Sea Wall Trains – God’s Wonderful Railway. GWR for short.
We are lucky here in Dawlish to be blessed with a number of steam train tours every year in addition to the diesel ones. Hopefully it should be pure nostalgia for all the
Great Western Railway followers as it is solely the GWR featuring this week and so it will be more authentic for the region.
I have set the pictures out in chronological order starting with 1998.
This year saw the start of the Dawlish Donkey specials and features 0-4-2 tank loco 1450 emerging from the short 58yd Clerk’s tunnel on it’s way to Newton Abbot.
In August 2003 7802 Bradley Manor did a couple of turns on the newly introduced “Torbay Express” summer tour programme.
Quite appropriate as the actual Bradley Manor that it is named after is close by in Newton Abbot.
Next we go to the further end of the sea wall at Langstone Rock where 3440 City of Truro is heading for Plymouth on 27th November 2004 with an excursion from Bristol
Moving on to 2006 it looks like the fireman has been stoking the fire as 6024 King Edward 1 is polluting the atmosphere with plenty of filthy black smoke.
A better view is obtained at Cockwood harbour of this class of loco, the most powerful of the GWR express locomotives, as it returns from Kingswear on the same day.
Unfortunately this view is a little spoilt since Network Rail put up a rather unnecessary fence at the top of the embankment as you will see further on.
Moving on to May 2010 we see 5029 Nunney Castle piloting King Edward on the return leg of a Cornish Riviera Express tour to Plymouth coasting through the centre
Line at Dawlish Warren station.
In 2013 on the 27th April we saw newly restored 5043 “Earl of Mount Edgcumbe” double heading with 4965 Rood Aston Hall call in at the Warren station en route to Plymouth with the
Cornishman Express. There is also a video of this occasion. Both engines had been restored at Tyseley Locomotive Works in Birmingham and were in excellent running order.
Here they are pictured passing Cockwood Harbour on the return showing the photographers nightmare fence spoiling the sight of the wheels and driving motion.
On 9th May 2014 the “Earl” was making it’s way down to Plymouth with its support coach and a water carrier disguised as a normal parcels van.
This extra capacity of available water meant the engine could travel far greater distances without the need to waste time stopping to replenish its own tender tank.
This was vitally important as the next day it was due to try and beat the record for a non stop run from Plymouth to Bristol by a steam train which had been set
50 years ago by 7029 “Clun Castle” on an Ian Allan Railtour. It was successful in achieving a slight reduction in the time that 7029 had recorded despite being restricted
to a maximum speed of 75mph.
Also on 9th May 5029 Nunney Castle had the task of taking the coaching stock for the “Earl’s” attempt the next day and is seen here coasting along nicely through the
Dawlish Warren station. This engine features on the second video where it is seen running along the main part of the sea wall making plenty of noise from it’s 4 cylinders.
Nunney Castle has the original single chimney of the class whereas the “Earl” has a double blast pipe and chimney which improved its efficiency.