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The Bristol Railway Archive • View topic - 'The Cornishman' headcode

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2008 2:24 am 
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Several of the books I have include photographs of the down 'Cornishman' bearing the four-character headcode 1C35. On ex-GW locos such as the usual 'Castle' the GW headcode frame only allowed for three characters and this is C35, as the first digit of the four-character headcode is the train type and that is denoted by the headlamps in the 'Class 1' (express passenger) position, so although these headcodes LOOK like a three-character headcode they are in fact four-character - i.e. C35 in fact denotes train number 1C35, the down 'Cornishman'. On diesels (other than early 'Warships' which had GW-type headcode frames) the full 1C35 headcode would of course be displayed. The problem is that there is an excellent photograph on this website of 'The Cornishman' at Temple Meads bearing the headcode C35 (i.e. 1C35) with 'Castle' Class 'Westminster Abbey' in charge. Yet the train is facing in the 'up' direction. Now I don't know what the headcode of the up 'Cornishman' was, but it would almost certainly have started with 1M and may have been 1M34 or 1M36. Does anybody know? A possible explanation for 'Westminster Abbey' facing the 'up' direction while carrying the down 'Cornishman's' headcode is that in the Bristol engine change the 'new' locomotive may have attached to the 'up' end for departure via Marsh Junction and St. Philips Marsh along the Temple Meads avoiding line. Is that a feasible explanation? - Martin Bennett, Australia


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2008 11:43 am 
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I am trying to dig out some old working timetables that would include the headcodes for The Cornishman. But I would cast a doubt about 1C35 as that would suggest a Paddington to Plymouth express, whilst The Cornishman being an inter-regional working would have a head code of 1V when heading south. The 1C35 headcode on the loco may have been from a previous working - perhaps someone else could comment - in which book are the photos you refer to?


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2008 3:50 pm 
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I'm not sure if this helps or confuses the matter, but here is a photo of a Castle climbing past Kingswood Junction with The Cornishman carrying the headcode 849?



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2008 6:54 pm 
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From memory the 4 digit headcodes came in approx 1961.
Also the Cornishman ran several different routes durig its "lifetime" some Western region and others mixed.
Will "dig up some info from a book I have.

Dave


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2008 7:22 pm 
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Further to my previous posting a little info ont the Cornishman.
Introduced in 1890 the train took 8hours 42 minutes to reach Penzance from Paddington via BTM, Exeter, Plymouth.
In 1896 the first portion from Paddington to Exeter was non stop using the BTM avoiding line and at that time was the longest regular non stop rail journey in the world at 193.5miles taking 3.75 hours.
This was extended to Plymouth in 1904 again a world record at 245 miles.
A competition was launched at this time to rename the train from its unofficial Cornishman title, the winner was the Cornish Riviera Limited and ran from 1906 via the Westbury route.
In 1929 the Cornishman name was revived leaving Paddington at 1035 and carrying the Weymouth/Plymouth/Newquay etc etc portions of the Cornish Riveira ltd.
In 1952 the Cornishman reappeared again this time between Wolverhampton and Penzance, in later years it was routed via Derby, Sheffield omitting Wolverhampton and then via Birmingham and Cheltenham.
It was then extended as far as Leeds and Bradford before finally being discarded in 1975.
This explains why different headcodes appear to have been used over the years due to the different routes the train took in its lifetime.
For those interested the above information was taken from the book The Great Western Railway 150 glorious years by Patrick Whitehouse and David St John Thomas.

