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  PHOTO GALLERY GROUP 45
 
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Above: A brief reminder of why there are so few trackbed pictures on this site from the winter of 2009-2010 – the country was gripped by freezing weather conditions. Although this scene has something of the look of a disused railway, it is actually part of a permissive walk on the Brendon Hills in Somerset, leading from Carhampton Gate to Bats Castle. It is hard to credit it, but this is a colour photograph! 7 January 2010. (Ivor Sutton)

 
Above: Ventnor High Level station, on the line from Ryde and Sandown, stood at a height of 276 feet above sea level, giving holidaymakers arriving by train a steep climb back from the town with their loaded suitcases when the time came to pack up and go home. The station site has been converted into a small light industrial estate for many years, but this blue plaque commemorates its former use. 5 September 2009. (Jeff Vinter)
 
Above: Here's a sign you don't see every day – 'Cave to Rent'! Ventnor High Level was situated in an artificial hollow hewn out of the chalk hillside to the north of the town. Tall cliffs dominated the west side of the site, where businesses once supplied by the railway traded from caves cut into the chalk. The overall effect was more Middle Earth than Southern Railway! 5 September 2009. (Jeff Vinter)
 
Above: In September 2009, this luxurious pad could have been yours for a modest monthly rental. The green double doors look as if they were last painted by the Southern Region of British Railways, which carried out a large scale station-redecorating programme in 1959. The paint in those days was lead-based and so lasted far longer than modern equivalents. 5 September 2009. (Jeff Vinter)
 
Above: The southern portal of Ventnor tunnel opened directly into the station. A signal box was situated to the right of this picture, in roughly the position of the green pipe seen here. It was then just a few yards into the platforms. The tunnel is now owned by Southern Water and conveys the town's water supply via a large main installed at ground level. 5 September 2009. (Jeff Vinter)
 
Above: Bradpole crossing on the Bridport branch was situated less than a mile from the town's main station. Originally hand-operated by a gate keeper, this undemanding role was abolished as cuts began to bite from the 1960s onwards. In the final years, trains had to stop here so that the guard could climb down to track level and open the gates himself. The train would then draw forwards across the road, after which the guard would close the gates and re-join the train for its final run into the terminus. 21 February 2009. (Jeff Vinter)
 
Above: Another view of Bradpole crossing, this time looking north east, shows that the rails remain in the tarmac, even though the branch was closed as long ago as May 1975. The gate is not actually the original but a replica, fabricated by local joiners John Gale and Bernie Joy as a reminder of the railway's existence. The gate keeper's cabin, a simple concrete affair, used to stand where the wicket fence on the left has been erected. 1 May 2010. (Jeff Vinter)
 
Above: This is Bradpole again, about 300 yards north east of the level crossing seen above. Wrought iron gates with delicate tracery along the top bar are a feature of the branch and can be seen to this day at the site of many occupation crossings. This small example is a kissing gate where a path crossed the track to reach railway cottages on the south side of the line. To the left, the trackbed has been converted into allotments (which are rather rich in clinker and other railway detritus), after which the route has been ploughed out and the land restored to the appearance which the original railway surveyors would have seen in the 1850s. 1 May 2010. (Jeff Vinter)