ebay Mike’s expedition THE PICTURES. - Just the pictures please.


24 Oct 2009
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Mike has travelled to the Wild West – well Devon – as he had heard rumours of a little-known private railway somewhere in the Dartmoor region that was serving some forestry and mining operations.
He didn’t know quite what to expect as the only information he had was what appeared to be a Telegram (thought those finished years ago?) from the ‘Superintendent’ saying simply ‘let us know what train you are arriving on and someone will meet you at the trans-shipment sidings’.
Having got off his main line train and asked for directions it all seemed a little vague – 'you’ll be looking for the WC & P, just walk half a mile up the road and look for the water tank' – was the best he could get.
Surprisingly it was that simple and he’d only been waiting a few minutes when an inspection trolley appeared driven by someone in unfamiliar dress, ‘Ello me dear, we got a bit of a problem with a washout and can’t run the engine down yer right now, hop on and I’ll take you up to Wolf Creek depot, we’m alright from thur’.


Five minutes later Mike was at the depot looking for ‘the Clerk’ as pop-pop driver had instructed, Mike noticed that the loco’s and stock looked a bit different to what he was expecting and upon asking where he could find the Clerk the half sleeping figure in the chair mumbled ‘round thur’, that’s helpful thought Mike, I’ll try someone else.

That’s better thought Mike as he spotted a guy with a peaked head shade, that must be the Clerk. Now he was getting somewhere, the Clerk explained that he had been instructed to send Mike up the line on a ‘caboose hop’ as the once a day passenger run wasn’t due out till much later so Mike went off towards the yard stopping to note the size of a log on wagon as he passed.


Mike chose to ride on the caboose with the brakeman rather than on the loco as he wanted to stay as clean as he could, besides, the open platform gave a much better view of the line and countryside which again was not as he was expecting.


The train stopped briefly to deliver pasties to a guy clearing washed down timber from a small bridge over a creek, Mike took the opportunity to have a chat although the local dialect did lead to some confusion!


The line got steeper and the scenery more rugged and eventually they stopped at a small mine which was to be Mike’s focus for the afternoon, a tour had been laid on for his benefit. It was explained that they were mining for a rare mineral called Knowyouzatallieum which was only found in this particular rock outcrop. It seemed to Mike that most of the material lifted by the shaft went straight to the tip with very little going into the storage bin for onward transfer to the processing plant – ‘Yea, but it makes a nice splash in the creek when we drop it’ said the driver of the little loco moving the dump car.


Mike went round to the top of the tunnel mouth to get a better view of the dump operation and didn’t notice at first the local wildlife nearby, when he did he surprised himself with his speed and ability to move quickly over rough ground !


A mug of cyder in the office soon calmed him down and as it was late in the day he decided it was time to ride the next train back to town and reflect on what he had seen today, would he come back tomorrow to see more of this odd little line or continue on his way to the next railway on his itinerary?