Thanks to the low morning sunshine I made a new discovery on my walk west to Dalston yesterday.
At one point the path comes quite close to the railway tracks and, thanks to the position of the sun casting shadows, I could see some writing on the surface of the steel rails (Click image for larger view).
BS 113A – O -BSC Workington – 1977 -BR
The raised rusty brown lettering, hidden from sight beneath the top curve of the rail, made me wonder more about the history of this piece of steel and if the date 1977 referred to its date of manufacture.
Workington steel rails
It turns out that steel made in Workington, on the west coast of Cumbria, was of a very high quality and was transported all over the world.
It is reported that the worlds first large scale steelworks was in the Moss Bay area of the town. It operated under the title of The Moss Bay Hematite Iron Company.
The works once housed a number of Bessemer Converters, established by the father of steel mass production, Henry Bessemer.
When the steel production plant closed in 1974 the No.1 Converter was taken to Kelham Island Museum in Sheffield, where it remains. It is one of only three remaining examples in the world.
The Company rolled the first steel rails on 13th August, 1877. The rail processing and production plant closed in August 2006.
Thousands of trains
Looking back at the rail I spotted and after a little bit of a mental calculation given the 37 years it may have been in service I estimate that:
If I assume 4 trains per day average, my calculations reveal around 52,000 trains have passed along this line so far.
To me that is amazing, but do you know the actual total ? Maybe you can add to the history of the Workington steel works or the track near Dalston? Let me know in the comments area below.
Until next time
Licks and wags