© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2011
There were those who used to refer to the GWR as the “Great
Way Round” - in similar fashion, the late lamented S&DJR was
sometimes known as the “Slow and Dirty”. In the early 70s,
adverts began to appear in the railway magazines for a
preservation scheme, offering somewhat more positive
interpretations - the only one I can remember was “Salutary
and Determined”. The scheme in question was based at
Radstock, where around a mile and a half of track was still in
situ, having provided an outlet for the coals of Writhlington
Colliery. In September 1975, I found myself living in Bristol,
and decided I ought to take a look...
...I took two. The first tentative visit revealed a collection of
steam locomotives in and around the old Radstock loco shed
(71G, later 82F) - and posters advertising a steam-up and open
day a couple of weeks later.
In a sense, the star attraction ought to have been former-S&D
2-8-0 no. 53808 - it was in residence, but in the
early stages of restoration following removal
from Barry. It would be some years before it
steamed. Another rather nice little locomotive,
as yet unrestored, was Fox Walker (predecessor
of Peckett) 0-6-0ST no 242 of 1874. The real star
of the day was “Isabel” (Hawthorn Leslie 3437 of
1919) providing steam action for visitors.
Henbury (Peckett 1940 of 1937) appears to have
been in steam (I’m going by the smoke rising from its chimney)
but I’ve no photos of it in operation.
Other than that, I have little recollection of the visits - the
photos will have to tell the rest of the story. It appears that the
writing was already on the wall for the S&D at Radstock - within
months, the site was being cleared and removal of stock to
Washford on the West Somerset Railway had begun.
The Somerset & Dorset Railway Trust