Going through my archives thought you might like to add the attached photograph to the website. Taken from my office on the 5th floor of Intercity House at Plymouth in 2006, looking out over the East end of Plymouth station. Managed to capture the Moorswater Cement train and the Parkandillack China Clay train both waiting for the road East.
Kind Regards, Chris Bellett, Retired S & T Manager.
The same train with 50024 and 50016 crossing the iconic 'Royal Albert Bridge' - Alan Peters
True or False
The story is essentially that a man called Pearce was in charge of a shunting engine at Truro, presumably around the turn of the century, when an ailing up express came in. He was ordered to couple his engine to the front of the express to assist the train engine on the climb out of Truro. He objected that, while assisting the train out of Truro was in order, the express would overrun his engine on the descent to Par. He was given the choice of complying or losing his job but told that, if he wished, he could fill out a complaint form recording his objections. This he did. The train set off. As forecast, as they topped the climb out of Truro, the express began to push the smaller engine beyond its maximum speed. Somewhere around Probus, the connecting rod of Pearce’s engine broke, dug into the track and toppled the engine down an embankment. Pearce was killed.
An enquiry was held as a result of which a regulation was adopted that only locomotives of similar performance should double-head trains and that smaller locomotives would only bank at the rear where they did not need to be coupled.
The GWR subsequently oversaw the education of his twin sons and gave them jobs at Swindon. One of them, William Henry Pearce, worked in the drawing office. My father knew him and I met him in later life. I recall him telling me he worked on the valve gear of the “Kings” and he told my father of being in the shelter built ahead of the smokebox for testing new designs.]
So much for the story. It came from the lips of the son of the driver involved. However I have not been able to find any more information on this incident. I would have thought that a locomotive being lost down an embankment and a driver killed would have merited some sort of attention. It would also be interesting to know whether this accident was responsible for the uniquely GW regulation that pilot engines had to be coupled inside the train engine: I understand that this practice persisted, despite the operational inconvenience, until Nationalisation.
As I said, I hope your membership can throw some light on the truth or otherwise of this story. Are there for example any details of the date and/or the locomotives involved?
Best wishes, Nick Carlyon
Best Regards, Chris Harvey Bodmin.
South Marston Footbridge