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Features: Penpoll Quay, 'O', 1950s

Published 24 September 2019, 10:48

Penpoll Quay is a 7mm, ‘O’ gauge finescale, layout set in the 1950s.

Penpoll Quay is a small Cornish quay on the River Fowey and gets its name from Penpoll Creek halfway between Lostwithiel and Fowey. Its position upstream from the clay port of Fowey means that Penpoll Quay deals only with the smaller coasters. These ship china clay to other parts of the country and the continent - all large ocean-going vessels are handled at Fowey.

The majority of the clay is loaded into small five-plank end door wagons and covered by tarpaulins to keep out the rain; the higher quality clay is bagged and loaded into vans or standard opens and sheeted over. The cranes on the jetties used grabs to unload the open clay wagons, but these could not completely clear the clay from the wagons, so men with shovels had to complete the job. The vans, loaded with bagged clay, had to be unloaded onto the dockside and the bags put onto a sling which the crane would then swing over and into the ship’s hold. Penpoll also handles inbound coal brought in from South Wales for the clay dries.

St Blazey supplied the locomotives for the china clay workings in the area, mainly ‘Pannier’ tanks of various classes. The only other classes used on the clay workings were the ‘Prairies’, of both ‘45XX’ and ‘4575’ classes, and either a ‘42XX’ 2-8-0T or ‘72XX’ 2-8-2T, which were rarely allocated outside of South Wales. These larger engines were used for the heavily graded line through Pinnock tunnel to Fowey.

The quiet routine is only disturbed by the need for the breakdown vans (ex PO wagons were often in poor repair in the 1950s) and the appearance of an Inspection Saloon.

Look out for a feature on Penpoll Quay in a future issue of Hornby Magazine.

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