Most websites about individual engines are either because they were famous or are today preserved.

5028 was “Unsung” and is long gone, but she was well liked by the Great Western footplate men who drove and fired her. She worked mainly in the Newton Abbot & Laira Areas.

The following pages trace her story from “Birth” in 1934 to her untimely “Death” in 1960.

Ken recounts 5028 and Driving on the Cornish Riviera, and  Ocean Liner Specials

Visited Ken Pattemore at his home in Saltash.  He remembers Fred Cole who was the driver of 5028 when the accident happened. He says he was quite a character who he worked with fairly often. Fred Cole lived in Bittaford and rode a motorbike to work.  In winter when the roads were icy he would walk to Laira from Bittaford!  I showed Ken the newspaper reports of the accident and he couldn’t “work out”  what happened.  He is going to ask around some of his railway contacts to see if he can find out more information about it.

He mentioned that Restaurant Cars were only kept on the Cornish Riviera after Plymouth in summer (summer timetable from May) which indicates the Video clip was during  spring/summer.

Lord Morley, Lord Lieutenant of Devon, used to travel on the “Limited” to London.  He unofficially offered the two footplatemen £1 between them if they arrived at Paddington ten minutes early!

Ken’s “Link” was made up of 20 Drivers & 20 Firemen  based at Laira.  Similar numbers were based at Exeter, Old Oak Common - and men from Old Oak would regularly alternate with Laira men on the Cornish Riviera. Usually after taking the C.R.E up to London he would stay in the B.R. hostel at Old Oak.  One unmarried driver who he worked with for 3 years and didn’t name, but clearly didn’t like, lived for the pub and would flog an engine  to get to a pub before closing time. Ken had family commitments and didn’t join him.

Ocean Mail/Liner Expresses were another train he remembers well.  On one occasion when there was a problem at Southampton (strikes?) one of the large liners (Q.E?) was diverted to Millbay.

14 heavy Pullman type carriages collected the passengers - extremely hard work for the fireman!  Ocean Liner Expresses worked until the early 1960’s by when the larger liners had stopped calling at Millbay.  Smaller ones still called,  but one of the last workings was hauled by classmate 5029 Nunney Castle 19th June 1961.

He drove a Royal Train once (Diesel) for Prince Charles when he was opening Liskeard Show.  The train went overnight to the Bodmin & Wenford line where it stayed before returning to Liskeard the next morning.  Ken had to stay with the engine all night to keep the heating going for the Royal party. On alighting at Liskeard Prince Charles acknowledged the engine crew which, he says, is more than Harold Wilson ever did on his trips to Penzance on his way to his Isles of Scilly holiday home!

Regarding the 1959 colour picture in “Portraits of Steam” of 5028 at Penzance on the up C.R.E he confirmed she had a short chimney.  “The man in overalls by the engine was probably a carriage cleaner.”  He named the porter at Saltash in the video as Bill Stanton.  

In earlier years when his shift finished at night when there was no ferry and before the Tamar road bridge was built, he would speak to the Royal Albert Bridge Box signalman and get unofficial clearance to ride his bike across the bridge back home to Saltash.

Ill health took him off the top link duties at the end of his career.  He was then based at  Marsh Mills /  Tavistock Junction doing shunting.  There were more derailments / accidents in the shunting yard because inexperienced young drivers were employed there!  Ken retired in 1988.  


<<<Back to Home