Carn­forth’s lofty con­crete tow­ers are on ‘at risk’ reg­is­ter

Steam Railway (UK) - - Headline News -

THE badly de­te­ri­o­rated state of re­in­forced con­crete struc­tures at Carn­forth’s for­mer LMS lo­co­mo­tive depot - most no­tably the Grade II-listed coal­ing tower, ash dis­posal plant, wa­ter tower and the six-road shed it­self - has prompted His­toric Eng­land to place them on its Her­itage at Risk reg­is­ter. Pre­vi­ously key el­e­ments of the Steam­town, Carn­forth rail­way mu­seum which ran from 1968-96, the struc­tures have be­come a main­te­nance and safety li­a­bil­ity for West Coast Rail­way Co, which to­day uses the site as the main base for its char­ter train op­er­a­tions. The struc­tures par­tic­u­larly the coal­ing tower and ash dis­posal plant - have been in a known state of de­cay for more than 30 years, suf­fer­ing from so-called ‘con­crete cancer’ - cor­ro­sion of in­ter­nal steel re­in­forc­ing rods, forc­ing crack­ing and erup­tion of the con­crete struc­ture. Ex­pert opin­ion on whether it can be re­paired is di­vided. Work­ing demon­stra­tions dur­ing high sea­son open days ceased in the early 1980s be­cause of the poor con­di­tion of the con­crete tow­ers. The steel ac­cess lad­ders to the top of them were re­moved as a safety pre­cau­tion. The listed struc­tures, which in­clude the car­riage shed and Set­tle & Carlisle line sig­nal box from Sel­side, all fall within a ‘con­ser­va­tion area’ which also in­cludes Carn­forth sta­tion, and streets that fea­ture a num­ber of rail­way­men’s ter­raced houses. The ‘at risk’ list­ing, ac­cord­ing to Lan­caster City Coun­cil­lor Jan­ice Han­son, pro­vides an op­por­tu­nity “to work to­gether to ac­cess fund­ing, and es­tab­lish a way for­ward.” West Coast MD Pat Mar­shall told Steam Rail­way: “The struc­tures are cer­tainly a li­a­bil­ity - but as a com­pany, we have mixed views as to whether they should be re­paired or de­mol­ished. “They’re re­ally not in a very good state - but we haven’t been ap­proached by any­one about this ‘at risk’ list­ing. It’s all news to us.”

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