WITH excitement growing over the Flying Scotsman’s journeys through Cornwall tomorrow (Saturday), there has been some clarification over the arrangements for the day.
Large crowds turned out yesterday (Thursday) evening to see the famous engine and its companion locomotive, LMS Black Five No 44871, steam through Exeter, along the Dawlish sea wall and over the South Devon banks en route from Taunton to Plymouth – even if one bystander with a video camera was left fuming when a diesel train heading the other way ’photo-bombed’ his shots just as the steam-hauled train arrived.
As regards tomorrow in Cornwall, while Network Rail, the National Railway Museum and British Transport Police have asked for precise timings not to be given to help avoid problems of trespassers on the line, the departure time from Plymouth of 9am for Flying Scotsman and Black Five locomotive 44871’s run to Penzance suggests that the train will pass through Liskeard at around 9.30am. Saltash and St Germans are likely to be passed around 15-20 minutes before that time, and Lostwithiel and Par around 15-20 minutes afterwards. Arrival in Penzance will be at around 11am.
Unfortunately the forecast for the morning is currently for wet and windy weather, but it is now known that when the carriages set off on the return journey from Penzance under diesel haulage at 1.17pm, the two steam locomotives will be coupled at the back of the train. This arrangement is necessary because there are no facilities, such as a turntable like the one at St Blazey, for turning the tender engines at Penzance so they can run chimney-first back to Plymouth.
With the return trip’s arrival in Plymouth scheduled for 3.35pm, the train with the steam engines coupled behind is likely to pass through Liskeard at around 3pm.
Note that at stations with barriers, no access will be allowed except for those holding valid train tickets.
The forecast is for better weather when it comes to Flying Scotsman’s early evening trip to Par. Departure from Plymouth is scheduled for 5pm, so Liskeard is likely to be passed at around 5.30pm.
However, those hoping to get close to the steam engines on their arrival at Par at around 6pm are likely to be disappointed.
Not only does the return trip behind the diesel (again with the steam engines coupled at the back of the train) set off less than 10 minutes later, but tour operator Steam Dreams today (Friday) has sent out the following message to ticket-holders: ‘We are aware that some passengers are planning to only do the outward journey and alight during the brief stop at Par. We have been advised by our Operations Team today that there is a possibility that we will not be stopping in the platform in the station and, if this is the case, it will not be possible to alight at Par and all passengers will return to Plymouth.’
However, Great Western Railway is offering the public a chance to get close to the steam engines during their rest days at Plymouth Laira depot today (Friday) and on Sunday (October 7). GWR has set up a special public viewing area for these two days but adds that people wanting to use this should come by public transport as there is no parking available for cars. Similar arrangements are to be set up at Penzance tomorrow for the time that the steam locomotives are in the town.