Tuesday 27th February to Sunday 10th March 2024
Truro East was built in 1899 and IS of typical GWR appearance. It is one of the few signalboxes in my area that is still in use. It had (has?) all the usual interior fittings and, in my day, the kettle was always boiling to cater for visiting shunters, enginemen, guards and station staff as we were all part of a team who looked after one another. Unusually the frame was at the back. Changes took place in 1971 following the closure of West box and further track rationalisation and remodelling. A new 51 lever frame was installed and a level crossing leading to the remaining sidings and car park was opened.
In my description of West box I said that it was always busier than East. West had the loco shed, the Falmouth and Newquay branches and the intensive westbound goods traffic plus the main lines while East dealt with the up and down main lines, the quieter eastbound goods and the small down goods yard. The main traffic in the down sidings was biscuits and Lyons cakes. Latterly, loads were delivered for Farm Industries who took over the site near the end of my railway career in the mid 1970s. When up goods were sorted and formed up the shunter would phone East to say they were "ready for the off" and when a path became available the train was let out.
One afternoon I pulled the points and remember watching the up VENLO (empties) for Tavistock Junction pass the box and waving to the guard in his van as it crossed the viaduct. Later that week the same guard came into the box for a chat. He told me that when his train from a few days previously reached Plymouth North Road it was already dark. Signals meant they passed through the station at walking pace using one of the platform roads. When they reached Tavy Junction to berth the wagons the guard found a drunk, fast asleep, "draped" over one of the couplings between two vans in the middle of the train. He was woken up and sent on his way. Whether he enjoyed his journey or not no one knows-but he was a very lucky man!
The down sidings fell out of use in the 1980s and there has been further track removal. However, Truro station and the Falmouth line have become increasingly busy and East box is still very much in use and the kettle is probably still boiling!
I never did get to Truro Cattle Pens Box or later ground frame which was used on an "as required" basis until the removal of the track there.
Further alterations were carried out in recent years with the installation of the Penryn Loop.
"Torbay & Dartmouth Pullman"
Thanks for sharing this with us Alan, I'm sure it will be a great trip for those on board.
If you'd like to treat yourself and book a ticket, you can do so via the Midland Pullman website - click here.