Saturday 25 June 2011

Look, Smart Trams! Kool! [2]

A Ferroequinological Foray.
From Northampton to Seaton.

fbb has already blogged about his holidays in Devon accompanied by Granny; "Taken Short at Axmouth" (read again). The first was probably in 1952 as fbb remembers passing the Skylon as the taxi neared Waterloo Station.
Part of the 1951 Festival of Britain, it was demolished in 1952 on the orders of Winston Churchill.  But fbb and granny were on their way to catch their holiday express from Waterloo**.
This express travelled westwards via Salisbury, shedding coaches for Devon branch lines until the service reached its western terminus.

fbb knew that, when he espied huge hoardings emlazoned with "You're approaching the Strong Country", something special was about to happen. [OK, in later years he learned it was an advert for beer; the drink, not the coastal village near Seaton.] 
That special event was the removal of a single coach at Seaton Junction which was then shunted onto the back of the branch train. This shot, looking west, shows the link to the branch platform on the left of the main lines.
The holiday was at Colyton, but, on one thrilling occasion, fbb persuaded granny to take him on the train rather than the bus from Colyton (a modern picture, N.B. post-tram tram posts) ...
... via Colyford ...
... to the 1930's rebuilt Seaton terminus, seen here after closure and in a decaying state.
The branch opened in 1868 and closed just two years short of its hundredth birthday.  Like so many seaside branches, it contributed massively to the growth and development of Seaton as a resort. This picture, from the very early years, sees the Station separated from the town by a swathe of open country ...
... soon to be filled with houses, hotels and a Warner's Holiday Camp as here in an equivalent 1940s view. 
Roll the clock forward to 1986 and fbb now has his own family.  They stay in a caravan owned by the White Hart Inn at Colyford,
situated right alongside the replacement tramway station.  Also right alongside the cast iron gents urinal, fortuitously no longer in use, but a reminder of Colyford Station's original and luxurious facilities. Of course, ladies did not need to "go" in those days; at least not in Colyford! But the spinmeisters hadn't invented the sin of sexism, then.
But we move on too fast.  We need to return to the work of Claude Lane and another innocent intresection between his life's work and fbb's zeal.  It is now 1967 ...

... to be continued continued with Part 3

** Dedicated ferroequinologists will spot an error here. In 1952, junior fbb's train would not have been hauled by a rebuilt "Battle of Britain" class loco as shown above at Waterloo; but by a genuine unaltered "spam can" as in the "Strong" advertisement hoarding; but green, not blue.
That's better! That hoarding, incidentally, is also a preserved example; erected on the "Watercress Line" at Ropley (?) in Hampshire.

Previous blog in this short series:-
Look, Smart Trams! Kool [1] here

Next blog : due Sunday June 26th  


  1. Never heard of the Skylon but it was 5 years before my time! Enjoying these historical reminisciences.

  2. I meant reminiscences of course.