Station Name: PADSTOW

[Source: Martin James]

Padstow Gallery May 1962 - c1964

There is plenty of railway traffic around but few passengers in this May 1962 scene at Padstow. Maunsell set No.30 waits at the platform while an N class 2-6-0 passes on the release road. It appears to be No.31875, which was at Exmouth Junction shed from February 1961 until withdrawal in August 1964. Another Maunsell carriage can just be seen at far left while a rake of vans waits at the fish shed. By this time Padstow station had received electric lighting. The style was typical Southern, utilising the original barleytwist gas lamp standards with an extension post supporting the electric lamp. The station house also has television, with the once familiar 'H' VHF aerial visible on the roof. As usual the station appears neat and tidy. Note the typically Southern shed on the right, of precast concrete sections and corrugated, probably asbestos, roof

A typical scene at Padstow in August 1963 as a local train awaits departure for Exeter Central. The fireman is perched on the tender, presumably moving coal forward. The Bulleid Light Pacifics comprised the ‘West Country’ and ‘Battle of Britain’ classes, the two essentially differing only in name. Whilst one may think the ‘West Country’ class would be found in the area of its name, which indeed it was, the ‘Battle of Britai’n class also appeared. Above is 'Spam Can' No.34079 '141 Squadron' which at the time was based at Exmouth Junction shed. Below the nameplate the Squadron's crest can be seen. The motto of 141 Squadron was 'We Slay By Night'. No.34079 was to outlive the squadron it was named after by two years, being withdrawn from Eastleigh in February 1966. The train is one of the Southern's 3-car sets used in the area. The set number is barely visible but an enlargement of the original photograph suggests it is No.190. The history of the Bulleid Pacifics is complex, as was anything to do with Bulleid, and can be read here here

'Mongoliper' N class 2-6-0 No.31874 waits at Padstow with a train for Exeter Central via Halwill. The train comprises a Bulleid corridor composite and two Maunsell vehicles. Another Maunsell vehicle can be seen stabled on the right. No.31874 had spent a number of periods at Exmouth Junction shed, the last being between February 1961 and its withdrawal from service in March 1964. The tender carries the second BR logo; this and the green coaching stock suggests that the photograph dates from this period. It is probably summertime if the people are anything to go by, especially the young man and his clothing on the extreme left.
Photo from Malcolm McCarthy collection
A neat and tidy (track litter excepted) Padstow station. The corner of a BR MkI carriage can be seen on the right so the picture likely dates from just prior to withdrawal of the ‘Atlantic Coast Express’ in 1964. The carriage siding was lifted soon afterwards. Padstow signal box was a LSWR Type 4, a very common type especially on the company's lines in Devon and Cornwall. One peculiarity was the locking-room windows; both could be glazed or one or the other bricked-up as seen at Padstow. The coach partially visible at far left is suspected of being one of Western National's Bristol SUL4A types
with ECW bodywork.
Copyright photo from Colour-Rail

Un-rebuilt Bulleid West Country class No.34033 ‘Chard’ 'on the stops' at Padstow in July 1964, probably in the process of being released from an incoming train. 'Chard' was another of the class to run around minus crest but, unlike in the picture of 'Westward Ho', the small plate bearing the class name is rather more visible. Also clearly visible in this view are the unusual Bulleid-Firth-Brown, or 'Boxpox', wheels. Normal for Bulleid's steam locomotives, these wheels also appeared on certain of the Southern's diesel locomotives and in particular the diesel shunters of what became BR Class 12. No.34033 began life in 1946 and was originally numbered in Bulleid's peculiar system as No. 21C133. Pacific locomotives have a 4-6-2 wheel arrangement but the Bulleid scheme interpreted this by number of axles, thus 21C meant two leading bogie axles plus one trailing axle with C representing the three coupled driving axles. The rest of the number, i.e. 133, was the actual locomotive number. On the cabside above the number '7P 5FA' can be seen. This was a quite standard system signifying that the locomotive could work Class 7 passenger and Class 5 goods trains. The 'A' was an indication of the type of goods train permitted, specifically with regard to braking. As any enginemen would confirm, starting a train moving is one thing but stopping it again is another matter entirely. The triangle below the number signified route availability and broadly speaking this centred around axle loading, i.e. the weight carried by each axle and thus the weight borne by the track. This stipulation was the responsibility of the civil engineer. These symbols varied in both colour and shape, something which becomes clear when studying photographs, and could differ on locomotives of the same class. The reason for the latter in respect of the Bulleid Pacifics in unclear but seems to have been connected with the possibility of the class operating onto Western Region metals. No.34033 was one of the class never to be rebuilt. At the time of the above photograph 'Chard' is believed to have been allocated to Plymouth Friary. She was transferred to Eastleigh shortly after the photograph was taken and withdrawn in December of the following year.

