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.
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
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