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Author Pentewan railway - later use
derrickman

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Pentewan railway - later use
Posted: 20/04/2011 23:03:08
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I saw a thread a little while ago on another website about the Pentewan railway. This name is generally taken to mean the steam-worked tramway serving the now-silted-up harbour, but there are references to a subsequent re-use of part of the track-bed for some sort of light industrial use - making pre-cast concrete blocks, something of that sort?

I'm fairly sure it was still in at least intermittent use when I was in Cornwall in the 70s, anyone know anything about this?

--

He knew the magic monotony of existence between sky and water: the criticism of men, the exactions of the sea, the prosaic severity of the daily task, because there is nothing more enticing, disenchanting, and enslaving than the life at sea.
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Roy Morton

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Location: Redruth Cornwall

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Pentewan railway - later use
Posted: 21/04/2011 00:09:09
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I did hear mention of this myself when I was working in St Austell at a supermarket (Leo's?) doing re-furbishment. I and another carpenter were sent into the part of the carpark where there were some old granite buildings. My job was to cast some concrete lintels over the doorways to help consolidate the building. It turns out that these were part of the Pentewan Railway and one of the locals mentioned something about concrete blocks and the railway. This was back in mid 1980's and further enquiries at the time seemed to draw a blank, most people either being too young to remember the place as it was, or not having any real interest.
The buildings at the time had been re-pointed and the walls topped off with mortar. I don't know if a roof was addded later or not.


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'Bid me discourse, I will enchant thine ear'
IP: 109.156.225.18 Edited: 25/04/2011 00:50:13 by Roy Morton
derrickman

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Pentewan railway - later use
Posted: 21/04/2011 06:22:34
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It has been mentioned in some parts that the one section of the railway was subsequently used to serve a concrete block business there.

There are mentions of two Ruston Hornsby diesel locos dating to the 1960s, but I wonder if this is a confusion with the Penlee Quarry railway which certainly used such stock.

Don Boreham, the doyen of narrow gauge modellers, visited the site in the late 1960s and referred to his surprise at seeing "much of the track still in place" but I think he perhaps saw the later railway. Of course there would be plenty of stock and portable track available for such an operation at the time

I found when I was down there in the 1970s, that even at a time when there were still quite a few people around who remembered the 1920s and 1930s you had little chance of learninng anything useful about local engine houses etc - even the names were often forgotten or misquoted - and you were best to fall back on Dines plus the CSM Library for such information.





--

He knew the magic monotony of existence between sky and water: the criticism of men, the exactions of the sea, the prosaic severity of the daily task, because there is nothing more enticing, disenchanting, and enslaving than the life at sea.
IP: 212.33.146.218 Edited: 21/04/2011 06:27:29 by derrickman
Peter Burgess

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Location: Merstham. Or is it Godstone ...... ?

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Pentewan railway - later use
Posted: 21/04/2011 07:59:25
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Check the AditNow gallery images for Pentewan Railway. One of the images is of a Ruston Hornsby loco in its shed.

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Hé ! Ki kapcsolva le a villanyt ?
IP: 81.144.191.248 Edited: 21/04/2011 07:59:41 by Peter Burgess
Alec

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Pentewan railway - later use
Posted: 21/04/2011 11:17:47
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Michael Messenger's book Industrial Railways of the South West, 2005, Chacewater, Twelveheads Press, provides the answer. Opened in 1829 at 4'0" gauge, it was converted to 2'6" gauge for steam traction in 1872. The line closed and rails were lifted for the 'war effort' in 1917.

A new industrial railway was laid to the same gauge at the harbour end to support a concrete block works using sand from the beach, carried by the new rail system. Messenger relates that some former Pentewan Railway wagons were used on the system but that there was otherwise little connection between the two. He noted that the 'new' line's Ruston diesels were locked away in the shed, out of use, in 1961.


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Alec
IP: 92.6.131.149 Edited: 21/04/2011 11:18:12 by Alec
Darran Cowd

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Pentewan railway - later use
Posted: 21/04/2011 13:21:19
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Indeed so, the shed still exisited in the 1990's near the bridge from the west side of the harbour into the caravan park, itself built for the blockworks to access the dunes for the necessary sand. One of the Ruston's made it to Wheal Martyn I believe. An interesting story and line worth reading up on as well as visitng on the ground! IP: 95.177.10.235
Tamarmole

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Pentewan railway - later use
Posted: 21/04/2011 22:33:22
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The later tramway was built to the same gauge (2'6") as the original Pentewan Railway. It had two Rustons, one of which still survives at Wheal Martyn where it is "preseved" outside and is gradually deteriorating, presumably because it is "just a diesel". I also suspect that a Jung loco was used on the line at some stage.

