Our busy reporter Roger Winnen has made a special trip to Hayle station today 24th February 2014 to view the works in progress to improve the safety record at the station by replacing the exisiting, 'well signed' though hazardous level crossing at the Penzance end of the station by a new path utilising an underpass already provided for a local access lane.
On the up side of the station work is in progress clearing brambles which have grown up and the pathway down the trackbed of the former Hayle Wharves branch, to the left, has been cleaned up. There was at one time a goods loop behind this platform together with sidings and even a loco shed beyond the mini dumper truck. 24th February 2014 Copyright Roger Winnen
Hi Keith, With the Long Rock crossing barriers now open I thought I would see what was happening seaward side. Here are a few pics which might be of interest. Regards, Roger Salter
Many thanks Roger
Interestingly Roger Winnen reports that a large amount of sand has moved in the storms and the remains of wartime barriers have been exposed on the beach area.
You may feel that there's no need for any more photos of Dawlish - and, if so, just ignore the three attached which I took yesterday when the weather was bright and clear enough to see what's going on.
There are several other areas of damage to the sea wall between Dawlish station and Langstone Rock, in addition to the major breach. NR are working on all the sites. The use of old shipping containers filled with rubble was a very effective way of sealing the breach quickly, between storms, and obviously prevented even more devastating erosion. There are available engineering solutions to deal with the ongoing problem of storm damage but these would involve substantially replacing the existing wall with a reinforced concrete structure higher and deeper than the old wall and with a wave-return profile. The railway itself could be raised and laid with slab track on a concrete base (except through the five tunnels) and it seems likely that such measures would be effective for the foreseeable future. However, any suggestion of alterations to the appearance of the wall are always met with fierce opposition. An example was the idea that some kind of additional barrier is needed on top of the low wall separating the railway from the pedestrian path along the sea wall to deter trespass. One wonders what approach Brunel himself would favour, given what we now know about increasingly severe weather, rising sea levels and the availability of materials and techniques that were not available to him when he first engineered the line.
It is clear that, whatever the long-term decision about providing a diversion route, the existing line must be protected and maintained in the meantime.
Best wishes, Derek Buttivant
Dawlish 22nd February 2014. A more detailed view of the worst spot. A heavy mobile crane/excavator can be seen standing on firm ground established beyond the protective barrier of filled containers. A temporary access has been provided to the furthermost houses. The gang of track engineers who have been toiling night and day can be seen. 22nd February 2014 Copyright Derek Buttivant
The South Devon "Winter Branch Line Gala"
This Steam Gala was run over two weekends of the schools half term break together with a service during weekdays and has featured Drummond 1897 design M7 looking very smart in its BR black livery and on loan from The Swanage Railway together with resident engine Collet 3205, L92 a former GWR 57xx pannier owned by The Worcester Locomotive Society and the Single Bubble Car W55000 dating from 1958.
Also taking part were D2246 A Drewry 0-6-0 b.h.p.204 Diesel Mechanical Shunter and D3721 a Diesel Electric shunter from a Class of over 1000 built from 1953. Our Chairman Tony Wright was active through out the day as Guard and Signalman.
With a lot of sunny weather everyone that I spoke to really enjoyed the day, a break from the usual routine.
Many Thanks to all concerned. Roger Winnen
Roger has been requested to photograph the varied liveries of the bus replacement services. The picture below taken at St Erth. Roger was en-route to Totnes for the SDR Winter Gala
I trust all is well with the world. I see that you have continued to be kept busy with new news!
Not to be outdone, if you think they are of interest, here are more if you have the time. Taken yesterday (Friday 21st February 2014) in very dodgy weather, more rain than shine so I never ventured further than Buckfastleigh!.
Dear Mr Jenkin,
I am an historian investigating the Bodmin Stop Line. This was a defensive line to be held against German invasion in the summer of 1940 and ran from Fowey to Padstow. As the railway was used in places as part of this line I am wondering if you or your members can tell me anything about how the railway was defended in 1940. I believe there were railway blocks at the bridges over the River Camel south of Wadebridge (on the line to Bodmin and on the line to Launceston). These were rails inserted in large concrete blocks either side of the line to block the passage of any train coming along the line. I am also aware of the pillbox by the road entrance to Bodmin Road Station (now Parkway). I also have seen the photo from the Maurice Dart collection of the armoured train at Wadebridge that was manned by a Polish Regiment in 1940-41. Wadebridge, Bodmin and Lostwithiel were designated as anti-tank islands in the defensive line with roadblocks etc to prevent tanks passing.
I would be grateful for any information, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, or photos of the line taken after the war that may have inadvertently captured the remains of the wartime defences. I have looked at those on your website but can't see anything that jumps out.
On a separate investigation I am also interested in the siding at Sawmills near Golant on the Lostwithiel-Fowey branch line that was used by the US military, and in connection with their movement of ammo to Fowey for the D Day landings, the War Ministry sidings at Doublebois. These were on the station side of the road bridge (as opposed to the goods yard that was on the Bodmin Road side). Again any information would be gratefully received.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Please reply to this website and I'll pass the information on.
Nework Rail have provided a video link with daily reports on the progress towards replacing the rail link at Dawlish Simply click on this link http://www.networkrail.co.uk/Dawlish/
Hi Keith, I see that you have a few photographs of the Winter Gala on the SDR.
I popped down last Sunday. Sadly the M7 let the ‘Southern’ down. When working the 1342 from Totnes it ground to a halt at Buckfastleigh home signal. It then required the assistance of D3721 to rescue the train and draw it into the platform.
A couple of shots are attached of it approaching Buckfastleigh and then being rescued. Regards, Dave Many thanks David.
Hello Keith, A promising forecast got me up early and headed towards Lostwithiel for a shot I've been hoping for. The sun wasn't quite high enough to light the entire valley floor yet, so had to make do with a strong sunlight behind the train. I did get a nice reflection though of 66006 in the river which was at high tide. This is the only loco hauled working west of the sea wall breach, but we remain hopeful that the sleeper loco and coaches may work soon. Cheers, Craig. Many thanks Craig
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