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EddieK

Westbury - Weymouth route mid 1970s

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20 hours ago, The Johnster said:

This loco must have hauled the train down to Weymouth earlier in the day; I was unaware that there was such a thing as a Birmingham-Weymouth through service at this time.  

 

For many years Weymouth received summer holiday trains via both Yeovil and Oxford/Southampton. The Birmingham was presumably one of those. I seem to recall on another thread there was a comment that in some years the locos and stock worked in one way and out the other.

 

Somewhat different services to the daily Cardiff/Bristol - Weymouth trains.

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On 30/09/2019 at 08:38, Andy Kirkham said:

10421871744_3de5676c30_z.jpgOCT 74B 15. The 13:00 Weymouth-Birmingham enters Maiden Newton hauled by a Peak, September 1974 by Andy Kirkham, on Flickr

 

But you will see from the Flickr comments that this was a rare occurrence. One of the reasons I had made this trip was to photograph a Western at Maiden Newton.

That is a brilliant photo because you have managed to capture - probably by accident - a very significant part of Maiden Newton's/the Bridport branch's history.  if you look carefully near the right hand edge of the picture you can see a black painted patch on one of the uprights in the fence, an upright which was originally part of the overall roof structure over the bay platform.   It was painted there as a mark for the to help the Guard know exactly where he was when the stock of the branch train was gravitated back into the platform as there was no runround loop on the branch.  Amusingly every time the station was repainted (which wasn't very frequent) the painters repainted these marks and they were still there s after the branch had closed.

 

The final day of passenger services was quite an occasion especially after some local worthy generously donated a bottle of vodka to the train crew - who very kindly passed it on to the crew who relieved them.  In the interests of safety I stopped a local from placing a wreath on the final train from Maiden Newton to Bridport but couldn't allow the train to go without it so put it on the train myself.

 

The following week the Area Civil Engineer and I made what was almost certainly the very last throughout rail movement from Maiden Newton to Bridport and back, albeit using the CE's Wickham trolley as our motive power complete with a trailer for various larger items which we removed for safe-keeping and most of which had already been sold.   I took the 'branch keys' so that we could access every building on the branch and by then they, and lots of no doubt long redundant ones, formed a pretty substantial load of metal attached in bunches to a piece of chain; I haven't got a clue what happened to the after we'd finished with them.  A rather sad day but the weather was superb with no need for jackets.

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On 30/09/2019 at 13:39, The Johnster said:

This loco must have hauled the train down to Weymouth earlier in the day; I was unaware that there was such a thing as a Birmingham-Weymouth through service at this time. 

Saturdays only from 15 June to 17 September 1974 it was a Derby - Weymouth, Weymouth - Derby service. The last Summer the service from and to Derby ran, via Maiden Newton, was 1981.

Edited by Flood
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On 29/09/2019 at 17:35, Gwiwer said:

Bridport closed in 1975 meaning the appearance of single-car 121s ceased thereafter.  On the final day, 5th May, the branch train was a 4-car formation 117+121 partly in order to handle the expected last-day riders and partly to accommodate a railtour formed 3H which itself could not be run down the branch (because the crew were not trained on the stock I believe rather than any ban on the stock working the branch) meaning all those folk decanted into the branch train which then ran an unadvertised extra trip between timetabled services for the railtour patrons.  It also carried anyone else who happened to board.  The Thumper recessed in Maiden Newton coal yard for the duration and is the only occasion known to me when passenger stock used that siding. 

 

The Six Bells website quotes this event as being on May 3rd and gives details of the units that were used

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21 hours ago, The Stationmaster said:

 

The following week the Area Civil Engineer and I made what was almost certainly the very last throughout rail movement from Maiden Newton to Bridport and back, albeit using the CE's Wickham trolley as our motive power complete with a trailer

 

 

You wont want to hear this, but there are published pictures (Oakwood Press book, I think) showing a class 08 actually sat in Bridport station with a tracklifting train in November of that year. The book suggests that a class 25 had visited the station the previous day together with a crane for the purpose of removing the buffer stop although no pictures of this. The 08 though, deffinately was there.

Edited by andy stroud
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Ah,  I was an avid trainspotter at castle cary and Bruton from 1973 to 78. Yes,  mostly DMUs on the Weymouth trains. I remember w51307 and w51322 as a common unit. There was a mid morning up train that was always loco hauled, class 46s being the mainstay. I still have my detailed spotting records and if you need more info,  let me know.  

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On 02/10/2019 at 21:15, andy stroud said:

 

You wont want to hear this, but there are published pictures (Oakwood Press book, I think) showing a class 08 actually sat in Bridport station with a tracklifting train in November of that year. The book suggests that a class 25 had visited the station the previous day together with a crane for the purpose of removing the buffer stop although no pictures of this. The 08 though, deffinately was there.

