Monday 31 October 2022


 Happy Halloween / Samhain 🎃👻🎃👀

Sunday 30 October 2022

The Present Day

I was just going through some early construction photos of Polbrook Gurney from before I expanded the layout and added the colliery to the rear and canal basin to the fore.

However, this shot could easily pass for the present day, with 66618 ‘Railways Illustrated’ rumbling though on a cement train. The former Pedant & Armchair is now a private dwelling, the last pint being pulled many moons ago. The canal basin is now silted up and nature has taken over. And of course the colliery is long gone and a small forest has taken over the site. 

Surprisingly the corrugated shelter still survives, I’m guessing that would have been one of the first things to go. So in this case I’ll just imagine that some sentimental enthusiasts unofficially look after it, though it does look overdue for another splash of paint. 

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Saturday 29 October 2022

The Tale of Two Lions

The complex railway network down at the docks is often used for new locomotive trials due to its remote location in the middle of nowhere away from prying eyes. The rough old track and tight curves being a good test for new engines. 

This morning, the inch high people have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the new much hyped type 4 express diesel electric locomotive D0260 ’Lion’ recently built by Birmingham Railway Carriage Company’s works in Smethwick. But it looks like there’s been a mix up at The Ministry of Misery with the paperwork, for instead they’ve received a non-working stuffed tiger (or lion in this case) of a shiny museum piece also called ‘Lion’ from the local museum. 

The loco crew aren’t too impressed, for they had to push the whole train by tractor for the last 2 miles, and now the weather is changing and it’s starting to rain. The crew were hoping for a nice warm dry cab to spend the morning in putting the new shiny diesel loco though it’s paces around the dockland lines. 

The man in charge, Barry Bullhead from The Ministry of Misery (that’s him with the bowler hat), unusually and most out of character, has bought a crate of 9% cider to try to alleviate the situation. He’s realised that the chances of him being left on his own with the non-working engine in the rain are quite high, whilst everyone else heads for the pub leaving him to return the engine single handed to the museum before they notice it’s missing. 

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Friday 28 October 2022

Team Building

In deepest Devon, Barry and Dave watch the arrival of coal at the creamery from the safety of the bridge. Today they’re running moonshine laced cider from the nearby independent principality of Somerset, the illicit liquor being hidden inside fibreglass sheep in the trailer behind their Land Rover. Nobody will ever know apart from the fact that they don’t ‘bahhh’, they only rattle together as the trailer makes its way along the bumpy rural lanes of east Devon. But Dave, being a ventriloquist in his former life, is good at surreptitiously making animal noises as and when required.

Doug, ready with shovel, hates Fridays, for he’ll need to move a huge amount of coal about. He has Dizzy Lizzy as his new helper today, but between you and me, she has a record for not sticking at any job longer than it takes for a lettuce to wilt. 

And finally, if you zoom in to the right, you can just make out the white clad creamery staff playing chess with milk churns. It’s all part of this new fangled  ‘team building’ initiative to avoid staff having to perform any actual work, thus not having a case for any kind of pay rise. To those not in the know,  ‘team building’ is a thing created by bloated middle management trying to justify their often pointless positions.

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Wednesday 26 October 2022

Wild Sky Wednesday

Wild Sky Wednesday! ‘Oh don’t you know dear boy’ Ivan Locksmith and local dirty rotten scoundrel & ladies’ man Terry Tuttle-Thomas-Smythe, prepare for another race around the narrow lanes of the Somerset Levels. Meanwhile the mid morning goods from Highbridge slows to collect and drop off a wagon or 2. All perfectly timed to create a wonderful cameo, such luck!

Over to the right, having been watching the development of the apocalyptic storm of doom forming over Mendip, Deliberation Dave and ‘oh my gawd’ Oliver (twin half brother of Comical Ned) are shocked to see that TTS has the roof down on his Triumph Roadster. And of course there is not an umbrella or  raincoat in sight. Nasal Nigel today is the only person with such attire, in fact that’s all he wears, even during a mid summer heatwave - but we won’t go there. Actually we will, you’d be disappointed otherwise…

It’s likely they’ll all be running for the goods shed shortly, and fingers crossed Nasal Nigel isn’t already in there playing with his Hornby Dublo streamlined A4 Pacific (this photo being taken before the acquisition of his later much loved Triang Hornby English Electric Type 3 diesel which has yet to be invented). 

