Thursday, 29 December 2022

Gradients & Gongoozlers

Thursday morning at the colliery, and the locomotive has just been sent down the wrong road by Dudley who’s on his damn notebook again and Deliberation Dave - both of who aren’t paying attention, despite them offering to change the point for shunter Shifty Sigmund stood with his back to us. 

The driver of the loco luckily was on the ball and quickly applied the brakes. Phew. But Sigmund’s language cannot be repeated here, despite most of you, my loyal readers being of more sterling stuff and not of the easily offended on behalf other people variety. 

This part of the colliery is interesting historically, because before the railway came and drastically changed the immediate landscape, there used to be a canal here. The humpback bridge in the distance used to cross over the waterway, but was kept when the railway was built. 

The locomotive is stood on a 1 in 20 gradient, quite steep for a railway I’m sure you’ll agree. And whilst it’s not the steepest adhesion railway in the whole of Little Britain, it certainly is in this part of the Somerset Coal Field if one ignores the nearby cable hauled inclines of Kilmersdon, Clandown and suchlike. 

A short flight of locks used to be roughly where the gradient is, with the one here being a 3 compartment ‘staircase’ flight, which made it particularly unpopular with the boatmen who worked the coal canal, especially in latter years with badly leaking gates. 

And finally, the canal now terminates out of shot to the left next to The Pedant & Armchair pub. It was formerly known as ‘The Coal Boat’, and had a very different type of customer back then before it became a favourite haunt of the squeaky voiced nasally afflicted railway loving hobbyist and narrowboat loving gongoozlers. 

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