A brilliant report on a
Photography from a moving train was a challenge (this would, by the way, be the last time I’d use 35mm film – like so many others I’d shortly join the digital revolution), especially from my window seat on the ‘shadow’ side of the train, and the literature supplied made it clear that leaning out of the carriage windows was a safety violation which could jeopardize future tours as the continued use of Mark 1 coaching stock was under review (even 20 years ago….but at the time the main concern had been the antics of an irresponsible minority leaning the top half of their body out of the door windows and shouting and waving like lunatics at the general public) – I believe the Dawlish seawall section was of particular concern in this regard this time as we received a verbal reminder at Exeter over the intercom. So I had to be content with the novelty of riding behind a Western again on the main line – until we crossed the Tamar (no bridge shot, I was on the wrong side!) I did manage to snatch a few at certain locations out of the sliding window but with a table in the way it wasn’t easy. The one I really wanted to capture was D1015 at Truro (right side for that one) but……well, let’s just say I wasn’t very happy with the guy at the door window in front of me who chose that precise moment to challenge the rules, and it didn’t look like he was even taking a photo - I think the slipstream must have blown my ‘disapproving comment’ in the opposite direction! Arrival time at Penzance was scheduled at 13.35 but was probably around 10 minutes late as I recall being about 10 behind passing St Austell and Truro (I still have the timing sheet as well as all of the other paperwork). As ‘RAIL’ magazine reported on the front cover of Issue 468 (20th August – 2nd September 2003), this was the first Western to Penzance – a type once seen there in abundance - for 26 years. We never thought we would ever see it again - and, as Guy Vincent pointed out a few days ago, it appears that we find ourselves back in that situation again now, however we must remember that this locomotive, 40 years old at the time, is now 60…….. While D1015 was away being fed and watered I did the same, grabbing a beefburger and chips in a harbourside café – it was just too hot to go galivanting along the coastline, even if it was in search of a Western!
The afternoon heat haze over Penzance is apparent in the classic photo over the wall. At this point I looked right and recognized Adrian Curtis, well-known author and expert on all things Class 52 and whose magazines and books I had been collecting for some years, also getting an elevated view, so I finally got to say hello – I wasn’t surprised he had also felt the need to ride on this one (unfortunately Adrian passed away a couple of years ago). Departure was scheduled for 16.15 and I took my seat at around 16.10……and instantly began to melt! We were all so relieved when forward motion introduced some air movement through all of the open windows – I don’t think any were closed that day. The return journey was not without incident as there was an emergency brake application in Devon’s Marley tunnel (apparently the driver failed to hear the vigilance device sound above the noise of two roaring Maybachs in an enclosed space!!) and on the approach to Newbury the combination of hard driving and high air temperature caused the leading end transmission to overheat, resulting the associated engine being shut down so the DTG’s travelling engineer could solve the problem in safety. Reading was reached at reduced speed on the rear engine alone, and just after I disembarked the leading one was restarted, filling the underside of the platform canopy with dense clag, which was quite impressive……..from a safe distance! Luckily it was 21.30 and the station was relatively quiet…….except for the twin Maybachs of course. The overheating would reoccur at Slough but Brunel’s ‘billiard table’ ensured the other engine was enough to reach Paddington, a modest 20 minutes late. A successful day out despite the problems caused by the extreme heat.
Just ten days later I was back in Penzance again – this time by car, and the weather was still very sunny but a little cooler. 2003 was quite a summer – very unlike the one which followed, as the residents of Boscastle will acknowledge…..
Cross Country HST's
Regards, Clive Smith.
Thursday they will go loaded to Fowey.
Friday morning empty to Treviscoe (from Fowey)
Friday afternoon loaded to Fowey (from Treviscoe)
Friday evening empty to St. Blazey and into store (from Fowey)
So there’s still a couple of opportunities to see them if anybody wants to..
All the best, Jon