Par has been a popular stop off for railway enthusiasts travelling between Penzance and Plymouth because of the nearby St.Blazey depot and the possibility of catching a china clay train on the move. The last time I visited was in the summer of 1985 so I have a few photographs from then too.
Currently, local bus services are operated by Western Greyhound and First Kernow whilst Roselyn Coaches provide, fittingly, coach trips to a variety of destinations as well as handling school contract work…
Western Greyhound 706, an Optare Solo, on the 525 route in Par. The 524 and 525 routes connect St Austell, St Blazey, Par, Tywardreath/Polmear and Fowey.
First Kernow 34116 crosses the railway at Par station on the 27 bus route. The route connects Par to the Royal Cornish Hospital at Treliske by way of St.Austell and Truro though not all journeys cover the full route.
728FDV, a Plaxton Premiere bodied Volvo B10M coach, stands in front of Roselyn’s Middleway Garage in St.Blazey.
Roselyn PUI8031 at their Middleway Garage amongst other buses employed on school contract duties (the yellow badge indicates their involvemnet on this type of work). The vehicle is a Volvo B10M with Alexander PS bodywork
On the railway, the one thing that has not changed since 1985 is the allocation of Intercity 125 High Speed Trains to London – Penzance Services…
An HST with Power Car 43098 leading arrives at Par with ‘The Merchant Venturer’ express from Paddington, which routes via Bristol to Penzance.
A shot from back in 1985 where 43153 waits for the ‘Right Away’ at Par with a Paddington bound HST. In the loop, a class 37 waits with a mixed freight – two ferry vans and some china clay wagons. Freight trains are carefully timed to fit into large gaps in the passenger services as a stalled train on the Cornish banks can create havoc to the timetable
Other things have changed considerably – almost everything is a multiple unit whilst in 1985 the mainline services were locomotive hauled. Times change and services have been streamlined to balance local use against long distance. The indigenous locals of Cornwall – the Hymeks, Warships and Westerns – have gone. Replaced by Peaks, 37’s, 47’s and 50’s initially but ultimately by the Class 66.
Back to the Present and we find a class 66 diesel running light engine into Par and onto St. Blazey depot while another waits in the loop beyond the station. Semaphore signals remain the norm in Cornwall but for how much longer – perhaps another couple of years before they are replaced by colour lights. More history and atmosphere lost, though on the railway there are safety gains to be made.
150131 arrives at Par with a Plymouth to Penzance service. Some of these units were intended for short journeys like the Gospel Oak to Barking run in London. Like this one, they were not intended to couple with other units and no gangway between units was provided. Some of the others in the West Country have gangways – see further down the photos
Back in 1985 services from as far afield as Newcastle used to make their way into Cornwall. Referred to as Cross Country services they were often hauled by one of my favourite classes – the Peak’s. Here, a member of that class brings a Penzance service into a windswept Par station
All Aboard for Newquay – I suspect that, were it not for the freight traffic generated by the China Clay industry, the Newquay Branch would have closed along with its fellow branches in Cornwall. But nowadays the level of passenger traffic probably justifies its retention. Most passengers are holiday makers and here are some rushing to join a service at Par. The Locals probably use the bus or car. The class 153’s seen in this photo are the normal local train on the branch but in the height of summer HST’s can be found exploring 20mph territory!
In 1985 the Newquay Branch was served by the Western Region’s Diesel Multiple Units of the 118 Class – ordered back in the 1960’s by the British Transport Commission for British Railways. Although built by the Birmingham Railway and Carriage Works, they were to a Derby design and like most other DMU’s on BR were referred to as Derby Deathtraps in much the same way that Ford cars were referred to as Dagenham Dustbins 😉 As you can see the Semaphore signals were as evident then as they remain today.
The train that was waiting in the loop ran through Par before reversing and coming through to clean the rails. This is necessary due to the amount of leaves that trees drop at the start of an English winter and because modern rolling stock doesn’t use brakeshoes to slow down anywhere near as much as the old trains did – the leaves get between the wheels and the rails. 66094 leads and 66011 (out of shot) brings up the rear.
The Rain is never far away during an October Holiday in England. 150221 arrives at Par during a downpour with a service from Penzance to Plymouth – an example of the class 150 with the connection gangway. Some of those without gangways started their workinglives in London – to where I would be driving the next day…
I would like to extend my thanks to the First staff at Par for allowing me to take images on the station. Their support and understanding was greatly appreciated and they are a credit to their company.