TG1704 : Capstan and rope-rollers

taken 9 years ago, near to Ketteringham, Norfolk, Great Britain

Capstan and rope-rollers
Capstan and rope-rollers
Capstan and rope-rollers between two sidings leading into a former MoD oil depot. The rollers and saddles > LinkExternal link were used to guide the rope hauling the wagons, presumably tankers, around the curves in the track. For a wider view see > LinkExternal link. (A capstan is a rotating machine used to apply force to ropes, cables, and hawsers, commonly, though not exclusively, in a maritime setting. Hydraulically-powered capstans were sometimes used in railway goods yards for shunting, or shifting railcars short distances.) This suggests that a rope system was used to move oil tank wagons (or, of course, other rail vehicles) into and within the depot; the haulage would have been provided by the capstan which could have been electrically or hydraulically powered. The use of rope haulage would have avoided the use of locomotives within the depot and its immediate approaches: as this was a fuel oil depot, steam locomotives would have been an obvious fire hazard.

During WWII the site served as a Ministry of Defence oil depot and after the war it was known as the Hethersett Aviation Fuel Distribution Depot. It had private railway sidings which have since been disconnected but are still in place > LinkExternal link. Serving as a petrol storage depot after the war - supplying fuel to RAF Coltishall > LinkExternal link until the airbase was closed in 2006 - the petrol was stored in a number of subterranean tanks which are shown as lakes on OS Maps. A look at Magicmap reveals that the lakes are not lakes at all. Deemed surplus to requirements the depot was sold in summer 2009.
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TG1704, 66 images   (more nearby )
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Date Taken
Sunday, 6 December, 2009   (more nearby)
Sunday, 6 December, 2009
Railway   (more nearby)
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TG 171 041 [100m precision]
WGS84: 52:35.4995N 1:12.2589E
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TG 170 040
View Direction
Northeast (about 45 degrees)
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Image classification(about): Geograph
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