Station Name: PADSTOW

[Source: Martin James]

Padstow Gallery 9: October 1964 - August 1965


A lifeless Padstow station sometime in BR days. The date October 1964 came with the photograph but this should be treated with caution. The ‘Atlantic Coast Express’ had ceased to run the previous month yet the carriage at far right carries a roofboard, albeit unreadable. The stock is a mix of Bulleid, Maunsell and what appears to be a BR Mk1 vehicle. If the date is correct, the shadows tell us it is later afternoon but there will be no Waterloo-style evening rush hour at Padstow.
Photo by G Roose

A Gloucester RC&W single-unit diesel railcar, later Class 122, waits at Padstow with what is presumably the driver making sure he gets in the picture. This is the passenger end of the railcar, the brake being at the far end. It is undated, but the photograph will be post 1964. The carriage on the right is an ex-GWR vehicle and under magnification of the original image its number is either W702W or W782W. This numbering system denoted vehicles of pre-nationalisation design, some types of which continued to be built by BR. The prefix letter donated the region to which the vehicle was allocated and the suffix letter denoted the railway company with which the design originated. Vehicles of pre-nationalisation design did not always stay on their home ground, thus the prefix would differ from the suffix. Of note in this view is the platform lighting, the upper sections of which have changed yet again to rather incongruous straight uprights. It would appear that by this time all platform lamps
were of equal incongruousness.
Photo from John Mann collection

One of several similar views and, again, probably taken at the same day as the pictures above and below. This one is of interest as some of the posters display the British Rail 'double arrow' logo. As Padstow and countless other stations were to discover, such modernisation was not always a sign of good future. The 'double arrow' logo, officially adopted along with the new name ‘British Rail’ in 1965, known also by various derogatory nicknames such as 'The I don't know which way I'm going' logo, first appeared on Brush Type 4 diesel D1733 when it was demonstrating the experimental XP64 coaching stock in, perhaps obviously, 1964. The logo was quickly removed again from D1733, the story being that it had not been registered as BR's official logo. This must have been quickly rectified as the posters at Padstow show. The doorway at the far end of the single-storey building was a later addition. It presumably replaced the double doorway which once had a canopy above it and by this time appeared to be permanently closed.
Photo from John Mann collection

An under-canopy view at Padstow during British Rail days. The suspended enamel signs were probably the Southern Region green examples. A set of scales can be side just beyond the doorway. Most staffed stations had such scales for weighing parcels, sundries and luggage in advance. Location varied, some stations had their scales on the platform but others in an office or in some instances in the booking hall. The scales at Padstow can be identified as a product of Messrs Henry Pooley & Son. The part seen covered over was the balance. This comprised a graduated arm pivoted towards one end and along which slid a weight. The weight was slid along the arm until a state of equilibrium occurred. The weight of the object being weighed was then read by means of a pointer fixed to the sliding weight. Some of these scales have survived to be preserved, not all of them being of railway origin, but the majority were scrapped. The sign on the litter bin reads 'Litter Here Please'. This rather more courteous form of wording would be more likely to be taken notice of than the more abrupt forms, often with threats of fines, common today. On the bench seat, the station name is painted on as opposed to the more familiar cast nameplates. Of the two posters, that on the left advertises 'Trains for Planes'. This was a joint scheme between British Rail and British European Airways (BEA) for travel between the West Country and London Airport. The poster also mentions 'Direct Road-Rail service' between the aforementioned points. Presumably this referred to road or rail connections to and from airports, although this detail is not entirely clear. Indeed, the whole concept is a little puzzling but perhaps was a form of 'damage limitation' resulting from the masses who were at the time switching to road transport. We should remember that in those days air travel security was virtually non-existent so boarding times were much quicker than today. Even so, the limited number of flights, which were as weather-susceptible as they are today if not more so, plus time taken in getting to and from outlying airports meant the scheme offered little advantage over a journey entirely by rail. BEA eventually merged with BOAC (British Overseas Airways Corporation) to form the present British Airways. The poster on right is by British Rail Western Region and informed readers that 'It's Cheaper by Sleeper!' although cheaper than what is not mentioned. Sleeper services shown were West of England to Manchester Piccadilly and Paddington. Smaller text is unreadable but presumably a daytime connecting train was involved for part of the journey. Fares were 40 shillings first class and 26 shillings second class. It is unclear from the poster but sleeper fares were usually supplementary to the standard fare. At the time of writing only two sleeping-car trains remain in Britain, the ‘Caledonian Sleeper’ between Euston and Scotland and 'The Night Riviera' between Paddington and Penzance. Sleeper trains are an excellent way of, as people used to put it, 'saving a day' and avoid a tedious road journey through which drivers should preferably remain awake.
Photo from John Mann collection

