[page last updated 24 May 2015]
NEWSPAPER Report Friday 01 March 1946
HANGING RAIL LINES BLASTED -
SAPPERS' JOB ON COLLAPSED VIADUCT
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The suspended railway lines left after the collapse of some of the arches at the Shepton Mallet railway viaduct were on Friday dynamited by Army engineers.
Our pictures, taken by an Evening Wold photographer, show them fixing the explosives and detonators to the rails, the actual explosion and the final result, when the rails fell to the ground.
The work of blasting the 100 feet span of railway line, which has been hanging in the air since the arches of the viaduct collapsed three weeks ago was carried out by a small detachment of one officer and two sappers of the 591 Airborne Squadron, R.E. from Bulford Camp. The officer in charge was Capt. G.L. Woodcock R.E., who is a Londoner and was in charge of the work at Aust Ferry near Bristol, when the Bailey Bridge was erected.
The cutting of the lines was accomplished by putting plastic high explosives on each rail. Four 1lb charged were used. These were connected to an electrical detonator.
When the signal was given, the plunger was pressed and four simultaneous explosions occurred and the rails were severed.
The lines then dropped 70 feet to the road way below. The whole work was carried out in just over an hour.
A large crowd watched the operation. There was not much noise because only four pounds of explosive were used. People from nearby houses evacuated and were told to leave their windows open as a precaution against blast.
Capt. Woodcock, the officer in charge, served with the 6th Airborne Division from D-day to the crossing of the Rhine.
A railway official said that it was hoped to have both lines working for the summer traffic.
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