Station Name: PADSTOW

[Source: Martin James]

Padstow Gallery 10: August 1965 - c1969

A 4-car diesel multiple unit at Padstow in August 1965, comprising a Swindon 3-car unit and a Pressed Steel Co single-unit railcar. Members of Class 120 intended for the Western Region were given four-character headcode panels and one of these is seen here at Padstow with 2C69 being the headcode for the Halwill - Padstow route. Breaking this down, the '2' indicated a secondary or branch passenger train, the 'C' indicated the Western Region's Plymouth Division and '69' the actual route. Class 120, plus other DMU types, also appeared on the North Cornwall line on special workings on a few occasions. At Padstow in 1965 the tracks formerly to the right have been lifted and the fish shed screened off with what looks like fencing made from redundant sleepers. The signal box was closed by the end of the year and was quickly demolished.
Photo from John Mann collection

A rather pleasant view of Padstow station forecourt in September 1965. Conspicuous by its absence is the sign which had previously been fixed above the doorway adjacent to the poster board leaning against the wall. Of interest is the car. It is a Morris Minor Series MM, the first post-war version of the Minor as designed by Sir Alec Issigonis. The MM was easily recognisable by its mesh grille and headlamps located either side. Conceived in 1941, the war meant the MM was not on sale until 1948. It was produced until 1952 when replaced by the Minor Series II which had a different engine and headlamps relocated to the wings but retained the split windscreen and initially the mesh grille. Updated over the years, the car eventually became the Morris 1000 and production ceased in 1971. It was replaced by the Morris Marina.
Photo from Mike Morant collection

Although some BR signage was installed below the station canopy, the station was never fitted with totems and retained its Southern Railway running-in board until closure as seen in this view from September 1965. The goods yard closed a year earlier and the goods dock and the buffer stop at the end of the siding are seen behind the railings.
Photo from Mike Morant collection

In 1963 the former Southern lines west of Exeter were transferred to the Western Region. Although many resented this, especially ex-Southern men, it was perhaps a sensible move from the management and operational points of view. The ‘Atlantic Coast Express’, or what was left of it, continued to serve Padstow during the summer until 1964 when on 5 September that year Bulleid Pacific No.34023 ‘Blackmoor Vale’ hauled the final up service, with N class No.31845 arriving with the final down service. Under Western Region auspices, diesel traction began to appear regularly at Padstow. This included diesel multiple units (DMUs), North British diesel-hydraulic locomotives, later Class 22, and AC Cars diesel railbuses. The latter, however, were usually to be found pottering around Bodmin but are known to have operated at least as far as Wadebridge. The above photograph shows a Gloucester RC&W single unit diesel railcar of class 122 at Padstow. Class 122 was not native to the Western Region, being intended for the London Midland and Scottish regions, the Western Region natives were the similar Pressed Steel class 121s. It would appear that members of Class 122 were drafted in as a result of the Western Region's takeover of the former Southern routes in the area. Classified Driving Motor Brake Seconds (DMBS), these railcars lacked toilets and first class accommodation but with seating for 65 passengers and a generous brake compartment they were ideal for branch lines and other lightly used services. They were also useful for strengthening other units at busy times. The railcar seen above was photographed in 1966 while operating services to and from Bodmin General. With the exception of the yellow warning panel, it is in its original livery. It also appears to retain its white cab roof, but in the filthy condition which eventually put an end to this practice. Beneath the two marker lights the Blue Square coupling code symbols can be seen. DMUs had a number of different codes but Blue Square was the most common and eventually became standard. Coupling codes indicated to staff which units were compatible to be coupled together and worked in multiple from the leading driving cab, but there was a limit to the number of units which could be formed into a train. The carriage on the left appears to be part of an ex-GWR 'B set'. These were 2-car sets formed from a pair of non gangwayed brake composites coupled brake ends outermost and used on local and branch line services. Note the signal box has been demolished.
Photo by Bernard Mills

