Pendennis Castle at Didcot
The Birmingham - Didcot 'Great Western Envoy’ marked 4079’s last UK run before export to Australia and as can be seen, a lot of people turned up to witness the event, some no doubt with misgivings about the whole idea. If I recall correctly the red dots visible below the nameplate and ‘Great Western’ on the tender contained the initials of its new owner, Hamersley Iron, one of the largest iron ore producers in Western Australia which had its own 240-mile long ore-carrying railway, and who had funded its restoration at Carnforth, where it had been sat awaiting repair.
The locomotive’s departure from Didcot saw the kind of ‘mass trespass’ on the railway which wouldn’t be tolerated these days!
4079 departed for Australia shortly after this special. The full story of what happened to it between then and its eventual return to the UK can be found online, but its final run in Australia occurred on 14th October 1994 after which it went into storage. It would finally come home on 8th June 2000, and its careful restoration by 20 volunteers at Didcot would eventually see it steamed for the first time in 27 years on 13th August 2021, with the official relaunch on 2nd April 2022. Perhaps I’m sending these photos in nearly a year late then, apologies for missing the event!
Castle set headed by 43172 with 43097, on 2U12 0640 PZ-CF. However, it only got as far as Newport, due to
'a problem with the traction equiupment'
Turbo 165133 on 2C69, 0900 CF-PZ. This unit was replaced at Exeter by 150233.
Freightliner 66505 on 6E18 0953 Fairwater Yd - Doncaster Woodyard ballast wagons.
Hope these are of interest,
Best wishes, Bill Elston
I visited Cheddar Station briefly on 13 March 1965, 18 months after the Cheddar Valley line had been closed to passengers. It was a damp grey day, appropriately so – the station presented a melancholy sight, and so I did not linger. Track-lifting on the northern Cheddar-Yatton section was just starting, following its closure to goods traffic on 1 October the previous year. The splendid train shed roof that covered part of both passenger platforms had been taken down, also in 1964, as it was apparently considered to have become a dangerous structure. A broken cast iron rainwater downpipe that had helped to drain this roof symbolised the end of a useful working life. Informative descriptions of the station with numerous photographs taken in happier days are in ‘Steaming through the Cheddar Valley’ by Derek Phillips (Oxford Publishing, 2001, in particular pages 134-155), and in ‘The East Somerset and Cheddar Valley Railways’ by Richard Harman (Lightmoor Press, 2009, pages 113-122). The dust-jackets of both books include a front-page photo of Cheddar Station in use, with its train shed roof, that in the Philips book being in colour.