Michael L. Roach
The Plymouth Railway Circle Cornwall Mineral Lines Tour
The special train consisted of 8 brake vans hauled by light pannier tank 1626 a long-term resident of St. Blazey Shed, since construction in 1950, but not for much longer. Unusually the special train started at Fowey rather than a main line station. The train left Fowey at 2.57pm 7 late and travelled by the direct freight-only route to St Blazey via Pinnock Tunnel, the longest in Cornwall. The train made frequent short stops passing St. Blazey Shed and the long closed St. Blazey Station before setting out along the Newquay Branch. At Goonbarrow Junction the train diverged on to the Goonbarrow Branch with its steep gradients. The train spent 20 minutes at Gunheath where 2 brakevans were dropped off and the loco changed ends ready to descend the 1 in 35 gradient to Carbean for an 8 minute stop. This was the far end of the tour and it had taken more than two hours to travel less than 13 miles. The return journey started at 5.14pm with the loco now at the rear of the train propelling its 6 brake vans up the steep gradient. On arrival at Gunheath the loco was now at the right end and the 2 brake vans were picked up. Departure was at 5.26 and nominally non-stop, except for 2 minutes at St Blazey, to Par where arrival was at 6.18pm. Our train home to Plymouth at 6.36pm from Par consisted of 7 coaches hauled by a pair of North British Type 2 diesels numbered D6318/9. The special cheap day return from Plymouth to Fowey had cost 6/3 while the railtour fare was 13/6 (67½p) for a total of 22 miles of steam haulage.
MLR/20 April 2021
If only we could take that trip again today, many many thanks to Michael L Roach for his account of a wonderful day out and allowing us to use his invaluable pictures.
Both 37s are owned by Direct Rail Services and were once very common at Westbury when they saw regular use on the Weymouth-Bristol-Cardiff loco-hauled passenger trains between 1989 and 1998. Following withdrawal by EWS in 2000 37407 managed to survive a spell at the infamous Wigan Springs Branch Component Recovery and Distribution Centre before joining 37424 at the Churnet Valley Railway in 2008. Here little restoration work was undertaken and the two locos were eventually sold to DRS, moving to Loram, Derby in 2015 where major rebuilds were undertaken. 37407 finally re-entered service in early 2018, regaining it's 'Blackpool Tower' nameplates in May 2019. Once the locos had uncoupled from the train they quickly crossed over and departed light for Willesden at 1750.
The surprise appearance of rake of Pullman coaches at Penzance a couple of days ago and an overnight 'test run' of the rake over the St Ives branch was a complete surprise. During the G7 week whether the rake will be present on the St Ives branch during the weeks closure to ferry the press around is not known. Also whether the stations at St Ives and Carbis Bay (Boris Halt) will be subject to titivation is not known. Quite how close photographers will be allowed to get to the happenings is unknown, However it has been decided to put all your pictures into a feature 'G7 and all that'. This, number 2110, can be found in our features January to June 2021.
from Laurence Hansford
Maybe that is why they replaced the rickety old bride at Griggs Forge and most of the track? I would imagine the line is now fit to take most trains and either a Voyager, an 802 or a “Castle” Class could just fit the existing platform at St Ives. And here is another thought: being electric, I don’t believe there is anything to prevent an 802 being driven direct into Heathrow to pick up VIPs and deliver them direct to Carbis Bay/St Ives. To me that seems like a very attractive proposition.
And, maybe, the VSOE visited the branch last night just to test the viability of using that for VIPs – after all what posher stock is there in the UK?
a) 66622 plus 59102 Acton - Merehead
b) 59002 Merehead - Acton
c) 67023 and 027 Tyseley - Bristol H L Sidings (via Weymouth) test train
d) 59101 Fareham - Whatley
e) 59204 Acton - Merehead
f) 165130 Grt Malvern - Weymouth.
Hope these are of interest, Best regards. Bill