Dave


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2008 11:02 pm 
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The picture showing 'The Cornishman' with the headcode 849 is pre-1961 - i.e. with the old ex-GW three-character headcode. From around 1961 the standard four-character BR train numbers (still used today though no longer displayed on the loco) were introduced. With that system the first character indicates the train type (1 = express passenger, etc.) and was shown on ex-GW locos with the old three-character headcode frames by the headlamps position - one each side of the buffer-beam for Class 1 express passenger, the other three characters being displayed in the headcode frame. The second character is a letter indicating the destination area (A = an Up train, i.e. destination London). In the case of an inter-Regional train the letter indicated the destination Region (M = London Midland, E = Eastern, N = North Eastern, S = Scottish, V = Western, O = Southern). Trains with headcodes of ALL of these destination Regions were seen at Bristol. Thus the Down Cornishman was 1C35, displayed as C35 on ex-GW locos. But what was the post-1961 headcode of the UP Cornishman?


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2008 11:31 pm 
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Roger suggests that 1C35 was not 'The Cornishman' but a West Country express from Paddington. Whilst it is certainly true that most WR trains starting with 1C WERE ex-Paddington, it needs to be born in mind that headcodes say NOTHING WATSOEVER about where a train is FROM - only where it is going. Thus a train from ANYWHERE within the WR with a destination in the West Country used the second character C. I can assure Roger that the Down 'Cornishman' was indeed 1C35, at least in the early days of four-character headcodes. See pages 26 and 40 of 'Birmingham - Bristol: Portrait of a famous Midland route, Part Two: Cheltenham to Bristol and Bath' by Stephen Mourton & Bob Pixton (Runpast Publishing 2003). The train on page 64 bottom is also the Down 'Cornishman' though unfortunately carrying neither headcode nor train name headboard. From September 1962 'The Cornishman' started from Sheffield instead of Wolverhampton, thus becoming inter-Regional, and the Down train headcode probably would have changed to 1V-something. The 1C35 headcode probably only lasted from 1961 when four-character headcodes were introduced until September 1962. But what was the Up train's headcode during that brief period? The picture on this website showing 'Westminster Abbey' at Temple Meads bearing the headcode 1C35 but facing north is ambiguous, UNLESS it is in fact the Down working about to depart for Penzance via Marsh Junction and the avoiding line.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 10:10 am 
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The new 4 digit headcode came into being during Spring 1960.

The headcodes for the Cornishman were as follows

1960
Down 1C33 08.55 Wolverhampton-Penzance
Up 1H32 09.30 Penzance-Wolverhampton

1961
Down 1C33 09.00 Wolverhampton-Penzance
Up 1H32 10.30 Penzance-Wolverhampton

1962
Down 1C35 08.55 Wolverhampton-Penzance

In 60 and 61 1C35 was a Paddington-Penzance train but not in 62. If the loco was shown facing North then perhaps the train was diverted via Westbury or even St Phillips Marsh.

At the time Wolverhampton was still within the WR therefore not a 1Mxx/1Vxx headcode.

Going forward from around 63 the train was started back at Sheffield as the 1V33 08.10 Sheffield-Penzance with the Up working 1E24 10.45 Penzance-Sheffield.

Later around 66 it was extended again to Bradford with the 1N21 and subsequently 1E21 headcode, the Down working retaining 1V33 until it became 1V70 in the late 60's.

In 1959 the 10.30 Penzance-Wolves was 849 which matches rather nicely with the photograph posted.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 7:53 pm 
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Sorry to hijack the thread but does anyone know what 1V36 was in the late 60s?

Cheers,

Alex

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 8:08 pm 
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 9:23 pm 
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Perhaps in the photograph I have of a train coming off the Down L.M.S. at Bristol East the headcode is incorrect as it does look like 1V36 to me. Or maybe it's taken before 1968? I know it's late 60s as the signals have been replaced with MAS style heads.

There's a large scan of the slide here:



Any guesses which Peak that is as well? Or what the yellow signs are on the sides of the coaches?

Alex

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 9:35 pm 
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It looks like D50 to me. The King's Shropshire Light Infantry.

The yellow signs on the coaches replaced the roofboard ones. I don't think they lasted long as an idea, replaced quite quickly by the more familiar window stickers.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 11:55 pm 
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 1:26 am 
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 3:00 am 
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