Ken Mumford’s visit to the Swindon & Cricklade Railway last Friday (photos posted on 18th June) threw up a real surprise with a Cornish connection stretching back 62 years. I refer to his photo of Permanent Way Brake Van 17907.
As is well-known in these parts, back in April 1961 the preserved GWR 4-4-0 No 3440 ‘City of Truro’ was involved in the launch of Westward Television – the South West's own ITV channel. Earlier this year I was looking into the make-up of the Exhibition Train, with a view to possibly creating a model of a shortened formation to go behind my Bachmann model of ‘City of Truro’, and found the following information:
From the locomotive back –
- Three ex-GW/BR (WR) ‘Syphon G’ vehicles, diagram O33, W2769/2941/2983W, clad with smooth external sheeting – exhibition vehicles (W2983W preserved at the Glos-Warks Railway)
- Ex-GW Nondescript Brake Saloon, diagram G58 W9103W – studio car (preserved at the Severn Valley Railway)
- BR Mark 1 Restaurant Second Open (RSO) W1012 – theatre/reception coach (later converted into BR Cinema Coach DW150353, preserved at Ruddington but future currently uncertain)
- And bringing up the rear, the power source for all the above - ex-GW ‘Toad’ brake van W17907, diagram AA13, converted to a generator van (possibly already rebuilt as a PW brake before its new gig). I couldn’t discover what had happened to this vehicle, but thanks to Ken now I know! It has clearly undergone further conversion work with a lot of new glazing but presumably no generator set getting in the way.
While on the move between locations the train was accompanied by lined maroon BR Mark 1 Brake Second Corridor (BSK) W34915.
Livery details for the exhibition vehicles were light blue lower sides and ends, with white upper sides, and grey roofs. Lettering on the Syphon Gs was the Westward galleon logo flanked by ‘LOOK WESTWARD’ all in blue on the upper white panels; the other two coaches carried ‘WESTWARD TELEVISION EXHIBITION TRAIN’ in slanted gold letters edged in black on the lower blue panels; this style was also applied to the generator van but shortened to ‘LOOK WESTWARD’.
I discovered that an article on the train had appeared in a now defunct model magazine dated September 1961 and managed to obtain an excellent copy online, although it cost me 40 times more than its 62-year-old cover price! This included a photo of W17907 in generator guise and I have attached a photographed copy of this, to compare to how it looks six decades later – I am unsure about copyright after such a long time but if you feel able to reproduce this please credit it to ‘M.G.D. Farr’. I understand that other articles on the Westward TV train appeared in the ‘Railway Observer’ April 1961 and ‘Railway Bylines Collection’ 2006-7.
Howard Sprenger writes - Further to this my reading of Neil's article is that Mike Farr's photograph was from the "now defunct model magazine" (probably "Model Railway News" or "Model Railway Constructor") not the copy of RO that was referenced, so I'm sure there's not a problem.
Penryn & Perranwell
I continued snapping the stations on the Falmouth branch in the 1970s, changing over to more stable slide film and later updating my equipment, so from now on the quality improves a bit! Herewith are a few of Penryn and Perranwell from a visit to the branch in May 1973... just over 50 years ago!
Best regards, Howard.