Ah Fred! Shame you Missed it….

A Long time missed thrill came back to me today as we drove into Marazion.. after noticing the crowds hanging over the wall and on the platform and surrounding area’s at Penzance Station, we came across them again at the Bridge  near Jordans..

Sudden thoughts of steam splashed into my head and at good speed we drove to the charity car park at the far end of the marsh and I set off through the marsh camera’s in hand to find out just what was going on froma secret location in the middle of the marsh I had a great view of the railway..

Glorious sunshine was beating down causing a haze over the lines as I clambered the fence and set up my tripod alongside the tracks (in a safe place obviously) and then the wait began.. not really a problem as it was sheltered from the onshore wind and surrounded by long tailed and blue tits chiffchaffs and great tits flitting backwards and forwards and being all the while entertained by the sweet songs of the Cettis and sedge warblers.

I was eventually joined by a couple of others and found out to my great delight that not one but 2 of our historic steam engines would be pulling out of Penzance station any minute to start the Great Britain II tour, an incredible steam hauled journey from Penzance to Kyle of Lochalsh taking 8 days.

The Tour would start with a double header by 70013 Oliver Cromwell and 5029 Nunney Castle engines.

70013 Oliver Cromwell at York following restoration, June 2008

70013 Oliver Cromwell at York following restoration, June 2008

70013 Oliver Cromwell, is a British Railways standard class 7 (also known as the Britannia class) preserved steam locomotive. The locomotive is notable as one of four steam locomotives to work the last steam railtour on British Rail (BR) in 1968 before the introduction of a steam ban.

Tangmere leading the procession with Oliver Cromwell

The Nunney Castle appears to have been switched for the 34067 Tangmere due to firebox problems as far as I heard. so we see here the Tangmere fronting the train followed by the Oliver Cromwell.

First out of the Station was the D1015 Western Champion (The Mule) a 1963 Diesel Traction Engine started life on the 21st january 1963 fresh out of the Swindon works, and finished its life before restoration to its current glory on the 13th December 1976 after a derailment caused damage to an air tank front valance and bogey at Castle carey down yard. Here she is restored to glory heading for Plymouth today…

The Western Champion (The Mule)

The Western Champion (The Mule)


There she goes

There she goes

A short while after the standard service train sped by as we awaiting the whistle stop call as the Great Britain II tour left the station.. I could feel the adreniline rush I’d felt so many times before as the first clouds of white steam belched over the trees.. by the time it came into view my hand was shaking on the shutter.. making sure I got the right shot I quickly switched on the 7 shot bracket and continued to fire 7 shot bursts as they thundered up the track…

13+ years since I last stood by the railway and felt the ground shudder as the wind almost blew you over and I’d forgotten the thrill the excitement and the nostalgia and romance that came with a fleeting glimpse of one of these great masterpieces of engineering that I’d once loved so much..
The wind made my eys water a little and I tipped my hat to a great man and an absolute engineering bloody genius who’d explained so much to me at many steam fairs and told me so many wonderful stories in my childhood, Youth and early adulthood.. the Late Great Fred Dibnah … how he would have loved this afternoon…..

Enjoy the shots…

And of course no Steam railway experience would be complete without the classic Black and white shot….

Ah Fred!  Shame you Missed it Old Boy!!
Ah Fred! Shame you Missed it Old Boy!!



Bob Sharples who was round the other side by the Marsh in the car park managed to grab a few shots as the trains came through and has kindly given us these to add to the blog.. check out Bobs wildlife shots at his site  Bobsharplesphotography.co.uk

Many thanks for those Bob