We are delighted to bring you news of a new feature on Dawlish Beach. Many of you have enjoyed the contributions from Colin with his photos and videos of specials passing along the wall. We can now announce that Colin has agreed to join the Dawlish Beach team to provide a weekly post where he will share past and present visits. We will hopefully publish one every Sunday and we thank Colin in advance for what we know will be a delightful addition to the site.

Seawall Specials Past and Present – Colin Campbell

GWR 3440 City of Truro was built in 1903 to a design by George Jackson Churchward. It was credited with being the first steam locomotive to attain 100mph in May 1904 whilst running down Wellington Bank in Somerset.

At the time the GWR wouldn’t release this information as they thought it would frighten passengers away rather than encourage them to travel on their railway! There has always been some doubt about the accuracy of the timing so it has never become an official record though doubtless it was there or thereabouts. The 100mph record was granted to the famous “Flying Scotsman” loco which is currently making news after completing it’s £4.2 million overhaul. That loco is now being tested and run in on the preserved East Lancs Railway up at Bury in Lancashire before attempting a main line outing.

City of Truro was retired from GWR service in 1931 and spent many years in the old Railway Museum at York before being resurrected  by British Railways in 1957 where it was based at Didcot to run special enthusiast trains and also used on the local services to Newbury and Southampton when not needed for special runs. Withdrawn again in 1961 the loco spent time in the GWR Museum in Swindon before having another overhaul in 1984 and let loose again on the railway as part of the GWR 175 celebrations. In 2004 City of Truro was given another full overhaul and we were lucky enough to see it running along the sea wall. Since that time it has visited several preserved lines but no longer allowed on the main line due to current safety regulations besides needing extensive boiler repairs. At this present time it can be seen in Swindon’s Steam museum for a 5 year spell before returning to the National Railway Museum at York or Shildon.

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