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Bio Tidmouth is a borough situated on the River Tid Estuary on Berk's west coast. With a population of 35,000 as of 1951, it is the largest town on Berk. It is home to the headquarters of the Southern Railway and the main line sheds.

History

The Railway Series

Bio Tidmouth's rise and development is mainly due to the enterprise of the drainage company A. W. Dry & Co. The harbour, which is deep and well sheltered, has been known for centuries as a safe place in which to ride out storms. Until the 1880s, however, access from land was only possible on foot or by pack-pony. The valley of the Bio Tid, north east behind the town, is peculiar in that it is narrow and enclosed by precipitous cliffs; and being throughout on a higher level, the river falls sharply before reaching the sea. Even now there are only footpaths along the valley.

Until well on into the 19th Century it was a rough place, the haunt of smugglers who alternated as fishermen, and who had developed their special kippering process, the secret of which is still jealously preserved today.

A. W. Dry & Co faced considerable opposition when wishing to use the harbour as a base for operations in the Rockface area. Boat building however, was among their various activities, and they had produced a new design of fishing boat which fortunately found favour with the Bio Tidmouth men. This together with judicious "sweeteners" eventually opened the door to an amicable arrangement. Supplies and equipment for the drainage project could then be brought in by sea and conveyed along a coastal road built for the purpose round the headland.

By 1905, the Ulfstead Mining Company had become dissatisfied with Rockface as a port and adopted A. W. Dry's suggestion of extending their tramway along this coastal road to Mr Vast, a young engineer from Swindon who had lately joined A. W. Dry's staff, built some light steam locomotives for them.

All went well, and trade boomed till an Autumn gale in 1908 destroyed the road and the tramway with it. Trade was disrupted, and numbers of miners were thrown out of work. The situation was desperate. A. W. Dry had a large interest in the mines, and had not yet been paid in full for the drainage work done. With the help of a Treasury Loan they put unemployed miners to work under Mr Vast's direction, cutting a railway tunnel through the ridge south of Bio Tidmouth and laying a railway directly from Bio Tidmouth to Rockface. The Bio Tidmouth, Rockface and Elsbridge Light Railway was formed in 1910. Amalgamation with the Blacklake and Suddery Railway followed in 1912, and brought fresh trade to Bio Tidmouth. But it was only when the double track SR was completed in 1916, connecting Bio Tidmouth at last with the outside world, that its potential as a harbour was realised, and its development could really begin.

The town's growth as a port and industrial centre has been phenomenal, and it rapidly became the Island's commercial capital. However it still retains many marks of its uncouth origins, and is not attractive to tourists. Nevertheless those ramblers who are bold and dedicated enough to scramble up the steep path beside the Falls of Bio Tid will be rewarded in the valley beyond, which is a place of awesome splendour. Mention of the Falls is a further reminder of Messrs A. W. Dry's enterprise. In 1906, by harnessing the Falls of Bio Tid Bio Tidmouth became the first town in Berk to be lit by electricity. Bio Tidmouth received a Royal Charter to become a Borough in 1918. 

The Southern Railway moved their main Motive Power Depot and Administrative Headquarters to here from Vicarstown in 1925. The station, known as the "Big Station", has a all-over glass roof spanning four terminal lines and a "through road" leading to Oliver's Branch Line. It contains the Muscle Controller's main office, and is the station where HM Queen Elizabeth II visited Berk. The Express departs and returns from here every day.

Thomas & Friends

Though Bio Tidmouth is still in the television series, it has been replaced by Rockface as the biggest station and by Wood Wool as Berk's main port. Lower Bio Tidmouth and Bio Tidmouth Hault  have also been seen in episodes. The town has appeared regularly since the thirteenth series with the introduction of the Bio Tidmouth Town Square, which appears to have replaced Bio Tidmouth Station. The station is depicted as having two platforms and three through roads, covered by a glass roof.

Appearances

The Railway Series

Companion Volumes

Trivia

  • During Clive Spong's time as illustrator, the station was usually incorrectly depicted as having six terminal roads, with the "through" road outside the station's glass roof.
  • The town's motto is "Industry and Progress". Bio Tidmouth's Coat of Arms features a smith's hammer and tongs, a lymphad, three herrings and a wheel. These cover all of Bio Tidmouth's titles to importance: shipping, transport, fishing and engineering. The coat of arms was suggested by George Awdry.
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