Tag Archives: London South Western Railway

Not the beast of Bodmin

30585boscarne

When we visited the Bodmin & Wenford Railway, where this photograph was taken, we stayed in a cottage, on the edge of Bodmin Moor, and very nice it was too. However, on our first evening we discovered the farm buildings, a few hundred yards down the lane, housed the kennels of the local hunt, a proximity which gave the whole place an air of the Hound of the Baskervilles – ‘grab your Bradshaws Watson, the game’s afoot’, I could have cried, but didn’t. There was enough barking madness without my intervention. I know Sherlock Holmes’ Hound of the Baskervilles was largely set on Dartmoor, and we were on Bodmin Moor, but it was still baying hounds, moon light and moor!!

The former London & South Western Railway 2-4-0WT 0298 class, more commonly known as ‘Beattie’s well tanks’ would have been familiar to Holmes’ Victorian Londoners, in the 1870s and 1880s, scurrying about the capital with the suburban services of the day. When bigger and faster engines displaced them from these duties some went to work the Sidmouth and Exmouth branches and three went to the Bodmin & Wenford Railway, in 1895, to haul china clay. These three engines continued to do this from 1895 until 1962, when they were withdrawn from service. This was not to be the end, however, and two of them survived into preservation, No.30585, pictured, is owned by the Quainton Railway Society and No.30587 is owned by the National Railway Museum as part of the national collection.

Most of the original engines were built by Beyer Peacock, they had no cabs, a large and ornate firebox dome and safety valve, stove pipe chimneys and rectangular splashers. They looked, by comparison with the engine in the picture, nothing like them. The modifications by Adams, Urie and Maunsell made them the handsome little engines we see today, as Holmes might have said, ‘the differences, Watson, are elementary’!!

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http://www.amazon.com/Gricing-real-story-Railway-Children-ebook/dp/B00ML0QYK2

or for British readers.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-real-story-Railway-Children-ebook/dp/B00ML0QYK2
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‘Greyhounds’

30120bodmin

‘Once upon a time’ these elegant 4-4-0s hauled the fastest expresses of the day on, the London & South Western Railway’s main lines, to Weymouth or Exeter and the West Country. When new they hauled trains such as, the North Cornwall Express / North Cornwall & Bude Express, which commenced in 1900. Rebranded as the  Atlantic Coast Express, in 1926, in the post-war era, it became one of the first services on the Southern to run to mile a minute timings, which it did between Waterloo & Salisbury. For many years during peak holiday times, such was the level of traffic for this train, that several ‘relief’ services were timetabled, winter was very different, and, in 1964, like so many other trains and services, the ACE hit the buffers.

Back to the T9s – before they ended their railway service the T9s played ‘express engines’ once more, not with the mile a minute flyer at 11.00 from Waterloo – but they were hauling the ACE again. This time their involvement was working forward from Exeter, with the divided portions for destinations such as Padstow and Bude or Ilfracombe. In the photograph, the location of which is shortly after leaving Bodmin Parkway, heading towards Bodmin General, on what is now the Bodmin & Wenford Railway, we see No.30120  carrying  the headcode  for an Exeter to Padstow service, just for old time’s sake.

Despite their Southern heritage the T9s have, in their simple, almost Spartan outlines, a touch of Scottish railway practice about them, which is not surprising when you know they were designed by Dugald Drummond, who was born in Ardrossan, in Ayrshire. Drummond began his career on the railways of Scotland, working for the Caledonian, Highland, and North British Railways, amongst others before taking up the post of Chief Locomotive Engineer on the L&SWR in 1895. Drummond designed quite a few ‘well regarded’ locomotives for the L&SWR, the ubiquitous M7 class 0-4-4Ts and the L700 class 0-6-0 goods engines, known to many as ‘Black Motors’, in addition to the T9 ‘Greyhounds’ – though his 4-6-0 designs, like the T14s,  were less than successful.

‘Greyhounds’ you say – that’s because the T9s were fast runners and free steaming – but you knew that.

If you've enjoyed this post, please feel free to share with friends, rail fans, or railway groups.
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You might also enjoy my ebook 'Gricing'

http://www.amazon.com/Gricing-real-story-Railway-Children-ebook/dp/B00ML0QYK2

or for British readers.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-real-story-Railway-Children-ebook/dp/B00ML0QYK2
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Once a Knight

30777leighlane

The disc being carried by No.30777 Sir Lamiel, is probably meant to signify that she is hauling a stopping passenger service. In her Southern days it would have indicated something rather different. It could have indicated that No.30777 Sir Lamiel, was working Victoria – Dover via Chatham, a turn she would no doubt have been familiar with, or Woking – Reading via Virginia Water west curve, a route she might have taken less often, or even Exeter Central – Ilfracombe, amongst several other possible routes. The essential thing, I suppose, is that the disc gives the signalman important information about the train, just as the tail lamp, or lack of one, does.

No. 30777 Sir Lamiel is part of the National Collection and is, as a result, in the custody of the National Railway Museum. In practice however, she is cared for, on a day to day basis, by the 5305 Locomotive Association at Loughborough. No.30777 Sir Lamiel is also part of the pool of engines certified for use on the main line and has, over many years, put in some fine performances, particularly on the Settle – Carlisle route and her old stamping grounds on the LSWR routes from London Waterloo to Weymouth via Southampton or Waterloo to Exeter via Salisbury, both routes I know from my own footplate days.

For most of their independent existence the Great Western and the London South Western / Southern Railway were bitter rivals in almost everything from the carriage of Atlantic Mails, to milk traffic and summer specials full of holiday makers. Having worked for BR Southern region I know a little about this rivalry at ground level,  so there’s always this little frisson when I see sights like one in the photograph, Southern engine, chocolate and cream rolling stock, and on GW metals. However, Sir Lamiel, or to give him his full title Sir Lamiel of Cardiff, obviously had some GWR in his veins, as he  does look quite at home with the rake of GWR stock, approaching Leigh Lane crossing on the West Somerset Railway between Williton and Crowcombe Heathfield.

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