More info on the The Peak Forest Tramway, Derbyshire can be seen here.
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