Old rivals

In the West country there was a great deal of rivalry between the London & South Western and the GWR, especially over the Atlantic traffic and in 1906 an accident at Salisbury, to a non-stop Plymouth – Waterloo Atlantic liner service, in which 28 people were kiled, led the London & South Western, subsequently, to stop all London bound trains at Salisbury. There was a stop for an engine change at Templecombe, but not for passengers, prior to this.

A couple of years earlier, in 1904, it was on one of the GWR’s Trans-Atlantic services that the did she didn’t she reach 100mph saga with No.3440 City of Truro began. After 1906 and the opening of the Reading – Taunton route the GWR had the advantage of a more direct route than the one via Bristol; and there have been some suggestions that the driver of the LSWR express, in 1906, had been trying to prove that they could still compete. However, there is little direct evidence to support this.

In my own time on the Southern, during the 1960s, I worked an LCGB rail tour from Waterloo to Exeter and back which was booked to run non-stop Waterloo to Yeovil and Yeovil to Waterloo. We did run through Salisbury on the down run but, on the return we were checked by signals as we approached. The non-stop running was a ‘special dispensation’ and we had a footplate inspector, Arthur Jupp, along with us all the way there and back.  The driver was ‘Spot’ King and our engine was No.35022 Holland-America Line.

The photograph shows B-o-B Class 4-6-2 No.34053 Sir Keith Park at Kinchley Lane, during the Great Central Railway’s ‘Southern Gala’ earlier this year.

If you have enjoyed my blogs – I have written a book about my 60 years involvement with railways, from trainspotter, via steam age footplateman, to railway author and photographer, this is a link to it:


Until New Year the eBook edition of Gricing is on offer at just £3:95, that’s a whole book for less than a monthly mag.



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