St Blazey Engine Shed - History


St Blazey engine shed dates from the opening of the Cornwall Minerals Railway on 1 June 1874. This line linked Fowey and Newquay via Par in Cornwall. The engineer was Sir Morton Peto and he built workshops for the railway on the north side of Par, close to the adjoining town of St Blazey. The workshops included a distinctive roundhouse engine shed of nine 70 feet long roads around a turntable. Each shed road had a 58 feet long pit between the rails for servicing engines. The area also boasted an erecting and repair shop, a fitting shop, a smithy, boiler house and a 2,500 gallon water tower.

Because of their location, the engine shed was initially known as Par. On 1 January 1879 a loop line was built to the Cornwall Railway station at Par after which the Cornwall Minerals Railway engine shed and adjacent station were known as St Blazey to avoid the confusion of two stations with the same name.

The Cornwall Minerals Railway was operated by the Great Western Railway from October 1877. A new, elevated coaling road and 45,000 gallon water tank was provided before 1908.

The Great Western Railway was nationalised into British Railways from 1 January 1948. The first diesel locomotive was allocated to St Blazey in November 1960. The last steam locomotive workings from the shed were on 28 April 1962.

The roundhouse has since been converted into industrial units but since April 1987 the adjacent wagon repair shed has been used to service diesel locomotives, local passenger trains, and wagons used for china clay traffic. The turntable has been retained to turn the preserved steam locomotives that still visit Cornwall on special main line workings. Goods traffic is still sometimes loaded at St Blazey in the marshalling yard adjacent to the depot.

British Rail was privatised in the 1990s, the goods traffic and workshops becoming the responsibility of freight operator, EWS. Now owned by DB Schenker Rail (UK) the wagon shops are no longer in use for wagon repairs as this has been transferred to Fowey Docks.

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