February 2003 and Ditton Heath, the third module of John Thorne's Ditton Railway Company, is about to be launched onto an unsuspecting public. First outing is at the Small and Delightful exhibition at Shepton Mallet on Saturday 15th February.
This module is of a different scene to the other two a town station to go with the existing quayside and country terminus modules. It is modelled in John's usual style and contains the same sort of features incorporated into the existing modules and so matches them to form a coherent whole. The full layout, with fiddle yard and scenic breaks is now some 20 feet long. Much of the work previously carried out out of sight in the fiddle yard can now be performed in the open on Ditton Heath and it is intended that this should be the case.
No doubt there will be many photos appearing in various places in the future, but here and now is a taster which will give you the flavour. A world premiere no less!!
An early long-range view of the station, loco and carriage facilities. From the top right background it can be seen just how much building work has yet to be started, let alone finished. However there is a fair bit of rolling stock in evidence for such an early view.
The carriage shed roof with the engine shed and loco servicing facilities behind. To the left is the approach road which leads to the station building behind. By now there are plenty of people around and a number of locos are visible.
This picture gives a different view of the same area. The Director's Saloon stands just outside the carriage shed preparing for an early inspection of the line by those august gentlemen.
It is a well documented fact that at the end of his detective career Sherlock Holmes left Baker Street to pursue bee-keeping in his retirement. Well, you can see his smallholding here at Ditton Heath in front of the station. The beehives are well in evidence amongst the hens and goat. The deckchair is there, as is the faithful dog "Baskerville" but of the great man there is no sign.
We now come to the outer platform. In the background it is clear that the builders have much yet to do on the shops and Temperance Bar (yes Temperance Bar) but they have promised to be complete by 15th February. Very sensibly they have completed The Bagnall public house and fresh supplies are to hand. Praise be it is opening time at Ditton Heath and probably always will be. At long last the brewery at Ditton Marsh has a visible outlet for its excellent product.
Finally we come to the easternmost extremity of the new module. In what is expected to be the most photographed spot on the line, you can see a loco (in this case the station pilot) paused outside the signal cabin so the driver can exchange a few words with the signalman or maybe his cat!!
We hope you have enjoyed your brief stop in Ditton Heath and that you will come and see the actual layout if you can see the exhibition list elsewhere on this site for scheduled appearances. If you are coming to Shepton Mallet you will see the proving (or should that be disproving?) runs of the new timetable/movement schedule which should be an interesting exercise.
© 2003 SNGMs