Cloisters Station, Whiminster

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Coloured Pencil    31 x 44 cm

When the railway reached the county town of Whiminster it had great difficulty finding a suitable station site. The Bishop of Whimchester, an ardent railway enthusiast, arranged for a thin strip of land alongside the minster church to be made available on certain conditions. These included a complete ban on the use of locomotive whistles anywhere near the station. Engines were fitted with large gongs on their cab roofs, which however proved ineffectual during church bell ringing or when the minster clock struck the hour. The railway company was also obliged to provide and maintain a special carriage for ecclesiastical use. It carried the Bishop's crest, as well as a small spirelet on each corner of its roof, and is seen being hand-shunted from its special siding before being attached to a train. There never were cloisters at Whiminster, the "ruined" arcade being built with the station to help it blend with its surroundings. The tower behind the station, with winged gargoyles, pumps water for locomotives and uses a water balance system to operate a traverser in the track beneath the canopy, there being no room for convential pointwork.