The Somerset & Dorset Railway (continued). The club's third and final S&D walk in 2016 took members from Masbury station, at the summit of the line, down to Shepton Mallet on Saturday 13th August. This was a heavily engineered part of the route and much of the infrastructure still survives, although significant parts are in private ownership. This walk finished grandly with a buffet lunch in what used to be the boardroom of Showerings' Brewery – although most people nowadays will know this company not as a brewer, but as the developer of 'Babycham, the genuine champagne perry'.

Above: A view of the privately owned Masbury station from the railway overbridge on nearby Frome Road. The building nearest to the camera housed the waiting rooms (one for ladies and one for general use), while there was a signal box on the platform between that and the station house. The new owner has cleared the trackbed of shrubs, which has restored the railway atmosphere at this remote location. 24th June 2016. (Jeff Vinter)


Left: Masbury station steps led down from Frome Road on to the up platform, and they are still there for those who care to look. The scene looks resplendent with the early summer foliage at its finest – all washed clean by the torrential rain which the photographer walked through to get this shot. Behind the sound of birdsong and occasional passing cars, a dull thump could be heard emanating from the Glastonbury Festival several miles to the south, and perhaps it was that which encouraged the Great God of Meteorology to attempt to drown everyone on or near the Mendips that day. 24th June 2016. (Jeff Vinter)

Above: The overbridge at the north end of Masbury station, from which the above two photographs were taken. The bridge is owned by the Historic Railways Estate of Highways England, which considers it to be somewhat below optimal condition. How long it will survive is anyone's guess. Photograph by kind permission of Masbury station owner. 13th August 2016. (Mike Spearman)
Above: On the face of it, this photograph appears to depict nothing more than a group of walkers proceding down Thrupe Lane, south of Masbury, in wet weather; but the embankment on the left is, in fact, part of the old S&D. The bridge here must have been a low one, so it is hardly surprising that it has gone. 13th August 2016. (Mike Spearman)
Above: This is another deceptive photograph. Superficially, it looks like a farm track through a wood, but note the stone walls to the left and right. It is these which reveal that this is the deck of Ham Wood Viaduct, which is now so surrounded by trees as to be easily missed. In the railway's heyday, there were extensive quarry workings below which supplied freight traffic to the line. 13th August 2016. (Mike Spearman)
Right: A token photograph of one arch of Ham Wood Viaduct, which is about all that one can hope for during the summer! The number of trees suggests that, even in winter, one might struggle to take a photograph from below that captured the true scale of this structure. 13th August 2016. (Mike Spearman)


Left: Looking through the north portal of the up tunnel at Winsor Hill, where the S&D constructed two separate tunnels. This is the new tunnel – the straight one – dating from 1892. As can be seen, water from the deluge induced by the nearby Glastonbury Festival is trickling downhill towards Shepton Mallet. At least it was dry inside! 24th June 2016. (Jeff Vinter)

Above: This is the north portal of the original Winsor Hill Tunnel, which opened with the S&D's extension to Bath in 1874. After the line was closed, British Aerospace tested Concorde engines at the south end of this tunnel, where their mountings can still be seen in the trackbed. This tunnel was built on a curve, which is why no light is visible from the other end. 24th June 2016. (Jeff Vinter)

Above: This final view of Winsor Hill shows the south portal of the up tunnel looking north and verifies our earlier assertion that it is straight. This tunnel is just 132 yards, compared with 242 yards for the older one beyond the cutting wall to the right. Anyone who explores both tunnels can see how much building standards on the railway had improved by the 1890s because this one is lined throughout with masonry side walls and a brick arch, plus regular refuges for the permanent way staff who had to get out of the way promptly when they heard a train coming. 13th August 2013. (Mike Spearman)