05 October, 2012

Cornish Valley Railway Viaduct

Gover Valley viaduct Cornwall

Strolling up the valley from where I live in Cornwall the morning sunshine was shining through the viaduct which carries trains on their way to and from London.

34 viaducts in all had to be build back in the 1850s for, what was then known as, the Cornwall Railway. The initial design was by Isambard Kingdon Brunel, the great mechanical and civil engineer of that period.

His first design consisted of stone piers or columns supporting a timber superstructure, as per the old photo below. This was known as a fan viaduct. But all of that wood was costly to maintain and in 1898 a replacement viaduct was built completely of stone, which is still used today.

Cornish wooden fan viaduct from mid 1850s

The piers of the original design were left in place and are now known as Brunel's Stumps. I must say that the present solid stone viaduct looks much more substantial and safe than the old fan design. In 1897 a Cannon Hammond wrote, "These wooded bridges are precarious and there have been people who would not take the railway journey through Cornwall because of their supposed insecurity."

Drawing of train crossing an old fan viaduct
He added, about the viaduct in the valley where I live, "Some of the stone piers are shaky and one in particular, so the engineers assures me, moves when a train passes over it."

There was a certain chill in the air this morning. Most of us in Cornwall are still waiting for summer to start, but now being October looks like it has past us by this year. All we have had instead is rain and more rain, but at least the reservoirs are full to capacity.

Brown horse in Cornwall

Not sure what has happened to all of this global warming we were promised. Even some of the local horses are wearing their coats.

Horses in Cornwall wearing coats

Other Cornwall Posts:
The Holy Well Of St Sampson At Golant In Cornwall
The Magic Of Fowey Cornwall
In Search Of Celtic Crosses At St.Winnow In Cornwall

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11 comments:

  1. So sorry you believed the "Inconvenient Truth" regarding global warming. That was a ploy to get people paying through the nose for carbon credits. Instead, we are dealing with the sun's activity. Sometimes it's cold but as soon as I sit in the sun a while I'm overheated. Maybe I should blog again about this.
    Beautiful photos, Mike and I envy that lovely place to walk about.

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    1. Thanks Dixie - an inconvenient truth: like that. It's is pleasant but like most people I only snap the best parts!

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    2. At least you guys don't have a Carbon Tax yet,unfortunately my country has been suckered into one -

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_tax

      " On the 1st of July 2012 the Australian Federal government introduced a Carbon price, a tax of $23AUD per tonne of emitted CO2 on selected fossil fuels consumed by major industrial emitters only. The revenue raised by this tax was used to reduce income tax (by increasing the tax-free threshold) and increase pensions and welfare payments slightly to cover expected price increases, as well as introducing compensation for some affected industries.

      The fixed price of $23AUD in the initial financial year of 2012–2013 is scheduled to rise by 2.5% a year, until transitioning to an emissions trading scheme (ETS) in 2015–16 when the available permits will be limited in line with a pollution cap. "

      What next?
      A tax for the Emperor's new clothes?-)

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    3. It must therefore be the only tax we don't have! And I agree with you about 'Climate Change' - see below.

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  2. I really enjoy traveling around Cornwall. What a beautiful place. I'll send some of our hot weather your way. It's still 85 here in the middle of the night. Last winter, we had just two cold days. Whether it's called global warming or climate change, it's underway.

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    1. 85 in the middle of the night: not sure I could adjust to that, maybe a tad too warm!

      Our 'summer' has certainly seen a change this year. I'm just hoping that it'll get back to what we expect next year ... or is that wishful thinking?

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    2. Climate change is certainly underway,but I agree with Dixie it's the sun's activity that's to blame and there's not much that we can do about it,apart from spraying the sky with s#!+ and making more profit for the chemical manufacturers,while poisoning the general population in the process.
      There will be some tough times ahead in our lifetime from all this,no doubt about that.
      But it won't be the end of the world.
      These are just natural cycles that the earth has gone through before,it's just that now it's harder to pack up and leave the area you live in if the climate changes to drastically in the part of the world where you live.
      For some it will be a rough ride,and we're all praying that it won't be a ride taken on our own horse.

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    3. Actually Darren I partly agree with you! In the UK the Romans grew grapes, in the late 1800s the river Thames froze, and this is only 'recent' history. I believe in natural cycles so our climate will change. Scientists know this as they don't talk of 'Global Warming' any more, it's suddenly all about 'Climate Change'. The publicity will continue though as there is lots of money being made by some powerful people - so the boat won't be rocked.

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    4. I'm a bit confused as to about which part you disagree with me on Mike.

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  3. Even if it's a natural cycle, I think that more than 7 billion people on the planet leave a carbon footprint.

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  4. There's also the consideration of a 14 degree change in the earth's axis. We're a little more tilted than we've been in a long time. This then creates an issue with the polar magnetic fields. Then the sun spews solar flares and some areas are like 'crispy critters' while others are ice cubes. According to many native peoples in the USA this is part of the cycle of the sun. Google Lakota and the December 2012 dooms day. Interesting video.

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