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Monday 24 October 2022

Dizzy Lizzie


Dizzy Lizzie, recently shamed former Prime Minister from the Ministry of Misery, assisted by her loyal playful hound Kamikaze Ken who can bark backwards, starts her new job of crossing keeper. Although it’s her first shift, she already has plans to get the train crew to open and close the gates, thus rendering her role, erm, well, err, pointless. She will of course run in to trouble with the unions, but she’s used to not being at all popular. 

Between you and me, I think it’s unlikely that she’ll last long, with the next crossing keeper almost certainly reversing any new work practices, not that they’ll be agreed to in the first place of course. 

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Sunday 23 October 2022

Peregrine Pinch

Sunday morning at the colliery. Deep in the Forest and Peregrine Pinch, holidaying lifeguard from Chertsey Meads, eyes up the pannier tank engine bought in at the last moment to replace the more regular Peckett due to a dodgy tube. 

Peregrine always wanted to drive a steam locomotive, but failed the initial tests despite being educated at Eton College, but to be honest the skills taught at such places are more suited to dirty rotten scoundrels who want a career in politics. I digress, for our bright spark here likes to dress up as an engine driver when not rescuing drunken sunday walkers who’ve fallen in to the Thames. Hence the attire which has somehow or other has allowed him to trespass without being questioned. Yet. 

‘6 wheels rather than 4’ he thinks, ‘that must be most confusing for the loco crew when they’re so used to just 4. Getting all those wheels running at the same speed must be quite tricky, a bit like spinning dinner plates on a stick. I wonder how the engine balances on those rails, they being so narrow? The loco crew must be so clever, maybe they have to train as tight rope walkers before before bring considered for the job?’

It will be interesting to witness Peregrine’s confused reaction if ever he sees a Beyer Garratt 2-6-0+0-6-2 locomotive. 

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Saturday 22 October 2022

Pond Water

Saturday morning behind The Pedant & Armchair pub. Nothing too unusual going on as Pete & Dud barter over a crate of hooch. Fruit fanciers will notice the huge apples in the tree waiting to drop. That’s mostly due to the highly polluted pond water. The pond water is also used in the hooch and beer production, giving it a certain something special, it being pumped directly in to the brewhouse unfiltered. It also glows in the dark, something that will be appreciated in the forthcoming dark winter of discontent in Little little little Britain, where the few pubs still trading will be able to see and serve beer during a power cut. 

Meanwhile Gary & Barry watch Little Jim pass by with the mid morning goods to Frome. I’m not sure what they’re planning, but we can be sure it won’t be legal and almost certainly only be in their interests. That will no doubt be a tale for another day from the land of the inch high.  

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Friday 21 October 2022

Just Imagine…

September 1994, and a somewhat more mature Terry Tuttle-Thomas-Smythe and Ivan Locksmith are heading for Highbridge. They no longer drive due to them both losing their licenses due to constant excessive speeding. ‘Oh my gawd’ Oliver, having finally passed his driving test at the age of 56 after 27 fails thought he’d never see the day that Terry and Ivan take the train. 

Put your rose tinted glasses on, and just imagine if the Somerset & Dorset line across the Somerset Levels never closed? With Glastonbury Festival being open 51 weeks of the year as a permanent music festival, a sort of  ‘Butlins’ for musos, hippies, eco types, vegetable fanatics and Guardian readers. It of course now has its own railway station, that opening in the late 1970s due to demand and the fact that Glastonbury town is nowhere near the festival site. 

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Thursday 20 October 2022


We’ve not seen everyone’s favourite sweaty bus-spotter extraordinaire Nasal Nigel for a while. This is due to him spending time at a des res high up on Dartmoor for a few weeks after one of his regular misdemeanours involving a Triang Hornby English Electric Type 3, whilst dressed only in a flasher-mac hanging about at Taunton Bus Station. 

Here is our loveable little chap spotted at a quarry as he makes his way back home to ‘mother’ on foot, he having been banned from using all public transport for 3 months. 

You’ll notice that no one is about, but of course they are, they’re just hiding and viewing from afar hoping that he’ll soon move on - this photo being taken with a long lens from the relative safely of a badger sett. 

