The Far West

Most recent updates:
16th July 2018 – Addition of the D63XX diesels page.
14th July 2018 – Addition of the Penzance – 1970s page.
7th July 2018 – Addition of the Penzance – 1960s page.
1st July 2018 – Addition of the Long Rock page.
8th June 2018 – Addition of the Chyandour and Ponsandane pages.

You will find here a personal story, illustrated by photographic images of British railways in the region of 50 years ago. I have hundreds of other photographs – mainly black and white – that will be added as I have time. They are mainly of West Cornwall where I – Eric Curnow – was brought up, and my passion for railways developed.

St Michael's Mount viewed from Eastern Green

Riders exercise their horses between Long Rock and Eastern Green. The indentation in the sand dunes is the site of a WW2 gun emplacement – now buried under sea defences. 08/11/1976.

Pictured above is ‘St Michael’s Mount’, with ‘Long Rock’ before it, that sits in the shallows of Mount’s Bay in the far west of Britain. ‘Long Rock’ provides a fitting link to the information on this site, in that it gave its name to the nearby village and, subsequently, a railway depot of the Great Western Railway. A wonderful local mix of railways and natural beauty!

A Western parked on Long Rock depot

The engine of D1036 ‘WESTERN EMPEROR’ turns over as it awaits duty outside the ‘Fitting Bay’ of Long Rock MPD. Its recent repaint contrasts sharply with its surroundings. 07/06/1975.

In my thousands of visits to Long Rock’s “engine shed”, facing either way was quite a stimulation of the senses – the sight of railway workings alternating with the natural beauty around me; the taste and smell of the sea periodically mingling with diesel fumes; the churn of diesel engines turning over broken by the crash of waves or call of gulls; and the scrunch of railway track ballast little different from the churn of sand and pebbles on the foreshore. However, …

A Western pulling a down passengertrain

Adjacent to Long Rock depot, D1057 ‘WESTERN CHIEFTAIN’ spurts at a consistent speed towards the end of its run. A plethora of wild flowers, full of bees and insects, border the scene. 07/06/1975.

… within minutes there could be movement of a locomotive nearby, and that was the main attraction! These experiences were sufficient to draw me here on average two to three times a week for eight of my teenage years. Happy times and memories, for which I feel very blessed, and now I share on this website.

The following short cine clip shows Ponsandane – just outside Penzance – in 1970: