First Duchess into Cornwall??

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bella

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There appears to be a common belief that the King locos did not cross the Royal Albert Bridge into Cornwall as they were too heavy.

However I conclude from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornish_Riviera_Express that this was only the case in the early years - before sometime in the 1930s since timetabling at 'Performance' provides an example of Kings (and Cas- tles) on that Express in Sept. 1940. It also states LNER A1 Class 4-6-2 4474 Victor Wild saw trials as early as 1925! Am I thus correct in believing that the Bridge has been able to accommodate heavy express trains including Kings since the 1920s??

It also states that at various times other visiting locomotives have been tested on this express. It says that in 1948 and 1955 ex-LMSR Princess Coronation Class 4-6-2s were similarly tried; on the second occasion (1955) the locomotive was 46237 City of Bristol. In 1956 the Kings were temporarily withdrawn for modifications, their place being taken on the Cornish Riviera by ex-LMSR Princess Royal and Princess Coronation class 4-6-2s 46207 Princess Arthur of Connaught, 46210 Lady Patricia, 46254 City of Stoke-on-Trent, and 46257 City of Salford.

The context of all of this is that last week an on-line pop-up on the railtours part of the Railway Herald's website declared that 46233's trip last Sunday from Taunton to Par was the first appearance of a Duchess into Cornwall. From the above I conclude it may have been the first Duchess but perhaps not the first Princess Coronation - 46237, 46254 & 46257 - all Cities - appear to have been there in 1955 and 1956???

I really would welcome posts from anyone who can confirm, expand or comment or even better provide photos on matters concerning previous incursions of Pacifics into Cornwall via this route or on the Royal Albert Bridge's weight limitations or otherwise.

Just trying to get the true facts.

Many thanks
 
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RayE

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Interesting post. I haven't seen pics of any of them on the other side of the bridge. Looking forward to replies on this.
 

30907

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The Wikipedia reference to "King and Castle" must surely refer to East and West of Plymouth (as do the earlier columns). It was almost universal practice for express trains to change engines at Plymouth (and detach/attach coaches) because of the length of journey.

(Pedant mode: the summer Saturday version of the Riviera changed engines at Newton Abbot to allow a nominally non-stop run to Truro - it had to be double headed thence anyway - and the KIng then piloted the 1035 relief over the South Devon banks, I think the only booked working for 2 Kings.)

As to non-GW locos, the 1948 Exchanges were Paddington-Plymouth only and I can't see 1955 would have been different. Even had it been possible, little useful information about express running would have been gained West of Plymouth where there was a 60mph limit and trains were lighter.
 
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The 'Kings' were banned west of Keyham Jct throughout their operational career with GWR and BR(WR) due to weight restrictions on the Royal Albert Bridge. The 'Limited' always had a change of locomotives at Plymouth (or Devonport or Newton Abbot on Summer Saturdays). LNER A1 'Victor Wild' only ever worked as far as Plymouth in 1925, as did the LMS Pacifics in 1956 deputising for the 'Kings' incapacitated by bogie problems. The 'Railway Herald' claim is almost certainly correct, unless there was an unknown WW2 working.

There were strong rumours that the 'Kings' worked light-engine over the RA Bridge, out of sheer desperation, during the height of the Plymouth Blitz in April and May 1941. Valuable top-link locomotives were dispersed overnight from Laira in case of enemy attack, to various points around Plymouth, including, allegedly, the 'old line' at Wearde. No photographic evidence has come to light, however.

The RA Bridge was strengthened in the 1970s in anticipation of a container port at Falmouth which never materialised, but this removed the weight restriction. This extra bracing has been removed in the recent refurbishment - it was found to be more a hindrance than a help! - but the weight restriction has fortunately not been re-applied.

Penzance, of course, had some BR Standard 'Britannia' Pacifics in the early 1950s which often worked the 'Limited' to and from Plymouth. The Penzance men didn't take to them - not invented here - and they were quickly transferred away to South Wales. The last steam working to Penzance before the preservation era was also a Pacific - SR 'West Country' 34002 'Salisbury' - hauling the 'Cornubian' railtour in May 1964.
 

bella

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Thanks. Very helpful. As 46233 into Cornwall would thus seem to be a historic first indeed for a Princess Coronation, I would also appreciate more input from other members on this interesting topic.
 

bella

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Following the bother and potential trespass issue at St Blazey in turning the loco following 46233's spin there on 7 August, it looks as if it may also be the first and last Duchess into Cornwall for some time!!
 

richw

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Can you expand on that?

Surrounding fencing was needed to be removed. The editions scheduled since the first trip have had the steam coming off at Plymouth and a diesel pulling onto Par.
 
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