A track-level view of Padstow station probably taken at the same time as the picture above. Despite bare or ripped poster boards and general lack of life the station would remain open until January 1967.
Photo from John Mann collection


A slumbering Padstow station, looking towards Wadebridge, during the mid 1960s, the last of a series of five photos taken on the same day. Note the flat bottom rail and the tall platform lamp by now installed at this end of the platform. A Southern Maunsell carriage sits in the siding. Southern stock continued to appear following takeover by the Western Region and one such vehicle roamed the area having become part of WR stock, numbered W6643S. In theory it should have received maroon livery but whether it did is not known.
Photo from John Mann collection

On 19 November 1966 a Gloucester RC&W single-unit diesel railcar of what became Class 122 waits at Padstow while the driver, and probably the guard, put the world to rights in the driving cab. The railcar will be working a service to Bodmin Road or perhaps via the North Cornwall line towards Launceston, a route which would take it through 'Doc Martin' country. This view shows the brake end of the railcar, hence the solid panels at the rear of the cab. Passengers therefore had no view of the line from this end. Apart from classes 121/2 and the very different Southern DEMUs, the only other BR first generation DMU types to have this arrangement were the Swindon-built 79xxx series 'Inter-City' units and certain vehicles of the similar units which became Class 126. On the right, in well-weathered maroon, is what looks like an ex-GWR Collett mainline carriage. It appears to be carrying a roofboard but, if so, it is unreadable. Quite why a Collett coach with roofboard, would be at Padstow is rather puzzling. Note the lamp standards on the platform are a different colour compared to other views from the same period. They are possibly in primer and in process of being repainted. Bearing in mind the sun sets in the west, the long shadows suggest the photograph was taken during an evening.
Photo by Malcolm Bott from his Flickr photostream

Another view of the Gloucester RC&W single-unit diesel railcar pictured above, this time seen from the run-round loop. The two pipes climbing up the cab front were exhaust stacks, one for each of the two engines. The exhaust stacks of Class 122 originally merged into a box on the cab roof; this arrangement has been modified on the railcar at Padstow. As noted elsewhere, Class 122 was intended for the London Midland and Scottish Regions, with the Western Region natives being the similar Class 121. However, a number of the 20-strong class 122 were drafted to the Western Region and it would seem a few were sent there from now. No.55016 for example is known to have been in the London area bearing a 'W' prefix to its number during 1959 when still almost new. The similar Class 121, built by Pressed Steel, differed externally to Class 122 in having a four-character headcode box on the cab roof and the destination box lower down behind the top of the central windscreen. There were also a number of driving trailers for use with these railcars. These were of the same high density style but engineless and with a cab at one end only. They were generally confined to the London area.
Photo by Malcolm Bott from his Flickr photostream

