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Author Topic: Cant Cove (and Penmayne)  (Read 545555 times)

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Offline dannyboy

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Re: Cant Cove (and Penmayne)
« Reply #6060 on: July 17, 2019, 08:44:32 PM »
I enjoyed that ride -  :thankyousign:
David.
I used to be indecisive - now I'm not - I don't think.
If a friend seems distant, catch up with him.

Online Chris in Prague

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Re: Cant Cove (and Penmayne)
« Reply #6061 on: July 17, 2019, 09:27:08 PM »
I enjoyed that ride -  :thankyousign:

Thank you, David. So did I. The continuation to Exmouth Junction, always full of interest, even in 1963, should follow tomorrow.

Breakfast at Trevelver Castle has been postponed until later to keep it at about the same time as the newspaper train's progress.

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Re: Cant Cove (and Penmayne)
« Reply #6062 on: July 18, 2019, 06:02:31 PM »
The ‘Merchant Navy’ cruises happily on down the hill as far as Fenny Bridges, where the line crosses the river and changes from 1 in 100 down to 1 in 100 up. A few seconds later the driver makes a partial brake application then a further one as the train eases slowly into Sidmouth Junction, only about 10 miles from Honiton, in readiness for some more newspapers to be unloaded.

The train’s timetabled arrival at Sidmouth Junction station is 4:55 am but the train is still running slightly ahead of time. Like Seaton Junction, Sidmouth Junction station is situated in the midst of peaceful countryside which gave the LSWR problems when naming it. At various times it was called Feniton (after the nearest village), Ottery Road, Ottery St. Mary, then Ottery Road, again. Finally, in 1874, with the opening of the Sidmouth Railway, it was renamed Sidmouth Junction. With this line’s opening, the station gained more importance and its platforms were extended. There is the usual railway-based settlement nearby, centred on the “Railway Hotel”. Although traffic originating at the station had never been heavy and was negligible once Ottery St. Mary got its own station on the branch, the station is well used for interchange with the Sidmouth branch, the station running in board, under SIDMOUTH JUNCTION, informing passengers, CHANGE FOR   OTTERY ST MARY   TIPTON ST JOHNS with underneath, SIDMOUTH   BUDLEIGH   SALTERTON   ETC.

Unlike nearby Seaton Junction, Sidmouth Junction has just two through roads, with a single-track bay platform on the down side to accommodate the branch line traffic. The usual goods handling facilities are provided with one siding on the up side running past the signalbox and the main sidings on the down side of the mainline with a goods shed adjacent to the bay platform road. In the vee of the junction, there had once been a turntable. There is a level crossing at the country end of the station, which is worked from an adjacent small crossing 'box as the main signalbox is situated too far away beyond the upside end of the station.

Whilst he supervises the unloading, the guard reflects on the local railway history. The branch line was built and owned by the Sidmouth Railway Company but operated by the London & South Western Railway (L&SWR) with traffic running down the Otter Valley from Sidmouth Junction to Ottery St. Mary and Tipton St. Johns and then over the steeply graded section to Sidmouth. Sidmouth station is, however, inconveniently sited a mile inland as the town deliberately discouraged the railway from coming close to the seafront to put off day-trippers. The town preferred to remain a select resort, even into the second half of the twentieth century. It had been attracting a select number of visitors for 80 years, especially for winter residence and the coming of the railway made less difference than at any other resort in the West Country. The shingle beaches also had a negative affect being unpopular with family holidaymakers and day-trippers. Although traffic was never heavy it remained sufficiently high for the Sidmouth Railway to retain its independence until 1923 when it was absorbed into the Southern Railway. The train service reached a peak of 24 services each way in the 1930s.

Unlike Sidmouth, the resort of Budleigh Salterton, to its southwest, welcomed the locally sponsored Budleigh Salterton Railway which continued following the Otter Valley from a junction with the Sidmouth branch at Tipton St. Johns. It opened in 1897 with an intermediate station at East Budleigh and a second added two years later at Newton Poppleford, close to Tipton St. Johns. Although the company remained independent until 1912 the line was also operated by the L&SWR which built an extension from Budleigh Salterton to Exmouth which opened in 1903 with an intermediate station at Littleham on the outskirts of Exmouth. Much of the through London - Exmouth traffic was diverted along the new line and several through trains round the circular Exeter - Exmouth - Budleigh - Sidmouth Junction - Exeter route were introduced. Use of the two branches was encouraged by the introduction of runabout tickets and the lines were moderately well used by day-trippers from London until the start of WW2.

Passenger numbers on the branch remained healthy well into the 1950s although rationalisation in the 1960s reduced the line to little more than a skeleton service with, as on the other branches, replacement diesel multiple units, including Swindon-built 3-car Cross Country units, being planned to be introduced in November 1963. The unusual cross-country BR ER and SR passenger service from Cleethorpes – Exmouth, introduced in 1960, (the diverted Cleethorpes-Bournemouth service), only lasted two years. There has never been any industrial development in Budleigh Salterton, and goods traffic has always been correspondingly light.

