By Cedric Johns
DESPITE indifferent morning weather when Flying Scotsman departed Plymouth North Road to begin the A3’s first-ever visit into Cornwall, thousands lined the 78 miles of the testing route across the Duchy to Penzance on Saturday, October 6.
The extended week of action began on Thursday, October 4, when Flying Scotsman supported by ‘Black Five’ No. 44871 and empty stock ran westwards from Southall to Theale and Newbury, where passengers joined the train for a trip to Taunton, returning diesel-hauled.
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Later that day, passengers boarded for the journey from Taunton to Plymouth via Exeter, Newton Abbot and the South Devon banks.
However, the best was yet to come. On Saturday, October 6, Flying Scotsman entered Cornwall, working the train to Penzance, returning diesel-hauled.
Early into its journey the train, a Steam Dreams ‘Cathedrals Express’, was watched by crowds on the A38 road bridge running parallel to Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s Royal Albert Bridge spanning the Tamar.
Much to the delight of passengers and lineside spectators , the A3 ran unassisted because No. 44871 – a replacement for B1 4-6-0 No. 1306 Mayflower (see Main Line News, page 61) – was not gauged after Par for what was the top event of an extended weekend.
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