A Gloucester RC&W single-unit diesel railcar waits at Padstow sometime in the BR Western Region period and with tail lamp in place ready to scuttle off towards Wadebridge and Bodmin on 19 November 1966. It is perhaps unfortunate that, unlike locomotives and steam in particular, photographers seldom bothered to record numbers of diesel multiple units and railbuses, some of which later operated in the Bodmin and Wadebridge area. Of the single-unit railcars which operated on the North Cornwall line a few have nonetheless been recorded. These include Nos.W55001/3/14 from Class 122 and Nos.W55021/6 from Class 121. A stock list for November 1965 shows the all members of Classes 121 and 122 to be allocated to the Western Region although this was not the original intention for Class 122. However, while these single-unit vehicles were very familiar in the West Country the bulk of them, when on the Western Region, were to be found in the London area. There were also a number of driving trailers built for use with them. These were single-ended, lacked a brake compartment and obviously were engineless. They spent their lives almost exclusively in the London area but their single-ended design made them a little inflexible. The carriage on the left is part of an ex-GWR 'B set', these having been described elsewhere. These vehicles operated on the North Cornwall line alongside the railcars and were hauled by North British diesel-hydraulic locomotives of Class 22. The B sets were 2-car sets but are known to have operated singly behind the Class 22s, thus echoing the days when a single coach could be seen behind a Bulleid Pacific. The single-unit DMUs were extremely useful vehicles, indeed at the time of writing a couple of Class 121 remain in revenue service albeit having spent some time in departmental use. Nevertheless, insofar as the national network is concerned they are the longest lived of all of what came to be known as BR's 'First Generation' DMUs.
Photo by Malcolm Bott from his Flickr photostream

Padstow station forecourt in June 1965, by which time it was under the control of BR Western Region. A number of billboards headed British Railways can be seen while the board to the right of the door at the end of the single storey appears under magnification to be a bus timetable. As was usual for Padstow, everything is neat and tidy. Little details tell a big story; note the platform barrows neatly lined-up in the compound to the left. British Railways tended to have a negative image, partly owing to a stigma for anything nationalised, partly to propaganda from pro-road governments and partly to an attitude, as if out of guilt, which prevailed among many people who had bought cars and abandoned the railways. The truth was that the majority of railway staff still took great pride in their work and this was evident at Padstow. Unfortunately following the Beeching era, the diabolical condition of many stations following de-staffing and the underfunding of British Rail in later years this pride became difficult to maintain in many instances. Ironically where large funding was provided, such as for the 1955 Modernisation Plan, a terrific amount of money was ultimately wasted - money which if properly managed might have seen places such as Padstow still rail-connected today.
Copyright photo by RM Casserley

Padstow in August 1965 as a Gloucester RC&W single unit diesel railcar waits at the platform. The destination blind has suffered a white-out but under magnification appears to be displaying Bodmin. The Gloucester Class 122 railcars have been described elsewhere but this example retains its original exhaust arrangement with the two pipes merging into a box on the cab roof. Not so obvious in this view is the track at the platform. The first few yards are of bullhead rail but thereon to the buffer stop has been re-laid with flat bottom rail. It can be seen more clearlyin other views taken during the last few years of the line.
Photo from John Mann collection

In August 1965 a 4-car diesel multiple unit (DMU) set stands at Padstow. The train comprises a 3-car Swindon-built unit, later Class 120, plus a single-unit railcar which in this view is at the far end. BR Swindon Works built several types of DMU, all of which were of low density configuration and more akin to locomotive hauled mainline stock in both construction and internally compared to other DMU types. Class 120 was known as a 'Cross Country' type and as such was intended for semi-fast services over longer distances. But they were relatively heavy and being fitted, per 3-car set, with four 150HP engines totalling 600HP per set they were rather sluggish until they got going. On the plus side they had good braking ability and were popular with many drivers and also guards as they had a generous brake compartment suitable for longer journeys. Some members of Class 120 (plus Class 126 and the earlier 79xxx series which were originally Western Region) operated in Scotland and had a small buffet counter, as did other Swindon types. However, purchasing a cup of tea and getting it back to your seat intact on the Scottish units was an acquired skill and the writer speaks from experience. The run-round loop was clearly still in use but the track branching off on the left, which connected into the goods yard, has been lifted, the yard having closed in 1964.
Photo from John Mann collection

Click here for Padstow Gallery 10:
August 1965 - c1969

 

 

 

[Source: Martin James]



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