Please find attached a short item and pictures of a railtour at Evercreech Junction, 50 years ago today.
You also have the fireman's version of the trip that day. (On the Menu go to 'Beyond Taunton and Honiton' and then select 'S & D Bath Green park to Evercreech' - you'll find many of Ian Bunnet's stories at the end of this section).
The pictures show the train stationary, moving off, and going away.
Regards Mike Many thanks Mike.
It was June 12th 1965 I was to work a special to Bournemouth from Bath Green Park, it was for the Warwickshire railway society. The engine for it was a 9f number 92238 that was brought over to Bath and had to be "serviced" by the fitters etc. However because it was late onto the shed and it was a Friday the fitters, in their wisdom decided a quick once over would be sufficient. However, they were wrong. Come Saturday morning I came in to work it, and I had to prepare it. It was overcast and drizzling, I had to coal and water it. I took it to the coal stage and back onto the boat road by the sandpit. I then had to fill the sand boxes, believe you me it is quite a climb to get on and off the plate with sand bucket. Taking over 30mins just to do that. Then I had to go looking for fire irons, and then build the fire up. I was soaked in sweat by the time I had cleaned the footplate. By then it was almost time to leave the shed. In a rush I just had time to run down to the cabin make tea and get back on the engine ready to come off the shed. We went to the station and backed onto the train, we had a couple from the society to record the journey plus an inspector. It was crowded on the footplate and I had a job to move around, then the engine started to "blow off" to stop this I started to top the boiler up. I only did it because I got a rollicking about an engine blowing off in the station. I was only about 17 or 18 years old, worrying and trying to do everything right. We left the station and at Bath Junction I took the tablet in, got the catcher in. However that was the start of my problems for as we started to climb the engine started priming, we just about got up to Moorfields and struggled to Devonshire tunnel. We crawled up through there we started to run down through Combe Down tunnel out over Tucking Mill viaduct to Midford. At Midford station we gave up the tablet. By this time we were a few minutes late and I was struggling to make steam which was all the harder because of so many on the footplate. We were able to go through to Radstock where started the climb to Midsomer Norton however by the time we got to "Norton" we were struggling which continued until Binegar. Here it was suggested by the inspector we stop for a blow up, my driver -Ray Adams agreed. I did everything I could to put the fire right so off we went, it was all downhill to Evercreech Junction and wasn’t too bad a run. At Evercreech Junction I filled the tank. We set off once more, however, by the time we got to Cole (for Bruton) we were again struggling for steam, the steam pressure was just enough to keep the brakes free. By this time I was feeling weak and embarrassed, I had also been uttering expletives and I’m ashamed to say I ruined their recording because of it. - To this day I am sorry. I can only hope that I have been forgiven? We struggled to Bournemouth arriving two hours late. I think their tour was altered because of our lateness. We had to come back to Bath light engine. We got back as far as Midford with no trouble took the tablet and were looking forward to getting back to shed. Just as we got to the Midford side of Combe Down tunnel I decided to close the dampers , as I did so we entered the tunnel and the fire blew back into the cab Ray was behind the A.W.S so he didn’t notice I couldn’t go anywhere because the tunnel was only just wide enough for engine clearance ( If I tried hanging off the side I would have been part of the tunnel wall!) I shouted but I think it was luck that Ray looked up and put the blower on harder and kicked the fire doors closed, he also opened the regulator. The ‘blow back’ took off my eyebrows, singed the front of my forehead also giving me a few superficial burns. Back at Bath Green Park they took the engine out of service for examination. It was found that the steam tubes were blocked, we had a piston problem plus a few other problems. I got the blame for the trouble we had , they said my firing was not right. A few weeks later I had an inspector Mc Carthy ride with me who said he couldn’t fault my firing. I didn’t get an apology for being blamed falsely. The society gave me a couple of pictures. I have been told it was the last time a 9f went over the Somerset and Dorset.
For more of Ian Bunnetts true stories of a Firemans Life on the Somerset and Dorset - go to 'Beyond Taunton and Honiton' and then select 'Bath Green Park to Evercreech'