SCRCA Structure and Site Types and Related Definitions

This list of Structure / Site Types and associated definitions has been designed primarily for use by the FoSCL volunteers assisting with the SCRCA Project. The information has been made publicly available as it may be helpful / interesting to anyone viewing the online database of SCRCA material. Default images (where available) for a Structure / Site Type can be viewed by clicking on the relevant 'Code' in the left-hand column of the list below.
[Note: The link behind the numbers in the 'Nid' (Node ID) column leads to the base record for the Structure / Site Type concerned - which is simply the source for the information included in the first three columns of this table. The 'Nid' link has been provided solely to allow System Administrators to maintain the base record. For all other users, clicking on the link will do no harm, but it will provide no benefit either.]

Code-- Short_Description--- Long Description ---Nid
AR Archaeology (SCR)

A site containing surface and /or sub-surface archaeology associated with the construction of the Settle-Carlisle Railway between 1869 and 1876. Excludes tramways.

AS Access Shaft

Access shafts were originally built to speed-up the construction of long tunnels (by allowing multiple tunnelling faces to be worked at the same time). Many have subsequently been converted to air shafts / ventilation shafts, but some were capped at the end of the construction process.

BO Bridge Over

A bridge constructed to carry roads, driveways, farm access tracks, footpaths, etc. over the railway tracks - (a.k.a. an overbridge). Excludes tunnels.

BT Bridge Tunnel

A tunnel is a particularly long type of Bridge Over (BO). For more information, please refer to the related article "What are railway tunnels and why are they necessary?".

For the purposes of the SCRCA Project, the 'tunnel' (structure type BT) is the hidden structure that lies between a pair of Tunnel Mouths (TM). As the interior of tunnels are not visible from outside the railway perimeter, or from inside a moving passenger train, they cannot be 'assessed' or photographed as part of the SCRCA Project and their physical appearance is irrelevant in terms of the management of the Conservation Area. These structures are, of course, regularly inspected and maintained by Network Rail for operational and safety purposes.

See also the related structure type Access Shaft (AS).

BU Bridge Under

A bridge constructed to allow rivers, streams, roads, driveways, farm access tracks, footpaths, etc. to pass under the railway tracks - (a.k.a. an underbridge). Excludes viaducts.

BV Bridge Viaduct

BV - Bridge Viaduct: A viaduct is simply a particularly long version of a Bridge Under (BU) - i.e. a bridge beneath the railway tracks. Railway viaducts carry (or were built to carry) a railway line across a valley or other stretch of ground that is lower than the level of the railway. Embankments (long, thin ridges of made-up ground) can also be used for this purpose, but viaducts allow at least some of the land beneath the railway to be used for other purposes.

A For the purposes of the SCRCA Project, any bridge under the railway that has more than three distinct and immediately adjacent spans is classified as a viaduct.

CD Cattle Dock

CD - Cattle Dock: A loading platform - originally topped with livestock pens - used for the loading and unloading of large livestock.

CR Crane

CR - Crane: A free-standing crane or hoist for loading / unloading freight.

CU Culvert

CU - Culvert: A culvert as marked on the 1911 landplan. However, the criteria used by the engineers / draughtsmen when deciding whether to apply the term culvert rather than bridge is not immediately apparent. A quick review of the default images will show that the choice seems to have had little, if anything, to do with either the structure's design or size.

DO Dock

DO - Dock: A "Dock" (i.e. a loading / unloading platform for unspecified freight) as marked on the 1911 landplan.

EC Equipment Cabinet

EC - Equipment Cabinet:  Used to house / protect the electrical equipment associated with signalling & telecommunications. (NB: Only the old wooden type - which probably date from the Midland Railway era - are being recorded as part of the SCRCA Project.)

ES Engine Shed

ES - Engine Shed: A building used for the storage and / or light maintenance of railway locomotives.

