Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Northampton Station Water Tower Continues To Survive

UK Railway History

Photo: Charles Moorhen

An Rusting Relic From The Days Of The Steam Train

Since steam-hauled passenger and freight trains passing through Northampton station came to an end in the 1960's, it seems virtually nothing tangible has survived in the area to testify to the existence of the 'Great Days of Steam'.

The locomotive shed, once covering an area where part of Northampton Castle formerly stood, was cleared to make way for an ugly, metal, two-tiered car park.
The coaling-plant was blown-up, signal box numbers '1' and '2' were demolished and the large semaphore signal gantries have long since disappeared.

However, tucked away close to the corner of a bridge truss, one relic from that romanticised era did manage to survive pretty much intact. A line-side water tower that over many decades quenched the thirst of thousands of steam locomotives.

So, how did this example manage to escape extinction?

When studying the tower's location, the reason for its survival becomes clear.
Photo: Charles Moorhen

Standing adjacent to the track running into the former Northampton sidings, and close to the main running lines into and out of Northampton station, it is logical to assume that removal of the tower would cause major disruption to both freight and passenger rail traffic on this busy stretch of track.

Without doubt it would require the temporary removal of overhead power lines. 
The entrance to the few remaining weed-strewn sidings, where Class 66 diesel locomotives can often be seen shunting stone trains and Loram rail-grinding trains can sometimes be spotted, would be completely beyond use.

Add to this is the fact that the water tower stands only a few metres away from the busy Spencer Bridge Road bridge - a main artery into Northampton town - and the entry road leading to 'Martin's Yard', a small industrial area, its removal would no doubt cause serious traffic-flow problems in the area.

Photo: Charles Moorhen

So, for the time being at least - much to the delight of many rail travellers, railway enthusiasts and railway historians alike - it looks as though this relic from the glory days of steam will remain where it is for a little while longer.

A selection of railway videos from 'Along These Tracks'
UK Railways - Banbury Trains 16 June 2014 Video 
UK Railways - Trains at Gravesend March 2014 Video
UK Railways - Class 321 and 319 EMUs at Northampton 1999
UK Railways - Freight Through Northampton May 1999 Video
UK Railways - Class 58018 Heading a Ballast Train at Finedon
UK Railways - Banbury Trains at Night Video
UK Railways - Trains at Basingstoke Station 12 August 2013
UK Railways - 375 and 395 EMU's at Martin Mill and Ashford International
UK Railways - Freight Trains Through Northampton May 2013
UK Railways - Virgin Pendolinos Through Bletchley May 2013
UK Railways - Class 350 Desiro EMU Trains at Northampton May 2013
UK Railways - Class 390 Virgin Pendolinos Through Wolverton 2013 Video
UK Railways - Class 350 'London Midland' EMU's at Wolverton 2013 Video
UK Railways - Chiltern Railways, First Great Western, XCountry DMU's at Banbury 2013
UK Railways - Class 222 Trains DMU's at Wellingborough Apr 2013
UK Railways - Class 43 IC125 Trains at Wellingborough Apr 2013 Video
UK Railways - Class 222 Trains, DMU's, at Wellingborough Apr 2013 Video
UK Railways - Class 321 EMU Snakes into Bletchley Sidings 1990's
UK Railways - Class 321 & 350 EMU's at Wolverton Video
UK Railways - Class 321 Network South East leaves Bletchley Video
UK Railways - Class 321 Silverlink Trains EMU leaves Wolverton Video
UK Railways - Class 325 Royal Mail EMU Passes through Rugby Video
UK Railways - Class 350 127 EMU Passes through Rugby Video
UK Railways - Class 321 418 Silverlink EMU at Wolverton
UK Railways - Class 60 015 Diesel Locomotive approaches Wolverton
UK Railways - Virgin Pendolino Class 390 041 EMU at Rugby Video

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