'The Milkie'


Every afternoon, the day's output from the Unigate creamery at Bason Bridge, near Highbridge, was delivered across the branch to Templecombe for attaching to the London milk train. It usually comprised a number of 6-wheeled milk tanks, and one or more ventilated vans, and was known by the local railwaymen as the 'Milkie'.

 
The 'Milkie' pauses in Glastonbury station while its loco collects an extra van. 11.5.64 . Collett 0-6-0 no. 3201 accelerates away from Glastonbury past Northload bridge with the 'Milkie'. 2.9.64

By the October 1964, the milk tankers were no longer seen east of Bason Bridge, being taken to the WR main line at Highbridge. However the 'Milkie' still ran every afternoon through Glastonbury and presumably on to Templecombe, usually comprising only a single van.

 
Collett 0-6-0 no. 3201 approaches Glastonbury at 4.45pm with the afternoon perishables train, the 'Milkie. 6.10.64 . Ivatt 2-6-2T no. 41242 near Glastonbury at 5 o'clock one afternoon, with a single utility van. 16.3.65

From 1965, the milk tanks werectaken out through Highbridge. On 27.11.65 for example, at about 3pm an engine ran up to Bason Bridge with a brake van. The milk train was then propelled to Highbridge, with the brake van in front, and across the WR main line into Highbridge yard to await collection.

After closure of the branch, the line to Bason Bridge was retained for several years to allow the milk to be collected from the creamery. A diesel shunter would run up the main line from Bridgwater with a brake van, collect the milk and deliver it to Highbridge, before returning home.

 
On the last day of steam operation, Ivatts 41249 & 41283 collect the milk tanks after pulling a farewell special. 6.3.66 . Ivatt 2-6-2T no. 41206 propells a long train of milk tanks towards the level crossing of the WR main line at Highbridge. 27.11.65
   
. Shunter D2119 runs past Huntspill box at 3 o'clock one afternoon, on its way from Bridgwater to Highbridge to collect the milk from Bason Bridge. It returned at about 3.30. 16.6.66 .

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Updated 15-10-01