An un-rebuilt Bulleid Pacific crosses Little Petherick Creek bridge with a short train on its approach to Padstow. It is some ¾mile from the terminus. The locomotive is difficult to identify. The smokebox numberplate is 340?3 but we are helped by the locomotive having one of the shorter names. It is therefore likely to be West Country Class No.34033 'Chard' (also pictured into the 1960s) was at Plymouth Friary. The tender carries the second version of the British Railways logo which, assuming the identity to be correct, would date the picture to the time 'Chard' was at Plymouth Friary shed. This was the former Southern shed at Plymouth and would have had a few workings onto the North Cornwall line. The coaching stock is similarly difficult to identify. The first vehicle has split stepboards, a feature found on certain of the Maunsell stock. The second vehicle, barely visible, has a body profile suggestive of Bulleid stock. The bridge has been described elsewhere but this view offers a closer look at the cylinders which form the piers. These were driven down to bedrock well below the river bed. This view also offers a rare glimpse of the underbridge at the eastern end of the embankment. Midway along the embankment stands a signal. The train will have passed the signal only seconds previously yet the signal is already in the 'On' position. This might suggest  that the signal was Padstow Outer Distant but it is too far from the camera for a positive identification. There were no intermediate signal boxes on the Padstow - Wadebridge section, the route being under the control of Padstow and
Wadebridge West boxes.
Photo from Jim Lake collection

Padstow station seen from the fish siding in August 1964. Padstow's 18-lever signal box is an LSWR Type 4, a very common type especially on the company's lines in Devon and Cornwall. The next signal box is at Wadebridge.
Photo by Terry Tracey

Padstow station forecourt in August 1964. Compare this to other views taken around the same time. One point to note is the sign above the doorway at the far end of the single-storey building; this had disappeared by the following year. The car is a Ford of the Zephyr/Zodiac series. Confirmation of precisely which is difficult from this photograph but it would appear to be a Zodiac MkI - a car sometimes confusingly known as the 'Zephyr Zodiac'. Western National can be seen lurking in the right background. It is a Bristol SUL4A with Eastern Coach Works front entrance coach bodywork. The SU type was relatively rare and came in long chassis (SUL) and short chassis (SUS) forms with either coach or bus bodywork. Western National had representatives of all types and they were often to be seen on the routes crossing Dartmoor. The engine was a somewhat feeble 4-cylinder Albion unit. Some of the Western National coach bodied examples had a rather basic destination box which displayed only the destination and no route number, that seen at Padstow being one of them. Despite having coach bodies, the type seems to have been used more on the longer stage carriage services in rural areas.
Photo by Terry Tracey

Un-rebuilt Bulleid Pacific No.34023 'Blackmoor Vale' waits in the carriage siding at Padstow with the stock of the final ‘Atlantic Coast Express’ for Waterloo in September 1964. The stock was Bulleid 8-set No.474. The train will draw forward beyond the signal box and reverse into the platform. Although carriage roofboards were in position, the locomotive did not carry the ACE headboard - or at least not from Padstow. It has been suggested that on Saturdays the train was not officially named although this seems a little odd, partly because of the carriage roofboards and partly because Saturday was the one day the train was likely to be busy. Holidays in those days almost always ran from Saturday to Saturday. In the early 21st century some outfit called First Great Western decided to use the ‘Atlantic Coast Express’ name for a through service from Paddington to Newquay using an HST set. However, the days of the romance of named trains have long gone and sitting in an HST, as technically excellent as these trains are, surrounded by plastic, irritating announcements and polystyrene tea cups while trying to convince oneself that one is on board the ACE is simply laughable. But at least Newquay is on the coast of the Atlantic; not every destination of the proper ACE could claim this.
Photo by Alan Murray-Rust

