Railways in a Cornish landscape part 1 by Steve Gay


Our November meeting attracted a good attendance for the presentation by the well-known local speaker – Stephen Gay.  The presentation was entitled ‘Railways in a Cornish Landscape’.  We were treated to some excellent colour slides of the Cornish network and superb landscape, over the last 20 years, coupled with a very descriptive commentary and a sprinkling of delightful anecdotes on his travels.  Unusually perhaps, there was a significant emphasis on infrastructure, viaducts, stations and semaphore signalling.  Our tour commenced in Devon with the Royal Albert Bridge at Saltash and then followed the Cornish lines, particularly the branches to Looe, Fowey and ultimately Newquay.  The viaducts were very much to the fore, Calstock, St. Germans, Liskard, Moorswater etc.  Many highlights were featured including the long lost branch to Bude, with its sea canal and the evidence of its 2ft gauge sand tramway, some heritage buses (actively working) and stunning panoramic views of the Looe valley.  We saw occasional glimpses of classes 150, 153, 66 and predominately HST 125’s.  It seemed incongruous to see a HST 125 on a single line, collecting the branch token and then being subject to an initial 20mph!  The whole presentation was very much ‘one man and his dog’, as Stephen was often solely in the company of his canine friend!  Another railway fan perhaps?  We look forward with eager anticipation to part 2 of his Cornish adventures.