I was at Pentewan with me missus a few weeks ago ("Oh look dear I've just found the remains of an industrial railway - isn't that a surprise", I suppose its a slight variation on "oh look dear there's a mine isn't that a surprise"), there is a considerable amount of track still in situ as is the loco shed. Well worth a look combined with a trip to Wheal Martyn followed by fish and chips at Mevagissey.
IP: 81.153.82.183
derrickman

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Pentewan railway - later use
Posted: 23/04/2011 08:27:53
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Mevagissey, that's the link. I used to know Mevagissey, for reasons which came to nothing in the end... stares pensively out of window... I thought I remembered the tracks being in place.

Have to admit to being another "diesel cynic", one smelly box instead of another. I can never take any interest in main-line ones on preserved railways, I suppose because to me they are a permanent reminder of the tiresome process of commuting in the days before electrification.. cold, tatty carriage-stock trains with erratic heating and lighting, the later open-plan stock which managed to be uncomfortable, crowded and bleak all at once, the added bonus of those much-detested carriages which had smoking at one end only..

Of course this was also a time when BR's notorious reputation for delays and cancellations was much reinforced. A thoroughly miserable time, not helped by being a then-necessary career change necessitated by the mid-80s oil price crash, BR diesels and 1960s carriage stock still depress and repel me.

I suppose the same could be said of diesel and for that matter, battery trammers. Working with contractors' battery trammers in tunnelling during the 1980s and early 90s, cranky things with rheostat controllers which managed to be both hair-trigger and yet require vigorously banging up and down at times, old wrecks which tended to be worked till they broke down or couldn't manage at least half a shift on their flagging batteries, or those lay-flat small-diameter horrors from Clayton or Muhlhauser..

Same for the hideously awkward job of carrying a survey tripod in a man-rider and getting it out when you got there.

Mind you, only thing worse than riding on trammers .. not being able to get one and walking hundreds of metres with your gear slung about you, head bent in the 5' or 5'6" diameter and high-stepping over the sleepers half-buried in the silt and dirty water in the invert, worst of all in the old bolted segments with their rib-and-pan design ... happy days Glare Thumb Down



--

He knew the magic monotony of existence between sky and water: the criticism of men, the exactions of the sea, the prosaic severity of the daily task, because there is nothing more enticing, disenchanting, and enslaving than the life at sea.
IP: 212.33.146.218
JohnnearCfon

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Pentewan railway - later use
Posted: 23/04/2011 12:20:09
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IIRC the company owned another, similar site elsewhere (Par???) they had three Rustons which worked at both sites as required. Again, from memory, two tended to be kept at Pentewan whilst one was normally kept at the other site. IP: 92.26.186.110
Alec

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Pentewan railway - later use
Posted: 23/04/2011 12:48:36
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This is exactly the sort of recollection that tends to be overlooked in revisions of the publications on these lines. How on earth do we lodge this information in a place where it will be used in future work? Aditnow excepted, of course, but you get my drift (I hope so, anyway).



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Alec
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JohnnearCfon

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Pentewan railway - later use
Posted: 23/04/2011 13:04:14
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No, I don't think thy had any drift mines!

Sorry, I couldn't resist that!

I probably have a bit more info in the books I have will dig out later.
IP: 92.26.186.110
Alec

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Pentewan railway - later use
Posted: 23/04/2011 13:09:53
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I knew that would happen as soon as I'd written it!

Be good to hear more of the Pentewan story...

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Alec
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JohnnearCfon

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Pentewan railway - later use
Posted: 23/04/2011 14:11:46
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It was too good an opportunity to let go!

There was a good article in Model Railway News in 1966 (can't remember the month). Unfortunately I no longer have the magazine. I will look up what I do have later and post it on here.
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Tamarmole

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Pentewan railway - later use
Posted: 23/04/2011 21:38:18
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derrickman wrote:

I suppose the same could be said of diesel and for that matter, battery trammers. Working with contractors' battery trammers in tunnelling during the 1980s and early 90s, cranky things with rheostat controllers which managed to be both hair-trigger and yet require vigorously banging up and down at times, old wrecks which tended to be worked till they broke down or couldn't manage at least half a shift on their flagging batteries, or those lay-flat small-diameter horrors from Clayton or Muhlhauser..



What's not to like.

Small industrial locos are things of great joy and their crankyness is part of their charm. Oh how I laughed last weekend when the brake gear on my Lister railtruck fell off five minutes before a group of visting railway enthusiasts were about to turn up.

