plus more queries
Thanks for your interest in the photos of Westbury Minehole and the ex Dainton signal box. Having never given much thought to the layout of the Ironworks tramway system I had a look in several of my books but was unable to find anything pre 1920. As you know, Westbury station was completely rebuilt in 1898-99 prior to the opening of the direct line to Patney and I think this provides the answer. Try www.old maps.co.uk and you will see on the OS County Series for Wiltshire 1890 that the Minehole in front of the station was indeed connected by a tramway that passed under the station approach road and main line just to the west of the bridge carrying Station Road. At a guess I would suggest by 1898 that particular pit was no longer being worked so the tramway was removed/infilled and other pits as shown on later maps were used instead.
A book I have on Westbury states that limestone was also dug out locally for use at the Ironworks, water was extracted from the juvenile River Biss and coke was brought up by rail from the North Somerset Coalfield around Radstock.
There is another mystery about Westbury I have pondered over for many years. The large iron bridge at the end of the station was built in 1899 but on the town side of that is/was another bridge made of stone and similar in appearance to those between Thingley and Frome and built between 1846 and 1850. This bridge was at completely the wrong angle for the original line out towards Trowbridge, too far over and of the wrong era to serve the Stert extension. Post-1899 it took the road over a couple of sidings leading into a small yard that was closed c1968. It is my belief that when the line was first built this bridge was located approximately where the iron bridge is today and then in 1898-9 it was dismantled and rebuilt in the later position. In the late 1960s the road was widened and realigned as the bridge had a 'dog-leg' alignment and today only the station-side parapet wall is visible in the embankment, the remainder having been completely infilled/demolished. I'll send some pics at a later date on this subject.
Cheers for now, Guy.
PS I've been enjoying the Bridport branch feature recently. I remember seeing the closure notice for the line being posted up on one of the large blue British Transport Advertising boards at Bradford-on-Avon station in the spring of 1975, just as I was getting into the hobby that has been both a delight and a right pain at times ever since!
Many thanks Guy - it's amazing what interest the Bridport branch has created - it's with many thanks to our contributors that the lines history is recorded for all to see.
With regard to the tramway extension from the Iron Works and under the main line and station approach road it is suggested that you consult the 25" map of Westbury. There was one line running the length of the 'Minehole' with a short siding.
1966 Trevor Snell