An un-rebuilt Bulleid Pacific, with a full head of steam, prepares to depart Padstow with the Atlantic Coast Express (ACE). Under magnification, the carriage roofboard is readable and confirms the train's identity. The photographer is certain this train was the final ACE departure from Padstow, in which case the date will be 5 September 1964. Locomotive No.34023 'Blackmoor Vale' was in charge but did not work through to Waterloo. The train was formed of Bulleid set No.474. This was an 8-car set and this would seem unusual at Padstow as the ACE was formed of portions which divided in the down direction and joined in the up. However, arrangements varied over time and according to time of year and by the time the final ACE departed Padstow other sections had already been withdrawn so an 8-set on the final departure from Padstow would not be quite so surprising. One curiosity is the ACE's name. Locomotive headboards were worded 'Atlantic Coast Express' but carriage roofboards, or at least that in the above view, were worded ‘The Atlantic Coast Express’. The people on the platform are presumably seeing off friends or relatives. The first carriage is of Bulleid design and one of the earlier examples with shallower ventilation lights. By this date Padstow jumped to the cracking whip of BR's Western Region but, as here, a number of Southern Region trains continued to operate. The signal box has long since abandoned the advertising of Lux soap flakes while at far right the loftier electric lamp can be seen. Note the footwear, sandals of a typical period style predominate. 'Blackmoor Vale' went on to see the end of steam on the Southern Region and was withdrawn in July 1967. She is now preserved.
Photo by Alan Murray-Rust

Bulleid Pacific No.34023 'Blackmoor Vale' departs Padstow with the final Up working of the ‘Atlantic Coast Express’. The steam around the lower front end of the locomotive is from the cylinder drain cocks. These are operated by the driver and their purpose is to expel condensate from the cylinders. This arises due to the cylinders being relatively cool when the locomotive is stationary and when steam is admitted initially behave in the manner of a condenser. A desirable side effect of cylinder drain cocks is that they increase the flow of steam through the cylinders, thereby bringing cylinders and pistons to their normal operating temperature quicker. In the sidings parcels vans of GUV and PMV types can be seen, the goods yard would close on 7 September that year. To their right is an unidentified passenger set with a BR MkI coach far right. In the siding at far left is some coal wagons stand alongside the small dock and photographic evidence suggests coal wagons were never prolific at Padstow. The running line, it will be noted, is of flat bottom rail. With the exception of pointwork at both ends of the platform, the platform road had been so-relaid in its entirety. At the time this photograph was taken, flat bottom rail was rare on branch lines.
Photo by Alan Murray-Rust

A Gloucester single-unit railcar, later Class 122, arrives at Padstow. The brake end of the railcar is facing the camera. The period will be after 1963 but probably no later than 1965 as the sidings are still in situ. Earlier DMUs (and some railbuses) built in the 1954-58 period originally lacked 'speed whiskers', these being applied retrospectively. Generally from 1958 onwards this device was applied from new. 'Speed whiskers' is a term which seems to have originated with the railway enthusiast fraternity but the original purpose was partly aesthetics but mainly as a warning device. Staff, especially track workers, were used to the sound of an approaching steam locomotive which, under certain conditions, could be heard approaching from several miles away. Apart from the characteristic 'rasp' when accelerating, diesel multiple units were relatively quiet and their approach was not always obvious. Whether this hazard was perceived or the result or 'near-miss' incidents is not known but no such device was ever deemed necessary on electric multiple units until, following various experiments, yellow warning panels appeared. The latter replaced 'speed whiskers' on DMUs from circa 1964 onwards. Some confusion can arise with Class 122 and the similar, but not identical, Class 121. The former was introduced in 1958 and the latter in 1960 yet when class numbers were introduced the newer units, Class 121, took the lower number suggesting they were older. The procedure seen in this view was rarely photographed at Padstow. The driver is handing the single line token for the section from Wadebridge to the signalman. In this case, as was common elsewhere, the token is in a pouch attached to a large hoop to facilitate exchange with a moving train. For departing trains in situations such as at Padstow where the signal box was on, or at the end of, the platform, the token would usually be handed to the driver just prior to departure. If any sidings existed within a section then the token system was more complex, involving what was known as, to use a loose term, the 'key [or ticket] attached to train staff' system. Following abolition of Padstow signal box and until closure, the 'key attached to train staff' system was used for unlocking the points at the south end of the runround loop, a ground frame having been installed for the purpose. The points at the north end had never been operated from the signal box and had their own local lever. The key was used by the very last train as the locomotive, a North British Class 22 diesel, was required to run round its train of ex-GWR coaches. The railcar is passing one the Westinghouse ground signals of the style peculiar to the Southern. On the left some BR MkI coaches can be seen. They appear to lack lining, which would suggest they are in Southern Region green livery. They may or may not have been ACE stock but if so the date can be further pinned down to the 1963-64 period. The stripe, which was yellow, below the cantrail on part of the nearest vehicle indicated the first class section. The worker on the track has what appears to be a mop and bucket, so no doubt the carriages are receiving a wash. At some locations, where mechanical washing plant was not provided, a water-broom was used but even this basic provision does not appear to have been installed at Padstow.
Photo from John Mann collection

Click here for Padstow Gallery 9:
October 1964 - August 1965




[Source: Martin James]

Last updated: Monday, 22-May-2017 10:42:51 BST
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