Sunday, 21 February 2010

Railway Echo No 13

It looks plain and ordinary, a house out in the countryside, probably built in the 1970s. Until one looks more closely at the right hand side. Ignore the replacement windows and a little stone built cottage reveals itself. It's just down the road from my village, alone in the fields near a pub we frequently find ourselves in- The Wheel & Compass at Weston-by-Welland. The river is running at the back of the house, but this was a level crossing keeper's dwelling on a lane that crosses the valley from Weston to Slawston Hill. One of many on the line of this branch of the London & North Western Railway (oddly for this part of the world), and to the right of this picture the tracks kept close company with the willow-fringed Welland through Ashley station and on through Rockingham and Seaton, thence to Stamford or, leaving the river, to Peterborough. It closed many years ago, but just off to the left of the photograph is a wood yard on an old junction (soon to be blogged) where they once made pit props and railwaymen tended allotments. It's still open, and this is where I get my logs. A chap working here still remembers steam locomotives snorting and shuffling by as they negotiated the steeper gradients. It's still easy to imagine that on a cold snowy morning, a line of intermittent white smoke drifting off across the valley.

7 comments:

CF said...

This kind of railway semi-archaeology draws me in. The things that are not buried, but still remain an unseen part of history.
The smoke effects in this atmosphere would be epic.

Peter Ashley said...

You're so right CF. This is archaeology for our times. Sadly, so many people drive down here, or take their dogs for walks, without knowing why this little understated building is here. Or even actually taking stock and looking at it, seeing it for what it might be. A very discernible hump in the road gives a hint of the old track bed, and all round here a triangle of branch lines gives endless opportunities to see how it all worked.

Ron Combo said...

Posts like this make me dribble.

Peter Ashley said...

Oh Ron. You wait until I do the woodyard. You'll need incontinence pads.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Marvellous. So often isolated houses are where they are for interesting reasons, so it's good to learn about this one. Excellent photograph too.

Bring on the wood yard.

williamandemma said...

Agree with CF whole-heartedly about being drawn in. Used to cycle past Seaton Junction station further up the line and always admired its long defunct footbridge. Also used to nose around the station site in Uppingham, getting the weighbridge to move by rocking side to side, being scratched by brambles, inspecting the old goods buildings. Simple pleasures!

Peter Ashley said...

Ah, rocking weighbridges (usually a 'Pooley'). As you say, a simple pleasure but a very satisfying one.