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Bleakhouse Road

Description based on material supplied by the layout owner

Bleakhouse Road WEBSITE  
Tim Maddocks OO gauge 4mm scale

Bleakhouse Road is a model of the main intermediate station on the erstwhile Glastonbury & South Somerset Railway. The line was built at the turn of the century and ran in a south—westerIy di- rection from Glastonbury via the villages of Walton and Pedwell across the peat moor to a junction with the West of England main line at Athelney. The line was single throughout, with one crossing place at Bleakhouse Road.

In 1911 the South Polden Light Railway was built from Bleakhouse Road across the levels to a number of peak works near Westonzoyland and Burrowbridge. At the height of production during the 1920s it in turn was fed by several narrow gauge tramways. In 1937 the Government established an Army stores depot at Burrowbridge, which continued to be rail-served until its closure in 1964. The Army maintained its own motive power at the depot, which occasionally ventured down the Light Railway as far as Bleakhouse Road on transfer trips.

The section south from Bleakhouse Road to Athelney was closed to passengers in 1951 and to freight in 1952. The rest remained open to passenger and freight traflic until the final closure of the S&D in March 1966. The main reason for its survival was the transfer of peat traffic from the light railway to the 'mainline' at Bleakhouse Road, occasional Army traffic from Burrowbridge and sun-dry wagonload traffic for the surrounding agricultural district.

Peat was generally transported in box vans. The light railway closed at the same time as the S&D, although the narrow gauge tramway feeding the Bleak Moor works survived into the early 1970's, when the peat works itself closed.

The model is set in the period between 1959 and 1964 and features the end-on junction with the light railway and the nearby level crossing at Ham Lane. The peat works of the Bleak Moor Peat & Sedge Company is also featured. Locomotives from Templecombe and Highbridge sheds typically shared the passenger and freight workings on the branch to Bleakhouse Road. These included 'typical' S&D motive power, together with more recent W.R. 'interlopers' such as 22xx 'Collett Goods' and Pannier tanks. A variety of industrial and former main line tank locos worked the light railway.


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