From Exmouth, the line continues northwest on the right bank of the River Exe through Lympstone, Woodsbury Road, and Topsham stations before heading inland to join the mainline to Exeter Central. Unloading finished, the Exeter guard turns to checking that all is as it should be with his train prior to its imminent departure.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2019, 07:46:37 PM by Chris in Prague, Reason: Updated. »

Offline port perran

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Re: Cant Cove (and Penmayne)
« Reply #6063 on: July 18, 2019, 06:30:29 PM »
It’s still nice to travel that line today Chris although how good it would be to have a Merchant Navy from Exeter rather than a 158 (or whatever they are).
If it looks right then it most probably is right.


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Re: Cant Cove (and Penmayne)
« Reply #6064 on: July 18, 2019, 07:20:04 PM »
It’s still nice to travel that line today Chris although how good it would be to have a Merchant Navy from Exeter rather than a 158 (or whatever they are).

Yes, that would be a nice journey, I'm sure, Martin. I think the similar Class 159s are used. I remember hearing the Bulleid Pacifics, at night, lying in bed, when I was very young staying with my parents at my mother's friends' house next to the SR mainline.

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Re: Cant Cove (and Penmayne)
« Reply #6065 on: July 18, 2019, 09:24:08 PM »
Thanks to the train’s early arrival at Sidmouth Junction and smart station work, the newspaper train is ready in good time, perhaps a shade before time. This is, the railwaymen know, helpful, because the schedule to Exeter is very tight: just 11 minutes to Exmouth Junction, 11 miles away, albeit downhill. However, the ‘Merchant Navy’ is in good form for the sprint, with her safety valves once more beginning to feather. The guard having given the right away with his lamp before reboarding his compartment in the rearmost Bogie B (News) van, the Pacific’s driver restarts the train on its way and opens quickly out to full regulator and 30%. On a down gradient of 1 in 100 the acceleration is amazing. The sharp cracks from her chimney work their tempo up with every turn until they merge into a soft rippling roar.

The Exeter guard had previously walked down all seven coaches alerting passengers who needed to leave the train or change at Exeter Central to gather their belongings, be ready to disembark and, for those continuing their journey, to await station announcements. The group of sleeping naval officers, who had, leaving London, been puffing away on cigarettes and pipes in the 1st class smoking compartment next door to Susan and her unlooked-for companion, had with some difficulty been awoken and warned to get out at Central to join the 1st Class section of the coach [CK] which, with a 2nd Class coach [BSK], would be added to the train’s existing front carriage for Plymouth, and informed of the 5:17 am scheduled departure of the combined train and its timetabled arrival at Okehampton at 6:02 am where their Plymouth (arrival 7:34 am) section would then depart southwards at 6:11am. He had also assured those in the remaining sections that their Penmayne and Trepol Bay portions would then continue together north-westwards from Okehampton, but at 6:30 am, calling at Halwill from 6:58 to 7:17am, then south to Launceston from 7:48 to 8:05am, before swinging west to Wadebridge, 9:14 to 09:18am, where the Trepol Bay portion would be detached and taken forward attached to a local SR service. His final tasks almost complete, the guard is looking forward to arrival at Exeter and handing over the train to its Penmayne guard who will stay with the final section.

Across the River Tate the SR mainline turns to 1 in 160 up, but with only nine vehicles, and two of these only a lighter PMV van – one to be left at Exeter, one for Trepol Bay – behind, the ‘Merchant Navy’ is quite capable of accelerating on such a gradient. At the summit, in a cutting near the hamlet of Talaton, she is doing 62mph. Boiler pressure has fallen to 215lb/sq in, to rise again gradually as the hard pulling ceases: 60-80lb on the steam chest and 20% cut-off are sufficient and the blast becomes so light that the fireman gives her a touch of the blower to keep the fire lively. She comes around another bend and through Whimple station at 70mph and proceeds to demonstrate the outstanding free-running of her class. Speed is soon up to 85mph and remains there for the straight run down to Broad Clyst. The fireman closes down the tender coal hatch, collects up all the stray coal from on and below the shovelling-plate, hoses down the floor and refills the bucket with hot water. The back injector has to be running to supply hot water to the hose, but it is then shut off to leave room in the boiler to fill her up and keep pressure down after she stops.

Whimple station is, the guard knows, notable for two features: a fine monkey-puzzle tree in the garden and the nearby Whiteways Devonshire Cider factory. Two miles further on the newspaper train speeds over Crannaford Gates. The next station to be passed through, Broad Clyst, has a pleasantly anachronistic air about it: perhaps too close to Exeter to be regarded as a railhead in its own right, it has not suffered any great changes since it was opened in 1860. On the up side, the railwaymen know, is a Permanent Way pre-assembly depot, where lengths of railway line, complete with sleepers, are loaded onto flat wagons for despatch to relaying sites. Where pointwork is to be replaced, a new unit is built on the level platform in the yard here, then dismantled for transit so that it can be installed in minimum time on site.

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Re: Cant Cove (and Penmayne)
« Reply #6066 on: July 18, 2019, 09:53:20 PM »
 :hellosign: Many thanks Chris, what a super journey we are having
      regards Derek.

