Last Saturday we travelled by train from Templecombe to London and spent a very pleasant day in the capital city.
Templecombe is on the Waterloo - Exeter line where trains are operated by South West Trains who run, mostly, three car Class 159s between Salisbury and Exeter St Davids and these are doubled to six cars between Salisbury and Waterloo. However, having said that, our train on Saturday morning (the 7:07 off Templecombe) remained a three car unit all the way to Waterloo.
The Class 159s replaced locomotive hauled trains in the mid 1990s and, I must admit, I do still miss the sight and sound of the Class 50s and Class 47s and, before these, the Class 33s. Their rakes of, usually, eight Mk1 and, latterly, Mk2 coaches also had a lot more space than is available on these newer DMUs.
Many of you will of course know that Templecombe used to be the junction between the Southern Railway and the Somerset and Dorset Joint line and, as such, was a far larger and more important station than the small village of Templecombe actually justified. However, the station closed along with the S&D in March 1966 and, for many years after that, it lay derelict and the line itself went through a period of decline with much of it singled. Indeed, closure seemed a distinct possibility during the 1970s.
Thankfully, though, common sense eventually prevailed and, in 1983, the station re-opened thanks in no small way to pressure from the local community. Since then it has gone from strength to strength and is now a well-used little station serving the surrounding villages and the nearby town of Wincanton which lost its own station when the S&D closed.
Whilst we were in London we visited the Model Zone store in High Holburn but, to be honest, we found their range of model railway items to be rather disappointing. Admittedly they do sell more than just model railways so space for railways is always limited and we did come away with one or two things although not what we were specifically looking for.
Fortunately Model Zone do give a 10% discount for members of the Hornby Collectors Club, providing you can show them a current Collector's Club Card.