catches the train!!
On the day in question a four ton lorry hauled a cable trolley to the location where it was parked in the pub car park – just out of the picture on the right. The 50 pair cable also contained a steel cable to provide strength and support.
Our teams firstly hauled the cable off the cable trolley alongside the road taking it up and passing it through a support on the pole which is visible on the right hand side of the road, the cable was not fixed at this location but merely passed through the support – the team continued to drag it along the road until they reached the other pole of the pair on the village side of the bridge. A Technician was then employed to fix the cable on the distribution pole at this point. During this time the cable had been lifted off the road surface and placed on the parapet of the bridge out of the way of rubber tyred traffic.
Soon after, the cable slipped off the parapet, and hung across the track forming a curve more or less the mirror image of the arch alongside but dipping below it.
No trains had passed on this sleepy branch line during the operation of pulling and fixing the cable to the village side pole. However, the team were rudely awakened by the sound of a D800 Warship diesel on full power drawing a substantial train of empty clay trucks up from St Blazey. The driver thundered under the bridge apparently not seeing the cable hanging at ‘wiper level’ in front of his windscreen. Quite why the driver didn’t notice the cable on his approach or even after he has passed under the bridge and hit it is not known.
However in microseconds the steel reinforced cable became taut and snapped leaving the technician up on the village pole hanging on for ‘dear life’ onto his rapidly waving mount. Down at the pub car park the cable trolley became momentarily the ‘fastest trolley’ in the west’! However, fortunately all became quiet once more as the Warship thundered away in the distance towards Goonbarrow. The team reflected on how very lucky it was that nobody was injured – not even the technician up the pole who was strapped on as per regulations. Had somebody been close by the flailing cable on the cable trolley they would have suffered serious injury.
Back at Head Office an enquiry was held – Paddy was asked why he hadn’t complied with the instruction which should have been on the document sent to BR. There was no such instruction on his paperwork. It seems that very nearly all the blame fell on the Planning office who should have informed British Rail. Fifty years on we can look back and enjoy the episode but it was far from funny at time.
Many thanks to Inspector Paddy Bradley for telling this true tale of long ago.
Here's a favourite of mine, taken in August, 2007:
You are lucky in Cornwall to have your original cast iron direction signs; most of Devon's were torn out in the late 1970s and replaced with wooden posts carrying aluminium fingers.
Somerset County Council was not so philistine. Riding along the Exe Valley turnpike, as I did on the way to Porlock and Minehead last month, this one is passed just over the border.
Many thanks to you Colin.
N.B. I hope Colin will forgive us for inserting two old pictures.
Now has anybody else seen any signs to closed west country stations - if so, let's be having them, then we can start a gallery on 'Signs to Closed stations'.