Saturday 29 December 2012

Water Delivery

nevard_121229_catcott_IMG_2378 by nevardmedia
nevard_121229_catcott_IMG_2378, a photo by nevardmedia on Flickr.
Click on the above photo for a bigger version with extra notes about the modelling!
The photo above is a reminder of hot summer days for those of us in the northern hemisphere, with this photo depicting the regular fresh water delivery for the crossing keeper and her family.

Many rural outposts on our railways before Mr Beeching killed most of them off were remote from electricity and even mains water. Catcott, a small crossing, half a mile of so east of Edington Burtle in the middle of the Somerset Levels was just one of these spots, the remote keepers cottage not having water on tap, although the swan necked lamp seen just above the car would suggest there was electricity!

To get around the water issue, drinking water would be delivered as required in a milk churn, it frequently being carried on the footplate of a passing loco or train and dropped off. Exchange of a quick cuppa or some vegetables from the obligatory crossing keeper's allotment could also be known to ensure a supply of coal too - though that was strictly unofficial!

The engine here, an ex-GWR Pannier Tank number 4631 was one of the few allocated to the former Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway route as a result of the Western Region takeover. By the early 1960's these small but powerful locos could often be seen sharing Highbridge branch duties with Ivatt Class 2 tanks and ex-GWR Collett 0-6-0 tender locos which had replaced the old ex-Midland 3F 0-6-0 and Midland 0-4-4 1P tanks which had operated the line for many years.

The old Austin which appears to be devoid of a number plate is probably illegal, even when this photo was taken around 1963 it would have been the best part of 30 years old and probably none too roadworthy!

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