6th November 2002: "Judy" arrives at Bodmin after years of inactivity at Wheal Martyn China Clay Museum; buffers up behind her old workmate Alfred, with whom she shunted clay wagons at Par Docks for many years. Picture by Keith Searle, from the Bodmin and Wenford Railway Guide, 14th edition 2005
No. 2572 "Judy" and no. 3058 "Alfred" were a 1937 Bagnall design of saddle tank put to work at Par Harbour in Cornwall hauling china clay, just as their fictional counterpart twins. Alfred is by far the younger of the two, being built in 1953. He replaced a loco called "Punch", an obvious companion for "Judy", who was scrapped in 1944. The engines are very small because of a low bridge in the docks; they last served the sprawling dock complex operated by English China Clays in 1977. While Alfred went to the Bodmin and Wenford Railway as one of their earliest aquisitions, Judy was left in a shed until donated to the Wheal Martyn China Clay Museum near St Austell, Cornwall as a static exhibit in 1982. In 2002 the museum offered her to the Cornish Steam Loco Preservation Society (CSLPS) at Bodmin and she was finally reunited with her partner Alfred in the scene pictured above, worthy of any Railway Series fiction. Much thanks to correspondents John Hastings-Thompson and B&W volunteer Dave Martin for their assistance in tracking down "Bill" and "Ben".
See Alfred's very own page on the B&W site for full details of himself and Judy, who has her own page too. On Thomas Days at the B&W, Alfred has been disguised as "Ben" on one side and "Bill" on the other.
Judy has been the recipient of a Heritage Lottery award to restore her to steam, and as of October 2008, has moved successfully under her own steam, with video of the event viewable here.
Alfred pictured here in 2007 undergoing overhaul with smokebox door off:
Alfred in the Bodmin and Wenford workshops on a rainy day in June 2007. Picture © Martin Clutterbuck
Visit the Bodmin and Wenford Railway!
Formerly a branch of the Great Western Railway, the line still interchanges with the Main Line from Plymouth to Penzance, served by rapid HST 125s, at the station known as Bodmin Parkway, where the old signal box is now a cafe run by B&W volunteers, and a ticket may be purchased on the Bodmin and Wenford train. From here the line runs to a terminus at Bodmin General, heaquarters of the railway and an immaculately preserved slice of nostalgia which is now the only railway station serving the sizeable Cornish town of Bodmin. Another three-mile section of line reopened in 1996 from Bodmin General to Boscarne, and runs through typically bucolic Cornish scenery. Your webmaster was served by Churchward 2-8-0T no 4247 built in 1916. As to be expected of a line who owns real Awdry characters, regular Thomas days are held when Alfred may be seen in his "Bill and Ben" disguise.
|Alfred as "Bill" gives brake van rides at Bodmin General as Thomas arrives with his train. Photo by Chris Hooper, from the Bodmin and Wenford Railway Guide|
From Tony Grigg's notes on "The Island of Sodor":
Bill and Ben arrived in "Main Line Engines" (1966).
They starred in "Thomas and the Twins" (1989), which gives detail of their line and the china clay quarry.
|model of Bill available from Amazon.co.uk||model of Ben available from Amazon.co.uk|
|Classic Bill & Ben||LC Take-along Bill & Ben from Amazon.com||LC Wooden Bill & Ben from Amazon.co.uk||Tomy models of Bill & Ben available from Amazon.co.uk|