We take railways for granted and it is easy to forget the effort needed in the past to build them. Railways need to be as flat and straight as possible, which meant that valleys had to be crossed and hills needed to be tunnelled through. Some of the viaducts built, like the one at Ribblehead, were beautiful to look at as well and are a lasting tribute to the hard working navigators who built them.

The navvies were the hard working group of labourers who built the new railways all over the country. At that time, there weren't any machines to help with the embankments, cuttings and tunnels so it was all done with pick axes, shovels, wheelbarrows and gunpowder. The work was very dangerous and quite a few navvies died in accidents.
They lived in shanty towns, which were badly made and often dirty. The navvies working on the Ribblehead viaduct had to spend their wages in the Midland Railway Company shops, and there are tales of high alcohol consumption which didn't help with their health; diseases were a fact of life in these shanty towns!

We visited Ribblehead viaduct to learn more about their way of life and we estimated the dimensions of the construction. We did a bit of filming of each other (which you can see). It was a windy, wet and cold day which helped us begin to appreciate the conditions for people working and living in that area at that time. Back at school, we are underway with making our own model. We were lucky to have some local teacher training students come and help us and below are a few pictures of how we're getting on with it ...

20170403_105831.jpg20170403_105729.jpg20170403_094508.jpg20170403_094346.jpgWe are using card girders, drawn, cut and scored accurately, joined together with PVA glue in cubes to make our own viaduct
... and below is what we're aiming to produce.