Online Chris in Prague

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Re: Cant Cove (and Penmayne)
« Reply #6067 on: July 19, 2019, 12:42:14 PM »
:hellosign: Many thanks Chris, what a super journey we are having
      regards Derek.

Thanks, Derek. Still plenty more to come!

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Re: Cant Cove (and Penmayne)
« Reply #6068 on: July 19, 2019, 02:19:16 PM »
Susan had woken, refreshed, as the early summer sun rose over east Devon, the compartment window blind not proving strong enough to block its rays. Her companion, opposite, she now realised was none other than Scotland Yard’s acclaimed “Snapper of the Yard” who she had met, in a different disguise, at Trevelver Castle, during the time of the “Golden Hoard” or “Golden Horde” (both terms being apt for the unique orichalcum collection now safely stored away deep underground) and the defeat of the Daleks, was still fast asleep, under his spread raincoat. She recalled that, unlike "Naughty Morty", the detective had always proven to be the perfect gentleman and, indeed, had soon insisted that the famous archaeologist behaved himself in female company – which he did, but with obvious ill grace. Nevertheless, Susan pulled on her cardigan over her pyjama jacket before gathering up her clothing and wash bag and, silently, unlocking the compartment door, heading into the corridor on her way to the nearby lavatory compartment.

The corridor still reeked of stale smoke, next compartment’s naval officers clearly having had to leave its door open to avoid choking in their sleep. There was, she noticed, a strong smell of rum lingering, too. Loud snores and the lack of artificial lighting indicated, however, that they were all still sound asleep. Sighing to herself at the failings of humans when it came to drugs, Susan retrieved her silver metal lipstick case – which she had transferred to her wash bag – and turning the bottom of the case away from her, whilst holding it level, closed her eyes and tapped the case three times. There was a bright flash and smell of ozone. Smiling at the sudden absence of smoke and smells, the attractive young Time Lord quickly returned the lipstick to her small Mary Quant black daisy patterned white canvas zip-up wash bag and, reaching up, tugged open the sliding ventilators above the corridor window to let in some fresh air. Thanks to the brand new coach’s Commonwealth bogies, the ride on the excellently maintained track was commendably smooth.

Satisfied, Susan proceeded to the nearby lavatory compartment where she repeated the same procedure, first, as she stood in the open door then, second, after locking the door behind her and placing her wash bag on the sink, with less power, just above the now lowered lavatory seat before, again, opening the ventilators above the frosted glass window. After hitching down her pink silk pyjama trousers, the young Time Lord settled on the still pleasantly warm and now totally clean seat, then rose and, after checking that she had obeyed the warning notice about not flushing in a station, pulled the chain. Knowing that she was far from the protection of the TARDIS, in distant Rockall, the little protective device was very reassuring to have. Susan sighed, again, realising that, on the one hand, she did not only miss the reassuring presence of her Grandfather but that of the TARDIS, too; but, on the other, she was very conscious that her time, on Earth with her beloved friends, must, inevitably, be coming to an end.

Whilst washing her hands, then drying and cleaning them completely with the little device, before quickly dressing in the same day clothes she had arrived in at Waterloo then applying her very light makeup from her Mary Quant makeup kit and a touch of perfume, Susan resolved, before leaving the now immaculately clean and pleasantly perfumed lavatory, to store every sight, sound, and event in her vast memory. As she picked up her wash bag, she smiled as she recalled Monique’s bemused surprise that virtually everything she wore, and all her cosmetics, bore Mary’s signature stylised five-petalled daisy brand logo. “But, Monique, Mary was my first real female friend, here, and I really like everything she does. Her fashion style suits me,” she paused, “‘down to the ground’.” Still smiling to herself, as she turned the corner into the corridor along the coach, her silk pyjamas neatly folded over her left arm, Susan was surprised to find the detective, black leather briefcase in hand, waiting for her in the door of their compartment, now brightly lit by strong sunshine.

“Ah, Miss Foreman. Good morning. I see you’re awake and dressed.”

“Yes, as you can see, Mr. Audubon. The lavatory is now free and . . . completely fresh and clean.”

“Thank you. A quick freshen up, if you’ve . . . ”

“I have. I have something to tell you after you return,” announced Susan as she put away her pyjamas and little wash bag before folding up the travel blanket and tidying up her benchseat by placing her night items on the luggage rack above and setting down those for the rest of the journey.

“Oh.”

On his way to the lavatory compartment, Snapper very gratefully appreciated the marvellously clean fresh air in the corridor, despite the open door to the adjacent smoking compartment. Noticing the open ventilators above the corridor window he wondered if that, alone, could be the explanation.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2019, 05:03:00 PM by Chris in Prague, Reason: Corrected. »

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Re: Cant Cove (and Penmayne)
« Reply #6069 on: July 20, 2019, 02:24:39 PM »
At Pinhoe, the last station before Exmouth Junction, the driver shuts off steam and destroys 5in of vacuum until the brakes have a steady grip on the whole train. He relies on route knowledge and experience to make a brake application of the correct strength to bring about a graduated reduction of speed to 50mph as the train comes into sight of Exmouth Junction which the train is due to pass at 5:06 am, soon after full daylight. As its title implies, Exmouth Junction is the railway junction where the Exmouth branch diverges from the London Waterloo to Exeter mainline. It has also been for many years the site of one of the largest engine sheds on the former London and South Western Railway and the home depot of driver and fireman.

