Truro Station this Afternoon
An afternoon at Great Aish
Michael L. Roach
The outside of the curve at Great Aish is ideal for photographing trains in the afternoon from about 14.00 hours onwards. I decided to spend much of the afternoon of 2 June 1962 in the fields to the west of the railway. It was a Saturday two weeks before the start of the summer timetable that year and some extra trains had started to run. I knew that there were very few regular scheduled steam trains left at this time as dieslisation was about 90 percent complete at the time but I was usually optimistic that some steam power would appear. I was there in the fields at Aish from about 3.15pm to 6.00pm and saw just four steam engines of which three were lucky extras. On the way to Aish I had stopped at Stowford Bridge, Ivybridge to see a train I hoped would produce steam, and it did in the shape of a Grange and a King. At this time steam double-headers and King-class locos were both very rare on the South Devon main line. As the afternoon wore on and the sun went round I moved northwards to get a different view of the curve. The sight of the afternoon was 5917 on a 10-coach train heading westwards. The limit for a Hall on Dainton and Rsttery banks was 275 tons (about 8C) so it should have had assistance from Newton Abbot to Brent, after which it was allowed to take 392 tons (about 11C). 5917 had been based at Laira until May 1962 when it moved to Exeter. The last train to be seen was a down freight train which could have been the 10.00am from Avonmouth running more than 90 minutes late or the 4.55pm from Hackney Yard running 20 minutes early. Both terminated at Tavistock Junction Yard. I think the former is more likely in view of the St. Phillips Marsh loco hauling the train. Readers are recommended to look at the OS 25-inch plan on NLS Maps, particularly the 1873-1888 series where it can be seen that the main line was then single track and Brent Station had just one platform because the Kingsbridge Branch did not open until 1893.
7139 At 2.54pm on Saturday 2 June 1962 6841 Marlas Grange (82B – St. Phillips Marsh) and 6015 King Richard III head west at Stowford Bridge. 6015 had been based at Old Oak Common Shed for the whole of its life starting on 15 June 1928 but moved to Stafford Road Shed, Wolverhampton on 4 June 1962, just two days after this photo was taken.
7140 At 3.42pm 5917 Westminster Hall heads around the curve with a westbound extra train of ten coaches. I am in the field (969) opposite Great Aish House and the milepost is 230¼. The feature in the background is Brent Hill. It is believed that the later emergency crossovers would be behind me.
7141 At 4.48pm Laira's 2-8-0 no 3849 heads slowly down the gradient with a heavy permanent way train which was put into the up loop.
7142 At 5.05pm 5917 (seen earlier) heads back up the line light engine.
7143 At 6.01pm Churchward Mogul 6312 (82B – St. Phillips Marsh) passes the end of the loop with 34 wagons. The loco was withdrawn three months later.
7228 This is what Brent Station looked like in 1962 taken from Vicarage Road on 7 July 1962 looking east towards Totnes and Newton Abbot.
MLR / 6 June 2023
Driver Alan Peters
The southern tunnel mouth is welded closed, and general rubbish abounds. However milestone 3 survives intact. The track is a woodland path for public use, if you know how to access it!
Regards, Paul Burkhalter