Seeing Peters Clowe cider railway alternate history prompted me to share the fictional blurb that adorns the front of the display stand of Purespring watercress...
It’s a beautiful summers day in the county of Dorset in southern England. The Purespring watercress farm of James Maddings and Maurice Oxford is hard at work. The farm has been in business since the early 1800’s. Originally horses and carts bought the harvested watercress in from the fields. But the “Purespring” brand became so popular and the farm became so busy that a railway was built to transport the harvested watercress from the fields to the packing warehouse in the early years of the twentieth century. The owners of the farm were keen on the idea of the railway, as access to the watercress beds was very difficult in places. Over the years Messrs Maddings and Oxford built many locomotives to operate the line. Simply because they liked trains.
The scene that you see modelled here is that of the packing warehouse and workshop. In the warehouse the freshly harvested watercress is packaged and prepared for delivery all over the country. While the small workshop alongside is more than capable of performing the many little repairs that any hard working railway needs.
On a busy day on the farm the railway is in almost constant operation. It starts the day taking empty baskets out to the field to collect the watercress. The little train can make many trips out to the field with empties. Then as the watercress is harvested it starts to bring back baskets of cress up in black bags. Then the train will shuttle out to the fields again to pick up another load. During the afternoon the owners of the farm may take a trip out on the line to check on the workforce and make sure that everyone is working. Finally, at the end of the day a locomotive will take a wagon or two loaded with boxes of packed watercress out to the transfer sidings at the nearby main railway station.