Currently, a BR SR shed (coded 72A), Exmouth Junction shed is, the loco. crew know, to their great regret, scheduled to be transferred to the Western Region in the September of 1963 and be recoded to 83D. In Summer 1963, in the morning light, visitors could expect to see many ‘Battle of Britain’ and ‘West Country’ 4-6-2s, and ‘N’ class 2-6-0s stabled, together with some Ivatt 2MT 2-6-2Ts used on Exmouth branch services and BR Standard 4MT 2-6-4Ts, along with some of the W class 2-6-4Ts which had replaced the Z class 0-8-0Ts on banking, piloting, and shunting duties, a few BR 3MT 2-6-2Ts, several H15 4-6-0s and S15 4-6-0s, which, apart from the Meldon Quarry ballast trains worked by the S15s, did not work west of Exeter, as well as ‘Merchant Navy’ 4-6-2s, with a BR Standard 5MT 4-6-0 from 71A Eastleigh, one of the last 64xx 0-6-0PTs, perhaps 72A’s No. 6400, the shed’s solitary BR diesel-electric 0-6-0 shunter D3521 (one of Exeter's first two, D3518 being the other, both being allocated to 83C from October 1958), and if they were lucky, a visiting class 4F 0-6-0 from Templecombe (82G). No 57xx 0-6-0PTs or 2251 0-6-0s, yet, they knew, although these were expected to arrive along with the transfer of the shed to the WR, the pair of 2251s to replace the depot’s last Class 700 “Black Motor” 0-6-0s, retained for snowplough duties, nos. 30689, 30697, and 30700, officially withdrawn in December 1962, although 30697 survived until January 1963, however, the driver had a nephew, who was a guard at Wadebridge, who had informed him that the Cornish Locomotive Preservation Group had, following its outstanding service with a snowplough during the recent 'Arctic Winter', purchased, after a full overhaul, no. 30700.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2019, 08:55:17 PM by Chris in Prague, Reason: Corrected. »

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Re: Cant Cove (and Penmayne)
« Reply #6070 on: July 20, 2019, 04:51:55 PM »
On his return from the lavatory compartment, after closing the door behind him, Snapper addressed the attentive teenager sitting opposite him.

“You have something to tell me, Miss Foreman, I believe?”

“Yes, I have and, as we’ve very little time left before we arrive at Exeter, I’ll quickly get to the point.”

“Thank you, Miss.”

“Right. So, do you know who I am?”

The detective was not sure of what to say as the teenager’s pale eyes gazed steadily at him.

“Look, I know who you are, and it is not Mr. Audubon.”

“I see. So, who do you think I am, Miss Foreman?”

Susan sighed. “You are D.C.I. Snapper of Scotland Yard who I met at Trevelver Castle but under a different identity. Now, do you know who I am, apart from being called Susan Foreman, I mean?”

It was the detective’s turn to sigh. “Yes, I was informed, by Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart, of the Scots Guards, that you are the granddaughter of that strange old man called the Doctor who is some sort of top-secret government scientific advisor.”

“Good. Yes, correct. I am the Doctor’s granddaughter and the rest is close enough. Now, as we are travelling together, first, let me assure you that your secrets are very safe with myself and my Grandfather.”

“Where is he, by the way, Miss Foreman?”

“He is out of the country on a top-secret government mission. But I’ll tell you if you’ll tell me what brings you so urgently to Cornwall? I do have top-secret clearance. I’m travelling, as you know to Cant Cove. There I will meet up with Sylvia Trevelver, Elayne Guillou, and Sofia de la Vega, who you’ve also met and, I’m sure, know to be utterly dependable. We are going to London, together.”

There was something strangely compelling and highly impressive about the pretty young teenager who, whilst appearing to be only in her late teens, seemed so much wiser and older that the detective found himself instinctively trusting her.

“Yes, I was so informed by Captain Jeremy Corentyn Cador. You know Lord Oliver and Lady Emily Trevarnon of Tregonning House, Miss Foreman?”

“Not, personally, but Sylvia and her parents do.”

“Of course.”

“Tregonning is served, if I recall correctly, by a branch line off the Newquay to Par line, just south of Quintrell Downs.”

“Thank you, but I’m being met at Wadebridge by my colleague, D.I. Rule, who you’ve also met.”

Susan nodded her wavy dark-haired head.

“I will tell you as much as I can about the very interesting cases which I am to investigate here. Maybe you or your friends can be of help, Miss Foreman.”

