Michael L. Roach.
In Part 6 on 22 February I recounted a road trip to the Meldon area to do some lineside photography. After nearly two hours in the area it was time to move on some 13 miles to Dunsland Cross on the Bude Branch. There were few properties or villages in the area and it looks as though the station was only put there to break up the 8 miles from Halwill Junction Station to Holsworthy Station. I took one photograph west of the station of 82017 on the 1.55pm Bude to Halwill Junction. This was one of a class of 45 BR Standard Class 3 2-6-2 tanks numbered 82000-44 designed and built at Swindon. The last two of the class were withdrawn at Nine Elms Shed in July 1967 with the end of steam on the Southern Region. Sadly not a single example of the class made it into preservation, but that ommission is now being rectified by the construction of 80045 which has been proceeding for a number of years. 82017 was the first of the class that I photographed but there would be several more over the next two and a half years with the last seen being 82038 on 11.09.1964 at Bristol Temple Meads on the 5.55pm to Bath Green Park and 82040 on a freight train at Exeter St. Davids on 17.04.1965.
I did not find the area around Dunsland Cross very conducive to photography so returned to Halwill Junction which was much better. At this time Halwill saw a good range of locomotive classes but the next loco to arrive at the station was Mogul 31406 on the 3.11pm Bude to Okehampton. I did not recognise the numbering series which at first was thought to be a U-class. I had seen many of the N-class at Plymouth and elsewhere but they were all in the 318xx series, but 31406 was also an N-class built earlier by Maunsell for the South Eastern and Chatham Railway to the general design principles laid down by the Great Western Railway's G.J. Churchward in his 4300 class Moguls. 31406 had arrived at Exmouth Junction Shed just two months earlier and had joined 31409 which had arrived there in October 1961. I photographed 31406 arrive at 3.54pm and leave at 4.03pm with its two coaches and two vans, and I immediately departed for Plymouth and home some 40 miles away. This was an early finish for me so perhaps I was going out for the evening. I had left Plymouth before 10.00am that morning for my journey to Lydford and Meldon described in Part 6 but had been taking railway photos even before that. Somehow I had gained access to the 11-storey tower block at Plymouth Station; perhaps as some part of an open day as the building had only just then been completed. Birds-eye views of the station were taken looking west and east.
MLR / 2 March 2023
Other GWR footbridges that now enjoy a second life in preservation include examples from Keynsham (now at Buckfastleigh, South Devon Railway) and Trowbridge (now at Williton on the West Somerset Railway).
Regards. For now