The Vale of Rheidol Railway
Aspects of Southern Steam lyme regis hayling wight plymouth exeter salisbury
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Having covered the Somerset & Dorset line and extensive parts of the GWR and, later, BR Western Region system in previous volumes, it is now the turn of the Southern Railway/Southern Region to be explored in the company of Norman Lockett and his plate camera. At a time when most railway photographers were converting over to celluloid film, Norman remained faithful to glass plates right to the end of steam, his only concession being to take colour slides as well from the late 1950s. Like many of his contemporaries, he believed the quality that could be achieved with glass plates could not be matched, let alone bettered by monochrome film. A glance through the pages of this and the previous volumes can only prove he was right. We have returned to the original plates for the scanning process, as these provide far better and fuller images that can be had from the prints that Norman made from them. Once again, the vast majority of the pictures featured within have never previously been published. Norman covered only a part of the Southern, places easily reached from home by public transport or, later, in his great friend Ivo Peters’ Bentley. Nevertheless, there are still a huge number of highly photogenic locations covered here, from the ex-L&SWR line north from Plymouth, to Exeter, Weymouth, Bournemouth, Southampton and Salisbury, along with visits to various minor lines such as the Lyme Regis Branch, the Hayling Island Branch and the Isle of Wight. An interesting array of workings are featured, along with a representative selection of Southern motive power, from humble well tanks, radial tanks and ‘M7’s, through ‘T9’s and Southern ‘Moguls’, to ‘King Arthurs’ and the mighty Bulleid ‘Pacifics’. Aspects of Southern Steam - Sample Images Norman noted the lighting conditions as ‘brilliant’ at the time (2.25pm) he photographed Class ‘T9’ 4-4-0 No. 714 approaching Wortha Mill Bridge in charge of the 8.40am Waterloo to Plymouth service. 29th May 1934 Two flagmen halt traffic on Canute Road to enable ‘U’ Class 2-6-0 No. 31803 to pull out from the Eastern Docks with an Ocean Liner baggage train. Although it is barely visible in his left hand, the flagman to the left is also holding (and doubtless using) a bell. 25th September 1958 Notice the distinctive brick and stone gate pillars, the right-hand pier mostly obscured by the locomotive. These piers and the two buildings seen to the right still exist in 2015. The nearer, single-storey structure, erected in 1907, was the former ‘Wilts & Dorset Bank’ but here occupied by the W estern U nion. The larger building, known as ‘Pilgrim House’, was originally a Mercantile Marine Office dating from the 1880s, which was later occupied by the Department of Trade & Industry. It is now a Chinese restaurant and takeaway. The other motive power includes, to the left, a Standard Vanguard (Phase 1A) car built between late-1951 and March 1953. It carries a London registration. To the right is a 3-wheeled Heinkel Kabine ‘Bubblecar’, one of a number of designs which proved popular as an economical form of transport during the 1950s and early ‘60s. Many still exist but their popularity was eclipsed by the introduction of the British Austin and Morris ‘Minis’ in 1959.