Back on the footplate of the speeding ‘Merchant Navy’, both driver and fireman had very mixed feelings about the imminent Western Region takeover. During the 1950s and 1960s, there had been many boundary changes between BR’s Southern and Western Regions but, eventually, all the former LSWR lines in Devon and Cornwall had now become part of the Western Region. On the one hand, they knew that BR SR steam locomotives were planned to continue running along the West of England line until the late 1960s, including all three variants of Bulleid’s Pacifics along with BR Standard design locos., but the smaller but powerful rugged ‘N’ ‘Moguls’ had only had a year or two left. They also knew that meant many Southern steam locos., along with any more of the well-liked BRCW & Co. Type 3s already in the area for crew training, would, increasingly, be replaced by WR diesel-hydraulic Type 2s, ‘Hymeks’, and ‘Warships’, the following year as the WR rushed to eliminate its inherited SR steam locos.

However, what really rankled with the Southern railwaymen were the strong rumours that the Western would close many of ‘their’ branch lines after abolishing the through coaches and reducing the remaining services to enable them to be run with a limited number of WR diesel railcars and DMUs.

It was all very different, the loco. men knew, from the Southern Region’s advanced plans for the dieselisation of its West of England Network based around a fleet of new express high-power Diesel-Electric Multiple Units (DEMUs) based at depots at Salisbury (the former GWR Station), Exmouth Junction (thus, guaranteeing their home shed’s future) and minor depots / stabling points at Barnstaple, Wadebridge, and Plymouth Friary. The beauty of the planned SR DEMU fleet was that it enabled the continued provision of through portions, with the splitting and combination of self-powered trains, to continue at much lower cost than with steam locos and crew. Even then, though, they knew that passenger services to Torrington, Bude and Bodmin Town were doomed whatever happened. It was also rumoured that the Chard, Lyme Regis, and Seaton branches would be closed, too, even under continued Southern Region management. However, under both region’s management, the “Atlantic Coast Express” would continue to run, thanks to the Association for the Promotion of Cornwall's Railways, including the portions for Trepol Bay and Penmayne, albeit diesel-hauled outside the Summer timetable, from autumn 1964. However, the railwaymen also know that, before the WR takeover, the SR had previously put forward proposals for faster steam-hauled Waterloo to Exeter Central services for 1963 – the fastest time would have been reduced to 2 hours 48 minutes. Inspired, perhaps by the SR’s now-cancelled dieselisation plans, the somewhat more flexible local WR management was trialling using two of the new diesel railcar power units to haul the one or two through Waterloo coaches between Wadebridge and Trepol Bay and return, running around them at Trepol Bay. Inspired, perhaps by the SR’s now-cancelled dieselisation plans, the somewhat more flexible local WR management was trialling using two of the new diesel railcar power units to haul the one or two through Waterloo coaches between Wadebridge and Trepol Bay and return, running around them at Trepol Bay.

Until December 1962, in daytime, at Exmouth Junction, the guard sadly recalled as he gazed out of his lookout window, it had been possible to see standing close to the mainline, on the right, a strange-looking loco. which appeared to have been put together from a collection of spare parts: a boiler from an LBSCR ‘C2X’ Class 0-6-0, cylinders from one of Maunsell’s three-cylinder 2-6-0s, and bunker and tanks reminiscent of the South Western ‘Feltham’ tank locos., the whole ensemble being perched on eight wheels. This loco., the yard pilot, was one of the squat but powerful ‘Z’ Class, referred to locally as ‘ducks’ for their waddling gait on the line. Only eight had been built and all had ended up based there, used for shunting in the marshalling yard and assisting trains, at rear or front or even one or more in both positions, up the steep bank between Exeter St. David's and Exeter Central stations. However, with the reorganisation of the BR regions in 1962, the Western section of the BR’s Southern Region had already come under the unwanted control of the its Western Region. As the Z Class was not of a standard WR design and their boilers needed attention, they had been withdrawn throughout 1962 and their banking duties taken over by eight surplus SR W Class 2-6-4T tank locos., Nos. 31911, 31912, 31913, 31914, 31915, 31916, 31917, and 31924, which arrived in November 1962, soon to be joined by, then replaced by, he had already heard, a number of ex-GWR Pannier Tanks. Indeed 31913 had been returned to the SR, at 75C Norwood Junction in the January and 31917 to 70B Feltham the same month, whilst 31916 was scheduled for withdrawal that very July, leaving the rest to be transferred back to the SR or withdrawn by the end of that year.

The guard, along with his colleagues on the footplate, was one of a group of railwaymen and enthusiasts trying to privately purchase and preserve a Z Class loco., BR no. 30952, with the intention to run it on the Bluebell Railway in Sussex. The locomotive had been withdrawn from service in November 1962 and was stored in working order at Exmouth Junction locomotive shed. [It remained there until the Spring of 1963 before being moved to Fratton MPD where it was stored for the remainder of 1963 and most of 1964. Eventually the preservation attempt failed, and the locomotive was on the scrap line at Eastleigh Works, with coupling rods removed and tied to one side, by October 1964. It was at Bristol (Barrow Road) MPD for a short period early in 1965 while on its way to South Wales for scrapping. It was cut-up at Cashmores of Newport in May 1965.] However, his nephew had informed him that the Cornish Locomotive Preservation Group had purchased sister loco., no. 30956, fresh from a complete overhaul at the SR’s Eastleigh Works, to work the heavily graded Castle Estates branch and act as backup station pilot to the Drewry 0-6-0 diesel shunter, as required. The branch had been worked by an ex-WR 94xx 0-6-0PT but, with longer and heavier goods stock being introduced, something more powerful was required and from the Southern at that, he smiled to himself. An ex-LMR dock tank had also been considered but, reluctantly, been turned down as not being powerful enough. The Z Class had, the guard knew, a further advantage being equipped for steam heating passenger coaches which, of course, the Drewry was not. It was a beautiful sunny morning. After a good sleep, he was looking forward to working on his allotment. He would go to see no. 30956, again, on his next day off.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2019, 12:51:59 PM by Chris in Prague, Reason: Updated. »