So by then the line had been shortened by the removal of the stop block and the section of track it sat on ;)  We went down before any track had been recovered so could go that little bit further at the Bridport end - plus of course we weren't propelling a crane and wagons ;) which were lifting track on the Bridport side of them ;)

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Trying to replace the Bridport branch with buses was fraught with problems and did indeed give cause for a stay of execution to the rail service.  The law required that a direct replacement be provided but Maiden Newton was far from ideally situated for that; Dorchester would have been better and indeed the Dorchester - Bridport bus service has over the years been improved rather than cut back or withdrawn as many others have.  

 

Roads between Maiden Newton and Bridport amount to narrow and indirect country lanes which are unsuitable for large buses.  Any use of full-size vehicles would probably have had to come through Dorchester anyway at considerable time penalty or to make use of the best of the lanes at an equally lethargic pace.  Then there was the question of which settlements the intermediate stations actually served.  Powerstock was perhaps reasonably unambiguous though it was argued that the station was used as much by the residents of Nettlecombe (which was nearer than Powerstock to the station itself) and there was a request by a few folk in Loders for improved buses into Bridport as the railway ran right through their village without stopping and could have been on a replacement bus route.  Toller station was in the village of Toller Porcorum but allegedly also served nearby Toller Fratrum; the latter could not be served by any bus as it is on a tiny lane ending in a farmyard.  

 

The numbers using the intermediate stations were tiny by the end anyway meaning provision of the statutory replacement buses was going to be expensive and unremunerative - in other words anything but an attractive proposition for the local operators.  Anyone who used Bridport could quite easily travel to Dorchester or direct to Weymouth instead, or on the Bridport - Yeovil bus which has never been frequent but neither has the train service.  

 

In the end a minibus was provided running to a complex timetable diverting via different combinations of villages on the various days of the week and with a number of non-stop trips which I understand cam over the hills to the A35 at Black Down though could have used any reasonable route.  Some of the "stopping" buses did indeed serve Loders as it was on the line of route anyway.  After years of trying to find a satisfactory route meeting local needs and covering at least some of its costs the 73 ended up as an infrequent fixed route service but was withdrawn entirely in 2017 leaving Powerstock, the Tollers and other small settlements with no public transport and leaving Maiden Newton with no direct link to Bridport; any passengers must now travel via Dorchester.

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6 hours ago, The Stationmaster said:

So by then the line had been shortened by the removal of the stop block and the section of track it sat on ;)  We went down before any track had been recovered so could go that little bit further at the Bridport end - plus of course we weren't propelling a crane and wagons ;) which were lifting track on the Bridport side of them ;)

 

Well I think yours is a fascinating story. An interesting memory, I am sure.

 

Just out of interest. where did your Wickham trolly come from?  Was in one that was already based around that area or was it unloaded from a lorry?

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7 hours ago, Gwiwer said:

Trying to replace the Bridport branch with buses was fraught with problems and did indeed give cause for a stay of execution to the rail service.  The law required that a direct replacement be provided but Maiden Newton was far from ideally situated for that; Dorchester would have been better and indeed the Dorchester - Bridport bus service has over the years been improved rather than cut back or withdrawn as many others have.  

 

Roads between Maiden Newton and Bridport amount to narrow and indirect country lanes which are unsuitable for large buses.  Any use of full-size vehicles would probably have had to come through Dorchester anyway at considerable time penalty or to make use of the best of the lanes at an equally lethargic pace.  Then there was the question of which settlements the intermediate stations actually served.  Powerstock was perhaps reasonably unambiguous though it was argued that the station was used as much by the residents of Nettlecombe (which was nearer than Powerstock to the station itself) and there was a request by a few folk in Loders for improved buses into Bridport as the railway ran right through their village without stopping and could have been on a replacement bus route.  Toller station was in the village of Toller Porcorum but allegedly also served nearby Toller Fratrum; the latter could not be served by any bus as it is on a tiny lane ending in a farmyard.  

 

The numbers using the intermediate stations were tiny by the end anyway meaning provision of the statutory replacement buses was going to be expensive and unremunerative - in other words anything but an attractive proposition for the local operators.  Anyone who used Bridport could quite easily travel to Dorchester or direct to Weymouth instead, or on the Bridport - Yeovil bus which has never been frequent but neither has the train service.  

 

In the end a minibus was provided running to a complex timetable diverting via different combinations of villages on the various days of the week and with a number of non-stop trips which I understand cam over the hills to the A35 at Black Down though could have used any reasonable route.  Some of the "stopping" buses did indeed serve Loders as it was on the line of route anyway.  After years of trying to find a satisfactory route meeting local needs and covering at least some of its costs the 73 ended up as an infrequent fixed route service but was withdrawn entirely in 2017 leaving Powerstock, the Tollers and other small settlements with no public transport and leaving Maiden Newton with no direct link to Bridport; any passengers must now travel via Dorchester.

On our recent holiday in the area, we drove from Bridport to Maiden Newton in the car eastwards along the A35 then north. On the return journey we tried to follow the general route of the branch line but there is no road exactly parallel. We did find Toller and Powerstock stations, but I can see how the provision of a substitute bus will have been a problem. 