FH Fog Hut

FH - Fog Hut: A small sentry-box style structure located close to most ‘distant’ semaphore signals to provide shelter for a ‘fog man’. The role of the fog man was to observe the state of the adjacent signal during times of poor visibility (e.g. during fog and periods of falling snow) and to place / remove a detonator on / from the running-rail each time the signal changed. The exploding detonator provided the locomotive crew with an audible warning that the signal ahead was ‘on’ (i.e. at danger). All of the surviving fog huts within the SCRCA are square-based, tall, thin structures constructed from pre-cast concrete panels topped with either a pre-cast concrete or asbestos roof. For the purposes of the SCRCA Historic Structure Recording Project, all structures fitting this description are currently being categorised as fog huts. However, it is clear that at least some of these structures have been equipped for use as site-toilets. At this stage, it is not clear whether use for this purpose was a conversion after fog-men became redundant, or if some of these structures were constructed to serve this mundane but vital role right from the start. (If you are able and willing to shed any light on this matter, we would be grateful if you would contact us using the webform located on the 'Contact us' page quoting "SCRCA Project: fog huts")

GF Ground Frame

GF - Ground Frame: A small lever-frame - used to operate points (more properly referred to as 'turnouts'), signals, crossing-gates etc. - mounted directly on the ground rather than in a 'signal box' (SB).

GP Gradient Post

GP - Gradient Post: Gradient posts are installed beside railway lines wherever there is a change in the gradient of the trackbed. Each gradient post within the SCRCA has (or originally had) two arms, one either side of a central support post. The angle of each arm is set to give a clear indication of the direction of the gradient: the arm is angled upwards if the trackbed rises in that direction; set horizontal if the trackbed is level; and angled downwards if the trackbed falls away from the location of the gradient post. However, the angle of the arm does not accurately reflect the severity or otherwise of the gradient. That information is provided by the letters and / or numbers painted, fixed or cast on the arm on the side facing the running lines (tracks). If the track is level, the word 'Level' or the letter 'L' is shown. If there is a gradient, the gradient is given as a ratio in the form '1 in nnn' or just 'nnn' (the latter version being the most common within the SCRCA). The smaller the number ('nnn'), the more severe the gradient.

The drivers and firemen on steam locomotives needed to have a detailed knowledge of the line and its gradients so that they could ensure that enough steam would be available to power the locomotive at all times, but without wasting coal and / or water. The guard on unfitted freight trains needed a similar level of route knowledge so that he could manually engage and disengage the brakes in the guards van (and, where necessarily, on individual wagons along the length of the train) just before and immediately after each significant change in gradient. The drivers of modern trains still need to be aware of the direction and severity of gradients, especially when driving heavy freight trains.

The Settle-Carlisle Railway was built with a 'ruling' gradient of one in a hundred (1 : 100) - i.e. the steepest sections along the route climb or fall one unit (e.g. foot or metre) for every one hundred units (e.g. feet or metres) travelled horizontally. Many sections of the route have shallower gradients and some sections are level. However, the infamous 'Long Drag' is an almost continuous 1 in 100 climb from Settle Junction to the south end of Blea Moor Tunnel, a distance of almost thirteen miles. In steam days, this presented an exceptionally tough challenge for both the locomotives and their crew.

GS Goods Shed

GS - Goods Shed: A building that provides cover and security for the process of loading and unloading railfreight and for the short-term storage of that railfreight.

HB Hawes Branch

HB - Hawes Branch: The trackbed of the railway that once ran to Hawes and beyond.

JN Junction

JN - Junction: The place where two railway routes diverge / converge.

LC Level Crossing

LC - Level Crossing: A place where roads, tracks, footpaths etc cross the alignment of a railway on the same level as the railway (as opposed to crossing the railway via a bridge over or under it).

LG Loading Gauge

LG - Loading Gauge: Typically a curved timber or metal bar suspended above a railway track in a goods yard; used to check if a loaded freight wagon is still 'within gauge' - i.e. that it is low enough and narrow enough to pass safely along the line without hitting anything.

LH Lamp Hut

LH - Lamp Hut: These structures were used to store lamps and lamp oil, plus the tools and spare-parts needed for lamp maintenance / repair. They were generally located immediately adjacent to signal boxes and stations. Within the SCRCA (and throughout much of Britain’s railway network) these structures generally conform to a standard design: an oblong corrugated iron or steel structure with an arched roof, a front-panel (which includes a latching door), and a rear panel (which includes a window). A ventilator cowl is (or was) invariably fitted in the centre of the roof. Initial research via volunteers at the Midland Railway Study Centre suggests that these structures were manufactured by a number of different local companies to a standard design or set of designs.

