Michael L. Roach
We left Plymouth at 7.10am and travelled via Tavistock South, Lydford and Launceston to Halwill Junction where we had the same loco and one coach but a few more passengers being a Saturday starting with 4½ and arriving Torrington with 7½ passengers. After Halwill Junction our route was identical to Leslie Freeman's route. By leaving Exeter St Davids soon after arrival we managed to have steam down the main line in the shape of St. Phillips Marsh 5924 Dinton Hall on the 10-coach 9.20am Bradford to Paignton running a mere 5 minutes late. Bearing in mind that 1960 was around the peak year for holiday trains and the line's terrible reputation for late running on Summer Saturdays the Hall had obviously put up a good performance taking its ten coaches over Whiteball.
Looking back, and I could not have known this at the time, the highlight of the day was having a small prairie tank to haul our train from Barnstaple Junction to Dulverton. I visited the Taunton to Barnstaple line many times over the next four years before steam gave way to diesel early in September 1964 and never again saw a 4500/5500 tank on the line. Their reign of several decades had given way to near 100 percent Churchward 2-6-0 Moguls soon after our trip. Leslie's train from Barnstaple Junction to Taunton travelled via Barnstaple (Victoria Road) but the station closed to passengers ten days later and our train travelled via the east curve avoiding Victoria Road. All the trains ran well to time, and although the train from Barnstaple Junction departed five minutes late it fair romped along gaining time and culminating in an arrival at Ilfracombe eleven minutes early.
Here are the trains we travelled on that day:
Time From Dist. Loco. Notes
7.10 Plymouth to Launceston 34¾ 5531 + 2C
9.20 Launceston to Halwill Junction 14 34108 + 2C
10.52 Halwill Junction to to Torrington 20½ 41314 +1C *
12.45 Torrington to Barnstaple Junction 14¼ 41312 + 5C *
1.32 Barnstaple Junction to Ilfracombe 15 31840 +3C
2.55 Ilfracombe to Barnstaple Junction 15 31849, 34061 + 2 PV + 3C
3.55 Barnstaple Junction to Dulverton 24¾ 5571 + 3C
5.30 Dulverton to Exeter St. Davids¼ 24¾ 2AC + 1471 *
6.55 Exeter St.Davids to Newton Abbot 20 5924 + 10C 9.20am Bradford to Paignton
7.55 Newton Abbot to Plymouth 32 6845 + 5C local stopping train
* same loco as Leslie Freeman's trip
MLR / 4 August 2022
Best wishes, Bill Elston
Left Wimbledon 3 mins EARLY - was it seen off by The Wombles or were they too busy clearing Wimbledon Common of litter? Its route was via th West London Line, Acton (Main Line), Reading and Swindon [passed ON TIME] and arrived at Newport [Sims] 19 minutes EARLY!
NOTE Colin's comment about this train - please see below.