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Memories of the line

Though it is now amazingly over 50 years since the line closed to passenger traffic, there are still many people with memories of travelling on the line.

Do you have any memories that we could put on this page, or do you know anyone who has? If so please contact us.

The following was received from Chuck Sweeny of Rockford, Illinois.

My mother was a war bride and when I was a child I spent several summers in Bristol at my grandparents house at 114 Plummers Hill, St. George.

My fondest memories are the many train trips we took from Temple Meads -- to London and back on the Bristolian, to Weston-Super-Mare, to Weymouth, and to Torquay ("calling at Taunton, Exeter, Dawlish, Teignmouth, Newton Abbot, Torre, Torquay and Paignton.")

But the train ride I remember most was a day trip on the Portishead branch line with my grandmother, May Daniels. It was in the summer of 1960, and I was 11. The train was a green, three-coach DMU. I remember there were beautiful rose gardens in Portishead. I also remember travelling alongside the River Avon and through a tunnel, and looking at the Clifton Suspension Bridge from underneath. I also remember a strange little bit of a station called "Ham Green Halt" or something close to it.

In 1965, my mother, sister and I flew back to Bristol from Chicago O'Hare for the sad occasion of grandma's funeral. While there, I tried to retrace that trip to Portishead, but alas, Dr. Beeching beat me to it. I took a bus there instead and walked along the deserted station platform.

Somehow, the experience made sense in a weird sort of way.

Should they reopen that line to passenger trains? As we say here, "Damn straight."

Chuck Sweeny, Political Editor, Rockford Register Star

Rockford IL 61101,


See also main History page and Old Timetables page.

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