"When the world went to war in 1939 Upper Isis
was, like many
a minor rural branch, under threat of closure. Of course the line's
proximity to Salisbury Plain during such a national emergency
ensured it remained open; at least for the duration."
indentIt is a fact that during WWII goods
traffic on the GWR increased by some 25%. 1 This not only came from the carriage of
munitions and other war materials but far more food was grown at home and this needed
delivering. Photos exist showing queues of lorries loaded with fresh seasonal
vegetables waiting at small West Country stations to be transhipped into special trains
made up of both vans and sheeted opens.
indentRural branch lines like Upper Isis had seen
ever-increasing competition from the lorry after WWI and more branches were closed by
"The Big Four" between the wars (and after!) than were closed by Dr. Beeching in
the 60s; strange but true. The war therefore saved many a line from closure, at
least for the duration, increasing the opportunities - not to mention the possible traffic
- for space-starved would-be railway modellers. The war time layout truly has much
to offer those with minimal space but wanting maximum traffic!
minor benefit is that Private Owner wagons were "Pooled" by the Government
during the war so eliminating the need to create coal wagons specific to one's chosen
location! (click here to
find out why...)
ndentIncidentally, some visitors have wondered if we
"touch up" our photos using digital wizardry. Well, we have been known to
clone a bit of sky to remove a too-obvious joint in the backscene but most of what we do
is simply to stand back far enough to ensure we capture everything we might need when
composing our original photographs and then select precisely what we want from
those. (If you want to see what we left out of this one click
here to load the original!).
(1 Vide "History of
the Great Western Railway Vol.3; Wartime & the final years " Peter Semmens [Allen
& Unwin, 1985] p39.)