The Final Saturday, 5th March 1966


Saturday 5th March dawned damp and foggy. I had cycled to Glastonbury to photograph the first train of the day. The plan for the remainder of the day was to get a lift to Shepton Mallet, spend the day there, and get the last train back to Glastonbury. By the time we arrived at Shepton, the mist had gone and it had turned into a beautiful early spring day.

The S&D was working to a reduced 'emergency' timetable and the scheduled trains were extremely sparse. However a number of chartered trains were running, adding to the interest. The first was organised by the Great Western Society and ran from Bristol to Bath, Bournemouth, then back to Bath and Bristol, a return trip across the S&D. The second, for the RCTS, ran from London to Templecombe, Evercreech, Highbridge, Evercreech, Bath, Teplecombe, and back to London; another S&D return trip.

The Great Wesern Society tour included a return trip over the Mendips. Stanier 8F no.48706 races through Shepton Mallet station on the southbound leg... Photo J.P.Smith ...and passes under the GWR Cheddar Valley line, before the short ascent to Cannards Grave. 5.3.66
Running south from Bath through Shepton to assist its sister over the Mendips from Evercreech Junction is Bulleid pacific no.34057 'Biggin Hill'. 5.3.66 Unrebuilt Bulleid Pacifics 34006 'Bude' and 34057 'Biggin Hill' make light work of the climb onto the Mendips as they leave Shepton Mallett over the impressive Shepton viaduct. 5.3.66.
34006 'Bude' and 34057 'Biggin Hill' continue up the hill from Shepton Mallett. Photo J.P.Smith The 14.44 northbound train through Shepton climbs towards Masbury, headed by standard class 4 2-6-4T no.80138 piloted by Ivatt 2-6-2T no.41307. 5.3.66 Creeping forlornly north across Shepton Mallet viaduct towards the depot in Bath and ultimately the scrap yard. Ivatt tank no.41206 takes its final run after several years of service on the Somerset & Dorset line. 5.3.66

Returning North in the afternoon, the Great Western Society train approaches Shepton behind Stanier 8F, 2-8-0 no.48706. 5.3.66 48706 with the GWS train bursts through the bridge in the previous picture. Photo J.P.Smith 48706 in close-up, with the driver watching the road ahead on the short descent to Shepton before the long climb to the summit.
     
  Bulleid pacifics 34006 'Bude' and 34057 'Biggin Hill' return south past Shepton Mallett with the RCTS farewell special. 5.3.66 . 34006 'Bude' and 34057 'Biggin Hill' approaching Cannards Grave summit on their way south to Templecombe.  
  With the sun almost on the horizon, standard class 4 2-6-4T no.80043 arrives at Shepton Mallet with the 16.20 from Bath. On arrival at Evercreech Junction, 80043 takes water for its final onward journey to Templecombe. 5.3.66

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Updated 15-10-01