Due to unforseen events David Letcher will be unable to give his evening on Saturday 12th February however Roger Winnen has kindly agreed to step in with his talk planned for April 9th -
Next Saturday - The Cornwall Railway Society visit to Scotland ten years ago plus earlier pictures from 1975.
This will be the pasty evening.
With Lostwithiel in the news at present, here are a couple of reminders of the old station which I took on 4th September 1973. No. 1664 'George Jackson Churchward' makes a brisk arrival with a clay train, and after reversal in the 'up' loop, sets off for Carne Point. Note the signalman climbing up the steps into his box after handing the token to the crew.
Dave Pagett Collection
Some years ago, a good friend & local signalman Dave Pagett at Worcester passed away.
He left me in his will his railway photo collection, which is a lot of images. The other day in the box of his images I found disc which had over 1000 scanned images on.
I have attached some of the West Country images which I am sure you will find interesting. Unfortunately there are no dates, so any extra info will be most welcome if anyone knows more.
There will be more.
Regards Steve Widdowson
Peter and Lyn Murnaghan
The Looe branch line has seen passenger numbers grow in recent years, until ridership fell because of Covid-19. The trend can be seen in the annual figures published by the Office of Road and Rail, see summary. But there is one station on the branch that stubbornly remains poorly used. Coombe Junction Halt sees two trains per weekday in each direction, and regularly features within the lowest ten stations nationally. With depressed passenger figures across the country because of Covid last year, perversely Coombe's position in the league table improved. But back in 2015, it was the second least used station in the country with only 26 passengers all year.
Before 1901, there was no link between the Looe branch, splendidly isolated in the valley, and the Great Western Railway main line, which passed over the Moorswater viaduct, 150 feet above. In that year, the sinuous link line was opened to connect the two lines, which benefitted trade in the town of Looe and gradually opened it up to tourism. May 2016 marked the 115th anniversary of this link line.
Local enthusiast, Peter Murnaghan, who lived in Liskeard, hit upon the idea of commemorating the anniversary and, at the same time, doing something to boost the fortunes of little Coombe Junction. With his friend, Brian Oldham of Liskeard Museum, a walk was organised from Liskeard station down to Coombe to catch one of the two trains back up the incline. The walk down is a mere 0.8 mile, but the train journey back to the starting point measures 2 miles.
The Junction Jaunt was advertised locally in Liskeard and the press and local TV were captivated by the story of this sad little station. On the day, Saturday 14th May 2016, the train crew on the single class 153 unit were forewarned that there might be a few extra passengers to accommodate on the 1052 trip. In the event, no fewer than 108 people gathered for the walk !
And sure enough, the crowd filled the platform at Coombe, when the 75 seater arrived with a good load already on board from Looe. The guard's ticket machine was unable to cope with the three figure transaction, so the merry band had to purchase their tickets retrospectively from the ticket office at Liskeard on arrival. But only after Peter had been assured that the ticket sales would be credited to Coombe Junction, rather than the main line station.
Despite the 'London rush hour' travelling conditions for the short ride, everybody had fun and were pleased to have quadrupled Coombe's annual trade in just one day. This one event propelled Coombe Junction Halt up to 18th position from the bottom of the league table for 2016/17!
- thank you Toby