End Of The Line For The Croft Pit Incline.

Soda Ash Tanks, being moved into the Factory, to be unloaded.

The Corkickle Brake was 525 yards long with an inclination averaging from 1 in 52 to 1 in 66 Maximum; loading was 72 tons downhill and 60 tons upwards. The Brake was capable of being run, if necessary with a difference of 25 tons in the loading. At the passing point on the incline one wagon would pass four wagons, three wagons would pass two wagons, and two wagons would pass two wagons. The incline was laid with a single railway track from the bottom to the passing loop. From there, three rails ascended to near the Brake top where they formed three railway tracks running on to the wagon-landing beneath the engine house. The lines then converged into a single track over Lakeland Avenue, which was protected by gates. This had been an open crossing in the Colliery Company's time. Sand drags were provided on the incline, which was fitted with electro-pneumatic points. If wagons exceeded a speed of 9mph on the descent, the points would operate automatically and the wagons were diverted into one of the sand drags. When the Marchon works took over the brake they retained the original railway layout Under Marchon control, the brake was run on a two man a shift basis between the hours of 6am and 10pm although a night shift might be worked as well when there was extra Traffic.

The modernised brake was capable of handling over 200 wagons in 16 hours (two shifts) if the need arose. This figure represented about 2000 tons of traffic per day into and out of Marchon Works. Very amicable relations always existed between Marchon Works and the colliery staff at Ladysmith and both concerns were always pleased to help each other. Much of Marchon's shunting in the early days was performed by the colliery locomotives on a 'gentleman's agreement' and some of this work was not even paid for! It was only when the NCB came into existence that proper shunting agreements were drawn up between the two concerns.

An example of this good relationship occurred when the NCB transferred locomotive No.40 from Seaton Delaval. This was a large 18in Robert Stephenson & Hawthorns locomotive (works number 7739 of 1952) with six-coupled wheels, It had been hauled by rail from Northumberland and, on its arrival at Bransty, it was found to be facing the wrong way for going up the Howgill Brake. BR was asked to carry on with the locomotive to Corkickle so that it could go up the other brake. Arrangements were quickly made with Marchon Works and No.40 was taken up the Corkickle Brake on 15th April 1959 reaching Ladysmith with its chimney facing south.


Empty Soda Ash Tank, Going Down The Incline.


When taking six-coupled locomotives up the Brakes, it was necessary to remove the side rods and the springs from the intermediate driving wheels, and a special safety device had to be attached to the haulage cable. With the modernisation of the Corkickle Brake, Marchon Works had to obtain its own locomotive. A new Peckett was on order, but in the meantime, the firm looked around for a second-hand locomotive which was immediately available. Wilson Walker, later to become the first rail traffic manager at Marchon Works, was sent off to look at a Yorkshire Engine Company locomotive (works number 2140 of 1926). This was an example of the maker's 'AF (Light) Class', specially designed and built for the Appleby Frodingham Steel Company.

Evidently, Mr. Walker was quite taken with the looks of the locomotive and he arranged to purchase it via the dealer, J.H. Riddell Ltd., in January 1955. It arrived at Kells by road but on unloading, it was soon apparent that it would need substantial repairs, including the provision of a new firebox and tubes before it would run again. Fortunately the cost of acquisition had been quite low. The Company was considering giving the locomotives names and LADY ANNE was proposed for Yorkshire 2140 but it was never carried out and the repairs were not done.

The locomotive languished on a siding in the works until it was finally cut up where it stood in July 1959 by local scrap dealer, Peter Hanratty. The new Peckett (works number 2158) arrived at Corkickle on 31st March 1955 and was brought up the recently opened Brake. It was an 'OY2' class four-coupled locomotive with 16in cylinders and was well liked by the Marchon drivers who regarded it as a strong locomotive. Although it never carried the name LADY POLLY, it continued to be known as that by the staff for several years.

After the arrival of the first diesel, the Peckett was often loaned to the NCB at Ladysmith and they made good use of it. The only drawback was that it faced north, which was the wrong way for the 1 in 65 gradient of the 1-mile line from Howgill Brake Top up to Ladysmith. As a result, its boiler had to be kept very well filled, and when working hard on the bank, the locomotive often primed quite violently! After long periods of loan at Ladysmith between 1967 and 1969, it was no surprise when the Peckett was returned to Albright & Wilson in rather poor condition. S. Morgan & Sons of Barrow cut the locomotive up in June 1970.


For more Information and pictures about the Corkickle Brake Incline Visit The wonderful Cumbria Railways website created by Peter Burgess at www.Cumbria-Railways.co.uk. The Cumbria Railways website is dedicated to the lost railways of Northern Cumbria which have all closed during the last century.