MM Monument / Memorial

MM - Monument / Memorial: A monument or memorial with a connection to the Settle-Carlisle Railway. For example, a monument, memorial tablet, etc. connected commemorating the people who died during the construction of the railway, or the people who died on the SCR as a result of railway accidents, or a memorial commemorating SCR employees who died as a result of war.

MP Milepost

MP - Milepost: Section 94 of the Railways' Clauses Act of 1845 requires that the length of all railway lines be measured and that markers of some kind be installed at quarter-mile intervals to denote these measured distances. The mileposts within the SCRCA identify the distance in rail-miles from London St Pancras via the Midland Railway Company's most direct route. A detailed 'History Post' on the subject of Settle-Carlisle Railway Mileposts is available at:

MR MR Boundary-Marker

MR - Midland Railway Boundary-Marker: The Midland Railway Company used a standard-design of cast-iron post or boundary-marker (which features the initials "M R") to delineate the boundaries of its land - both adjacent to a railway line and elsewhere.

NF Natural Feature

NF - Natural Feature: A rare and / or particularly interesting 'natural feature' above, below or immediately adjacent to the railway.

OB Other Rlwy Building

OB - Other Railway-Related Building: A railway-related building that does not fit into any other category.

PC Platform Canopy

PC - Platform Canopy: A canopy or awning above a passenger platform at a railway station; designed to keep the worst of the weather off the passengers.

PH Platelayers' Hut

PH - Platelayers' Huts: These were constructed at regular intervals (typically at intervals of 2 to 3 miles) along most railway lines to store the tools & equipment used by permanent-way workers and to provide those workers with somewhere to shelter during meal breaks and periods of bad weather. They fell out of regular use in the 1970s when the practice of assigning track workers (a.k.a. ‘lengthmen’ or ‘platelayers’) to specific lengths of track based at specific platelayers’ huts was consigned to history and a more flexible practice of regional teams was adopted. The modern approach involves workers using vans and other road vehicles to reach the sections of track where maintenance work was required. In many cases, the same vans also provide shelter, 'conveniences' and storage, although for larger scale works, portable cabins and chemical toliets may be provided.

For the purposes of the SCRCA Project, all line-side huts displaying evidence of windows and chimneys or flues are being categorised as platelayers’ huts until or unless it is proved that they had a different primary purpose. The design of these structures varies significantly and the construction materials used include stone, brick, concrete and timber for the walls and either concrete or timber for the roofs – the latter usually overlain with slate or stone roofing tiles or felt.

PL Platform (passenger)

PL - Platform (for passenger use): A specially raised area constructed to provide passengers with easier access to carriages at railway stations. (Note: The term can also be applied for specially raised areas used to facilitate the loading / unloading of freight, but to avoid confusion, and to follow the terminology used on the 1911 landplan, the latter are referred to as 'docks', 'cattle docks', etc.)

RW Retaining Wall

RW - Retaining Walls: These masonry structures stabilise and reinforce the sides of steep-sided cuttings and embankments. Retaining walls come in a wide range of styles and sizes, but only original (1869-1875) and particularly dominant examples are being recorded for the purpose of the SCRCA Project.

SB Signal Box

SB - Signal Box: Signal boxes are essentially shelters constructed to house lever-frames and associated equipment and to provide a degree of comfort for the human operators of that equipment. The lever-frames are used to operate points (more properly referred to as 'turnouts'), signals and level-crossing gates / barriers. For more information, please refer to the related article "What are railway signal boxes and why are they necessary?".

Signal boxes vary enormously in size, style and construction materials used, although many of the signal boxes within the SCRCA are timber-framed examples dating from the Midland Railway era (i.e. they date from 1923 or earlier).

SI Siding

SI - Siding: Sidings are relatively short stretches of track used to 'set-aside' trains and parts of trains (i.e. locomotives, freight wagons, passenger coaches, etc) from the main running lines. This is useful to allow another train to pass, and / or to facilitate loading / off-loading of freight or passengers, and / or for locomotive servicing, etc. For the purposes of the SCRCA Project, lie-by sidings, spurs, loops, headshunts, tracks in goods-yards and locomotive servicing areas, etc are all classified as 'sidings'. The term is used to indicate a single siding or a group of associated sidings - in other words, any trackwork that does not form one of the two main running-lines in a given area.

