Sun | Jan 29, 2023

Communal trolley provides rail service

Published:Sunday | February 21, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Mel Cooke, Gleaner Writer

THE RAILS carry the whine of steel on steel to The Sunday Gleaner long before a low trolley, laden with fagots and a man seated to one side, legs dangling, clips around the bend and into view.

Of course, there is no engine noise to accompany the song of rail transport that was once the lifeblood of Ipswich.

But there is this sole trolley - left over from the railway's operation - powered by humans, which makes life a little less difficult for those who remain in the village.

Two men are using it to transport their bundles of sticks, to be used for making fishpots.

Ralph Rodney identifies broadwood, pegwood and coffee and the trolley is also laden with a pick-axe, a bag and a couple bottles.

There is also another piece of wood, shaped like a child's cricket bat. Rodney explains that it is used as a brake, showing
The Sunday Gleaner
how it is jammed between a rear wheel and edge of the trolley to slow it down.

"It (the trolley) jump the track sometime," a smiling Everton Samuels says. "Sometime the gauging (of the track) give. Because the wood rotten out, it lick out the gauging," he adds.

Crucial role of trolley

The trolley could roll all the way down to Maggotty without overgrowth on the line, but of course, going down is easy. It is getting back up that requires people power.

Still, with much of what is left of Ipswich's housing clinging to the fringes of the train line where transport by car is non-existent, the trolley plays a crucial role.

"It helpful, like to the people who buy goods. Them go Santa Cruz an' buy goods then them use it when them come back," he says.

Plus there are the persons who work the land and use the communal trolley to take their produce up the line to the old station house.

Samuels says they oil the trolley regularly as "we cyaa mek the bearings buss up"!

Their chat with
The Sunday Gleaner
over, Reynolds and Samuels get the trolley laden with sticks they will turn into cash going again, using two poles from their cargo to push it along.

It is a miniature, human-powered version of the trains that once ran through Ipswich, the sole trolley playing the same role in commerce that the trains once did.