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Ex-Great Western Railway 4-4-0 3440 ‘City of Truro’ passes along the sea wall through Dawlish on the Great Western mainline.
On May 9th 1904, ex-GWR 4-4-0 3440 ‘City of Truro’, designed by Churchward in 1903, was timed at 102.3 mph down Wellington Bank on the up ‘Ocean Mails’ from Plymouth to Bristol.  Although disputed by some, this would have been the first man made object in the world to exceed 100 mph. Even if 100mph had not been exceeded, the speed would have certainly been in the high 90s. The ‘City’ class was withdrawn in the 1930’s, but this engine was preserved due to its historical significance. After many years in static preservation, it was restored to work on regular service trains and specials between 1957 and 1962. After a further period of operation in the 1980’s and 1990’s, it spent some years on static display in York Museum before being restored again to main line condition in time for the 100th anniversary of its record breaking run.


Images now Posted on the website
Ex-Great Western Railway 4-4-0 3440 ‘City of Truro’ passes along the sea wall through Dawlish on the Great Western mainline.
In 1986, British Rail chose to make a dubious economy by singling the mainline to Penzance from Burngullow to Probus (between St.Austell and Truro) to avoid renewal of worn out track. This single line section subsequently proved to be a bottle-neck, causing considerable ‘knock-on’ delays to passenger services in the West Country. Consequently, £14 million has been spent on re-doubling this section of track, and the formal re-opening took place on 30th November 2004. A special train, carrying the Minister of Transport, was commissioned by the Strategic Rail Authority for this re-opening, to be hauled at their specific request by ‘City of Truro’. This led to a number of special workings to get the locomotive into Cornwall and back. Most significantly, it gave the opportunity for 3440 to haul a train over the infamous South Devon banks for the first time for more than 40 years. It did so in spectacular fashion, making with its 5 coach train the fastest recorded ascent of Dainton Bank at that time in steam preservation history, with a speed of 35 mph at the summit of the 1 in 36 bank.

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