Day three (15-12-2021).
Photo 1) Wrong line working, heading for Apex Bridge is Class 66 849 top and tailed with 66 847 on a rake of 8 auto ballesters.
Photo 2) Wrong line working Class 66 847 on the rear of the 8 auto ballesters with 66 849 at the front about to cross Wheal Busy foot crossing.
Photos 3 & 4) DR 73907 stands on the up line at Treleigh Bridge (A3047
The sleeper itself was interesting in that starting from Truro the stock came from Laira behind DRS 57306 with Pendennis Castle on the tail to be train engine for Paddington with 57306 on the tail all the way so as to move train back from Paddington to Reading..
Being a train with passengers on departing East from platform 2 the normally trailing points, now facing points to cross to the up line had to be clipped whereas the train before from platform 2 being ECS did not have to have them clipped.
Best regards from London
I would be interested to hear if any members know more about this event. The pictures were apparently taken by a Michael Parsonage who lived in West Cornwall. Does any member know of him, or was he perhaps a Society member?
Newham Branch Line Pt 1
The late Cyril Hitchens
The box was brick built with the usual large sliding windows two of which were at the back overlooking the Falmouth line. Inside was a coal stove and oven, an oil stove and oil lamps for lighting. It was fitted with a 36 lever frame and had the usual block instruments for working with Chacewater and Truro West. There was also an electric token instrument for the single line section between Penwithers and Perranwell and a wooden train staff for the Newham branch which was worked "one engine in steam". Penwithers also controlled the IBS on the down main after the closure of Baldhu box. When I was learning different boxes it was my practice to sketch the layout, note the lever numbers etc.... A copy of my original sketch (probably done in about 1958) accompanies this article and can be compared with photographs of the layout as it existed at the time.
The steps to the upper floor were outside and there was a wooden walkway across the branch line loop to hand the token to the drivers of the down branch trains and to collect it from the up. There was a chemical toilet in a separate building a short distance from the steps. It was a busy box with main line traffic, Falmouth branch trains and awkward access to the Newham line. A lot of walking was involved to hand over and collect tokens. Certain branch drivers tried to do this at some speed especially when dmus were introduced!
The goods for Newham, mainly coal for the gasworks, would come out from Truro West hauled by a pannier tank, a 45xx, 55xx or, latterly, a D63xx. It would collect the staff, draw clear of the point and then propel down to Newham. On return it would draw in on the down Falmouth line and stop to allow the engine to run round. This was done by sending the loco down clear of the up branch points, back on the up branch, across the down and up mains, back through the crossover to the down main, onto its train on the down branch, couple up, back through the crossover to the up main and thence through Highertown Tunnel and back to Truro. Timing this operation was important so as not to delay any other traffic.
Penwithers Box was very difficult to access (this was obviously well before the days of Health and Safety). By this time I had a car (a Reliant 2x1) so I would drive from Camborne to the outskirts of Truro, turn down Penwithers Lane and then turn into another lane by a Falmouth branch bridge where there was a pull in with room for a couple of cars. Then I had to climb a 5ft. wall, scramble up a 20ft. embankment and finally walk to the box on the Falmouth branch track. Try this at 4.30 on a wet morning in pitch darkness!
One evening, on leaving work at 11pm., I locked up and began the journey back to my car. From the top of the embankment I could see there was another car parked beside mine. I slid down the bank, climbed over the wall and jumped down with a THUMP, landing right beside the other car, scaring the occupants, a courting couple, out of their wits. I never saw them there again.
During lulls in traffic signal boxes could be good places to be. There were unrivalled views from Penzance and St. Ives and the peace and quiet of isolated Baldhu and Shepherds. Penwithers was no exception. One summer Sunday I was relieving there-the weather was beautiful-no trains about-so I settled down to read the paper which had been dropped off by one of the Falmouth bound drivers earlier in the day. Suddenly I heard a noise which I ignored at first, then it happened again so I looked out if the back window. I could see two young boys playing on the bank near the up branch home. The became more adventurous and started playing with the weights. They realised that by lifting them they could place the signal in the off position. As their confidence grew the began to climb the signal and play with the arm pulling it on on and off. They were too far away for me to shout to them so, as there were no trains about, I gently pulled the lever to place the lever in the off position. For the next 15 minutes I watched as the boys tried to replace the signal to danger, climbing up and down, pushing the signal arm, on the ground lifting the weights, one up the post and one on the ground pulling at the wires etc. etc......all to no avail. Eventually they scampered off, convinced they had broken the signal and would be responsible for a train crash later that afternoon.
From 7th. November 1971 the junction was rationalised, the Newham line was taken out of use, the signal box was closed and 2-way working was introduced for the Falmouth branch from Truro.