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On 02/10/2019 at 22:31, ikcdab said:

Ah,  I was an avid trainspotter at castle cary and Bruton from 1973 to 78. Yes,  mostly DMUs on the Weymouth trains. I remember w51307 and w51322 as a common unit. There was a mid morning up train that was always loco hauled, class 46s being the mainstay. I still have my detailed spotting records and if you need more info,  let me know.  

 

This sounds like the sort of "gold dust" level of information that will help in my project! 

 

I will send you a PM....

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1 hour ago, EddieK said:

 

This sounds like the sort of "gold dust" level of information that will help in my project! 

 

I will send you a PM....


Nooooo........... I’m sure everyone reading this thread will be interested. Please post here.

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Hi,

Going slightly off topic if I may I was wondering if The Stationmaster was particularly familiar with somewhat infamous Bradpole Crossing which is just outside Bridport.

There were a couple of incidents in the 60's but an earlier one, told with assorted  variations in the actual exchanges, passed into local folklore.

One night with poor visibility the driver asked the fireman if they had got to Bradpole yet. The reply was yes, he was sure they had as the gates were on the front of the loco.

 

Stu

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22 hours ago, Gwiwer said:

Trying to replace the Bridport branch with buses was fraught with problems and did indeed give cause for a stay of execution to the rail service.  The law required that a direct replacement be provided but Maiden Newton was far from ideally situated for that; Dorchester would have been better and indeed the Dorchester - Bridport bus service has over the years been improved rather than cut back or withdrawn as many others have.  

 

Roads between Maiden Newton and Bridport amount to narrow and indirect country lanes which are unsuitable for large buses.  Any use of full-size vehicles would probably have had to come through Dorchester anyway at considerable time penalty or to make use of the best of the lanes at an equally lethargic pace.  Then there was the question of which settlements the intermediate stations actually served.  Powerstock was perhaps reasonably unambiguous though it was argued that the station was used as much by the residents of Nettlecombe (which was nearer than Powerstock to the station itself) and there was a request by a few folk in Loders for improved buses into Bridport as the railway ran right through their village without stopping and could have been on a replacement bus route.  Toller station was in the village of Toller Porcorum but allegedly also served nearby Toller Fratrum; the latter could not be served by any bus as it is on a tiny lane ending in a farmyard.  

 

The numbers using the intermediate stations were tiny by the end anyway meaning provision of the statutory replacement buses was going to be expensive and unremunerative - in other words anything but an attractive proposition for the local operators.  Anyone who used Bridport could quite easily travel to Dorchester or direct to Weymouth instead, or on the Bridport - Yeovil bus which has never been frequent but neither has the train service.  

 

In the end a minibus was provided running to a complex timetable diverting via different combinations of villages on the various days of the week and with a number of non-stop trips which I understand cam over the hills to the A35 at Black Down though could have used any reasonable route.  Some of the "stopping" buses did indeed serve Loders as it was on the line of route anyway.  After years of trying to find a satisfactory route meeting local needs and covering at least some of its costs the 73 ended up as an infrequent fixed route service but was withdrawn entirely in 2017 leaving Powerstock, the Tollers and other small settlements with no public transport and leaving Maiden Newton with no direct link to Bridport; any passengers must now travel via Dorchester.

'Bus replacement problems were definitely the reason the Bridport branch led a charmed life.

 

You are however wrong in respect of Loders/Bradpole which was in many respects a problem that could not be admitted by anybody when withdrawal of the train service was discussed.  Loders/Bradpole were - definitely in later years - the busiest intermediate 'station' on the branch (although of course they didn't actually have a station) and the locals used Bradpole Crossing in considerable numbers to go into Bridport for shopping - prams and all if babies were being taken by their mother on the shopping trip.  It was of course all very unofficial indeed and very definitely not spoken about in any sort of polite or official company but there was no doubt in anybody in the know's mind that the closure of the branch would hit the residents of Loders harder than any other people who used the line.

 

As Rick has said the local roads were too narrow for ordinary 'buses, in fact in some places they were even a bit of a squeeze in a Ford Escort and woe betide you if you met a tractor coming the other way.  And yes trying to get by road from Maiden Newton station to Bridport via the (official) intermediate stations was not an easy job and would have been impossible for the ordinary 'buses of those days

 

17 hours ago, andy stroud said:

 

Well I think yours is a fascinating story. An interesting memory, I am sure.

 

Just out of interest. where did your Wickham trolly come from?  Was in one that was already based around that area or was it unloaded from a lorry?

The trolley came out of the bay at Maiden Newton although quite how it had got there I don't know (and didn't ask ;) ).

 

Incidentally I only got to the area in the final years of the branch and well after steam had finished.  But as local management we obviously had a duty to regularly visit even the unstaffed stations on our patch plus of course our Guards were paying in revenue from the branch trains.  As far as my boss was concerned Bridport also had the advantage of being near West Bay and for some unaccountable reason the boot of his official car often had an aroma of freshly landed mackerel.

 

Edited by The Stationmaster
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