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La Belle France. We have sneaked in a couple of Bob Spalding's latest pictures at the top of this page, but most of it is given over to a selection of John Fisher's excellent photographs from the once extensive narrow gauge network which centred on Carhaix in Brittany. We are sure you will agree that John has captured some exceptional autumn colours, and I apologise for the long delay in publishing these. Webmaster.

Above: Norton Manor hauls a passenger train on the West Somerset Railway down the grade towards Watchet station. Below, the disused trackbed of the former West Somerset Mineral Railway now accomodates a high quality trail back to Washford, some two miles behind the photographer. Our correspondent could hear the WSR train approaching and only just managed to get his camera out in time – a case of being in the right place at the right time. June 2013. (Bob Spalding)

 
Above: Moorswater's first viaduct was one of Brunel's cost-cutting timber-topped affairs, the remains of which are dotted all over the county. This is hardly surpirsing when one considers that the 70 miles of the Cornwall Railway included no less than 42 such structures – a financial time bomb for the CR's successor, the Great Western Railway. The first Moorswater Viaduct was built in the 1850s and replaced in 1881, but six piers from the original remain, and the view above shows two of them – one seen through the arch of the other. The dramatic location of Moorswater Viaduct and its height make it one of the most dramatic on the Cornish main line. 15th June 2013. (Bob Spalding)
 
Above: We're off to Brittany now to view some remains from the former narrow gauge network once based on Carhaix Plouguer, which is underlined in red. (You can click on this map to view a larger version.) Five lines radiated out from Carhaix ,which (clockwise) went to Guingamp (the only one that survives albeit as standard gauge); Rostrenen and Loudeac; Rosporden and Concarneau; Chateauneuf-du-Faou and Chateaulin; and Huelgoat and Morlaix. The latter now forms much of the new cycle route between Carhaix and Ilfracombe via the Roscoff-Plymouth ferry. This map comes from the book Brittany by C.B. Black, published by Adam and Charles Black (12th edition) in 1901, and shows that the lines were all in place by that date. Our correspondent has not yet researched the exact dates of construction, but he believes that most became operational during the last two or three decades of the 19th century. Wherever you go on the former network, the architecture of the stations etc. is remarkably uniform. There is also similar architecture for the slightly later narrow gauge lines in Normandy, which suggests that they may have been planned centrally from Paris. (John Fisher)
 
Above: This and the pictures which follow were taken at Pont Triffen, near Landeleau in Brittany. This is Spezet-Landeleau station, which survives as factory offices although the urinal survives in use as a public facility. Summer 2010. (John Fisher)
 
Above: The former crossing keeper's cottage at Pont Triffen, is almost overwhelmed by a dazzling display of autumn colours. Autumn 2010. (John Fisher)
 
Above: This bridge over the River Aulne, formerly used by narrow gauge trains, is now part of a multi-use trail based on the trackbed. October 2010. (John Fisher)
 
Above: An autumn view of the railway path about 500 metres east of Pont Triffen. The tight curve gives away the route's origin as part of a narrow gauge railway. Autumn 2010. (John Fisher)
 
Left: A narrow gauge locomotive has been peeserved on a short track panel at Carhaix station; it is typical of those in use on the line until much of the network closed in the 1960s. Autumn 2010. (John Fisher)
 
Above: A close-up of the manufacturer's plate, attached to the locomotive's cab. Etablissements Piguet was a French locomotive builder based in the Vaise quarter of Lyon, although it had a separate factory in the north of France at Anzin; both locations are proudly displayed here. Our correspondent does not know why the French – not the most capitalist of nations – always feel the need to give an indication of the value of a business. It is still the same around 100 years later, which also shows their innate conservatism. Nor, so far as he is aware, did the French ever give anywhere near so many of their locomotives a name as in Britain. Autumn 2010. (John Fisher)