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The changing face of Plymouth


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The old canopy on the former through platform at Plymouth North Road station, now truncated by the concourse and split into two non-passenger bays, is finally being removed, due to the cost of refurbishments and the fact that it's not required for passenger amenity. It seems like quite a long job, care is being taken to dismantle it piece by piece, oxy-acetelyne cutting gear being used where appropriate:

 

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post-57-0-54768100-1338905781.jpg

 

post-57-0-08835200-1338905794.jpg

 

post-57-0-91198800-1338905807.jpg

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During my last vist to North Road (catching a train to the Aylesbury show) I noticed that the glazing was being removed rather carefully and assumed that it was being replaced.

 

It makes more sense to remove the canopies as these platforms are no longer in use.

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I would think that the structural bits are in pretty good nick and might be reusable - after all they're barely 50 years old. Wonder if they're being recovered for the 'spares box'?

 

Agreed, could they be in connection with future repair work at Plymouth, though the other platform canopy seems a different style?

Weston-super-Mare platform canopies were refurbished some years ago,

before the work started 3 (?) redundant spans at the Bristol end of the up platform were removed.

They were carefully taken down as the engineers wanted to learn about the method of construction

and wear and tear they had received to better prepare for the refurbishment of the main parts of the roof.

 

cheers

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  • 2 months later...

The recently removed canopy dates from the rebuilding of the station (concourse, signal box, admin tower) in 1960.

Could NR be removing it to prevent the whole lot being listed?!

The remaining canopies are from 1938 as are the buildings on platforms 7/8.

Prior to this, there were two short overall rooves (up and down sides), connected by some girders giving a similar appearance to Chester.

Platform 2 (up end) was last used for RES and TPOs, the Captain's photos 2&3 show it has been raised in height to allow trolleys easy access into super BGs/GUVs.

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Umm - when was it actually last called North Road?

 

It's funny really as the majority of local people I know still refer to the station as North Road. I certainly do, but then my parents and grandparents called it North Road.

 

Regards,

 

Nick

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The station is generally referred to in Plymouth as "North Road"; while Millbay and Friary are gone there is still Devonport which is sometimes referred to as "Plymouth Devonport" by locals.

 

The layout at Plymouth has long struck me as a little odd and perhaps owes something to the fomer status as a junction. The former down through platform which would have been adjacent to the booking hall was cut in two to create short docks but has created a slightly longer walk to and from what used to be an island for passengers. The original layout could have been kept and with Millbay closed no conflicting moves would arise. The layout created did however create parcels docks which were formerly well used and two west-facing bays one of which is used by Gunnislake trains and local stoppers to east Cornwall.

 

I don't mourn the passing of the canopy as I find North Road rather unlovely and lacking in character. It is also high on a ridge above Pennycomequick (a quirk of Plymouthian geography) and exposed to cold winds; more enclosed waiting and some half-decent heating would be welcomed by waiting passengers!

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What are the two "non-passenger bays" being used for please?

 

The London end one was the Railnet (Royal Mail) terminal, but hasn't had a lot of use since then, have a funny feeling (without checking) that platform was also raised for that service as well so may not be well suited to passenger trains. I don't get down to Plymouth that often, but the Cornwall end one is quite short, I've seen it used occasionally to stable test trains or empty DMU stock.

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No regular use at all at the up end since mail operations ceased; the down end gets used occasionally to park track machines and may still be available for (but is not to my knowledge ever used for) the Gunnislake / Liskeard trains which normally depart from the adjacent bay.

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Here are couple of shots of Plymouhg in 2003 / 2004 showing the raised parcels platform at the North end and the short platform road at the South end that Martyn was referring to.

 

North end bays

post-1557-0-34230000-1346310540_thumb.jpg

 

South end bays

post-1557-0-14234500-1346310551_thumb.jpg

 

Thank you all very much for the replies. Another question now. Why does that vehicle number 302 have windows in the end? Is it a driving vehicle of some sort?

