Saturday, 2 February 2008

Town motorists braced for railway turntable return

A LONG-awaited locomotive turntable will be delivered to the West Somerset Railway, in Minehead, next weekend.
It is due to reach the Minehead station on Sunday, February 10, and highways authorities have warned of traffic delays on the A39 while it is transported.
The turntable forms part of a controversial £6 million Somerset County Council industrial development alongside the railway station.
It should reach the town by 10.30 am after an early-morning journey which has been timed to minimise disruption on the roads. Installation is due to start the following day.
As preparatory work for the installation continues, historical evidence of the former Minehead locomotive shed and the people who worked there has been emerging from the diggings.
WSR general manager Paul Conibeare said: “We will not be rivalling ‘Time Team’ for the range or excitement of the discoveries, but the diggers have been turning up a range of artefacts from the shed site, which was closed and demolished in the 1960s.
“As expected, engineering bricks and items of track work have featured, but the biggest engineering relic is the original central mounting pin on which the former turntable was mounted.
“A new pin will carry the replacement turntable but we will preserve the original for future visitors to see.
“On a smaller scale we have found plenty of evidence of the former locomotive staff and other lost bits of Exmoor, including a beer bottle from the long-closed Arnold and Hancocks, in Wiveliscombe, a milk bottle from D Dansie, of Minehead, and another bottle about which we would like to know more.
“It is a half-pint one and stamped into the glass is ‘Bray Valley Clapworthy’ and we would be curious to know what it held and who produced the contents.
“Once the work is complete, we plan to have a display case on the station to house these small items from the past of Minehead and Exmoor.”
  • Our photographs show (top) a bottle being uncovered on the turntable site, and (below) the former turntable central mounting pin. Photos submitted.

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