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Author Topic: Thingley Junctions (deliberate plural)  (Read 1098 times)
Robin Summerhill
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« on: May 10, 2020, 11:31:57 am »

Whilst doing somerhing else this morninh with elderly Ordnance Survey maps, I stumbled across this pne that  was surveyed in 1885 and published in 1889: https://maps.nls.uk/view/102347986

This shows an "old railway" at Thingley that once provided the third side of a triangle.

For many years I have been under the impression that this chord was built as a WW2 measure, but it now appears that I was absolutely wrong and it existed back in the 19th century and had in fact been lifted by 1885.

Does anybody know any more about this chord?
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JontyMort
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« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2020, 12:07:04 pm »

Whilst doing somerhing else this morninh with elderly Ordnance Survey maps, I stumbled across this pne that  was surveyed in 1885 and published in 1889: https://maps.nls.uk/view/102347986

This shows an "old railway" at Thingley that once provided the third side of a triangle.

For many years I have been under the impression that this chord was built as a WW2 measure, but it now appears that I was absolutely wrong and it existed back in the 19th century and had in fact been lifted by 1885.

Does anybody know any more about this chord?

It is certainly discernible on the modern OS (Ordnance Survey) at 1:50,000 and (especially) 1:25,000. It doesn’t appear in Jowett**, whose maps in the relevant area are stated to be derived from 1911/1924. That would support the theory of an early chord, maybe reinstated as a wartime measure?

** Admittedly, Jowett has many errors.
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bradshaw
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« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2020, 01:19:47 pm »

Colin Maggs in his book “The Bath to Weymouth line” suggests that the chord was laid out in the 1840s as an alternative to the Bathampton to Bradford route, which the GWR (Great Western Railway)/WSWR did not really want. However, like the south chord at Yeovil rails were not laid.
Then in WWII (World War 2 - 1939 to 1945) it became an alternative route in case of bomb damage.
Relevant page attached
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2020, 02:41:59 pm »

Thanks for that - all clear now. And I also agree with the conjecture that builing that chord would have been far cheaper than building the line from Bathampton to Trowbridge!
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bradshaw
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« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2020, 03:23:53 pm »

I have just read through the notes I made on the Board of Trade inspections of the WSWR. The inspection for the opening in 1848 makes no mention of a west chord. It simply refers to there being no facing points on the main line. So the train had to reverse into a siding before taking the WSWR.

The other report is from 1875 after the narrowing of the gauge. Again no mention is made of a west chord, which one would expect, especially with respect to the arrangements at the junction

Thingley Junction and Bathampton Junctions (both mixed gauge) were provided with this weird single moveable blade point. Here the switch was on the common, outer rail. As the train took the points it moved onto the branch and the nearside wheels were dragged over the fixed nearside B-G rail onto the branch! The moveable rail acted as a check rail to guide the train to the branch.
(The National Archives Rail 1053-57 BoT report on Narrowing of the Gauge 12/6/1875)

Accidents did happen and it was eventually scrapped.
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