Presenter: Bernard Mills
On 9th November Bernard Mills took the West of England branch ‘Backtracking around Plymouth’, a talk based on one of his books that covers the western side of the city in some detail. Photos were shown in a ‘Then & Now’ format, often in a series of views illustrating the changing scene over the last sixty years.
The talk featured today’s main line from Plymouth station to Saltash across the River Tamar in Cornwall, a journey of only about five miles, but this was supplemented by visits to several branches. Hence we were taken down the long closed line to Millbay station, and then into the docks were we saw many views, particularly of a Class 03-hauled brake van tour in 1966 and the last passenger train at the former Ocean Terminal, a DMU railtour in 1970.
We also saw authorised photos of the railway system in Devonport Dockyard, a location where photography is usually forbidden, before visiting the rarely photographed branch to the Bull Point RN Armament Depot.
Throughout the evening we visited many signal boxes and other ‘insider’s views’ included the booking office at Saltash in 1965 when Bernard was working as Area Relief Clerk.
Bernard’s talk was fascinating and we hope that he will be able to come back to give us another look at the railway in his home city – his books are well worth investigating as well!