Michael L. Roach
Small prairie 4567 was completed in October 1924 one of a batch of nine 4500s that month numbered 4561 to 4569. Two of that batch of nine have been preserved – 4561 and 4566. Twenty examples of the class were built in 1924 bringing the total to 75 numbered 4500-4574. 4567 was one of three, out of the nine, to go to Newton Abbot as its first shed in October 1924. At nationalisation it was at Cheltenham and it was condemned at Laira in 1962. After migrating around the West Midlands and Bristol District small prairie 4567 returned to the West Country at Truro Shed in January 1962. At the time steam was in its final complete year on former Great Western lines in Cornwall as lines were closed and trains dieselised. 4567 was either not needed at Truro or not a good example of the class as it was moved on again after just a few weeks at Truro, this time to Laira Shed at Plymouth.
In 1962 the Launceston Branch was one hundred percent steam-worked and needed seven locos in steam daily to run the freight and passenger service. Laira had had nine small prairies allocated to the shed for several decades and because of this the shed had become a dumping ground for 4500s and 5500s surplus to requirements elsewhere towards the end of steam. Several of the class arrived at Laira in 1961 and 1962. The good ones were kept and used but the rest saw little use and were withdrawn from service.
I first encountered 4567 on 31 March 1962 when it hauled the 2.20pm SO freight train from Launceston SR to Tavistock Junction (Up Yard) where it was due at 4.55pm. In that 32-mile trip it would have crossed one passenger train in the other direction at Tavistock South; the 3.05pm from Plymouth to Launceston. I had stationed myself at the south end of Walkham Viaduct to photograph the Launceston Goods coming off the viaduct with seven wagons including the usual couple loaded at the Ambrosia Creamery alongside Lifton Station. 4567 was formally transferred to Laira Shed three weeks later on 21 April 1962 and withdrawn from service on 21 September 1962. I photographed 4567 again at Laira Shed on Saturday 28 July 1962, but I never saw it in use after that date. The fact that 4567 was on the coaling line soon after noon suggests that it had worked the 5.15am Tavistock Junction to Tavistock South freight on 28 July and the return working due off Tavistock South at 10.15am but which often ran very early with its four hour stint of shunting at Tavistock completed early.
Car Parking Charges Introduced 90 Years Ago
Ninety years ago the GWR introduced car parking charges at 115 of its larger stations where there was suitable car parking accommodation available “for the convenience of passengers who use their private cars for journeying to and from the station.” There were no parking machines in those days and drivers would have queued at the booking office window to purchase their car parking ticket which was a standard Edmondson card with the car's registration hand written on the ticket. The same system lasted until the 1970s. The charges were first reported in July 1933 and were as follows:
Daily one shilling
Weekly two shillings and six pence
Monthly seven shillings and six pence
Three months one pound
Twelve months three pounds
NB There were 20 shillings in the pound
Hope you like my photograph. Many moons ago when I had hair and my own teeth I wrote to the ‘trainman’ at Brescot yard as in passing I saw lines of withdrawn locomotives, behold I had a lovely letter back granting I would be shown round the yard and shed and it was a brilliant first visit. George, I think that was his name, a lovely man, showed us around. Then the manager Paul Dalton another good chap said to me “The Yanks are coming” – how right he was. Take care, Phil.
I am pleased that the late Andy Oxley's note on the D600s has proved to be so interesting with members and contributors. I have read the many responses with interest and I am sure that Andy would have appreciated the depth of knowledge shared readily by fellow enthusiasts.
Now, the building on the Devon bank of the Tamar, beneath the Calstock viaduct is, indeed, a farm, but the National Library of Scotland map for 1888-1913 shows the railway in course of construction from Bere Alston, but no viaduct yet. However, there is a building on the Devon side, being the Passage Inn, in connection with the historic ferry across to Calstock. I don't know whether anything remains of this old inn today, but there does seem to be a building on the same footprint on the present day's map. Intriguing !