 

Ed

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Yes its a driving cab so the parcels train could run in push pull mode

 

Strictly speaking it is a "Propelling Control Vehicle" or PCV. This did not permit the train to run in push-pull mode powered by a locomotive at the rear but did permit the locomotive to be controlled via the TDM wire from the PCV when entering a siding or parcel dock. Only short-distance moves at low speed were permitted IIRC when the PCV was leading. This arrangement was used to avoid the need for running round or loco-first entry to sidings which would then have required a reversal out onto the main line. Use of the PCVs was short-lived.

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PCVs were only shortlived because the role they played dissapeared along with the South West mail traffic. ;)

 

I believe they had a 40mph speed limit leading, they were built (edit - converted would be better, they were former EMU driving trailers) to allow trains from the South/South West headed to the new Railnet terminal at Willesden to reach the terminal via a turnback siding at Kensal Green, so it must have been something like a 3 mile? reverse move.

 

Trains to the SW would do the opposite, be shoved out to Kensal Green before going forward...

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The heavy duty nature of the buffer stops in the bays, and their distantance from the actual end of the line give a good clue as to why PCV use was a good idea at Plymouth....

 

 

I believe ( before I was there!) that someone once rough shunted right onto the "filled in bit" between the ends of each couple of bays.......

 

I was there the day after it happened and somewhere have a photo of It!

 

XF

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Cap'n, that low-relief, backscene building in your first pic top right; is that the new P.O Sorting Office building?

I remember working there (in the original building) as a 'Casual' is the school Christmas Holidays in '64 & '65 & maybe '66 but I can't quite remember :mail: . Two rounds per day with huge sack and out by Laira and Friary (coincidence honest). Mostly walk to Mutley Plain then bus out and walk back I seem to remember. Sadly a few years too late to enjoy the steamy side of being a posty :stinker:

I can remember the banter and the smell of fry ups wafting up from the canteen in the basement - lovely.

Strange seeing the old place after all these years especially as I was there when it was rebuilt and resignalled in 1959/60.

Happy days.

P @ 36E

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Strictly speaking it is a "Propelling Control Vehicle" or PCV. This did not permit the train to run in push-pull mode powered by a locomotive at the rear but did permit the locomotive to be controlled via the TDM wire from the PCV when entering a siding or parcel dock. Only short-distance moves at low speed were permitted IIRC when the PCV was leading. This arrangement was used to avoid the need for running round or loco-first entry to sidings which would then have required a reversal out onto the main line. Use of the PCVs was short-lived.

 

IIRC the controls in the PCV did not drive the locomotive, but operated indicator lights in the loco cab where a second driver would work the controls accordingly. The only controls operated directly from the PCV would have been a brake valve, lights and horn on the PCV itself. The reason for this was that it was felt that push-pull operation would be unreliable on such elderly equipment.

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Cap'n, that low-relief, backscene building in your first pic top right; is that the new P.O Sorting Office building?

I think you're right, but to be honest, I think I'd need to have another look out of the window next time I'm there, as the photo isn't particularly clear on that point!

 

The two west-end 'bays' are the more heavily used. One is designated 'Platform 3' and is the regular daily Gunnislake platform. The adjacent line is known as 'Dock 4', and is regularly used to stable units. The sidings at the east end are also used for occasional unit stabling, and also for watering steam locos, now that it is no longer permitted (by the water company) to use the hydrants on the platforms - a road tanker now draws up in the yard next to the old Post Office docks and waters the steam loco from there.

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I think you're right, but to be honest, I think I'd need to have another look out of the window next time I'm there, as the photo isn't particularly clear on that point!

 

The two west-end 'bays' are the more heavily used. One is designated 'Platform 3' and is the regular daily Gunnislake platform. The adjacent line is known as 'Dock 4', and is regularly used to stable units. The sidings at the east end are also used for occasional unit stabling, and also for watering steam locos, now that it is no longer permitted (by the water company) to use the hydrants on the platforms - a road tanker now draws up in the yard next to the old Post Office docks and waters the steam loco from there.

 

That building is relatively new and was built to house the automatic letter sorting machinery which was part of the revolution of restartiing mail trains involving the alterations, which gave birth to the original canopies, the demolition of which started this topic!

 

On a further tangent if you look at the Capn's last picture there are three rows of housing running up the picture towards the park, just above these in 1865 and again in 1872 the Great Western built temporary sidings to deliver goods to the Bath and West agricultural show

 

Changes have been going on for a long time now.

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