Many thanks to Karl Hewlett for pointing out that I had omitted to include Class 31 in my ‘Cornish Diesel-Electric Firsts’ list in the item on D1660 City of Truro, despite the existence of Roger’s photo! For Cornwall these were the diesel-electric equivalent of the Hymeks - never very common. However that is no excuse!
Roger Geach has compiled an article on reported sightings of Class 31s in Cornwall, which can be found in the Articles Section and explains how 5827 arrived in Cornwall on Friday 29th June 1973. To date, pending evidence to the contrary, this is still:
- the first recorded Cornish visit by a Class 31
- the only one seen in green livery
- the only one carrying its original number
- the only time the new BR logo was seen on the old livery west of the Tamar
- the first time the Cornish hills echoed to the sound of a large English Electric power unit, over 8 months ahead of the first Class 50!
service over a demanding main line when their own Class 25s would have been supplied as a pair. Perhaps the struggle to recover it back to Laira the following day says it all!
On 15th February 1974 5827 was renumbered 31294 while still in green livery, the only one so treated and for just 15 days, being called to Doncaster for general overhaul and repaint into blue on 2nd March. I saw it at Reading on 16th February but wasn’t quick enough to grab a photo, a pity because a search for one (at least with a fully legible number) has been ongoing ever since.....
Having mentioned the Hymeks above and just for the record, the earliest reference I’ve seen to one of these entering Cornwall was reported in Modern Railways magazine – D7001 seen crossing the Tamar on a westbound freight on 1st May 1963. Construction of the class had only reached D7076 at the time.
Go Well, Regards David. 22nd January 1985
From a regular contributor
The original Great Western main line from London to Bristol was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel for a group of Bristol businessmen and citizens. After much discussion the plans were approved by Parliament in an Act which received the Royal Assent on 31 August 1835. This date was also the date of the Act of Incorporation of the Great Western Railway. The first length of railway was opened from Paddington to Maidenhead on 4 June 1838. The final length from Chippenham to Bristol Temple Meads, including the Box Tunnel, opened to the public on 30 June 1841 and the length was 118 miles. There were heavy earthworks in places e.g Sonning Cutting, the embankments through the Thames Valley and Box Tunnel.