34 Christow Miscellany

With the country in the grip of a deadly plague and its people under effective house arrest, the scout’s ramblings were curtailed somewhat. Some interest, therefore, was shown in a few features found at his home station.

Now coded Prawn, this was one of two given to the railway by Watts, Blake, Bearne & Co.; the other was broken up. As far as is known, there is only one other, which can be seen from Newton Road, Kingsteignton, outside the office at the entrance of East Golds Works. They were used in the Bovey Basin adit-worked clay mines until superseded by steel side tippers, some of which came to Christow as well. The trucks’ extremely short wheelbases allowed end tipping and traversing of the very tight “balloons” at the heads of the inclines. Not only are the trucks scarce, so is the timber from which they were made. Elm was suited to being used in such wide boards because its interlocking grain resists splitting, hence its choice for chair seats and wheel hubs.

The other old end tipper, with unoriginal bodywork, is seen from Newton Road in July, 2022. +

The base of the Christow P.W. gang is equipped with gadgets the old boys would never have seen and some they would immediately recognize.

To help explain wheel conicity, this aluminium triangle extends the wheel profile of the flangeless “party piece” to the point where it would be at the tip of a very tall dunce’s hat. The scout used to stand in the corner wearing one of these and his mum used to tell him it was because he’d done well.

The “party piece” was filmed in 2021 and has proved very popular.

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