MIDSOMER NORTON SOUTH
(All pics 18.9.2016 copyright Steve Sainsbury/Rail Thing)
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It was the last of four days over the last two weekend when the SDRHT at Midsomer Norton had the 4MT tank loco on site. It was running from 10.30am this morning puling two coaches in BR (LMR) maroon towards Chilcompton.
I got there just after eleven and got some nice shots of the train as it left Midsomer Norton up the 1 in 53 grade towards Bournemouth. The station and train were packed of course!
The locomotive, hired from the Llangollen steam railway, is ex BR number 80072, and has run in the guise of both 80041 and 80043 over the two weekends, commemorating the locos with those numbers which double-headed the last northbound train (in BR days) to Bath on 6.3.1966.
The costs of hiring in the loco were part sponsored by Midsomer Norton Town Council, who are becoming increasingly aware of the huge value this unique asset has for the town.
Planning permission has been granted to complete phase one of the line up to the infill near Chilcompton and the money raised from these two weekends will go a long way towards laying the track on and completing this section. After then the new challenges of returning to Radstock and heading south through the tunnels to Shepton Mallet and beyond will start to take over.
The next step will be a tender engine and eventually a 9F will return to the line. Just imagine that with 12 coaches on! It'll be a good few years yet but the line has come on enormously since my first visit in about 2003 when just two track panels were laid, the line was blocked and there were just a few freight wagons on site.
Make no mistake, the S&D is back!