Why Dundas was done in 2015
Special note: These images were recorded with a telephoto lens from a publicly accessible area on the public side of Network Rail's boundary fence. Close by is a footpath leading to the Somerset Coal Canal.
Many thanks for your article and pictures Guy.
John Francis's e-book 'An Entry in the Train Register' contains a short reference on page 74 to Sheephouse Crossing in the 1960s or early 70s, it can be read online but sadly page 75 which contains some relevant text, does not download. The book is well worth reading however. Adrian Vaughan, then a signalman at Witham, also mentions an incident there in 1974 when some livestock strayed onto the line and he believed the character telling him of the event was a fellow rail worker pulling his leg! This is on page 141 of his book 'Signalman's Nightmare'
The best place to look now is on Google Earth, I started off at Bruton and moved east along the railway until the farm came into view. Sheephouse Farm is located on the side of a hill between Brewham Road and the railway. The crossing was removed many years ago, probably in the late 1970s when the line was upgraded for HST's, and a concrete track was laid from the farm down a field to pass beneath the railway via an existing occupation underpass bridge. Looking at the aerial view there appears to be a small chalk pit in the valley below that is accessed from this track. Beyond the pit are the woods referred to and from where timber was once hauled over the crossing (see extracts from BR Sectional Appendices attached).
Today the line speed is 90mph in both directions at the site of the former crossing, were it still in-situ I am sure that it would have to be less at least on the down line due to poor visibility. I found a shot of the area close to the crossing site that was taken from the back of a down train during a route refreshing trip in 2014, the approximate mileage is 125.30ch. Guy Vincent Many thanks Guy
There was a very nasty incident here in the early 1970's, when a Down Express hit and killed several Friesian cows which were crossing the line.
Subsequently a new concrete track was soon made (presumably mostly or entirely funded by BR) westwards for several hundred yards along the field side of the upside rly fence to a farm underbridge and Sheephouse Occupation LC was then closed. This farm, like many, now has no dairy cows.
A similar incident occurred, within a few years at Castle Farm Occupation LC, just east of Sherborne, when early one morning the cows were coming in for milking.
This was caused by the Relief Milker either not being aware of the need to first check with the signalman that it was safe to cross or forgetting to do so.
This dairy farm still survives and the farm LC is still in use, as it was not deemed viable to build a costly overbridge, which was the only way to replace the LC.
Tony Hill Many Thanks Tony
Sheephouse Crossing was ‘renowned’ for being one of those places where the nameplate was longer than the front of the hut on which it was placed, so it must have been on some form of board or frame to enable it to be secured by the holes at each corner. The nameplate was ordered from Reading Signal Works in 1918 or 1919, which seems to confirm the suggestions about the date of the original installation, and it was the last plate of that particular type to be ordered. [Information from MVE Dunn’s “GWR Signal Box Nameplates”.]
Chris Osment Many thanks indeed