No.170 – Page 37, January/February 2014 Journal; Negative PWBS 57.17.3.
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7031 Cromwell’s Castle on ‘Cornish Riviera’ and 0-6-0PT 6419. The photograph was taken by P.W.B. Semmens, a former Chairman of the Society.
The photograph was taken by Peter Semmens at Saltash station, looking towards Penzance. It was probably taken between June 1950 (when 7031 entered service) and summer 1956 (when the plain ‘Cornish Riviera’ headboard was superseded by the elegant version with crests). According to Locomotive Headboards by D. Peel it was unique among headboards in having three different wordings. Castle Class 4-6-0 7031 Cromwell’s Castle was allocated to Plymouth Laira from new and remained there until January 1957 when it was transferred to Taunton. 0-6-0PT 6419 was also at Plymouth Laira throughout the 1950s.
For most of the 1950’’s the up ‘Cornish Riviera’ was due to arrive at Plymouth North Road at 12.20, so would have passed through Saltash at about 12.09. The train on the left of the photograph behind 6419 is probably the 11.50 auto train from Plymouth which terminated at Saltash at 12.05 and returned to North Road at 12.15.
The panelling of the carriage at the left suggests it is an auto trailer built about 1912, similar to preserved number 92. Many such vehicles survived into the 1950s when they were replaced by new style trailers - No.220-244. The Western Region normally painted auto trailers in ‘express’ livery of crimson and cream until 1956 but the photograph suggests the carriage might be painted in the maroon livery introduced in that year. That seems unlikely for a carriage on the point of withdrawal, but an alternative possibility is that the photograph dates from 1950 and the carriage still wears the GWR wartime all-over brown livery. Inspection of the negative only shows the letter ‘W’ as part of the carriage number thus nothing further can be deduced from that source.
It was hoped that the photographer’s information would provide a definitive date. Peter Semmens negatives are helpfully numbered and dated, exceptionally this one does not carry a date however. The next in the series is described as ‘6419 on Plymouth motor crossing Saltash bridge’ and dated 16 July 1957 some six months after the date given above for the 7031’s allocation to Taunton. The negative does not enlarge sufficiently to read the smoke box shed plate.
Information supplied by Robert Darlaston, Brian Lewis and R. Wood is acknowledged with thanks.
Readers who can provide details of the picture(s) including location and date should write to K. Greenwood, Bradstones, Charlton Road, Holcombe, Somerset. BA3 5ER. (Email contact not available) To contact the Society
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