A view from a not particularly unusual angle but one giving an almost uninterrupted view of the fish shed at Padstow. The date is thought to be 1960s. The platform and run-round loop (or release road) are clearly well used but the other tracks, that alongside the fish shed excepted, appear little used. The headshunt, foreground, is obviously little used but a few photographs do show a carriage or van stabled on it. The building at far left was the fishermen's stores and this is thought to have appeared sometime after 1955 as it does not appear on a plan from that year. The fish shed was always known as such but in reality was little more than a platform and canopy with a few offices and other facilities scattered here and there. At the fish shed platform are two vans, one 4-wheeled and one bogie. They are possibly a 'Van C' and a 'Bogie B' but are too far away for a positive identification. Just visible behind the nearest end of the fish shed is a goods brake van. Again it is too unclear for a positive identification but could be an ex-LSWR 24 ton type. The general style of these was similar to the LMS 20 ton types but differing greatly in detail.
Photo from Jim Lake collection

In this July 1966 view it would appear Padstow station has been renamed 'Campaign'. In fact the sign states 'Campaign Cornwall' and is mounted some way back from the platform. Campaign Cornwall is thought to have been a campaign for some sort of Cornish independence from England along the lines of, for example, what today is the Welsh Assembly. Perhaps with much talk of devolution in the 21st century such campaigns will one day become reality and if so would be good for maintaining the historical identities of the people concerned. Otherwise, Padstow station in 1966 presented a very sorry sight and was an omen for the future. A class 122 diesel railcar waits at the platform while the land where what had been the carriage siding is now used for car parking with the demarcation line being simply a row of redundant sleepers, the latter on this occasion being used as a seat by a family prior to departing in their MkI Ford Cortina. Today there would be a security fence and any member of the public the wrong side of it, such as the young boy lying prone on the ballast, would spark a security alert. While nobody can blame people for wanting a private car and the 'go where you want, when you want' freedom it offers, the 1960s in particular was a decade suffering a serious lack of foresight. Governments of the time wanted rid of the railways (because they cost money) in favour of road transport (because it supposedly brought in revenue for the exchequer and lined the pockets of people like Ernest Marples) apparently without realising building more and more motorways would not prevent the roads reaching saturation point. The worst effect was, and still is, on tourist spots where although tourist revenue is rightly very welcome, clogged roads and parking can be a nightmare. Not everybody can drive or has access to a car whereas anybody can use the railways, so the question must be asked regarding how many people today regret the loss of railway services to places such as Padstow. Perhaps through trains from the main line at Bodmin Road with a new station serving the town of Bodmin and avoiding reversal would have saved the line to Wadebridge and Padstow.
We will never know.
Photo from DK Jones collection

A dismal day at Padstow as a Class 122 diesel railcar No.W55014 chunters away at the platform. The weather was not the only dismal feature that day for it is 28 January 1967, the final day of the service. The railcar is about to depart for Bodmin Road (now Bodmin Parkway). Later that day the railcars would be replaced by North British Class 22 No. D6309 and ex-GWR stock to operate the final train which departed in pitch darkness with a large crowd present to witness the scene. A Class 35 Hymek is known to have visited Wadebridge but otherwise the little North British Class 22s are believed to have been the only main line diesel locomotives to have operated on the line. By the time of this photograph the only track remaining adjacent to the platform was the platform road itself and the run round loop. The milepost on the left indicates Padstow is 259 miles 11 chains from Waterloo. It was common practice to leave mileages unaltered where lines were transferred from one BR region to another as had happened here even though by 1967 it was no longer possible to reach Padstow via the Southern route.
Photo by Roger Joanes

The sorry sight that was Padstow station in April 1968 and, if the materials scattered around are anything to go by, immediately after track-lifting. The land on the left, which had once been occupied by the carriage siding, is now also devoid of parked cars. A small boat can just be seen grounded in front of the fish shed while, left background, coal merchants remain active. Apart from the fencing and notice boards the station has lost its fixtures and fittings. The signal box has also gone. In the centre background three Western National buses can be seen. These were Bristol L6B types which began life in 1947 and had been re-bodied in 1958 with front entrance bodies similar to that used on the Bristol SC4LK chassis. Of the advertisements on the right, that at extreme right catches the eye. It says 'Now will you care?' and depicts what looks like a military officer. Whatever the depiction, the meaning of the advertisement is not known.
Photo by Richard Hoskin from his Flickr photostream

Little Petherick Creek bridge, post 1967 following removal of the track and decking. The two girders at a lower level between the spans were those which directly took the weight of trains and transferred it to the trusses. It can be seen here how the three spans were straight but the bridge as a whole allowed the track to form a continuous curve. The lattice structures across the top of the spans took no weight but simply acted as cross bracing and helped steady the spans during strong winds. The cables and spars seen across the top of the spans were a means of checking for any movement or distortion. The river was still tidal at this point. At low tide the bridge was some 30ft above the water and at high tide just 16ft on average. In the left background the underbridge towards the end of the embankment can be seen, this view looking towards Wadebridge. Padstow station was ¾-mile behind the camera.

