My Sunday Photo: 14 May 2017

Old SleepersThis year, the Ecclesbourne Valley Rallway is 150 years old. I thought this scene was somehow poignant and symbolic, because sleeper changing has to go on all the time. It made me think about those platelayers of the 19th century, who worked so skillfully (for derisory wages) to literally lay the foundations of a railway. Those iron mountings for the rails, known as chairs, would have been cast at a foundry somewhere not too far away. How many working iron foundries have we got left in Britain, now? Not that I would wish the return of the ‘Bedlam’ furnaces…
Amazing, how the random sight of a stack of worn-out railway sleepers evokes personal debate of the socio-economic history of England, eh? But history, too, is an ever-advancing thing; time moves from the future to history, a second at a time.

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