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Re: Cant Cove (and Penmayne)
« Reply #6071 on: July 20, 2019, 10:21:07 PM »
 :hellosign: Many thanks Chris, another interesting & informative post
      regards Derek.

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Re: Cant Cove (and Penmayne)
« Reply #6072 on: July 21, 2019, 10:55:16 AM »
:hellosign: Many thanks Chris, another interesting & informative post
      regards Derek.

Thanks, Derek. More to come, soon!

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Re: Cant Cove (and Penmayne)
« Reply #6073 on: July 21, 2019, 03:56:28 PM »
As the train continued to slow down, D.C.I. Snapper wondered to himself just what had made him trust the teenager with highly confidential information. There really was something extraordinary about her. The detective remembered seeing Susan with the other “Chelsea Girls”, at Trevelver Castle, on a couple of occasions but had had far more important matters on his mind, then. But then, so had the others gathered there, not least Susan and her exceptional friends, female and male. What was it about Cornwall that made it the setting for so many extraordinary events and the people to deal with them?

Back on the footplate of their powerful Pacific, it is six minutes past five and, exactly on schedule, the crew are passing, on their right, the busy centre of the Southern’s operations in the Southwest, around Exmouth Junction. First, their train passed the 70-foot (21 metres) 1947 replacement locomotive turntable then the massive concrete construction of Exmouth Junction locomotive shed. To make room for the Carriage and Wagon Shop, the locomotive depot, opened in 1880, had to be moved further east and the site levelled by building it up. Work on the replacement depot had begun in the summer of 1924. The present locomotive shed is a fine example of the use of concrete to site a big building on soft ground, using floor slabs to spread the weight. The shed is 270 feet (82 metres) long and 235 feet (72 metres) wide, spanning 13 tracks. It has a well-equipped repair shop; a crane above one track, in an upper storey, can lift loads of 63 long tons (64,000 kg).

However, the depot’s most visible landmarks in the district are the similarly concrete-built overhead mechanical coaling tower with a capacity of 300 tons and a water tank on a high steel tower. The shed’s first seven tracks were brought into use in 1926, with the final work being completed in 1929. More than 400 staff were based at the depot, including 240 locomotive crew. Exmouth Junction is, indeed, the major industrial unit in Exeter, and it is little exaggeration to say that the city, having lost its importance as a port, was in a state of stagnation until the railways arrived. The SR alone employs some 1,500 people in the town, about 5% of the working population. Neither driver nor fireman could ever imagine the closure and disappearance of the Southern’s Exmouth Junction centre of operations.

Exmouth Junction is also the main marshalling yard for sorting goods traffic between SR stations in Devon and Cornwall, and points further east. First, the still slowing newspaper train passes the Down Sidings on the south side of the line to the east of the 1959-built brick-built 64-lever Junction Signal Box with its unusual flat roof. Soon after, it will pass the West Sidings, used for stabling rakes of coaches, on the north side of line the between the junction and Black Boy Road Tunnel, before beginning its descent. But, as at Honiton, just before their train passes the Junction Signal Box on the left, both men find something to hold on to, as there is a diamond crossing linking the down and up lines with the line to the loco. shed line which causes their slowing steed to give a slight kick as she passes over it.

On their right, there is the Carriage and Wagon Shop, opened in 1928. It is followed soon after by the fan of sidings, the West Sidings, sited in front of the Southern’s Concrete Works, neighbouring the C&W Shop. The Concrete Works has, since 1913, been responsible for the uniform house style of Southern stations. As all SR railway staff and enthusiasts well know, concrete was used extensively by the Southern Railway. The works produces a range of standard prefabricated items including fence panels, gates, mile and gradient posts, signal and telegraph fittings, station nameboards, lamp posts, platforms, footbridges, small buildings, loading gauges, signal posts, etc. These are all constructed from relatively small pre-cast components. It also produces major items, like bridge components using reinforced concrete which contains steel rods or wires to provide additional strength and particularly to improve performance in tension, as well as much smaller items. Manufacturing them at the Concrete Works made it easier to ensure high quality but had the disadvantage of requiring the transport of heavy components to the construction site. Offsetting that, pre-cast beams could be lifted into position quickly, a major advantage when constructing bridges over roads and railways that could only be closed to traffic for short periods. Many of the Southern’s early concrete bridges contain quite substantial steel beams, to the extent that they are effectively steel bridges encased in concrete.

