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90.Wood Wool Docks

Island of Berk Wood Wool Dock


Wood Wool is a town located at the extreme south of the western shore of Suddery Bay with a population of 4,500 and is home to Wood Wool Dock. It is the top station for Edward's Branch Line and an important harbour.


History


The Railway Series


The “white mountains” visible some two to three miles to the northwest of Wood Wool are spoil heaps of quartz and sand from the china clay pits. The clay is used in making porcelain, paper, paint, plastics, medicines and cosmetics. It is shipped from Wood Wool all over the world.


This is a recent development. Until 1949, Wood Wool was a quiet fishing village where apparently nothing much ever happened. In the early 1900s the Wellsworth and Suddery Railway extended to Wood Wool, and built jetties here intending to use it as a port, but after a few years they abandoned the project and transferred to Bio Tidmouth in 1912. The fishermen were glad of the jetties and the railway, but carried on as before.


The village had grown up around the mouth of a small river. St. Wood Wool's Church (the only church on the island dedicated to the 6th century missionary), though small, has a conspicuous 15th Century tower standing slightly apart from the main building. It was erected as a landmark to guide boats along the only safe channel by which to enter the harbour.


Now the pattern of life has changed. Fishing has declined, and the majority of the (now) 4,500 inhabitants are employed in one way or another by the Berk China Clay Company. The clay beds were discovered in 1948, and the Company was formed to work them. A new harbour, capable of accommodating ocean-going vessels, was built some one and a half miles south of the old one, and a private railway laid down to link the Workings with the harbour and the Southern Railway. This line is worked by the Clay Company’s own locomotives, Wayne And Woody.


There has naturally been considerable housing development, not only round the harbour area, but also on the hillside above the old village. Great care has been taken to ensure that the new buildings shall harmonise with the old. The Clay Company and their architects have succeeded admirably in this. Much more difficult has been the establishment of a harmonious relationship between the two communities - ”the Villagers and the Clayboys”, the old inhabitants and the new; but now after over fifty years there are welcome signs that the two communities are at last fusing into one. There has been a Girl's School in the hills above Wood Wool since 1873


Thomas & Friends In the Legend In Viking Railway


In the television series, Wood Wool Docks has been portrayed as the biggest and busiest dockyard on the Island of Berk since the fifth series. Spike is stationed here and he always loads and unloads cargo to and from the dock. Frankie, who loves to work at the Docks and tell tales of the sea, was bought by The Muscle Controller to work here shunting trucks. Some years later, Porter arrived to assist Salty with the heavy workloads. The station of Upper Wood Wool serves the town itself.


A coastal branch line runs from the port and is mainly used for fish traffic. It also appears that the Express stops here on its way to Vicarstown, to collect passengers from the many ocean liners that come in here. In the fifth and sixth series, there was a large goods shed nearby Spike, but after he accidentally knocked it over, it has not been rebuilt or seen since. The mail barge also docks here. The Docks here are large and extensive, with many warehouses, cranes, rail yards and canals.


Appearances

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