Welcome to the 'New Somerset and Dorset Railway'
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
not just the future
It's been such a busy year for the S&D with a focus on the future of the route, from building the organisation through to acquiring Midford, that perhaps the history of this fantastic line has been overlooked.
Part of the New S&D remit is to completely record the history of the route, not just the nuts and bolts of operation etc, but perhaps even more importantly the memories and experiences of people who knew the line - a history of course that is now getting its second wind as the line starts to reappear after what will, in future decades, be seen as a rather odd temporary closure of a major trunk line with a fantastic future.
Most of you will have seen the stations section on the website but David has just added a 'memories' feature for each station. The first is this gem from Anthony Chivers regarding Shoscombe and Single Hill -
I was born in 2 Railway Bungalows, Shoscombe in 1945. The two semidetached bungalows were situated some 200 yards west along the track from the Halts booking office. Initially my grandmother had the tenancy due to the fact that my grandfather Archibold Tapper, who worked as a ganger on the line, was killed whilst crossing the line at the Stonelittleton road bridge. Later when my grandmother died my mother was allowed to take on the tenancy.
When the Halt was opened my auntie Rene Tapper took the position of booking clerk. After a few years my mother Margaret Tapper took over as booking clerk and continued for 40 years until the line closed. Rene Tapper married William Beeho, who was the signalman at Writhlington collery until the line closed, and my mother became Margaret Chivers after marrying my father Richard, a miner at Writhington collery.
My mother walked to the booking office 8 times a day Monday to Saturday arriving 10 minutes before and leaving 10 minutes after each stopping train. The first west bound train from Bath arrived at 07:25h and the last east bound train from Templecombe arrived at 19:40h. My mother therefore only worked a total of 2 hours 40 minutes each day.
If any of you reading this have memories of any of the stations on the route - whether from the first opening period to 1966, the lost years up to 2000 or thereabouts or from the slow rebuilding of the route at Midsomer Norton, Gartell, Shillingstone and Midford - please email me at email@example.com and we'll add them to the website.
The Shoscombe entry is also here.