The remains of the North Cornwall Line in July 1995
Today, 3rd September 2017 despite the rain I felt like spending the morning 'spotting' for a change so first port of call was the former ARC (now Hanson/Heidelberg Cement) quarry at Whatley near Frome. Here, two former BR class 08 shunters 08650 and 08947 (a former long-time Westbury resident) currently reside and it was possible to photograph them from the road bridge and quarry entrance gate, plus solitary mainline diesel 59005 'Kenneth J Painter'. Whatley is located in a quiet country area and rail connected by way of a stretch of the former GWR Frome-Radstock branch line which is used between Frome North Junction and Hapsford Junction, a distance of 2 miles 38 chains. From this point the short link line down to the quarry is relatively new, it was built in the early 1970s to allow mainline locos through due to the original route being too restricted by height/width/weight limitations. Three short tunnels are included in this new stretch, Bedlam, Great Elm and Murdercombe plus a heavy duty rail-over-river bridge. Beyond Hapsford the Radstock branch has been disused since July 1988 when the Marcroft wagon repair works closed. The points have long been removed and the associated cabling has also been taken out. The branch was included on Westbury Panel when the Frome area was re-signalled in 1985 but only as a token-worked long siding with no signals provided. Much of the old track, now overgrown and unusable, remains in-situ. Nature has well and truly reclaimed most of the route and it is possible to walk/cycle over it from Buckland bridge (Buckland Dinham) to Radstock town centre via Mells Road and Kilmersdon, this now being part of 'The Collier's Way'. Various proposals have been put forward over many years to re-open the line from Radstock through to Frome but no physical work has yet been undertaken along the route which has suffered several landslips and become heavily wooded in places. Housing now occupies the former extensive goods yard at Radstock with just a small narrow strip to one side, very close to the housing area, for any possible railway use. Personally I think Somerset is already well catered for as far as heritage railways go and the Radstock route should be left as it is, a green oasis and wildlife haven.
Guy Vincent Many thanks Guy for the above detailed notes
Best Regards, Chris Harvey A new location for us, thank you Chris