The South Devon Railway Enthusiasts' site


Following the erection of the Leominster water crane nearly ten years ago we have now got around to providing it with water.

When the London Group first took on the challenge of erecting the water crane brought to Devon by the Worcester Locomotive Group they researched getting a commercial tank and obtained quotes.  Unfortunately this period coincided with our impending purchase of the line and so the project was shelved until further funding could be identified.

At the beginning of 2006 the SDRT Board gave approval to proceed with the construction of the water tank for Totnes Littlehempston and that the tank should be built in house. This was after a grant of £10,000 from the South Devon Railway Association had been made available to the SDRT. This money has been raised in two of the Annual Draws run by the Association specifically to provide for watering facilities at Totnes.

Below are a series of photographs shewing the tank construction at the Works. The float wheel is from the original GWR water tank at Totnes which was concrete and so we couldn't move it.

The slab for the tank was to be cast on Thursday 23rd November 2006 but the lorry couldn't get to site so this too will now be done in house.  Much as the London Group had to transport the aggregate and cement from Buckfastleigh to Totnes Littlehempston to mix together by hand on site in 1983, so the tank construction team are having to do in 2006.  Having been on the original London Group team and having moved half of the 40 bags of cement (they were 50kg each in those days) I wish them luck!

30th November 2006 saw full time staff and volunteers from all over the railway band together to mix 30 tons of aggregate into concrete for the water tank.  The whole job took under three hours to complete using seven mixing machines and thirty volunteers.

The erection started on the 12th December 2006 as scheduled and the stand was assembled; see below.
Today we received photographs of the actual tank being constructed onto the stand at Totnes; details.
The legs for the Totnes Littlehempston tank await transport to site JH
Tank panels are bolted together in the works JH
Preassembled tank in the Works before painting (Note float wheel) GRB
View of inside before painting GRB
Main output pipe before welding together GRB
Casting the water tower slab RJE
Volunteers and full time staff "mix" together JRE
A genuine "batch" mix; a production line of mixers JRE
The water tank stand as erected  JRE
Totnes gang with GNER award, the water crane and Ashburton 'box CMT
The New Tank at Totnes nears completion; only the plumbing to do..... EGP
5526 is prepared to take water at Totnes on Sunday 15th April 2007 PBC
5526 Takes water at Totnes on Sunday 15th April 2007 GRB
5526 Takes water at Totnes on Sunday 15th April 2007 PBC

Photographs:  JH John Haslam
GRB Gavin Bishop
JRE Richard Elliott
CMT Chris Mackenzie–Thorpe
EGP Ted Parrott
PBC Peter Clemo

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© South Devon Railway Association 2006-21

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