St Erth Station next week
I was fortunate to travel on the last ever peak to visit Newquay on Saturday 28th September 1985, which, compared to the farewell railtours for Westerns and 50s, was a very low-key affair . Enthusiasts you could count on one hand and not even a home-made headboard to commemorate this little piece of history !
Withdrawal of class 46s was completed in 1984 and inroads had started on class 45/0s. BR decided that from the start of the 1985 winter timetable in the west of England only Bristol Bath Road drivers would continue with traction knowledge of peaks. Only Bristol drivers would then have route knowledge to Plymouth, so the death knell was sounded for peaks in Cornwall as any drivers from depots west of Bristol wouldn't be signed to drive peaks from early 1986. This was due to 'refreshers' being compulsory for drivers who had not driven a loco class for six months. With Newquay loco hauled services being summer only, the writing was on the wall for peaks to the North Cornwall coast.
28/09/85 was to be the last possible date and 1V73 09.11 Manchester to Newquay the best train likely to produce a peak as this was a through loco from Birmingham to Newquay. However the omens were not good as this train had produced a 47 throughout the month leaving Newquay bereft of peaks for a while. Fate deigned that the summer's last 1V73 would be hauled by 45145 and so it was that this workhorse class that roamed from Aberdeen to Penzance put in its final appearance at the resort. I hope my pictures of this day pay homage to an unsung class so long a feature down here.
As an interesting footnote, when the The Western Lizard Railtour was first advertised to bring D1015 Western Champion to Newquay in March 2005, the assisting loco was scheduled to be 46035/D172 "Ixion" . However this was soon re-advertised for a 66 due to the peak's non-availability. Who knows if we will ever see a peak at Newquay again ? Many thanks Clive
In the early 1980’s, it was a fantastic area for freight traffic, which was very varied in the extreme, as was the motive power. At the same time, the Bristol/Cardiff to Portsmouth/Brighton services were loco and stock, before Sprinterisation took away the interest later in the decade.
On a number of Sundays each year, the diversion of the Waterloo-Exeter and vv services via Southampton enticed me down again.
Then back in the early 2000’s, the taking up of employment with a Channel Islands airline for some three and a half years, flying from and to Southampton Airport, got me back again. Sessions photting trains before and/or after the flights became the norm. Unfortunately the days of ‘real’ interest had passed, but there was still more than enough to keep that deep-down interest alive.
The two easily accessible locations close to Bevois yard were particular favourites.
Immediately to the north of Bevois yard – and to the south of St Denys station – was a road bridge with superb two way views.
Immediately to the south of Bevois yard is the magical Mount Pleasant footbridge – also with superb two way views.
This section of railway can only be described as incredibly busy!! Then – and even more so now. The reduction overall in freight traffic (other than Freightliners) has been made up by the increased frequency of passenger services.
Many thanks Ron for the pictures and all the above 'Gen'.