Dean Forest Railway
Andrew and Diane Jones
We visited the magnificently restored Tintern station on the closed Wye Valley Railway (unfortunately outside the CRS boundary}and adjourned to our accommodation at St Arvans near Chepstow.
Wednesday morning was bright, but chilly, ideal conditions for our visit to Dean Forest Railway.
First train out departed at 11.15 from Norchard Low Level, which is the best place to park if you are not arriving by train on the BR network at Lydney.
Colin Burges & Roy Hart
Can any of your readers, I wonder, come up with an answer? (Roy Hart did)
The S.M., if it was the regular man, would have been Bernard Yandell, who, after closure of Christow in 1958, went to Tiverton Junction and then became A.M., Plymouth in 1966. He died in service in 1977.
Best wishes from the diversionary route which is "the practical railwayman's preference."
Roy Harts reply - I think the date is wrong. The quarry sidings on the right were lifted in August 1957, so the picture cannot be November.
I would suggest that this is a training trip for the train crews who, of course, had to 'sign' for each route. I suspect that because so few diversions over the Teign Valley line took place, it was considered prudent to have a minimum number of suitable trainmen at Exeter and NA sheds. The line had been 'kitted out' for diversions during world war 2, with a new loop at Longdown and an expanded one at Trusham. The Longdown loop sat quietly rusting from day one and was finally taken out in 1954.
Moguls would have been the largest engine permitted (and only then in emergency) on a line which had 'yellow' classification.
The correspondence (Christow to Rangoon) continues -
You have shamed me: it's my place and I should know all there is to know about it.
The 16-ton minerals seen behind the train were I take it being swept out ready to be loaded with barytes for Laporte at Luton. The high platform alongside Scatter Rock Macadams' private siding was used for loading this traffic between 1952 and 1957, after the quarry terminal had closed. In 1957, barytes loading reverted to the goods dock, where the facility built to allow lorries to tip into hyfits had been raised to allow loading of minerals.
The photograph could have been taken earlier in 1957.
"Manors" were the largest engines allowed on the branch, restricted to 20 m.p.h.
The Down Goods Loop at Longdown was supposed to have been used once a week to keep it in order and the signalmen in practice, but this lapsed; the lengthy procedure, which involved walking to the ground frames at each end, did not encourage signalmen to observe the general requirement occasionally to work infrequently used points.
One old boy told me of the time he had to admit a train into the loop. It may have been when he was asked by the on-call inspector to stay on in an emergency. His request for some grub was granted and a pasty was sent on the next train. Anyway, he went through the loop operating procedure with me - local instructions required another signalman to be sent to assist with the ground frames - and some measure of how little the equipment had been used was the need to put lighted newspaper under the batteries to get the electrical release.
With best wishes, Colin