Steam Preservation in the 1980s & 1990s
West Somerset Railway 1991
Somerset’s Winter Work
A particularly interesting feature of this winter’s West Somerset Railway’s maintenance work is a track relaying exercise at Kentsford, mid-way between Washford and Watchet Stations.
In 1934, the Great Western Railway installed a passing loop at Kentsford to enable a more intensive service of trains to be worked through the long single track section between Blue Anchor and Williton signal boxes.
The loop was closed by British Railways in 1964, the signal box demolished, the second track and point work lifted leaving just the single running line.
The vegetation and undergrowth took over. By 1991 it was almost impossible to see any remains of this once-busy railway feature.
In preparation for the track relaying work, the engineers have cleared the entire site of vegetation to provide themselves with on-site storage and access to the relaying area.
Cleared of vegetation, and with replacement sleepers stacked for the adjacent running line, it looks ready to receive its second track again, but sadly there are no plans for this reinstatement at the present time.
In the longer term, passengers will be able to enjoy a better view from their carriage windows as they glide by on newly laid track.
It is planned to replace 1,000 sleepers on this section alone, and 300 tonnes of stone ballast will be used.
Other relaying work planned for the close season will take place in the Watchet area, while at Crowcombe Heathfield the second line through the platform is being replaced in preparation for the new passing loop and signalling scheme.