OREALD.COM - An Old Electronic Library
eng: a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

The Great Western page 4


Pages: 1 2 3 <4>

He started with desperate endeavours to pump out the water from the company's abandoned works; the pumping power was increased and increased, but by some unhappy chance the pumps broke down one after the other just as they were telling on the persistent stream. An iron door had been built by the company in the heading under the river, some thousand feet from the bottom of the shaft which had been left open when the water broke in; and this it was decided to shut.

Lambert, the leading diver, started on his perilous journey armed only with a short iron bar, and carefully groped his way in total darkness over the things which strewed the bottom of the heading, past upturned skips, tools, and lumps of rock, which had been left in the panic of 1879, until he reached within 100 ft. of the door, when he found it impossible to drag the air-hose after him, as it rose to the top of the heading and its friction against the rock and the head-trees offered greater resistance than he could overcome.

Then the Fleuss diving-dress was sent for, that knapsack of compressed oxygen which delivers into a mask worn over the face. The inventor attempted to get to the door, but failed. Then Lambert was induced to try the new invention, and after a little practice he went again along the heading, reached the door and pulled up one of the rails. Two days afterwards he went again and shut the door and screwed the valves, being away an hour and twenty minutes. Slowly the water sank when the pumping began, and when it was low enough to allow a man to wade to the door the mystery of the slowness became clear. There were two valves, one with a right-handed screw, the other with a left-handed one, and Lambert, not knowing this, had screwed both to the right, opening one and shutting the other.

The inflow being checked, the work went ahead. But trouble succeeded trouble most unexpectedly. In 1883 the water burst in at the rate of 27,000 gallons a minute, and again Lambert had to be called on to go and shut the door; and once the tidal wave broke in and flooded both cuttings and tunnel; and once all the approaches were choked with snow. But at last by pumping 23 million gallons a day, and using 76| million bricks and 37 thousand tons of cement, the 3628 men finished in seven years a tunnel that is kept dry by six Cornish beam engines with 70-in. cylinders, pumping 75 million gallons a week, installed in an engine-house that is one of the sights of the line. The tunnel, the longest in the kingdom, has a length of 4 miles 624 yards; Chipping Sodbury tunnel, the next longest on the line, measures 2 miles 979 yards.

Cardiff is the main junction for The Great Western route to Ireland. Here the Birmingham express, coming down by the west, transfers its passengers to the London train, and the Plymouth and Weymouth people, arriving by way of Bristol and the Severn tunnel, join in. Passing Neath, with the ruined castle on one side and the ruined abbey on the other, we are soon at Swansea, where the old Oystermouth, still a steam tram-road, leads out on to the Gower peninsula. Then we reach Whitland for Tenby, the happy hunting ground of the shore zoologist; then Clarbeston Road for Milford Haven, where every endeavour to make a great port has ended in failure; and then by way of Goodwick we reach Fishguard Harbour.

Fishguard seems to have been discovered by the French, who marched there from Carreg-gwastad Point, a few miles to the south, in 1797, when they began their invasion of Wales. But Lord Cawdor with the militia and volunteers, the territorials of the time, aided by the women, the red in whose apparel caused them to be mistaken for a reserve, so welcomed the invaders that they surrendered at discretion. The little port at the mouth of the Gwaine has only come to its own. It was the terminus originally intended for the South Wales line in 1844, which was to run there from Standish, 162 miles, "the 250 miles between London and Fishguard to be covered in five hours" - an expectation that was to be realised more than sixty years afterwards.

It is a wild spot, that may develop into a pleasant seaside town, worthy of description by a second Giraldus Cambrensis, around the nucleus of the fishermen's white cottages and the railwaymen's village of a hundred and twelve houses built by the railway company in thirteen different styles, that give it the appearance of a garden city founded on a rock. And the rock is hard enough, as can be seen from our illustrations, in one of which we have the line as it reached the corner, while in the other we have it after the corner was blasted away a few minutes later and the road to the harbour laid open.

The company having hard rock, deep water, and a free hand, made the best of their dominion, and the result is a really sensibly designed railway port, in which everything has been thoroughly thought out and provided for. Take, for instance, the arrangements for the cattle trade. Instead of bringing the beasts ashore on to the road, as is usually done, with all the confusion and unpleasantnesses incidental thereto, a special gallery has been contrived for them below the road level, along which they can be driven without obstruction, and so arranged that it can be cleaned into the sea with a minimum of labour.

Fishguard is 2902 miles from New York, nearer by 55 miles than Plymouth and 115 miles nearer than Liverpool, and this has been borne in mind by making it suitable not only for a Channel trade but for an ocean one. Soon after it was ready some of the South American liners began to use it as a port of call on the homeward journey, and so well adapted did the arrangements prove for quick despatch that the great Cunarders followed, and now it is known to all as being four and a half hours from London on the quickest American route.

There are no betterboats crossing the home seas The Cattle Gallery at Fishguard. than the four turbine Saints - Andrew, George, David, and Patrick - that the company have built to carry their goods and passengers to Rosslare. Their trial speed was 23 knots, and they keep it up. They look like small ocean liners, and not like ferry machines; and they are convenient and comfortable, handsome within and without, and well spoken of by all who have travelled in them. Steady, speedy, powerful boats were wanted, for the sou'wester swings the Atlantic seas in with such vigour that the voyage in the winter is no child's play; and after all a line depends for its prosperity on the regular passenger more than on the occasional excursionist.

<<< Previous page <<<
Pages: 1 2 3 <4>

Pictures for The Great Western page 4

The Great Western
The Great Western >>>>
Paddington Station.
Paddington Station. >>>>
A Great Western Guard.
A Great Western Guard. >>>>
One of the Vans of the Ocean Mail Special.
One of the Vans of the Ocean Mail Special. >>>>
The Great Bear
The Great Bear >>>>
Temple Meads Station, Bristol
Temple Meads Station, Bristol >>>>
A 100-wagon coal train
A 100-wagon coal train >>>>
First-class Dining Saloon
First-class Dining Saloon >>>>
Composite Brake Corridor Carriage, No. 7672
Composite Brake Corridor Carriage, No. 7672 >>>>
The Royal Saloon.
The Royal Saloon. >>>>
The first Royal Saloon built in 1840 for Queen Victoria
The first Royal Saloon built in 1840 for Queen Victoria >>>>
The first of the
The first of the "Consolidation" Engines built in England >>>>
One of Brunei's famous Trestle Bridges in Cornwall, now being replaced by . . .
One of Brunei's famous Trestle Bridges in Cornwall, now being replaced by . . . >>>>
. . . these substantial stone structures. Gover Viaduct.
. . . these substantial stone structures. Gover Viaduct. >>>>
Express Passenger Locomotive, No. 190
Express Passenger Locomotive, No. 190 >>>>
Saltash Bridge
Saltash Bridge >>>>
China Clay Trains at St. Austell
China Clay Trains at St. Austell >>>>
Badminton, an up-to-date Typical Station
Badminton, an up-to-date Typical Station >>>>
The Gloucestershire end of the Severn Tunnel
The Gloucestershire end of the Severn Tunnel >>>>
The
The "Cornishman" near box, running at full speed >>>>
Fishguard Harbour
Fishguard Harbour >>>>
Making the line to Fishguard
Making the line to Fishguard >>>>
Making the line to Fishguard
Making the line to Fishguard >>>>
The Cattle Gallery at Fishguard
The Cattle Gallery at Fishguard >>>>

Home | Privacy Policy | Copyright | About