Michael L. Roach
In Parts 39 and 40 I showed photos taken on the afternoon and evening of 18 August 1962 west of Lydford Station on the GWR's Launceston Branch. On my way there I stopped south of Lydford and near Brentor village to catch the 10.25am Plymouth to Launceston on film. The first photo shows the train hauled by Laira's 4570 heading north-east to Lydford; note the enthusiast at the window of the first coach. In the second photo the engine is about to pass under Burn Lane which had given me access to the area. The last view is looking north-east from the bridge showing the proximity of the GWR's single line to Launceston and the Southern Railway's main line from Exeter to Plymouth via Okehampton. The whole area looked incredibly neat in 1962 but within 6 years both lines would be closed. and the area is now a jungle of scrub and small trees. The three bridges carrying Burn Lane over the railways are still there.
Heavy Trains (1)
I have written before of the huge loads that the Great Western expected their footplatemen to work out of Paddington at holiday periods in the early years of the last century with quite small engines. It will be recalled that the 4-6-0 express passenger classes in the shape of the 2-cylinder Saints and 4-cylinder Stars had only just started to come off the production line and most expresses were still being hauled by 4-4-0 classes. In this article I am going to recount just a couple of examples from the ones listed regularly in the GWR Magazine. The first trip comes from 24 December 1906. Early that Christmas Eve the 12.17am to Birkenhead set out from Paddington with one 6-wheel coach and 17 8-wheel coaches. The engine given to the driver for this formidable load was no. 16 which was one of William Dean's four prototypes in the Armstrong class of 4-4-0 double-frame locos built at Swindon in 1894. Number 16 was actually a rebuild of an un-named 2-4-0 broad-gauge convertible engine built in 1888. After rebuilding the engine was named “Brunel” and was a particularly handsome looking locomotive, and very similar in appearance to the Dean “singles” with an extra pair of driving wheels partly beneath the cab. William Dean was the CME (Chief Mechanical Engineer) of the GWR from 1877 to 1902 when he retired due to ill health and was succeeded by his deputy George Jackson Churchward which ensured continuity and it was the latter who moved the engines up a size by designing 4-6-0s. On this day in 1906 number 16 reached its first stop at Reading at an average speed of 44 mph. Although the first stop was at Reading the load had been reduced by two 8-wheel coaches at Twyford, presumably by the use of slip coaches because this was the heyday of slip operation on the GWR peaking at 79 in 1908. I guess that the slip coaches were destined to give a late-night service to Henley-on-Thames. In my 1902 timetable the then 12.15am “fast corridor train to Birmingham and Liverpool” slipped a coach or coaches at Twyford at 1.02am giving an arrival at Henley at 1.20am but only on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The driver of no. 16 was one William Tallis and at Easter 1907 he was again on the 12.17 am to Birkenhead with 4-4-0 no. 7 another of Dean's prototypes on Thursday 28 March at the start of the Easter rush. Whitsuntide 1907 Tallis was again rostered on the 12.17am to Birkenhead on Saturday 18 May with prototype no. 8 and 14 8-wheelers and 3 6-wheelers averaging 44 mph to Reading. Tallis was obviously a very reliable driver, but was reliant on a competent fireman working hard for the four hours it took to reach Wolverhampton, where Tallis was based. The distance from Paddington was 141 miles 61 chains via Oxford. At the time the average distance covered by a GWR passenger train driver was around 100 miles per shift.
MLR / 15 September 2023
A couple of hours on platforms 2 and 3 at a windy and occasionally wet Westbury station this morning produced plenty of action.
1) Looking across the station from the adjacent road bridge a couple of turbos on Portsmouth & Cardiff-bound services with a class 800 approaching on a Plymouth - Paddington working.
2) A second view of the station from the road bridge at the north end. The re-routed 2C37 0835 Bristol Temple Meads - Penzance formed: 43198 49105 48102 48114 48130 (reformed set GW05) & 43029 heading south through platform 2 at 0913hrs. Once an everyday sight at Westbury, HSTs are rarely seen in 2023 except for the Colas test trains.
3) 158769 (L) with the 0946 Westbury - Swindon and 158750 (R) on the 0823 Southampton Central - Bristol Temple Meads.
4) Recently returned from Wolverton works after a bodywork and interior makeover 166221 arriving with the 0823 Portsmouth Harbour - Cardiff Central.
5) Colas 67027 about to leave the up yard 'light engine' to Hinksey (Oxford).
6) 70814 70803 and 66849 moving around in the up yard.
7) 66511 shortly after arriving with the 6C84 0840 Fairwater - Westbury high output ballast carriers for reloading. Note: according to TOPS this loco was, at the time, working from Fairwater to Norton Fitzwarren with 66531 supposedly on 6C84!
8) 66113 and 66097 (left) shortly before departing for Exeter Riverside, with 66762 66197 and 66797 ahead on the 6O41 1014 Westbury - Eastleigh engineers trip working.
9) 158765 on the 0945 Bristol Temple Meads - Salisbury in P1 with 'voyagers' 220008 and 221141 passing through on the 1V44 0612 Leeds - Plymouth, this was until very recently worked by a XC HST set.
10) 66106 on yard shunting duties.
With best regards. Guy Vincent.
Please click on an image for a framed enlargement.
Truro & West Country 1960
As I trawled through you tube, as I do, I came across the attached film and thought you might be interested.
Filmed on 8mm in colour but silent, it shows various trains both steam & diesel on the main line between Newton Abbot & Penzance plus the old St Ives station but it does jump around a bit.
Diesel & Steam Trains at Truro & West Country 1960s - YouTube
I had a quick look through your CRS site and I didn’t see this but if you have posted it up before, please accept my apologies for disturbing you!
The cost of living seems always to be going up and the AERON VALLEY RAILWAY SOCIETY wants to continue giving good value to its members and readers. So, I've decided that I will send you the front cover of the latest issue and IF you would like an e-mail copy [or hard copy] of the whole issue, then PLEASE tell me and I'll do the rest.
I trust that you do understand the situation for which I sincerely thank you.
Ken - the AVRS Editor