Narrowboat Tacet

Silent Movement - Our gap year travelling the inland waterways

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Steam Trains and Trams

As we were leaving the boat this morning we heard the chuffing sound of a steam engine working hard to pull it's train up the incline through Saltaire. We didn't get a very good view, and no time for a picture, we could just see the smoke, but the sound of it pulling away was impressive.
We had a quick look around Saltaire and Shipley, as we had spent time here last year.
Saltaire was built as a new town  in the 1850's by  Sir Titus Salt, a wealthy mill owner in the textile industry who was appaled by the living conditions of many of his employees in the mills in Bradford. It now has World Heritage Status.
 So he built a new factory covering a 14 acre site out in the country beside the River Aire and the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.
Close to the new mill he built streets of houses for his workers,
recreational halls for relaxation, schools for educating their families,
 a church for their spiritual needs and a large park.

Peolpe live and work here still and the Mill was rescued from demolition a few years back, ensuring that this lovely village is once again a happy and healthy place to live and work. Salts Mill now houses the large Pace firm producing parts for the computer industry as well as a permanent exhibition of David Hockney's art, shops and restaurant.

Last year when we were here the weather was wet and miserable. Today was sunny and warm so we explored the park and a bit further afield.

In the park there was a cricket match being played,
The band was playing

                                                                                            I think Titus would have approved.

Then we followed the signs to the Shipley Glen Tramway, a funicular railway from Shipley Glen down to Saltaire.

The line was opened in 1895 by Sam Wilson, a local publican, showman and entrepreneur. It was intended to ease access to a number of other, now long closed, atttractions at Shipley Glen, including a wooden toboggan ride and a Japanese garden.
 As built, the line was powered by a gas engine. Since 1928 the line has been electrically operated. In recent years it has been saved from closure by Bradford Trolleybus Association and Bradford City Council and is run by a team of volunteers.
The views at the top across the moors were fantastic.

Once back on board Tacet we set off, tackling swing bridges, some need a windlass, some a watermate key, some an anti-vandal key and some a big push! At the first set of locks, a staircase of 3 we were helped by a friendly lock-keeper and met by Neil who was walking the canal taking photos. He joined us on board and got some pictures from the boat, then helped with the next set of locks until back at his motor-home at Apperley Bridge.
Just as we were mooring up after this we heard that steam train again, must have been its return journey, this time I had the camera in my pocket, so got a photo, though a bit blurred as it sped past over the viaduct.

6 miles, 5 locks, 6 swing bridges


  1. That steam locomotive was 46115 Scots Guardsman.. It was on the return leg of a York, Leeds, Settle, Carlisle trip.

  2. These views are very familiar. I have friends in Shipley/Saltaire and visit regularly. I have been up Shipley Glen, but only on foot. I will try the Tramway soon.