After passing, to the right, the entrance to the West Sidings, the descending gradient of the mainline is very apparent relative to the eleven sidings’ position, high above the train, at their far end, just before the mainline dives into the 263-yard-long Black Boy Road Tunnel. Emerging, still decelerating, past little St. James Park Halt, rebuilt with concrete from the nearby works; the train’s speed is now down to 40mph as the driver continues to slow it for the stop at Exeter Central station.

Normally, there is only one overnight West of England train from Waterloo but Saturdays are not normal and the usual service is run in four sections leaving London at 12:15 am (Ilfracombe and Torrington), 12.25 am (Bude plus Trepol Bay and Penmayne), 1:15 am (Ilfracombe and Bideford), and 1:25 am (Plymouth plus Trepol Bay and Penmayne). Although up to twenty minutes can be allowed in the station for changing engines, seven minutes is more usual. The booked load of the 1:25 am is only nine vehicles, seven bogie passenger coaches plus two of the four-wheeled PMVs but as the peak season develops it can load to ten or twelve passenger coaches; the balance consisting of strengthening vehicles for the party bookings which make up a significant proportion of the passengers using the night trains.

Whilst the newspaper train had been speeding through Wessex, the Preparation & Disposal (P&D) gang at Exmouth Junction locomotive depot have been busy preparing three more Bulleid Pacifics but the smaller version in their original air-smoothed condition. Between three and six am, the shed staff have to prepare and send out no less than eighteen engines: one every ten minutes in average. For the Plymouth / Bude / Trepol Bay / Penmayne, Plymouth, (Plymouth for short), portion of the 1.25 am ex-Waterloo, duty No. 573, which used to be booked for an ‘N’ class 2-6-0 but is now a Bulleid ‘Light’ Pacific duty, ‘Battle of Britain’ class No. 34066 “Spitfire”, which although being the loco. involved in the Lewisham disaster of 4 December 1957, has been substituted, by the shedmaster, for its classmate, 34065 “Hurricane” which has a reputation for being a poor steamer, despite both being frequently seen in North and West Cornwall. For the Ilfracombe / Torrington portion of the 1.25 am, duty No. 551, the choice is ‘West Country’ class No. 34033 “Chard”.

Although these are described as being in different classes, there is no mechanical difference between them. The original plan was that the ‘Battle of Britain’ class would be allocated to the SR’s Eastern Section’s Kent and Sussex routes, but such segregation never occurred in practice. Despite the apparent rush to start the ‘Battle of Britain’ class series with No. 34049, locomotives 34049/51/52/59/60 were never allocated to the Eastern Section, while Nos. 34050/53/58/61 saw less than a year there. All nine of these spent most of their lives at Salisbury or Exmouth Junction sheds on the West of England mainline. Conversely ‘West Country’ class locomotives Nos. 34091/92/96-99/34100-104 were sent new to the Eastern Section’s Stewarts Lane or Ramsgate sheds, remaining there until they were displaced by BR’s electrification of the Southern’s main lines in Kent between June 1959 and June 1961, the final blow to the plan. The resultant reassignment of redundant steam locos. increased Exmouth Junction locomotive shed’s ‘West Country’ and ‘Battle of Britain’ class allocation to 34 in its fleet of 120 engines.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2019, 07:28:12 PM by Chris in Prague, Reason: Updated. »

Online Chris in Prague

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Re: Cant Cove (and Penmayne)
« Reply #6074 on: July 22, 2019, 04:02:07 PM »
Preparation of an unrebuilt Bulleid ‘Light’ Pacific is generally similar to that of a ‘Merchant Navy’, but with some differences. The valve motion, enclosed in a casing between the frames, is not on the driver’s daily oiling schedule but is a fitter’s job. Checking the level of 40 gallons of oil in a sump in the casing and draining off any water is part of the daily examination. Because the engine has no side gangways, oil boxes for lubricating the coupled axleguides are cosily sited in the cab, but the cylinder lubricators are below the smokebox where they will collect the maximum dirt, and filling the sandboxes calls for the unprintable section of the fireman’s vocabulary. In preparing the fire, she will leave the shed with it far less spread over than the ‘Merchant Navy’ had leaving Nine Elms (70A) in London for Waterloo, for the ashpan has no dampers; the air entry is permanently open, so careful control of the fire is essential to prevent it burning up too freely before it is wanted.

Coupled to the third ‘Light Pacific’, Nos. 34065 and 34033 leave the depot for the mile and a half run down to Exeter Central. It is difficult to find paths for light engine movements because this section is very busy. They will, respectively, work the 5.06 am to Ilfracombe / Torrington (duty number 556), the 5.17 am to Plymouth / Bude / Trepol Bay / Penmayne (duty number 573) [becomes duty number 593 to Penmayne from Okehampton] and the 5.26 am to Ilfracombe / Torrington (duty number 551).

