Bernards new 'Back Tracking' book covers the Bodmin lines.
Bernard Mills asked for any information concerning the running of Fitzgerald Lighting freight trains over the B&W. I recommend the Bodmin Heritage Diesels website as there is a short feature on these workings with operating dates (2 Dec 1989 to 11 Dec 1992) and some photos included. Fitzgerald traffic ended as BR withdrew Speedlink from the South West as a principal user, Taunton Cider, switched to alternative transport. I looked through some old copies of TRACTION and Rail Express magazines from 2000 and 2001 and in the Nov 2000 Traction on page 13 found a photo taken 17th July 2000 of 50042 with a Fitzgerald train consisting of 2 VGA wagons. In the June issue of the same publication (P11) is mention of the possibility of loco 33110 working the Fitzgerald traffic that summer. It seems that grants were made available to bring freight back onto the mainline in 2000-01 so possibly this is how the traffic came to return. There is no mention of when the last train ran.
Hopefully this will add something to what Bernard already has.
Best regards, Guy Vincent.
At Seaton Jn the former Down Through became the Bidirectional Main, the Down Local and sidings were removed, but the Up Through and Up Local were retained as a runround for the milk train. While I was there, a Warship arrived light from Exeter and took a couple of milk wagons, but didn't have to run round as it went back west. I assumed it would continue up the line to Chard Jn and London, but I later found that it ran to London via Exeter. The Chard Jn milk was also tripped to Exeter, but as there was a loop at CJ running round there shouldn't have been an issue. On the single line there was MoD traffic from the east to Dinton and Chilmark, and fertiliser to Gillingham but no freight between there and CJ.
In SR days the Up Milks started at Torrington around 2.30 and 4.30pm, picking up at Lapford and Crediton, but sometime after the WR took over in 1963 this was also diverted up the Berks & Hants. Torrington milk ceased in 1978; about the same time at Seaton Jn the Bidi Main was realigned from the former Down Through over the former Up Through. The Up Local was retained as a siding at the Honiton end with the former Up Siding No 1, but I never saw any traffic use them so I guess the milk had ceased by 1978. Those two remaining sidings were lifted in 1987.
The rival WR milks from St Erth picked up from Dolcoath, Lostwithiel, Saltash, Totnes and Hemyock. Fortunately they stopped at Truro and I was able to read the wagon labels to unknown lands - Wood Lane (now Westfield Shepherds Bush), Morden South (ceased 1978), and Vauxhall (a London commuter station). As there were no sidings at Vauxhall this puzzled me for many years until I worked at Waterloo and during the midday off-peak found the milk parked in Platform 1 (Up Windsor Local) whence the milk was piped to the basement and across the road into the creamery!
There were several milk depots across London, and Kensington Olympia became their marshalling point. SR milks ran up the main to Wimbledon A box, then via East Putney and Point Pleasant to Clapham's Kensington Sidings onto the West London Line. In quiet times, WR milks could drop tanks at West Ealing and take the curve from Old Oak East to North Pole, but most ran up to Greenford and over the Ealing & Shepherd's Bush to Viaduct Junction. Apart from the major depots I mentioned above, there were smaller ones at South Lambeth (GWR), Stewart’s Lane (SR) and over the North London Line to Ilford.
There were also two WR milks from Whitland and one each from Shrewsbury and Weymouth, and SR milk from the Somerset & Dorset via Templecombe, as well as non-tank flows, eg churns in Siphon Gs from Thorney & Kingsbury to Gravesend Central, major flows on the LMR and lesser ones on the ER. They ran as Class C (later Class 3) express freight fully-fitted, but even so it took 12 hours from St Erth to Kensington. Milk is a heavy commodity and trains were limited to about 14 tanks (+ brake van until 1969) although empties could be double that. There were also backflows of milk into some of the creameries which produced powdered or condensed milk and cheese.
There was some traffic lost after the 1955 ASLEF strike, and at about the time the WR took over the Withered Arm remaining traffic was concentrated onto the WR. All this finished in the very early 80s and Chard Jn must have been one of the very last sites to use rail. Passing the defunct and demolished creameries today, who can believe that this is yet another short-lived British industry? John Roberts.
The late John Fill, Keith Jenkin, Peter Radford, Trevor Tremethick, & Roger Winnen
Back on Track
I trust that you will enjoy and find them of interest!
 Bristol-bound 'Flying Cucumber' approaches platform 4 with an emu in the sidings waiting to come out and form a train to Paddington -see photo 3]
 Just something OUT OF THE ORDINARY!! Another Bristol-bound train awaiting departure in platform 4.
 A London-bound emu [see photo 1] swiftly leaves platform 3 with unit 387 157 leading
 The aforementioned emu snakes its way quickly onto the Up Main.
 66580 speeds through the centre road at Swindon obviously in an effort to make up lost time with the Wentloog to Felixstowe Freightliner. This train left Wentloog 83 minutes late (does anyone know why?), gained 13 minutes when it passed Magor and gained another 4 minutes when it passed Swindon an hour late with quite a long train.
 This going away shot gives one some idea of the length of this Freightliner.
 I call this one EASTBOUND meets WESTBOUND - The eastbound one was held outside Swindon station while a Westbury bound dmu crossed to the Down Main from the bay platform - platform 2. The driver of the westbound IET faced a caution signal at the end of platform 4 and did not start until that yellow signal turned green once the Westbury dmu was out of the way.
 5Q76 Belmont yard to Newport (SIMS) [4 minutes early] with 37800 growling loudly as it speeds through platform 4 hauling untis 365520 and 365522.
 Steve Pidgeon takes a photo of the scrap units as they speed westwards towards their destiny!
Kind regards, Ken
Though normally would like to limit it to five pictures.