Saturday 18 November 2023

‘Revitalising Tonic for the Anaemic Elderly’

A lovely summer Saturday morning in August at Catcott Burtle crossing, as Waving Willy, husband of crossing keeper Daphne Dando waves the Evercreech Junction to Highbridge goods through whilst she cooks a delicious fry-up. 

This turn is normally hauled by a ‘Bulldog’, the S&DJR nickname for a 3F 0-6-0 tender loco of S&DJR/Midland origin. The ‘tender’ for Class 37 fanatics, is separate to the engine and is used for carrying coal and water - not because the engine is sore and bruised because it had a fight with some buffer stops. Though that does happen from time to time if the brakes fail on the steep run down from Coombe Down Tunnel into Bath Green Park Station. Which is in Bath by the way, and quite close to a park. 

Brakevan aficionados will notice the former GWR 6-wheeled brakevan still in GWR livery, this is because it’s been stuck doing the daily goods turn between Bridport and West Bay for years and years carrying shingle and pickled winkles. But having finally escaped the doldrums, will likely soon be repainted and re-numbered in that of British Railways. 

You’ll notice Clive in the veranda, he’s unofficially guarding a stash of recently bottled moonshine heading for Highbridge market, it being cunningly labeled as ‘Revitalising Tonic for the Anaemic Elderly’. It will sell out within minutes, because Highbridge is not the most exciting of places. 


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