Ticknall Tramway

Outram’s Proposals

Observations on the Conveyance of Limestone &c from Ticknall to the Ashby Canal, and of Coals &c; in return to Ticknall.

Having examined the country between Ticknall and Ashby Woulds, and traced the line heretofore proposed for the Canal, and the various lines that appeared to promise communication by Railways, between the Lime Rocks and the Canal on the Woulds, I am of Opinion that the most advantageous [sic] Mode of conveying Lime and Limestone from Ticknall to the Canal now executed, and j Coals &. Slack in return, from the Woulds to Ticknall; will be by a I Cast Iron Railway of the best construction, to commence at the Face of the Limestone Quarry at about the level of the Upper Strata of Limestone and to be carried South-westward on a general ascent by a tunnel about 600 yards in length, through the high Lands, and under Sir Hy Harpur’s Coach Road, to the low grounds westward of Caulk Park; thence continuing its southwestwardly direction and gentle ascent to the foot of Pistern Hill; from thence it should either ascend the Steep of the Hill to its summit, by an inclined Plane, to be worked by a small Steam Engine, and from the Summit of the Hill descend gradually to the Woulds; or instead of ascending the Summit pass under Pistern Hill, by a tunnel about 600 yards in length, to a Valley in Sir F Burdett’s Estate; and thence skirting the Hill nearly on a level, pass a little to the Westward of Butt House, and from thence descend gradually to the Canal on the Woulds. -The first Mode of passing Pistern Hill would require some less Capital at the onset, but the latter would be worked at less expense(by the amount of the cost of working the Engine and of keeping in repair the machinery &. Ropes of the Plane) the conveyance of Lime & Limestone from Ticknall/ would be equally cheap on either, but the return Trade in Coals, Slack, &.c; would be more easily conveyed by the latter Mode, having much less height to Ascend; I therefore recommend the latter Mode, if the Landowners can be treated with, on as favourable terms for it, as for the former, and I conceive that both owners and occupiers of lands will in each case see the great means of improvement that must accrue to them in the true light, and of course consider the Railway as greatly advantageous to all the Lands it may pass through.

An Accurate Survey and Section of the Line must be made, before the expense can be ascertained; but to make a complete Railway double in all places except the Tunnels, would require only about one third of the Sum which the Canal would have cost, the Line of Railway would not be more than 2/3ds of the length that the Line of Canal would have been; and if the same Tonnages per mile should be taken in the Railway, as were to have been taken on the Canal, the total expenses of conveyance to the trader would be cheaper by 1/4th, than they would have been on the Canal; and cheaper than the ordinary mode of Land Carriage by more than one half. The Railway might be completed in about 12 months from the time of commencement; a Canal would take at least double the time; and if any part of the Railway should hereafter become useless, by extension of Canals or from other causes, it would be worth half the original cost to be sold or removed. The 25Mode I should recommend for carrying upon the Railway, would be by employing 2 Horses to a Gang of Waggons, carrying 10 Tons of Stone, with an additional Horse to assist from Ticknall to the Summit, which additional Horse should be taken back by a Boy, to Assist other Gangs 4 times a day, for each 2 Horses would have little Labour from the Summit to the Canal, and might with ease bring back any Quantity of Coals & Slack, that could be required, and which could seldom exceed one third of the weight of Limestone they had brought down; thus a set of 4 Men, 1 Boy and 9 Horses, would convey 40 tons of Stone from Ticknall to the Ashby Canal pr day, and bring them back such Coals, Slack and Merchandizes as there may be demand for, suppose 12tons pr day, which added to the Limestone would make 52 tons pr Day, and valuing the Labour of each Man, and each Horse, at 2s/6d pr day, and the Boy at ls/0d, the amount pr ton would not exceed 8d, Oil for Waggons, loading & discharging, included; and it must be observed that the Journey from Ticknall to the Canal and back would be a very easy day’s work for the Horses, and that the Men would have sufficient time to load and discharge the Carriages (proper conveniences being provided) or as there would of course be Limekilns erected on various parts of the Railway, the Gangs might each day in favourable weather, make a short journey to some of these Kilns, in addition to the journey through (the drivers in each case being assisted in loading by the Stonegetters) which would reduce the expense above calculated upon – The Business on the Railway might be carried on all Seasons, without those interruptions from Frost or drought that a Canal would be liable to.

A Railway Single with passing places would be constructed for less by £4000 than double as above proposed, but would occasion by frequent delays and disputes amongst the drivers, loss of time more than equal to the Interest of the Money saved; on single Railways of considerable extent, where the works are carried on by one Interest, inconveniences of this sort are experienced; but those inconveniences must be greater on Railways open to public use and different interests, as I conceive this would be; All inconveniences would be avoided by making the Railway double as proposed, and as 1/4th additional expense would accomplish the double Road, I am clearly of Opinion that the complete Plan ought to be adopted. If the Proprietors and Gentlemen interested think proper to adopt a Railway I shall on proper notice be ready to make the necessary Surveys, and an estimate, for which I would undertake to complete the whole works if required.

[Benjamin Outram Butterley 17th Augt. 1798]

– Derbyshire County Record Office Ref: D2375M/113/43.

Bryan Smith
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Bryan Smith

Bryan is the editor of Ticknall Life community magazine. (For over 20 years.)