I have just acquired a pile of the 1960’s copies of the Railway
Observer. In the February 1962 copy it states that both the
St.Pinnock and East Largin viaducts had been condemned.
Can you tell me what was replaced to enable mainline trains
to continue using this line after it was singled. Was the line out
of use for a time, or did they manage to complete the work
without disruption just as happened on the Walkhampton
Viaduct back in 1910 near Tavistock.
Mike Manning Can anybody help please - it would be very interesting.
Dear Keith, Largin and St Pinnock viaducts were originally Brunel timber, single line structures, of course. Both were rebuilt for double track by raising the masonary piers and installing decking of iron girders: St Pinnock in 1882 and Largin in 1886. In 1963 the Chief Civil Engineer reported that these two viaducts were unlikely in future years to withstand two heavy trains passing at speed on them. The cheapest solution (rebuilding being out of the question) was to single the line. Luckily, Largin signal box (9 levers, controlling signals and a crossover) was immediately west of the viaducts, so a short single line section controlled by Largin was feasible. Largin box opened in 1908, to break the long section between Bodmin Road and Doublebois. It was closed and boarded up for a few years in the 1920s, but was revived in about 1927 and still working in 1964. It was one of the loneliest posts on the system, no piped water, no electricity, no habitation or light in sight. Water came by train. Over two weekends in May 1964, the line was slewed into single track outside Largin box and over the viaducts. I remember being on a train passing over the site at walking speed. The new single line passed down the centre line of the viaducts when the work was complete. Mains electricity arrived and the points at the Doublebois end were power-worked. Because of the steep down gradient, there were sand drags on both up and down main for a third of a mile at the London end. The 'up' drag had spring points, to catch any backward movement. All signals were colour light, distant and home on the up line and distant , home and IBS signal on the down (this to increase line capacity because of possible single line delays). As far as I know, there was little disruption of traffic (I think there were 2 Sunday occupations). The new line and signals came into full use (except for temporary speed restrictions) on May 24th 1964. The up side sand drag was later removed: the down one remains, but much shorter than the original. The single line meant that Largin box now had to be open during all traffic hours; today the entire installation is controlled by a miniature panel in Lostwithiel box.
I attended at the ground frame and captured some pictures at Exeter & Keyham.
The varieties of daffs near the A38 at Menheniot were too good to miss on the return and some trains were captured near Coldrenick viaduct with lovely sharp light and a great sky.
All the best, Craig As usual many thanks Craig
N.B. I'll save your flowers for tomorrow
Might be of interest
Regards, Dave Bown. Many thanks David