Each weekday morning there was a train from Newquay via Chacewater which terminated at Camborne. The 45XX loco ran round using the crossovers at Camborne and Roskear ready for its return journey. There was also a regular local goods from Truro whose locomotive was used the shunt the yard at Camborne. Further variety was provided by the annual "Tea Treat Special" from Camborne to St. Ives, the stock of which came up from Penzance and had to be shunted to the down line and the loco run round. A further complication was the short down platform meaning that many down trains had to draw up twice and the steep gradient down towards Gwinear meant that down goods trains had to stop before the level crossing to pin down their brakes. One highlight of my time at Cambone was berthing City of Truro in the siding behind the down platform when it visited with the Westward Television Train. Another was on the occasion of Camborne School of Mines Rag Week when some students chained and padlocked the crossing gates when they were across the road. Unknown to them one of the waiting cars contained some members of a local rugby team who detained the culprits and "persuaded" them to unlock the gates.
I have already mentioned the steep gradient up through the station and non stop steam hauled trains made a fine sight from the box as they burst under Pendarves Bridge and pounded through the platforms. However, sometimes stopping trains caused a problem and as the loco stopped right outside the box you had a grandstand view of the efforts of the crew to restart heavy trains. If the loco had come to a stand with the rods at "top dead centre" they would let the train roll back slightly before opening the regulator just the right amount to effect a start without slipping. Often this took two or three attempts. One late turn the 8.45pm Penzance to Paddington train hauled by D600 Active ran into the platform for the station stop. On completion of the station work the guard gave the right away and the driver revved the engine but could not get away because of the damp rails. After several attempts he went to check the sandboxes on the loco and found they had not been topped up back at Long Rock that night. He asked a porter (who shall remain nameless!) to spread some sand from the fire buckets under the wheels and climbed back aboard and tried to get away again. After several attempts he found the wheels were still spinning so he went back to see what was going on and found the porter spreading sand under the wheels of the coaches! This was the same porter who, when asked by a lady the time of the next train to Hayle, pointed to a plume of smoke disappearing under Pendarves Bridge and replied, "There it is, it's just gone..."
Still on the subject of the gradient I heard a story of an incident that happened at Camborne during WW11 when I was otherwise engaged in the Merchant Navy. An up train ran into the station with wagons containing explosives to be shunted into the yard on the down side. As there were several other trains about it was decided to split the train on the main line, uncouple the explosive wagons and fly shunt them across the down main and into the yard-breaking all the rules. Initially all went well until the shunter tripped and fell at the crossover as the wagon gained speed. Luckily he picked himself up and set off on a record breaking run to catch up the wagons and pin down the brakes until they came to rest helped by the buffer stops-a lucky escape for Camborne...
As is well known, the yard fell out of use and the crossing gates were removed and replaced by barriers monitored from Roskear Junction, the redundant Camborne Signal Box officially closing on 8th. June 1970. However, occasional steam hauled specials can still be seen speeding up the grade through the station.
It is understood that if and when the extension of the main line to Tavistock occurs the Gunnislake branch will run into a terminal bay serving a section of the former up main platform. This platform, at its north end will be extended across the former up alignment to serve the new single line continuing on towards Tavistock.