Luxulyan Photo Gallery
Derailment of a High Speed
Train in the Valley
- the one car HST episode
The shortest HST formation ever to run in passenger service
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On Saturday 25th May 1991, High Speed Train power car No 43035 heading the 11.30 Newquay to Paddington derailed shortly after exiting Luxulyan tunnel. This left it perched perilously over the edge of a high embankment deep in the Luxulyan Valley.
Rather than attempt to de-train the passengers and all their luggage in this almost inaccessible location, they were all moved through to the rear power car, No 43029. After uncoupling, it returned at walking pace through the tunnel to Luxulyan Station where the passengers alighted and were taken to Par in a fleet of cars.
This movement of power car 43029 on its own was - and still is - the shortest ever High Speed Train formation ever to carry passengers.
Thankfully it was early in the season so there were few passengers aboard. More importantly, the HST's driver suspected a track problem on the outbound trip over to Newquay so, on the return, was proceeding with extreme caution. Had the train been moving at permitted line speed and it been a couple of Saturdays later, Luxulyan could well have been remembered rather differently.
Running solo, HST power car 43029 approaches Luxulyan
43029 cautiously approaches Luxulyan Station - note the waiting Ambulance
Emitting more exhaust than a steam train, 43029 approaches Luxulyan Station
passengers alight at Luxulyan's commodious Inter City Station
and are taken down to Par in a fleet of cars
With passengers gone, 43029 waits in the station. Note the flower bed !
isolated location of the derailment in the Luxulyan Valley.
Left - leading power car 43035 is in the course of being re-railed
Right - a reminder of the previous order - 50032 in Network South East livery climbs towards the tunnel
Note the characteristic granite outcrops in the fields in the background - now all gone.
Power car 43029 has had a somewhat chequered history since 1991. In mid-2001 it featured in the press launch of First Great Western's new blue, white and pink livery.
On 6th November 2004 it was again the rear power car in a derailment - the fatal crash at Ufton Nervet in Berkshire when an HST hit a suicidal motorist's car on the level crossing. It suffered extensive damage as a result but, after a long period in store, it was repaired and re-entered service in Spring 2006.
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All photos © Malcolm Surl
Last updated 26/04/07