IP: 81.153.82.183
derrickman

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Pentewan railway - later use
Posted: 28/04/2011 11:46:13
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Tamarmole wrote:

derrickman wrote:

I suppose the same could be said of diesel and for that matter, battery trammers. Working with contractors' battery trammers in tunnelling during the 1980s and early 90s, cranky things with rheostat controllers which managed to be both hair-trigger and yet require vigorously banging up and down at times, old wrecks which tended to be worked till they broke down or couldn't manage at least half a shift on their flagging batteries, or those lay-flat small-diameter horrors from Clayton or Muhlhauser..



What's not to like.

Small industrial locos are things of great joy and their crankyness is part of their charm. Oh how I laughed last weekend when the brake gear on my Lister railtruck fell off five minutes before a group of visting railway enthusiasts were about to turn up.



I think the "charm" or otherwise of such things is fairly directly related to the degree to which you are dependent upon them to actually do a job of work in the available time, so that you can get done, end the day with one les problem than you started it with, and go and do something you'd rather be doing.





--

He knew the magic monotony of existence between sky and water: the criticism of men, the exactions of the sea, the prosaic severity of the daily task, because there is nothing more enticing, disenchanting, and enslaving than the life at sea.
IP: 86.30.241.199
Tamarmole

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Pentewan railway - later use
Posted: 28/04/2011 21:01:35
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derrickman wrote:

Tamarmole wrote:

derrickman wrote:

I suppose the same could be said of diesel and for that matter, battery trammers. Working with contractors' battery trammers in tunnelling during the 1980s and early 90s, cranky things with rheostat controllers which managed to be both hair-trigger and yet require vigorously banging up and down at times, old wrecks which tended to be worked till they broke down or couldn't manage at least half a shift on their flagging batteries, or those lay-flat small-diameter horrors from Clayton or Muhlhauser..



What's not to like.

Small industrial locos are things of great joy and their crankyness is part of their charm. Oh how I laughed last weekend when the brake gear on my Lister railtruck fell off five minutes before a group of visting railway enthusiasts were about to turn up.



I think the "charm" or otherwise of such things is fairly directly related to the degree to which you are dependent upon them to actually do a job of work in the available time, so that you can get done, end the day with one les problem than you started it with, and go and do something you'd rather be doing.





Very true - I work with a fleet of aging battery locos in varying states of decrepitude. There is nothing more annoying than a failure when attempting to run to a timetable.
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JohnnearCfon

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Pentewan railway - later use
Posted: 29/04/2011 22:35:05
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I was totally wrong about the other site being near Par! Here are the details:-

Pentewan Dock and Concrete Co. Ltd, previously Pentewan Dock Ltd.

The company operated narrow gauge railways at two sites:-

Gwitian - SX 585420 Replaced by dumper trucks October 1968

Pentewan - Sand quarrying ceased c1966 subsequently used as a caravan site although locos remained in shed for years afterwards.

2 RH 189992/1938 New to Pentewan thence to Gwithian c1957 returned to Pentewan 1962.

1 RH 195842/1939 New to Pentewan thence to Gwithain and back to Pentewan in 1961 Scrapped c1968.

- RH 244558/1946 New to Gwithian thence to Pentewan c1957.

189992 is privately preserved along with a number of other industrial narrow gauge diesels of various gauges in Edinburgh.

244558 is at Wheal Martyn, St Austell.
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Alec

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Pentewan railway - later use
Posted: 30/04/2011 11:23:05
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That's 'dotted the i and crossed the t' nicely - many thanks, John!


Best wishes,

Alec
IP: 92.6.133.29
JohnnearCfon

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Pentewan railway - later use
Posted: 30/04/2011 11:28:07
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Sorry it took longer than anticipated to post it!

One interesting point though. If you follow the loco transfers through it seems the final loco left Gwithian in 1962. Yet that also says the railway was replaced by dumper trucks in 1968. I wonder what they were using as motive power at Gwithain between 1962 and 68? A tractor maybe? Hand propelling?

As is often the case, answering several questions leads to others!
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Alec

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Pentewan railway - later use
Posted: 30/04/2011 18:18:45
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John, other research with which Scoggan and I are involved is full of questions leading only to more questions - at least we have a sense of moving forward. Well, somewhere, anyway!

You raise an interesting point. I wonder if the dump trucks hold the clue here, in that the gap in rail traction was indeed filled by tyred vehicles instead as you suggest. Because the period 1962-1968 is well within living memory, someone out there, possibly a Pentewan resident, or ex-resident, knows the answer.

All the best,

Alec
IP: 92.6.101.85
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