The three ‘Light’ Pacifics which had arrived from the ‘Loco.’ (as the depot is known) require quite a degree of supervision to ensure that each ends up in the right place. On arriving at the station, the locos. are uncoupled and those for the 5.17 and 5.26 am departures are sent to the East Yard, to the north of the station, to pick up the leading portions of their trains which, respectively, are the Plymouth / Bude / Trepol Bay / Penmayne (Plymouth for short) and Ilfracombe / Torrington sections of the 1.25 am from Waterloo. The two locos. move into separate sidings. The third Pacific re-engines the 1:15 am Waterloo-Ilfracombe and is positioned on the down through road. The Assistant Station Master knows that the key to success in getting the right loco. on the right set of coaches is to obtain from the District Controller the loco. numbers for each train rather than relying on the duty numbers which are supposed to be affixed to each engine but – on a Summer Saturday especially, and even more so the very first one of the season – cannot always be relied upon.

So far this morning, the largest engines to have been seen, at Exeter Central, have been ‘Light’ Pacifics but at five o’clock the 1:15 am Waterloo-Ilfracombe comes to a stand behind a ‘Merchant Navy’ Pacific, the largest loco. on the system and a class capable of holding its own with any Class 8 engine in the country. No attachments are made to this service. The ‘Merchant Navy’ ‘hooks off’ and makes its way to the loco. while the ‘Light’ Pacific that has been waiting on the Down Through couples up and gets the 1:15 am ready for departure to North Devon. At six minutes past five, the 1:15 am departs. As it sets off down the bank for Ilfracombe, it is passed by the 5 am from St David’s. The platform staff have to act with some urgency because the 1:25 am from Waterloo is due to take its place in Platform Two only three minutes after the Ilfracombe train’s its departure.

As the 1:25 am’s ‘Merchant Navy’ passes under Howell Road bridge, which passes at a slight diagonal across the up side entrance to Exeter Central station, her driver has his brake handle in running position with the brakes almost off so that she coasts in alongside Platform Two at about 20mph. Then he pulls the handle down to 15in vacuum and puts it back up. The brakes come on again, but with diminishing force as speed falls so that there is hardly a jolt to awaken any still sleeping passengers as the train comes to a stop. The driver glances at his watch, it is exactly nine minutes past five, dead on time. He has, deliberately lost the three minutes he had previously gained on the schedule by running downhill from Sidmouth Junction exactly to schedule rather than be kept waiting by the signals before the Howell Road bridge for the 1:15 am to Ilfracombe to depart. He drops the brake handle fully down with a satisfying whoosh of admitted air in readiness for uncoupling. His fireman is already climbing down his side of the big loco. He goes to the tender, reaches in and parts the vacuum hoses. This ensures that neither the engine nor the train can move while he is between them. He unscrews the coupling and lifts it off the coach drawhook, places the tender vacuum hose on its dummy coupling, and returns to the footplate. Across the line the signalman in ‘B’ box, a small structure tucked almost beneath Queen Street at the Down side end of the station, is watching him while he talks to his colleague ‘downstairs’ at Exeter West for the latest situation update.

“All right, boy?” asks the driver as his fireman reappears. To anyone nearby, this may seem an odd form of address to a married man with children of his own, but the fireman acknowledges it without protest; it is merely the custom.

On Platform Two, the Exeter guard hands over responsibility for the train to his Penmayne replacement. Formalities concluded, they both watch the quite complex operation which now follows and requires a number of simultaneous manoeuvres. The quickly uncoupled Nine Elms ‘Merchant Navy’ eases forward under the Queen Street road bridge which separates the Down end of the station from the sidings and incline beyond. Her next move will be to run light to the ‘Loco.’ via the West crossover and the up through whilst its ‘Light’ Pacific replacement and the strengthening coaches reverse out of the West Yard onto the BCK from Waterloo to Plymouth at the leading end of the train.

Normally, there are only two additional coaches to be added, both for Plymouth (a BSK plus CK), but the Central booking office had advised the Train Supervisor’s Office the previous evening that they had a lot of bookings for North Cornwall and the latter, having checked with Waterloo that the train coming down was well filled, had asked for another coach, a corridor second (SK) to be added. This will require, later, the additional SK to be removed from the Plymouth portion and added to the remaining part of the train but there is more than sufficient time to undertake this shunting manoeuvre at Okehampton, whose stationmaster has been duly informed. The shunter now has a busy few minutes. After directing the driver of “Spitfire”, as she very slowly backs her four coaches onto the existing three plus two vans, the shunter then couples them up before walking on the trackside down the train to uncouple the rearmost pair of vehicles – two vans full of newspapers – ready to form part of the 5:26 am to Ilfracombe, followed by the PMV that was attached to them and remains at Exeter. When the now seven coaches plus a Van B and a PMV of the Plymouth section have pulled away, at 5:17 am, another ‘Light’ Pacific will reverse four coaches (a 3L set formed of a Bulleid BSK (Semi)+CK+BSK (Semi)), plus an SK) out of the West Yard and, again under the shunter’s direction, onto the two Van B (News), (one for Ilfracombe and one for Torrington) to which he will couple them.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2019, 08:35:40 PM by Chris in Prague, Reason: Updated. »

 

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