18 Bristol

The weather is not a determinant for the scout in choosing to go to Bristol so it was a bonus for him at the end of September to have a full day of sunshine. He caught the train from Newton so as to take in the sea wall and after Exeter the guard kindly put him in first class, which at weekends is full of the same riff-raff found in second.

After a quick look at the Bath Road site, with its new road bridge, he headed off along the Midland route.

From the Midland line bridge at Lawrence Hill, looking towards Stapleton Road, the “requadrification” of the line between Filton Junction and Temple Meads can be seen nearing completion, part of a £130-million project. The re-laid lines, torn up in 1984, would be opened in December.

Stapleton Road

On his way from Stapleton Road to Narroways, the scout crossed the M32 to reach St. Werberghs. The M32 is one of the shortest motorways, with a maximum speed of 50 m.p.h. Here, it smothers the course of the River Frome. The blue sign at centre is carried by the railway bridge.
On the continuation of New Gatton Road, off camera at left, were parked numerous caravans and other types of temporary accommodation. +

Narroways Junction

From the pedestrian bridge at Narroways, the quadrupling can be seen continuing towards Temple Meads.
The single line to Avonmouth and Severn Beach diverges at right. +
Looking up the bank towards Filton from the pedestrian bridge at Narroways, the remains of the bridge that carried the Midland route to Avonmouth can be seen. The line came from Kingswood Junction at right and went left to Ashley Hill Junction. Judging from the height of the brick abutment the main line must be 2-3 feet higher than it once was.

Clifton Extension

On the course of the siding serving Brandy Bottom Colliery, between Mangotsfield and Yate. The former Midland main line is to the right

Westerleigh Sidings

Westerleigh Junction


The wretched Hitachi depot in the fork of the junction, seen from Patchway. The scout wondered if he was the only one who thought it a sin that a nation with a near 200-year history of building railways and trains had been reduced to having Government impose trains made and maintained by the Japanese? And were these trains a 40-year advance on the H.S.T.?

Hoping to get a shot from the embankment at Cogload of the 1703 Paddington overtaking the 1633, the Torbay, the scout had booked his bicycle on the latter from Bristol. This was going to be the last time there would be enough light at nearly seven. Two weeks earlier, the 1633 preceded the late running 1703. A week earlier, the working was as booked, but it was pouring with rain and the light would have been poor.

As if there were a conspiracy against the scout, when he returned to Temple Meads he found that the 1633 was cancelled and so he sat on the vestibule floor of the next Toyager. Determined at least to have what might be his last run along the sea wall in the dark standing at an open window, he took his chances and got off at St. David’s. Luckily, the delayed 1703, the one he had planned to see at Cogload, was right behind.

It was not to be until July the following year that the scout got his wish at Cogload, while returning from Ruabon via Newport.

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