New Mills & District Railway Modellers


  About Us


  Next Exhibition

  Previous Exhibitions

  Member's Layouts

  Member's Login

  Photo Competition




Catley Industries


This industrial complex consists of 3 interconnected sectors: Catley Chemicals, which has appeared previously, Catley port and the gas works

Catley Chemicals is a small and little known (probably because it is entirely fictitious) subsidiary of ICI. Its main products are soda ash, produced by the Solvay process, as well as chlorine (highly toxic), hydrogen (highly explosive) and caustic soda (highly corrosive), which are produced by the Castner-Kellner process (electrolysis of brine).

The Solvay soda ash process requires limestone, delivered in ICI hoppers from Tunstead quarry in Derbyshire, sodium chloride (salt from Cheshire) and ammonia. The soda ash produced is removed in sheeted wagons. The soda ash tower was 80 feet high (= 22 inches in “O”gauge).

At the Castner-Kellner plant, liquid chlorine is filled into tank wagons and yellow gas cylinders, caustic soda is loaded into drums and tank wagons and hydrogen is filled into red cylinders. The unsold hydrogen is burnt as fuel in the boiler house/power station.


The port of Catley, which is on the Vidange estuary, deals mainly with small coasters involved in the import./export trade, particularly chemicals. Krankie, the dockside crane, is now very elderly, in a poor state of repair and is currently non-operable so the railway has lent their breakdown crane to help with the loading/unloading of ships to/from railway wagons for delivery to/from the chemical works and warehouses. Currently, the small battered coaster “Toxicon” is loading chemicals at the dock.


The gas works is based on the one at Whaley Bridge. Coal is brought in by rail to feed the vertical retorts and the coal gas produced is purified and distributed via 2 large gas holders. The major by-product is coke, some of which is used within the works and the remainder sold. Other important by-products include tar and ammonia liquor, the latter being used in the Solvay process at Catley Chemicals