A trip to Somerset & Dorset Introduction
Michael L. Roach
For this trip I would travel to the S & D by car to give some flexiblilty in where we stayed and the order we did things in an endeavour to travel over all the remaining parts of the S & D that were still open to passengers in 1962. My friend had lived and worked in Plymouth until about 12 months earlier but now lived and worked in London. He would join me at Templecombe. I left home in Plymouth mid-morning on Friday 29 June 1962 and made my way leisurely eastwards stopping at several places on the way to take railway photos at places I might never again visit. In one case it would be 50 years before I returned. First stop was on Honiton Bank to see the down Atlantic Coast Express pass in the hands of a Merchant Navy. Next were three stations and halts on the Yeovil to Dorchester line, followed by two locations on the Yeovil to Taunton line which was still steam operated at the time. By the time I reached Templecombe it was 7.45pm but still quite light and I took 5 photos in the next hour at the shed and the station; including one of the 6.45pm Bournemouth to Bath being hauled into the station by the station pilot on the back of the train because of the unusual layout. I think my friend arrived on the 5.00pm from Waterloo. We spent the night at Evercreech – the village that is, not Evercreech Junction.
On the Saturday we were up bright and early to catch the 8.15am Evercreech Junction to Highbridge and its return working at 9.45am. Arrival back at Evercreech Junction was on time at 10.44am. We then drove the 10 miles to Templecombe station and parked up in order to catch the 12.03pm north to Bath Green Park passing 4 trains in the opposite direction. Our train back south was the Pines Express, the 3.30pm off Green Park. It arrived on time behind “Peak” D65 and left on time behind Bullied light pacific 34045 “Ottery St. Mary” of Bournemouth Shed which was its last shed as it was withdrawn two years later. The train was piloted by 75009 of Templecombe Shed as far as Evercreech Junction. We had forty minutes at Bournemouth West where M7 no. 30057 was the station pilot before departing on the 6.48pm. This was the last train of the day Monday to Friday, but there was a later one on Saturdays at 10.00pm. Both trains ran only as far as Templecombe, but that was far enough for us. It would have taken me about three hours to drive home to Plymouth on the roads of the day. A long and tiring day but a great introduction to the Somerset and Dorset.
MLR / 20 June 2023
Well there you have it, Mid Summer's day gone! It's been a superb season so far, I thought I'd submit these prior to the avalanche of railtour pictures for Mazey Day.
I popped over to Newquay on 19th for the Castle set replacement on 1C74 (this did not run from Paddington sadly). The light was bouncing in and out,but I struck lucky with fine light for the train passing the crop fields near Manuels Crossing. I walked in the tractor tracks so no crops were damaged in the process. The result was most pleasing with the HST not lost in a green landscape for a change! The power cars were 43162 leading 43097.
The 20th saw my ideal conditions, the usual hole in the clouds over St Austell Bay and gruesome rain clouds gathering all around. 66165 ran through Par with the empty JIAs running early. The semaphores complement the red of the locomotive. This iconic view of semaphores will be obliterated in November sadly. The construction of the new signal base for new signal CL5834 is coming along.
An evening shot of signal SB7 was taken with a formidable sky behind it too. This signal will be replaced at St Blazey too, though all the others will remain.
Finally, for the day itself, 21st June, 66165 arrived back at St Blazey following the Wednesday trip to Exeter Riverside with the Par Harbour portion of JIAs. The turntable was bathed with sumptuous evening sun even around 8pm.
All the best for now, Craig.