'Angel of Bedlam' Brings Joy to Enthusiasts in Rail-Served Mendip Quarries

UK Railtours' visits rare Somerset lines on charter train from London.

Charter train goes to Whatley, Merehead and East Somerset Railway

UK Railtours' Angel of Bedlam railtour on February 11 took a passenger train over three normally freight-only lines in Somerset. Starting from Paddington and travelling out via the main line to Westbury, the tour visited Whatley and Merehead quarries as well as running on to the East Somerset Railway at Cranmore.

The two quarries are in the Mendips, and essentially extract limestone from opposite sides of Beacon Hill. Each is served by a dedicated rail line about four miles long that normally only see stone train traffic.

These are typically hauled by the small fleet of Class 59 locomotives, with millions of tonnes of crushed rock leaving the two facilities every year for use in construction projects.

The railtour was powered by Class 59/2 No. 59204 'Vale of Glamorgan'. A second loco, doyen of the Class No. 59001 'Yeoman Endeavour', helped out top-and-tail on the section between Whatley and Merehead.

The 'filling in the sandwich' between the two quarries was a visit to the nearby East Somerset Railway (ESR), which is normally closed in February but opened up specially for the day. The railtour ran into the station at Cranmore, then reversed out so the single platform could be used by GWR tank loco No. 5637 for two round trips to the end of the line at Mendip Vale.

One other interesting aspect of the tour was that it was used to transport a buffet car coach to the ESR for overhaul. The coach was at Eastleigh, where the tour passenger carriage stock is also based, so was added to the rear of the train and removed at Cranmore by the ESR's former Mersey Docks & Harbour Board shunter No. 45. The fortuitous running of the tour from Eastleigh to Cranmore thus saved a tricky and expensive trip by road.

External Links

 
 

Have your say...

Please note: you have to be logged into the site before you can leave a comment

 
 
Liverpool street station in the UK at rush hour

Help and advice with train travel in the UK

Train travel in the UK should be a pleasure, not a headache. So if you’re taking a train on the UK railway, start your journey here. We’ve lots of hints, tips and advice to help you find your way around, travel smoothly and arrive in style by train.

Read more

eurostars passing at 375mph from the drivers seat in france

#railchat

Welcome to our #railchat page. Our #railchat discussions take place over on Twitter, with our resident expert Phil Marsh. If you would like to get involved, please do join us, and use the dedicated hashtag #railchat. See our previous discussions below:

Read more

Old steam train in Shanty Town Museum

Locomotives & Engines

Our rail network would be nothing without them. From Stephenson's Rocket to British Rail Class 92 and beyond, explore the facts, information and anecdotes behind the steam, diesel and electric locomotives that built the age of the train.

Read more

 

Latest Tweets

Facebook

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh to London Kings Cross by Train

Book in advance with redspottedhanky.com and save 85% advanced bookings.

From £21.00

Buy now

Millenium Dome, London

Birmingham New Street to London Euston by Train

Book in advance with redspottedhanky.com and save 92% on advance bookings.

From £6

Buy now

You may also like...

 
Twitter

@railcouk

Follow us on Twitter and become part of our rail community!

 
redspottedhanky.com

redspottedhanky.com

redspottedhanky.com is the easy way to buy cheap train tickets online.

 
fuelGenie

fuelGenie

Control your business fuel costs with a supermarket fuel card – free to apply, no ongoing account charges and no monthly minimum spend.