Contents Listing - Articles & Features in this issue
N SEARCH OF STEAMa€SPRING 1965 - Norman Harvey
FOCUS ON THE SOMERSET & DORSET 1 - FOOTPLATE TRIP OVER THE MENDIPS - R. C. Rifey 2-S&D ALBUM - Photo feature RECOLLECTIONS OF THE WANTAGE TRAMWAY - John Pope TRAVEL IN THE 18th CENTURY - Harold Howarth STEAM IN ACTION - Photo feature CIRCUITOUS RAILWAY ROUTES - Cecil J. Allen LIGHT RAILWAY NOTES - W. S. K. Dimes FOOTBRIDGES - 2 - R. E. G. Read and Gordon Kiddle BOOK REVIEWS LETTERS TO THE EDITOR CLUB NOTES FRONT COVER: Standard Class 4 2-6-4T No 80067 climbs towards' Combe Down tunnel with the 3.20 p.m Bath-Templecombe on March 27, 1965. The Min- ister of Transport has approved the closure of the former S&D route, and elsewhere in this issue, features describe the line and record recent scenes.
THEY'VE practically stripped the place " might well be the comment of a householder, shop manager or anyone whose premises had just been burgled. Yet that was the remark made to us a few weeks ago by an Isle of Wight railwayman, not talking of thieves in the accepted sense, but, to our horror, of railway enthusiasts, who in the last months before the proposed closures were scheduled to take place, descended on the Island in their thousands. No harm in that; indeed their visits must have boosted receipts at Island stations by a few thousand pounds. But the behaviour of a minority, walking on" station platforms, along the line, interfering with equipment, making unauthorised visits to Ryde shed and Works and, above all, removing as souvenirs building and dimension plates from rolling stock, posters and notices, in fact anything that was capable of being removed, is unforgivable. Five engines at least had nameplates removed, and several so-called enthusiasts were actually found on railway premises with tools in their possession. It is true that a few photographers had official written authority to be on the lineside but some photographers clearly had no right to be in the dangerous positions in which we and many others saw them. It was hardly surprising, therefore, to hear the island railwaymen, normally a friendly crowd, not averse in the past to turning a blind eye when enthusiasts were, perhaps, bending the bye-laws, openly critical of railway enthusiasts as a whole for what they, and we, felt was a disgraceful exhibition of railway enthusiasm at its worst. We ourselves saw quite adult and, we would have thought, responsible enthusiasts clearly ignoring notices not to walk off platform ends, and judging by the numbers in Ryde shed it would appear to have been open day.
With the partial closure of a section of BR still entirely steam worked it was only to be expected that the Island would be besieged by enthusiasts, but that gives no-one the right to break BR bye-laws and to ignore the instructions of staff. As for the theft of equipment, for theft it is even if the items were taken as souvenirs, we can only hope that the culprits get their due reward. Yet today, railway souvertirs are big business, and many items can command high prices. A few years ago nameplates could be bought from BR at scrap metal prices of Ã
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