Fugro Returns on 66850.
By Mick House.
Back in November 2016 we had 70810 and 66847. Today it is the turn of 66850 (David Maidment OBE) to be fitted with the Fugro test equipment. She departed Newquay just after 06.00 this morning running about 56 minutes early and past me at Wheal Busy crossing about 51 minutes early on it’s way to Penzance arriving at 08.27, early by 52 minutes. It departed from Penzance at 09.05, 20 minutes early and passed me again at Wheal Busy crossing about 19 minutes later, it’s destination was Tavistock Junction, due to arrive at 11.53.
By Mick House with additional photos by Andrew Triggs.
Maybe of some interest to our readers is that Wheal Busy crossing is going to see a lot of activity in March this will include a line closure removal of the track and a concrete beam installed to cap over the mine workings, preliminary work is being carried out at this time, with monitoring equipment installed as can be viewed in Photo 4.
We will keep you updated.
Penzance turntable was one of two on the Cornish main line (the other was Truro –a 60 footer, replaced with a longer one in 1927, for the arrival of new ‘Hall’ 4-6-0s). St Blazey was and is well away from the main line and owes its existence to the semi-roundhouse of which it forms a part.
Until the inter-war years there were turntables at the engine sheds at Newquay and Falmouth: both, together with their sheds had gone by 1939. These tables were adequate for the old 4-4-0s, but could not take a 4-6-0.
Penzance had, of course, a unique problem: it was at the end of the line. What to do if the turntable failed or needed heavy repair?
This duly happened in 1956, when heavy repairs were required, necessitating the loss of the turntable for up to a month, in June.
The plan of action was this: for a month all tender engines would come off down trains at Truro and all trains which were normally hauled by a tender loco between Truro and Penzance would be hauled by large tank engines drafted in from around the system. The engines chosen were 2-6-2T ‘large prairies’ of the 41XX, 51XX, 61XX and 81XX classes. These engines were powerful (same power as a ‘Manor’)and were normally found on London and Birmingham area suburban services, South Wales locals and banking duties at the Severn Tunnel and elsewhere.
Here is the list of dispositions for June 1956, showing the home shed of each engine which came to Penzance and Truro:
ENGINE HOME SHED
4106 Landore (Swansea)
6114 Ebbw Junction (Newport)
Truro benefited from South Wales, while Penzance received from the West Midlands.
The accompanying photographs show something of the fun in what must have been a very interesting month.
A footnote. The allocation of tender locomotives at Penzance in June 1956 was:
Castle class 4-6-0: 2
County class 4-6-0: 3
Hall class 4-6-0: 8
Grange class 4-6-0: 10