Julian's picture of the train staff brings back a memory: the train staff for the Retew branch (as it was known to railwaymen) was held at St Dennis Junction box. It was issued to the enginemen of trains proceeding on to the branch. Until 1966, when the line became simply a long siding, the line was operated under 'one engine in steam' rules, with the wooden staff carrying a key which unlocked the various ground frames giving access to the numerous sidings.
In order to leave St Dennis, the train had to pass the 'Retew Branch Starting Signal' - a tall post bearing a ringed arm indicating a goods line. This signal - about 500 yards down the branch, was operated by a lever on the post, released by the key on the staff.
The rules were thus: the train stopped at the signal.The guard dismounted and proceeded to the engine and took the staff. He inserted it into the lock on the signal post and lowered the signal. The train passed the signal and stopped. The guard returned the signal to danger and withdrew the staff. He walked back to the engine and returned the staff to the crew. The train proceeded.
On the one occasion that I rode the Retew mineral, we simply roared past the signal at danger without stopping! I wonder why?
Regards Roy Hart, Many thanks Roy