The CRS President has been to London over the Christmas week on diverted services - this is really out of our reporting area but as it is Christmas and its our president we'll bend the rules. Many thanks to Peter Bragg
Baldhu box opened in 1938 as part of a plan to increase line capacity in Cornwall. The box was large for the 6 levers that it carried -it was of the same size as Goonbarrow Junction or Chacewater. This is because the plan was to have up and down goods loops at Baldhu. The loops would occupy the expanse of flat land on the up side (still visible today) which remained after the main line was doubled on a new formation in 1913-14. The plan was never carried out. Baldhu box remained until 1957.
In similar vein, Trerule box (opened at the same time as Baldhu and of similar size) was to be the junction for the projected new branch line to Looe, but the project ended with world war two and Trerule, like Baldhu, remained as a 6 - lever 'break-section' box. Like Baldhu, it was replaced by colour light IBS signals in the 1950s.
This spot is forgotten today. In the run-up to D-Day, there was a need to provide extra facilities for the increased traffic. New loops were put in ar Par (the down refuge was extended eastwards to make a goods loop) and Lostwithiel (new up goods loop). A new up goods loop was laid in at Tremabe, (between Doublebois and Liskeard) and a signalbox opened there in 1943. After WW2 it saw little use and was closed and removed in 1952. It is hard to spot today. The box was a flat-roofed 'ARP' design.
Many thanks Roy (Also added to general web site)
Julian writes - a couple more polaroid snaps of 'Truro Cattlepens Siding Signal Box' being used as a P Way hut.
I always wanted to look inside this abandoned box but never got the chance to do it. It closed as a box about 1923/5 when it became 'Truro Cattle Pens Ground Frame'. The release was worked by an interlocking lever in Truro East Box but It would be nice to know if the frame inside the box was still in use (As St Ives was after being closed) or did the railway install a new Ground Frame outside the box with annets key release
The incline at Portreath was opened, with the rest of the branch, in 1837. It was powered by a cornish beam engine at the summit of the incline, which was known as the 'Lady Basset'. One wagon up and one down. This engine was replaced, towards the end of the 19th contury, by a smaller, rotary engine which lasted until the end.
Photos of the engine building show that it resembled a conventional Cornish engine house -and this is why.
The branch fell into disuse by 1930, but the GWR kept the engine in good order. The branch closed beyond North Pool siding in 1936 and all remained in situ until the invasion scare of 1940, when the track on the incline was swiftly removed and a concrete barrier (still there today) was erected at the base of the incline, presumably to prevent the Nazi hordes from invading Illogan.
The rest of the branch was lifted in the early months of 1945. Interestingly, the locomotive which hauled the demolition trains was pannier tank 1799, imortalised for many years on the pub sign at the Railway Inn at Illogan Highway. This engine was shedded for many years at Carn Brea and spent most of its life in West Cornwll.
Many thanks Roy, for our current collection of pictures please go to the section on the Portreath branch.