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Sunday, 22 July 2012

The Attraction of Dawlish

In this post, 22nd July 2012, I am using three photographs of jigsaw puzzles each one replicating the same location - the sea wall at Dawlish.

The Great Western main line hosts one of the most pictorial stretches of railway in Britain. Hugging a spectacular coastline of red sandstone rock between Teignmouth and Dawlish, the line has acted like a magnet to every railway artist of distinction, the sea wall at Dawlish especially so. The line and adjacent footpath are situated in close proximity to the sea with all three hardly separated during spells of inclement weather.

The line, originally from Exeter to Teignmouth,  was opened in 1846 by the South Devon Railway Company. Later in the same year the line was extended to Newton Abbott. Isambard Kingdom Brunel engineered the line to his broad gauge and intended it to function as an atmospheric railway. The latter lasted for one year only and was abandoned in 1848 in favour of steam locomotion. The South Devon Railway became part of the Great Western Railway in 1876 and was converted to standard gauge in 1892. The following three jigsaw puzzle pictures all show the line and sea wall at Dawlish but they are by different artists.


The first picture shows a King jigsaw of 500 pieces from original artwork by Malcolm Root. Titled Following the Train, the jigsaw features a GWR ‘King’ class 4-6-0 No. 6000 King George V hauling chocolate and cream liveried passenger coaches in the popular location. The famous bell on the locomotive is clearly shown. A family party on holiday in Devon, complete with a baby in a large, 1950’s style pram, follows the train for a short distance. This locomotive is preserved. I have used this example in a previous post but feel justified in repeating its use in this specific context.

A slightly different viewpoint has been used by another famous artist, Don Breckon. Picture number two shows a 240-piece wooden puzzle titled On the Sea Wall although its origin is unknown to me. GWR 'King’ class 4-6-0 No.6000, King George V is again the featured locomotive in Don’s artwork. The people on the footpath are different but from the same era.

Mike Jeffries also used the sea wall for a painting replicated as a 1000-piece puzzle currently on sale at ‘The Works’ chain of stationers. Titled A Trip to the Seaside, the jigsaw features the 4-6-0 ‘Star’ class locomotive No.4003 Lode Star  but with different  pedestrians on the footpath. The locomotive was withdrawn from BR service in 1951 and is part of the National Collection based at the National Railway Museum in York. Mike  painted the same scene on another occasion but with GWR 'Hall' class 4-6-0 No.4920 Dumbleton Hall at the head of the train; this latter painting has not been used for a jigsaw puzzle however, to the best of my knowledge.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Heritage Railways

The name Whitman is synonymous with jigsaw puzzles featuring Heritage Railways, and steam railways in particular. Whitman covered many such railways during the 60's and 70's with their 400-piece 'Steam Railways' series. There were three 'Steam Railways' series, (7414, 7525 and 7714) each of four puzzles, all reproducing photographs of variable quality. Also collectible is the 'Great Little Trains of Wales' series (7695) of six, 400-piece puzzles. Today's post, 2nd July 2012, focuses on two more jigsaws featuring Heritage or Preserved Railways. Over one hundred establishments with preserved railway lines can be visited in the UK.

The first picture features the North Yorkshire Moors Railway based at Pickering. The line runs from Pickering to Grosmont and  hosts a station in the village of Goathland, the setting for ITV's popular programme, 'Heartbeat'. From Grosmont passengers may join a Network Rail line to Whitby. The NYMR also run services through to the seaside town. The jigsaw in the picture is a 250-piece, wooden example from Wentworth simply titled North Yorkshire Moors Railway. The locomotive in the picture is an ex Southern Railway'S15' class, No.825, originally designed by Robert Urie. The class of 4-6-0s were initially seen on the London & South West Railway from 1920; No.825 was built in 1927 and withdrawn from BR service in 1964. She was one of the second batch of 'S15's modified by Richard Maunsell. The location in the picture is Goathland station. Before the railway from Grosmont to Pickering was completed in 1975 the line had been opened in stages from its humble origin in 1968.

The second picture shows a scene from the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway based at Keighley in Yorkshire. A Preservation Society was formed in 1962 to save the line following closure by British Railways. The 4.5miles long line runs from Keighley to Oxenhope and was formally opend in 1967. Although much shorter that the NYMR it is just as scenic as it passes through 'Bronte' country at Hawarth. The picture features an 0-6-0ST saddle tank locomotive but the number is unclear. The jigsaw is a 400-piece example from Whitman titled Keighley & Worth Valley Railway.