In a recent email exchange with Neil Phillips we were comparing notes about fragments of D828’s maroon paintwork we had picked off Magnificent as she stood at Platform 4 in Truro. (Picture of mine attached – don’t know if it fits with Neil’s). Quite how we had got away with it, I don’t know, but bored spotters in the late 60’s and early 70’s had to do something to keep ourselves amused – especially when we’d already ‘classed’ all the Westerns and Warships which headed practically every train in Cornwall at that time.
And then today I found one of my old ABC’s. Underlining was in coloured felt pen and so there were plenty of green or maroon lines which were later under-scored with blue as the liveries changed. But also next to various locomotives were the letters ‘C’ and/or ‘E’.
‘C’ I’m sure most people would guess, was for cabbing the loco. On the whole Truro and Penzance drivers were most accommodating, and occasionally a scowling Laira driver would let us up (okay, perhaps a little Cornishly partisan). Western cabs were the quietest while Warships suffered particularly from engine noise. I can also remember that very early Class 22’s and D600’s had mobile driving desks.
The ‘E’ however was much more interesting and would really get the adrenalin flowing. ‘E’ was for ‘Engining’ – in other words walking from one cab through the engine room to the other cab while the train waited at the platform. Sometimes the driver or secondman would accompany us, but once they knew us, we could go through on our own.
In the case of Warships the sequence was cab - engine – transmission – engine – cab, while Westerns was cab – corridor - transmission – engine – engine – transmission – corridor - cab. The heat and the smells were particularly memorable as well as the noise (no ear protectors then). And there was always the thought ‘what if the driver got the right away while I’m still in the engine room?’.
Perhaps the most interesting engine experience was through a pair of Class 22’s. During the late 60’s there was a three coach Truro-Penzance train which was stabled at Truro most of the day and moved out to Platform 2 at about 17.00. One afternoon I got to enter the rear cab of the rear locomotive and make it through to the front cab of the front loco via the connecting doors between the two.
Ah, happy days.
Dissertation on Cornwall's railways
I'm a student at Newcastle University studying history and going into my third and final year. I'm planning on doing my dissertation on the railways in West Cornwall. I am Cornish, from Penryn, so I'm familiar with the historical importance of the area.
I thought that getting in touch with the Cornwall Railway Society would be a wise thing to do and try to establish a few links to sources, people and places. I was looking at potentially researching the links between the development of the mining industry and the growth of the railways (more detailed research questions should come with time...hopefully). Though if there are any interesting, broad and unresearched avenues which you know of, I would be more than open to investigating them.
I can't imagine that there have been too many detailed university dissertations on Cornwall's rich railway and mining heritage, but I would love to contribute to bringing knowledge and information under one title.
Any useful links to books, maps and other documents would be much appreciated (though I imagine that the Cornwall Railway Society website has the best information currently).
I appreciate your time and hope to hear from you soon,
All the best,
Tel: 07747 615251
Personal email: email@example.com
University email: W.Harrison4@newcastle.ac.uk