A sorry-looking Padstow station, probably taken c1969 following track-lifting which had occurred very quickly following closure. The crane in the left background belonged to Ashmead (Padstow) Limited. It was part of a local sand dredging operation and its presence on the trackbed was nothing to do with the dismantling of the railway. See the second view below showing this machine at close quarters. Western National's Padstow outstation has taken over the station forecourt, having previously occupied part of the goods yard. No doubt closure of the railway required extra vehicles to be out stationed here. The buses can be identified as being a couple of bus-bodied Bristol SUL4A types, a Bristol LH and a couple of the relatively rare, for the constituents of what was to become the National Bus Company, Bedford VAM5 types with Eastern Coach Works bus bodies. Bedford produced the VAS, VAM and VAL chassis' (Short, Medium, Long respectively). Most were fitted with coach bodywork and more commonly seen with independent operators. The Western National bus versions used a Bedford 4-cylinder engine of 330 cu. in. capacity which equates to a little under 5 litres. These buses were unsurprisingly prone to vibrations and drivers needed to be rather athletic to get in and out of the driving cabs. Nevertheless they were fairly nimble vehicles and quite suited to the narrow, twisting roads in the area. Some details of the advertisements on the hoardings can be discerned. One of the two behind the buses is advertising a fire sale and carries an inviting picture of a glowing domestic fireplace. Of those on the right, that at second from left promotes British bacon and next to it, on the same board, are three posters of which one advertises the Royal Cornwall Show at Wadebridge for which intending attendees would not, of course, be able to travel to by train. To the right of this and again on the same board is advertised a show at the Cosy Nook Theatre, Newquay. The board at far right has had its advertisement torn off. It probably promoted a show of some description which had by then concluded.
Photo from John Mann collection

After a railway closes and following lifting of track and ballast, surface water tends to linger following rainfall as seen here at Padstow. This well illustrates the need for good drainage as required by railways as well as one of purposes of track ballast. Decades of oil from locomotives had the added effect of making the ground somewhat water resistant and it was usually for this reason that station areas of abandoned railways tended to remain relatively weed-free after other sections were swallowed-up by undergrowth. Here we see a closer view of the crane belonging to Ashmead (Padstow) Limited; ‘crane’ might be an inaccurate description as it was probably fitted with a 'clam' grab. Ashmead operated dredgers which removed sand from the Camel Estuary, for which the harbour authority charged so much per ton. The sand was transferred ashore for leaching (basically the removal of water and other unwanteds) and then loaded into lorries. This was the likely purpose of the plant seen in this view. The sand, rich in lime, was sold to farmers. At the time of writing the business is owned by D G Williams & Son who use the dredger 'Sandsnipe'. It is one of two such authorised businesses at Padstow, the other being Padstow Sea Sand. The Smith name is the plant manufacturer, Thomas Smith & Sons. Their plant often bore the perhaps more familiar branding 'Smith - Rodley', Rodley, Leeds, being the location of the firm. For many years owned by Thomas W Ward, the Smith business is now defunct following a number of further mergers and takeovers and most notably by Clarke Chapman who also owned - and still do at the time of writing - another well-known crane manufacturer, Cowans Sheldon. Back at Padstow, on the left the Bristol L type bus CVF 842, described elsewhere, has appeared while on the right the by now partially fenced-off fish shed can be seen.
Photo from John Mann collection

A close-up view of Padstow station building and almost certainly taken at the same time as the views showing the crane and which also describes the buses on the right. The lower window of the stationmaster's house is, along with others, boarded up so presumably is unoccupied. Contrary to popular belief, although a house usually went with the job of stationmaster the occupant was required to pay rent. When a station closed the stationmaster was usually transferred elsewhere but sometimes made redundant. It was common practice when economies needed to be made for a stationmaster to be put in charge of several stations. This occurred, for example, on the North Cornwall line east of Wadebridge. Station houses thereby not required would be rented to other members of staff such as signalmen or leading porters. On the platform at Padstow the tall and narrow cupboard probably contained lighting switches and junction boxes.
Photo from John Mann collection

Click here for Padstow Gallery 11: c1969 - 1991




[Source: Martin James]

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