Saturday sees the first of this year’s specials passing the cameras. The UK Railtours Tre Pol and Pen trip is due to pass Dawlish at 10.43 as it travels from London Euston to Plymouth Friary before returning at 15.30. We are expecting Top and Tail class 66’s on this tour but if you want to know more then check the UK Railtours site. The following is an extract from their site and is quite interesting as far as the name and route are concerned.

The old phrase ‘Tre, Pol and Pen’ is often used to describe people or places in Cornwall. The full rhyming couplet runs: ‘By Tre, Pol and Pen, Shall ye know all Cornishmen’. Many Cornish surnames and place names still retain these prefixes, such as the surname Trelawny and the villages of Polzeath and Pendoggett. Tre in the Cornish language means a settlement or homestead; Pol, a pond, lake or well; and Pen a hill or headland.

There have been changes to the route and we now include not only the highly scenic branch line from Lostwithiel to Carne Point but also the site of the former Plymouth Friary Station plus the Dartmoor Main Line to Okehampton and Meldon Quarry. It is a wonderfully attractive route taking us down to sea level at Carne Point and then right up to the bleak expanses of Dartmoor.

We run from Euston via Willesden and Acton to head west along the winding ‘Berks and Hants’ line through Newbury and Castle Cary to Taunton. Once past Exeter we find ourselves heading along the famous Dawlish Sea Wall, then over the gruelling Devon Banks before dropping down to pause briefly at Plymouth. There are views across the Royal Naval Dockyard before the line becomes single track to cross Brunel’s Royal Albert Bridge over the River Tamar. Now in Cornwall, our route twists and turns its way through the distinctive landscape, crossing deep valleys by graceful viaducts as we go.

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