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JEREMY O.O.V. March the fifth 1966 And over a hundred year's of railway history comes to an end. Sightseers and souvenir hunters crowded Bath Green Park Station for the last scheduled train on the Somerset and Dorset line.
And Railwaymen, for years anonymous, suddenly found themselves getting celebrity treatment. It was a boisterous farewell. The last train left to a barrage of exploding detonators.
At Evercreech a very different reception. The station master Alexander Stowe, lead a group of members of his staff. With measured tread they paid their final tribute to the dear old Slow and Dirty.
Fittingly, the train arrived a little late.
For a lot of the workers along this line, the routines of years are gone through for the last time. Memories crowded in - the years when Evercreech won the best kept Garden contest. And in 1964, the best kept station award.
So Evercreech said farewell - with a sad little ceremony and a raising of hats. And the last schedule train steamed out with a wreath on the front of the boiler.
Then to Sunday, and Bath again. And this time it's the turn of locomotive clubs to journey over the line for their own rather special farewells.
Every so often the special excursions came to a half at familiar stations. And passengers hopped out to record the moment on box cameras, and sophisticated cine-jobs.
The seventy miles from Bath to Bournemouth were miles of sentiment and sadness. It wasn't a time for remembering that the line lost six hundred--thousand pounds last year.
Journey's end. Bournemouth. But back along the line - at Evercreech - it was a weekend not without incident. A signal box was burned out only a few hours after the junction had been crowded for the last scheduled train. Railway Police have been making an investigation into the cause of the outbreak.
But whatever the cause, it called for a little ingenuity on the part of the signalman when the time for one of the special excursions arrived. With a telephone to his ear and a flag in his hand he carried out his duty in the finest traditions of the Somerset and Dorset.
What now? Well, today a lot of regular train users had to get around by bus - special services now laid on by the Ministry of Transport.
IN: Eight o'clock in the morning.........
In this co-operative venture the buses are running under contract to British Rail. One of the operators of the new services is a WELTON firm run by the three Chivers Brothers. After he'd driven the first bus on the new service from Templecombe to Shepton Mallet, Bill Chivers talked to Peter Brown at Welton.
UP SOF: IN: "How many did.....
OUT: ,.....the countryside then"
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