But little do they know, for Nigel can literally hang about for hours and hours  waiting to bore the socks off an unsuspecting victim so he can lecture them  about the different types of inlet manifold gasket used on a 1963 vintage London Transport Routemaster bus. Waiting is of course a vital skill most train and bus spotters are well practised at, as they await that exclusive ‘cop’. 

And in that note, many of you my dear readers who are keen ‘spotters’, whether it be trains, buses, planes, Eddie Stowbart lorries, vintage real ale pump clips, mercury vapour street lights or bearded ladies, what’s the longest you have waited for that all exclusive and highly desired ‘cop’? 

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Wednesday 19 October 2022

Bridge Infill

By 1969, Polbrook Gurney Colliery had closed and been razed to the ground.  For those unfamiliar with the location, the colliery used to tower above the corrugated waiting shelter on the left. The halt is now disused, the only action being the occasional fertiliser trains to and from Avonmouth and demolition trains from the now closed Somerset & Dorset line. 

The Pedant & Armchair pub is hanging in there, but with the closure of the colliery, the only customers are the occasional railway enthusiast, though they are few and far after the end of steam. Also groups of rambling ramblers meet up from time to time to ramble on about farmers blocking public rights of way. But the landlord and his wife want to retire, and despite trying to find a buyer, there has been zero interest, so it’s likely to go the way of the colliery eventually, for the building is in a bad state and needs a lot of investment. 

Winding the clock forward to the present day, with the railway now long gone, the remains of the platform can just about be made out in the undergrowth, but with most the more prime pieces of limestone that make it up pinched. The bridge above our photographer also survives, but Highways England controversially want to infill it in with concrete at great expense to the tax payer. This of course will block a rural thoroughfare for wildlife, and of course those rambling ramblers. There is nothing really wrong with the bridge, apart from a little repointing being required. However the local rambling group and more eminent locals are on the case which has been dragging on for well, over a year. Fingers crossed. 

Where the pub was, now stands 3 retirement bungalows, the former landlord and landlady having lived in one of them until the early 80s. But sadly they are no longer with us. The site of the former colliery is now a bland housing estate of mid 1970s near identical low grade badly maintained homes built from beige reconstituted stone. 

So for any keen railway archaeologists reading this, there isn’t a huge amount to see, but if you do go, be sure to send in a few photos for me to share. 

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Tuesday 18 October 2022

Amazon Purchase

The clueless management at the colliery have been buying on Amazon again when they should have gone to a specialist retailer and received proper advice on narrow gauge engines. Meanwhile, discussion is going on to see who’ll be small enough the crew the miniature loco. Neil, kneeling down is the first candidate because he always does what he’s told - the snivelling little tick. And Rodney the hound, just to the right of the smoke box is being bribed with treats to volunteer as driver. Such a clever boy 🐾

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Sunday 16 October 2022

New ‘Wheels’

Former diagonal geezer-bloke, boxer, thug, flash-Harry and Audi driver Gaylord Grip brings his latest rail mounted ‘wheels’ along the narrow gauge railway to The Star pub on the wharf. Twin half brothers ‘Oh My Gawd’ Oliver and Comical Ned (with the funny shaped head) pop out of the public bar to gawp at Gaylord’s old heap of a find. The old ‘rail bus’ for want of a better description, has been cobbled up from the remains of a wartime Nissen hut, an old garden shed and a charabanc chassis with replacement railway wheels. 

PC McFuzz who just so happens to be passing at the end of his shift isn’t too amused. For it’s quite likely that the train isn’t ‘rail-worthy’ and certainly can’t be parked in front of the pub for any length of time blocking the thoroughfare. In the meantime with all the distraction going on, pub landlord Shamus and Waving Wayne unload a few wooden casks of illicit moonshine spiked entire stout. 

In the middle distance, Barry Bullhead from the Ministry of Misery, and driver & local councillor Colin casually keep an eye on what’s going on. And of course for a healthy share of any dodgy profits will ensure that the local chamber of commerce and the law won’t get in the way of things. Nothing to see here, business as usual, carry on. 

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Saturday 15 October 2022

190 Proof

Saturday morning down on the docks. A rare outing for the Templecombe crew as they arrive at the little used water tower, for little do they know that it’s used for storing moonshine. Those in ’the know’ rally around to try convince the crew that they need to use the other water tower a little further along the line. Filling the loco up with the 190 proof liquor could be literally explosive, and failing that will almost certainly allow the little tank engine to beat Mallard’s paltry 126 mph steam loco speed record. 

