Thursday 14 June 2012

Eclipse Peat (Catcott)

nevard_120614_catcott_DSC_5845 by nevardmedia
nevard_120614_catcott_DSC_5845, a photo by nevardmedia on Flickr.

I have typed a 'Billy Bullshit' page for ages, so here goes a snippett of parallel universe 'faction'.......
Click on the photo above if you think it's pretty and want to see a bigger one!

In 1966 Eclipse Peat (Catcott) upgraded its loading facility with the ability to handle the loose product as well as bagged. In August 1969, diesel hydraulic No. D6313 is captured propelling wagons under the loading hopper. On loading days, the tractor seen in the shot, endlessly pottered to and fro with loaded trailers of peat from the works seen just behind the loco.

Windy days, not that uncommon due to the proximity with the nearby Bristol Channel, would often create a peat storm, so loading frequently couldn't take place under such conditions, this making it unsuitable for rail transport with its rigid time table. In 1971 the rail transfer facility was withdrawn in favour of more flexible road haulage. The hopper here can still be seen; lorries now reversing under collect their load instead of railway wagons. Nowadays without the railway in the way, the hopper is fed by a 1500 yard continuous conveyor from the peat moor.

The old SDJR 'Branch' which shut as a through line in March 1966, remained open as far as Catcott and was worked as a long siding from Highbridge. The lack of run-around facilities meant that loaded trains were propelled backwards as far as the creamery siding at Bason Bridge, where the loco then ran around its train to travel further afield.

When rail transport from Catcott ceased in 1971, the railway was lifted back to Bason Bridge, which in turn shut in October 1972. One of the reasons for closure of the final section was the building of the M5 motorway which breached the line just east of the former Highbridge Locomotive Works.

This shot is totally un-manipulated.

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