The Wellsworth Branch Line - A History

Before becoming part of the North Western Railway, the Wellsworth and Suddery was a separate Line which served the Port of Brendam with regular passenger and goods services for the coastal towns. Following the amalgamate of the railways, the original W&S engines were scrapped and years later Edward was given this line as his own. Although a regular at Tidmouth, he is primarily based at Wellsworth Junction (alias "Edward's Station"), where he can be seen running commuter trains along the Brendam Line or acting as a Banker for heavy trains up Gordon's Hill, sometimes assisted by Duck on a rotary basis.

Brendam Harbour has also provided plentiful amounts of work from the Sodor China Clay Company, where the twin engines Bill and Ben deliver train loads of China Clay for the Main Line and beyond. The heavier goods work is often shared out by BoCo, Donald and Douglas.

Additional traffic has also come since 2000 when Stetson Hatt opened his Oil Refinery for the company SodOil, which is based part-way along Bill and Ben’s line. Various Diesel locomotives were loaned to help with the construction of the actual site, consisting of Bear, BoCo, Mavis and Rusty as the site is too hazardous for steam engines to work - such was the fact when Oliver suffered from a fuel fire whilst delivering a consistency of oil tankers to the site. This brought about the introduction of Kaiser, the Fireless Engine, where he has remained as the refinery's main locomotive since.

Overtime, great demand on china clay and oil was needed, so extensive work began to update the Branch Line for the heavier goods work - following an incident when Gordon was sent "wrong road" to Edward's Line many years ago (RWS #21), this included updating the trackwork along the Branch to support Main Line Engines, allowing the likes of Henry and Sammie to venture down when needed (ERS #136 / ERS #112), as well as upgrading the trackwork at Brendam Harbour with stronger track and extra sidings (ERS #72). This was especially welcomed for the newest engines of the NWR Goods Link - Dick and Dilworth - to make regular runs to and from the Oil Refinery with trains of oil tankers.

And upon reaching agreements with the Management, the China Clay route also received updates of their own. After severe flooding at the clay pits put the quarry out of action for several weeks (ERS #81), the marshlands known as "The Drain" was made stable with heavy stone breakwaters prior to the Refinery's construction to control the flooding periods in later years to come. The low bridge (I, 4) was rebuilt and raised allowing larger engines such as BoCo and the Scottish Twins to collect loaded trains from the quarry to save shunting and extra journeys for Bill and Ben (ERS #130).

Unlike many of Sodor's notable stations, Wellsworth itself has seen little change or alterations over the years. The yard is home to BoCo and Edward with a two-road shed, a turntable, a station passing loop and separate fuel sections for both engines; a water column supplied by the River Reagh and a coal heap for Edward and a Diesel fuel tank for BoCo sits not too far off. This was also home for the Breakdown Train until the arrival of Jebediah, a restored Steam Crane from the Eastleigh Region now returned to his position to the Permanent Way (ERS #98) or to give various displays on special holidays. The original Breakdown Train still maintains its old post to this day.

Additional sidings, therefore, were installed in the goods yard for Jebediah and various other rolling stock, including a brake tender (ERS #96) to assist Diesel Engines travelling over Gordon's Hill with heavy freight.

The newest additions to the Brendam Fleet have been Jinty, an ex-Station Pilot for Tidmouth, who now helps run commuter trains between Wellsworth and Brendam (ERS #152), and a large banking engine called Emmeleia, rescued from the refuge lines at Crovan's Gate and returned to her old duties of banking goods trains up Gordon's Hill to give Edward a rest (ERS #155). Like Jebediah, she has her own shed and siding at Wellsworth, where the pair often delight in teasing one another!

During the course of developments, Edward was relieved from his line for some years to help with the Extension to Ulfstead on Thomas's Branch (ERS #99 / ERS #100), leaving his line in capable hands of BoCo, Donald, Douglas and Warrior. And though they had all done splendidly in spite of a few incidents, everyone agrees that the Branch Line just wouldn't be the same without Edward to keep an eye on things!