Please may I also add a few pieces of information which might be of interest to others? All relate to the Truro Area: Penwithers to Buckshead page.
First, water columns. In the 50s there were two water columns on the down main, not one. There was an additional water column on Platform 2 [down main] approximately opposite the column situated towards the down end of Platform 3. This column on Platform 2 remained in use when the west end platforms were extended and a further column positioned at the extreme west end of that platform. It is true that most down trains were long enough to need to use the column at the extreme end of the platform. But shorter trains, certainly 4 or less, perhaps 5, would stop short and use the original column. That was a disappointment to me as a schoolboy, because the opportunity was missed to look down into the cab from the Black Bridge and view the various techniques drivers used when starting! The photograph on page 44 of Peter Gray’s book ‘Steam in Cornwall’ shows the column in question and the cut-out in the canopy valance necessary to accommodate the swinging arm.
The picture of Truro shed staff taken in 1960 was particularly interesting. I see that the Shedmaster was Mr Joe Stevens. I believe his predecessor may have been a Mr Taylor. It would be interesting if anyone could confirm that. My mother was hardly ‘slow in coming forward’ and got into many a conversation with the Shedmaster there before her death in 1959 and between them would arrange visits to the shed on Sunday mornings. I seem to recall that the Shedmaster then suffered a heart attack and died suddenly, which brought our visits to an end.
One of my keenest recollections was the incident which brought an end to fly-shunting Falmouth Branch coach sets from Platform 3 to the Platform 1 Bay. I cannot date my memory but I suspect it would have been about 1956/57. The practice until then had been for a train from Falmouth to arrive at Platform 3, the coaches uncoupled and the loco then propelling the coaches down Platform 3 at speed to fly-shunt them across to the down main, clear of the points into the Bay, allowing gravity to take them back into the bay. On this day the coaches either stopped fractionally short or the Truro West signalman was too slow in changing the points and one bogie of the B set straddled them. Not surprisingly, the practice then ceased, the train engine propelling the coaches across to the down main and then coming to a stand and returning to Platform 3, before letting gravity take the set back into the Bay. Again, I would be very interested to know if anyone has more information about this incident. It must have caused considerable disruption.
Richard Mills, Surrey. A warm welcome to our website Richard, your contribution is very much appreciated.