The Foxton Inclined Plane by David Carden
Lightmoor Press 2012 £22.50
The Foxton Inclined Plane, completed in 1900, represented something between a grand gesture and a hopeful gamble by the Grand Junction Canal Company, facing competition from the railways. The GJCC’s Engineer, Gordon Thomas, was feted for the ingenuity of its design and construction but history has deemed the Foxton Inclined Plane to be a failure. The complexity and cost of its operation caused it to be abandoned just ten years after it opened and Gordon Thomas’ career also ended in ignominy. Author and civil engineer David Carden examines the case for the construction of the lift and the reasons for its swift decline. He also looks at the proposal for a second inclined plane at Watford. The work of the Foxton Inclined Plane Trust in conserving what remains and in establishing a museum on site in a reconstructed engine house is also addressed.