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Friday 14 October 2022


Front end Friday again - they come around quickly! 

New build 60163 powers out of a bank of digital fog (basically to hide that face that the photo plank is only 3ft long) with a trainload of squealing railway buffs. Moments later the plastic loco and its 2 carriages will plunge on to floor as it flies off the end of the board. Obviously that didn’t happen because the loco was borrowed, but there’s nothing like a good story to get in the way of the facts.

Thursday 13 October 2022


Templecombe shed’s 44417 simmers between duties at Combwich. The loo to the left is in a particularly poor state today after last night’s pickled onion tasting competition at the nearby Royal Oak pub. Next to the signal box, Barry and Norman toss a coin to see who’ll go first for a well needed number two after their night out on pickled onions and Mrs Miggins’ home brewed 9% abv entire oyster stout. Parp.

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Monday 10 October 2022


 Monochrome Monday. over the weekend Highbridge shed did an excellent job of giving old 72 a full valet prior to a good buff with the trusty oily rag. Pukka. 

Thursday 6 October 2022

Dumb Buffers

Thursday morning at the colliery spied through a telephoto lens from down the side of The Miners Arms. Deliberation Dave and Henry hi-vis  plan their morning ahead trying to work out what should go there and here, and here and there before the mid morning empties arrive from Lydney. 

Today they’re using a small ‘Planet’ chain-driven diesel mechanical loco instead of the more usual steamer. The little loco is fondly referred to as the ‘Flying Green Welly’ due to its colour being similar to that of a green rubber Wellington boot much favoured by those who work the land and the ‘okay yah’ set from Knightsbridge with a third home in the shires. 

Buffer fanatics (yes, they are a thing) will notice the extra set of unsprung wooden buffers sat between the more regularly placed buffers. These are called ‘dumb buffers’, not because some idiot fixed them in the wrong place, oh no. They’re used when the loco is connected to some ancient internal user wagons with similar unsprung buffering attire. 

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Tuesday 4 October 2022

On the Road Again

 I’m on the road this Saturday 8 October 2022 with Fountain Colliery at the Cradley Heath expo. Come and say hello, but beware that I do bite. I’ll have an aerosol of Dettox to spray any smelly types. Other than that, it will be nice to meet you. 

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Monday 3 October 2022

Rusty the Ruston Bucyrus

Monochrome Monday. Down on the wharf, ‘Rusty’ the Ruston Bucyrus crane can think of nothing better than playing tricks on the sleepy small engines by  sneaking up behind them and lifting them in to the air briefly. But surely Peter the Peckett would hear the rumbling you ask? But since when have engines had ears? I don’t think even Thomas the smug do-gooder tank engine has ears. Those readers here with locomotive faces as their profile avatar please advise 🤡

Saturday 1 October 2022

Speed Awareness Course

Local bounder and smooth talking ladies’ man Terry Tuttle-Thomas-Smythe and celebrated photographer ‘don’t you know dear boy’ Ivan Locksmith have been out speeding across the moors again. As is often the case, the local hot fuzz have apprehended them at one of the many railway crossings in the area for a ticking off. 

Today is different though, for Terry and Ivan are being directed in to the railway yard for a driver speeding awareness course. But unlike in today’s risk averse world, they’re going to be taught how to drive at even greater speeds around the narrow country lanes. 

On the platform we can see Beryl, remember her? Well back in the day she was a racing driver, with her speeding skills being much admired - especially in the era when women were expected to know their limits cooking, cleaning and scrubbing the pavement outside their 2 up 2 down. But why has she arrived by train you ask? Well, yesterday she blew up the engine on her race prepared supercharged Austin 7 whilst racing against other petrol headed super-grannies on the beach at nearby Burnham on Sea. 

As we can see, Beryl despite being well in to her 80s, has no plans to slow down, even though she’s become quite partial to support stocking beige as her ‘go to’ colour. Ignoring the beige thing much favoured by bungalow dwellers and Toyota Prius owners, her reason for being here today is to oversee this new speed awareness initiative. On the 6 hour course, she’ll be giving one to one tips on how to go around bends faster, how to tune up those SU carburettors and tweak timing for optimum speed performance. What a girl!

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