25th June 1875
Original Document - Public Record Office, Kew. MT6 142/10
Bristol 25th June 1875
I have the honour to report for the information
of the Board of Trade, in compliance with the instructions contained
in your Minute of the 4th Instant.
That I have re-inspected the Radstock Branch
of the Great Western Railway which was first inspected by me in the
year 1854, but the notice of the intention to open was subsequently
withdrawn (as a passenger line), and it has been worked since that date
as a mineral line.
This line, which is now on the narrow gauge,
commences at the North side of the Frome Station on the Wilts, Somerset
and Weymouth Branch, and terminates in the Radstock Station yard a short
distance to the East of the Radstock Passenger Station of the Bristol
and North Somerset Railway; and its length is returned as 8 miles 4.6
chains independent of a short junction line, 23 chains in length, joining
the Wilts Somerset and Weymouth Branch at what is called the North Junction,
still further to the North than the junction close to Frome Station.
This short junction line was not ready for inspection and I did not
in consequence look at it, and have therefore to state that by reason
of the incompleteness of the works its opening for traffic would be
attended with danger to the public using the same. I would suggest that
the notice of the intention to open this short junction line should
be withdrawn, and another given, when the works are complete.
As regards the main line between Frome
and Radstock, I have to state that the details received from the Great
Western Railway Company, no longer represent the present state of the
line, as it is described as a single line throughout, whereas the line
has actually been doubled between Radstock and Mells for upwards of
3 miles, and I would suggest that the Great Western Railway Company
should be requested to supply correct details of the present state of
the line as requested on the 1st June (R4018).
I understand that the line was relaid in
1861, and the Company have been engaged lately in taking out a good
many of the worn rails and replacing them with new ones portions
of the line are laid with one description of rail and permanent way
while other parts are laid with an entirely different description of
permanent which I am unable to particularise from the details having
made out for the state of the line in July 1874, but both kinds are
The gauge is 4 feet 8 1/2
inches, and the intervening space where there are two lines is 6 feet:
the steepest incline is 1 in 48.29 and the sharpest curve for a length
of 15.6 chains has a radius of 10 chains close to Frome Station
this curve is protected by check or guard rails on each line inside
the inner rails of the curve of each line.
There are 11 over and 11 under bridges
besides 5 viaducts on this line The largest openings in the over
bridges are 28 feet on the square and 32 1/2
feet on the skew; among the under bridges, the greatest openings are
27 feet on the square and 31 5/12 feet on the
skew and among the viaducts the largest opening is 42 feet on
the square and 46 feet on the skew. I have no drawings of any of these
bridges or viaducts, but although they have now been constructed for
upwards of 20 years they are standing well, with the exception that
in some, the stone has suffered from the action of the weather, and
repairs have been required and in some places are still in hand
and with respect to the under bridges and viaducts where timber is used
for supporting the permanent way, they did not present any unusual deflections
under a rolling load The viaducts will require to be carefully
looked after, as they are mostly of wood and after such an interval
of time, decayed portions will continually require from time to time
to be taken out.
There are no stations on the line. Frome
Station at one end and Radstock Station of the Bristol and North Somerset
Railway (which is worked by the Great Western Railway) at the other
are to be made use of.
There are three authorised level crossings
of public roads on the line, but I understand that the Great Western
Railway Company, are seeking powers in Parliament this session to do
away with these three level crossings, and under such circumstances,
it is not necessary to ask the Railway Company to put up lodges or stations
at them they are protected by signals in each direction.
The requisite arrangements have been made
for working the traffic on the absolute block system and on the single
portion of the line in conjunction with the train staff, but I have
not received any undertaking of the Companys as to the mode of
working intended to be adopted.
The requirements of the Board of Trade
have also been complied with in reference to the interlocking, but the
points and signals are not yet generally connected with the levers in
the Signal Boxes and in some instances which were pointed out on the
ground, the facing point locks required closer adjustment. Clocks have
also to be placed in the Signal Cabins.
At the junction of Coal Siding near the
West Signal Box at Frome, a single throw off point is to be changed
into double switches with a dead end. At Huishs Coal Siding an
electric communication is to be established between Nos. 1 and 2 Signal
Boxes. There is a steep incline for tram cars from a colliery on a hill
near Radstock (Whittinson & Hewits) down to a colliery siding north
of the line, where if a tramcar or cars were to break away, they might
be projected across the passenger lines and a stone buttress
is to be erected between the colliery siding and these passenger lines,
to prevent accidents occurring to the trains.
The line requires to be very carefully
gone over and all worn and damaged rails should be taken out, and be
replaced by new ones, but I am unwilling to recommend that the opening
of this line for passenger traffic should now be postponed on this account
or from the connecting up of the points and signals with the levers
in the Signal Boxes not having been yet completed, if it is understood
that these things will at once be completed, and that the Inspector
of the Board of Trade, may if thought necessary again go over the line,
when these few requirements have been attended to and provided
also that a satisfactory undertaking as to the mode of working be received
from the Company.
I have the honour to be, Sir,
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