Members of Crewkerne & District U3A’s Local History group heard about a high-speed accident at Crewkerne Railway Station, when they welcomed Mike and Sue Frackiewicz to a recent meeting. The accident which demolished part of the platform canopy in 1953 was caused by the driving axle breaking on an express locomotive. Thankfully no-one was hurt but the incident led to all 30 Merchant Navy class locomotives being withdrawn from service while the accident was investigated. Further investigations showed that there was a common fault on the locomotives, making the axle susceptible to metal fatigue which led to the redesign and replacement of the crank axle on the trains.
Other major events covered by guest speakers Mike and Sue Frackiewicz who are both active members of Friends of Crewkerne Station, included the naming of the locomotive Crewkerne in 1948, the amount of goods traffic in the 1960’s, the loss of the double rail track, a lightening strike in 1980 and the platform extensions in 1992. Mike’s presentation included many photographs of people who worked at the railway station over the years and steam days when the general public and railway enthusiasts were able to relive the age of steam and see a Peppercorn Class A1 locomotive chugg through Crewkerne station. One memorable occasion of this being in April 2016 when the new Tornado 60163 with the down Devon Belle passed through the station, as part of the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust’s 2016 main line tours. Members of the U3A’s Local History group found the talk entertaining and interesting, providing them with extra knowledge on the Grade 11 listed building and the ups and downs at Crewkerne Railway Station which have been recorded by FOCS for posterity.