SM Station Main Bkg Off

SM - Station Main Bkg Off: The Station Main building and Booking Office - i.e. the building where tickets are (or, in most cases, were) sold and where the majority of the passenger facilities are (or, in most cases, were) located.

NB: Please note that most of these structures are now in private ownership and that they no-longer serve a railway-related function.

SN Sign

SN - Sign: An old - or apparently old - stand-alone sign of any description that is not covered by its own 'structure type' category. In theory, this could include tunnel / viaduct nameboards, BR-period (hollow numbered) speed-limit signs, summit signs, etc. However, until the initial round of structure assessments has been completed, it is not known if any such signs still survive.

SS Snow Screen

SS - Snow Screen: Also known as a snow fence. These are only known to have existed around the Dent area where they take the form of rows of upended old railway sleepers. These structures were designed to reduce the risk of snowdrifts blocking the running lines, although they were not particularly  effective. They are, however, a clearly visible feature of the SCRCA in the Dent area.

ST Spoil Tip

ST - Spoil Tip: Spoil Tips are the depositories of waste material from the excavation of tunnels and cuttings. They date from the period of the line's construction and many are considered to be archaeologically important.

SW Station Waiting Room

SW - Station Waiting Room: This term has been applied to all secondary buildings that provide (or originally provided) shelter and / or other facilities for passengers at railway stations. NB: Buildings that have or originally had 'booking' (i.e. ticket-selling) facilities are categorised as SM not SW.

TA Tank

TA - Tank: As labelled on the 1911 landplan (in most cases, it was probably a water tank).

TH Tank House

TH - Tank House: A high-level water tank with a usable room underneath; the tank was used to supply water to water columns which in turn were used to replenish the water supplies of steam locomotives.

TM Tunnel Mouth

TM - Tunnel Mouth: Each tunnel has a masonry-built tunnel mouth at each end. These are designed to retain the surrounding soil / rock and prevent it dislodging and potentially falling onto the running-lines.

TP Telegraph Poles

TP - Telegraph Poles: For almost a century, a row of these (with their associated telegraph wires) ran alongside almost all UK railway lines. Within the SCRCA, the vast majority had either been removed completely or reduced to short stubs by the start of the SCRCA Project in 2012. Therefore only significant runs of full-height telegraph poles (with or without wires) are being recorded as part of this project and these are being recorded as groups rather than individual structures.

TT Turntable

TT - Turntables: These were used to turn engines around so that they did not need to run backwards for significant distances.

TW Tramway

TW - Tramway: Or more accurately, the traceable trackbed of a tramway - built to transport materials, equipment, and (to a lesser extent) people during the period when the Settle Junction to Petteril Junction section of the railway was being constructed (i.e. 1869 to 1876).

WC Water Column

WC - Water Column: These were used to supply steam locomotives with water (fed from nearby tanks or tank-houses).

WH Workers' Housing

WH - Workers' Housing: The Midland Railway Company constructed houses in a variety of sizes and styles specifically to house its operational workforce. These houses are being recorded (and their condition is being discretely monitored) as part of SCRCA Project. As with all SCRCA structures now occupied for residential or business purposes, due consideration is being given to the privacy of the current occupants.

WS Weighing Scales

WS - Weighing Scales: Historic weighing scales remaining in original position.

WT Water Troughs

WT - Water Troughs: These were placed between the rails of each running line near Garsdale to allow the locomotives of long-distance trains to replenish their water supplies without stopping. They were fed from nearby tank-houses which were themselves supplied from nearby diverted and / or dammed streams. (Water management was an important part of operating a railway during the days of steam.)

YO Yard Office

YO - Yard Office: Also known as Weigh Houses. These were the administrative centre controlling traffic entering and leaving goods yards. In most cases within the SCRCA, these small buildings also housed the measuring part of an adjacent vehicle-sized weighing scale.

ZX Not SC Railway

ZX - Not SC Railway: A building / structure that is NOT directly associated with the construction and / or operation of the railway between Hellifield, Settle and Carlisle, but which is (or may be) of conservation interest for other reasons.

ZZ Unclassified

ZZ - Unclassified: This structure has not yet been classified for 'type'.

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developed by Mark R. Harvey. Database rights have been asserted.