Today we saw the return of 34052 Lord Dowding after the embarrassing episode of it running short of coal and being unable to complete it’s roster on the Royal Duchy express yesterday. Nick photographed and videoed it as it rounded the curve after Teignmouth station where it entered the sea wall section under the well known skew bridge which has featured on thousands of photographs. It was returning to the West Somerset Railway at Bishops Lydeard where it is running on the preserved railway to Minehead. The picture below is a close up of the locomotive’s Walschaerts valve gear, the Firth Brown “Boxpok” wheels favoured by Oliver Bulleid for his Southern railway locomotives. They are constructed of thinner metal but in a box shape giving them great strength but lighter in weight than conventional spoked wheels. The clack valves near the top of the picture are non-return which allow water into the boiler but don’t allow steam to pass back in the other direction and the brass item above the nameplate is the steam whistle. You don’t usually have chance to see these details as it invariably speeds along the sea walls and are gone in a flash.

Regular Dawlish sea wall photographer Dave was also at the Rockstone footbridge gaining a bit of height for his record of the occasion. Note where the permanent way gang have put metal sheeting over the sleepers to reduce the risk of ballast being displaced when the waves break over the wall near this point.

Video by Nick Campbell and myself.