Simon Bowditch GRA

Born in Taunton in 1950 - he next spent a period of three years at St. Luke's College, Exeter where he received his formal art training.
Simon's lifelong interest in railways is a result of being born into a railway family and he was privileged to have travelled widely over the pre-Beeching West Country railway network. He is a founder member of The West Somerset Railway Association and was one of the support crew with The 6000 Locomotive Association in 1971 on the original Return to Steam Rail Tour with G.W.R. King Class 4-6-0 "King George V".
His fascination with the steam locomotive has led him into model engineering and he is a past chairman of both Taunton Model Engineers and The West Wilts Society of Model Engineers. He has been responsible for the design of several miniature steam locomotives and has developed a special interest in valve gear and valve events.
Simon joined the Guild of Railway Artists in 1988 becoming a full member in 1999. He has exhibited with the Guild at The National Railway Museum, York and 'Steam' at Swindon.
He became a born again biker in 1998 and maintains an active interest in industrial archaeology.


Over the hills and far away: Comberow 1895

Sharp Stewart 0-6-0 Saddle Tank 'Pontypool', No1677 of 1866 waits near the water tower at Comberow Station on the West Somerset Mineral Railway, having worked the 9.15am service from Watchet. Passengers for Brendon Hill and Gupworthy are hauled up the 1,100 yard long 1 in 4 incline "free and at their own risk" in an open truck.

The Great Bear at Bath

The Great Western Railway Company's only locomotive of the "Pacific" or 4-6-2 wheel arrangement, No.111 "The Great Bear", stands at the head of a test train in the centre roads at Bath station in 1920.

Trefusis Lift

The plate laying gang stand clear of the Broad Gauge track as Bristol and Exeter Railway "9ft Single" 4-2-4 Well Tank locomotive No. 44 sweeps by and crosses the Grand Western Canal at Trefusis Bridge, near Nynehead, in the summer of 1864.

Bridge over the River Exe

GWR '3521' Class 4-4-0 No. 3546 crosses from Somerset into Devon at Exebridge near Dulverton with the 3.23pm train from Barnstaple Victoria Road to Taunton in the summer of 1901. The fireman is building his fire to ensure ample steam for the steep gradients lying ahead through Morebath and Venn Cross. The van next to the engine is probably carrying freshly trapped rabbits from South Molton to markets in the Midlands and the capital. Undisturbed at the train's passing; a group of Devon Red cattle emerge from the shadows to seek refreshment from the cool waters of the River Exe.