As part of the 150 celebrations on the Paignton & Dartmouth Steam railway this weekend they put on a one off special event which took place yesterday evening. A block was put on so that people could walk through Greenway Tunnel. It was a must do for me as I have been up and down through there so much on Torbays I wanted to go on foot!
I arrived for the 18.15 service hauled by 4277 Hercules. We set off for the climb up to Churston before arriving at Greenway Halt. I don’t think this little halt had seen so many passengers alighting before!
After the train had ben despached to the Kingswear side of the tunnel, we were given a safety briefing, given some glow sticks, and set off in small groups. It feltrealy starnge to me to be walking in the 4ft after having had it drummed into me by many PTS exams that this was not the place to be walking! Glow sticks marked our way and we walked through, the recesses marked by candlelight. Just before the tunnel mouth we came across a very recogniseable gentleman in the form of Mr Brunel! He seemed to be quite flummuxed as to why so many people had come to inspect his 1864 tunnel, and just what were those bright candles that burned so much brighter than his own!
We had pointed out to us the BR strengthening work that was carried out just inside the Kingswear end of the tunnel in the form of sprayed concrete.
On exiting the tunnel we then reboarded the train via ladder from the cess. (A much easier way of reboarding than hauling yourself up under your own power!) before heading on down to Kingswear fro a brief stop and engine shunt.
We were soon underway once more, heading back up towards Churston and then Paignton, riding through the tunnel on this occasion.
A very enjoyable evening enjoyed by all. Thanks to the P&DSR and Richard(Fireman) and Rory(Driver) not forgetting all the staff on duty who gave us a great time, and last but definitely not least Mr Brunel himself!