A slippery slope in Somerset
Monday 19 September 2011
This month's social featured not only bangers and mash but also a talk on a little-known feature of Somerset's old railways, namely the Comberrow Incline, built to help transport iron ore to Watchet harbour. The line's heyday was the late 1800's, but thereafter it declined steadily, until in 1917 it suffered the indignity of being commandeered wholesale for the war effort. True to its calling the Ministry of Munitions took no prisoners, and blew up the engine house. This was allegedly done to make removal of its contents easier, but possibly also to ensure that no enemy invader could enjoy the spoils of war and smelt Somersetshire's iron without having to work really quite hard for it.
The incline was an impressive, and expensive, engineering feat, using rope winches to haul not only goods but also passengers, the latter no doubt fully insured against unwittingly becoming part of a high-speed gravity train at very short notice. Sadly little remains of it now, although the shell of the engine house has been restored. But as Ian, the presenter, said it would make a good model, although achieving the correct vertical dimension in anything bigger than 2mm scale could be a challenge.
….just add strudel.