Easter in South Devon...1955 (3)

This was the day that we wanted to hear some engines working hard. So, after studying the Western and Southern Region timetables, an itinerary was planned that included Exeter to Taunton and back ie "Whiteball both ways", then Exeter to Plymouth, taking in Dainton and Rattery banks, then the return from Plymouth on the Southern route over Dartmoor, which would include the long climb to Bridestowe summit.
  EXETER ST DAVIDS: 10.05am to 10.40am:  
10.09am: 34060 25 Squadron called on 8.10am Ilfracombe-Waterloo 
10.11am: 4056 Princess Margaret arrived on 6.55am Bristol-Exter (5)
10.14am: 4946 Moseley Hall called on Paignton-Bristol relief (10)
10.17am: 34069 Hawkinge called on 8.15am Plymouth Friary-Waterloo (6)
10.21am: 5917 Westminster Hall called on Paignton-Sheffield relief (10) 
10.32am: 3800 passed on down Freight
10.35am: 4136 was waiting to depart on 10.35am Taunton "stopper"
10.35am: 5059 Earl St Aldwyn called on The Devonian (Paignton-Bradford)
We travelled from Exeter to Taunton on the Devonian with 5059 Earl St Aldwyn. Only one word can describe the run. Apalling!. It was a heavy load of 13, but we dropped 7 minutes on the 38 minute schedule with a 15 mph p.w.slack at Silverton. We then crawled over Whiteball at 30 mph, and the 73 mph down Wellington bank came too late. Net time was 42.5 minutes. My worst "Castle" run up to then.
The return from Taunton, on the 7.30am Paddington-Paignton (via Bristol), was much better. 6977 Grundisburgh Hall had load 12, and was 12 minutes late away. We reached 51 mph at Poole Siding, and made a noisy climb up to Whiteball without falling below 30. Good work for a Hall. An unchecked run, max 70 mph, down the other side brought us in to St Davids in 36 min 22 secs (schedule 40 min). Excellent! [view log of 6977]
At St Davids we saw 34031 Torrington arrive 5 mins early at 12.39pm on the 11.00am Plymouth Friiary-Brighton (10), then 5079 called 12.48/12.52 on the up "Torbay Express", 13 late with load 12. Then the 7.55am Penzance-Swansea arrived 12.55pm with 6814 Enborne Grange piloting 1009 County of Carmarthen. The pilot came off. 
Our journey from Exeter to Plymouth was on the 9.30am Paddington to Plymouth, which was 17 late from Exeter with 5092 "Tresco Abbey". The load was 9 plus a van. The early stages were strange. The entire journey between Exminster and Bishopsteignton was taken at between 48 mph and 51 mph. I think the driver must have set the cut-off and regulator and gone to sleep. It looked as if we were in for another poor Castle run. At Newton Abbot there was no pilot, and a vigorous climb to Dainton followed. But at Totnes we got assistance in the form of 5964 Wollesley Hall. We then ran comfortably to Plymouth in 36 min 18 sec, arriving 9 minutes late, the 8 minutes gain being helped by some recovery time in the schedules. But the noise levels up to Dainton, and then Rattery, were impressive.[view log of 5092]
  PLYMOUTH NORTH ROAD: 2.30pm to 4.00pm:  
DOWN LINE (Up Southern):
2.36pm: 75025 called on 2.25pm Plymouth Friary-Exeter Central
2.53pm: 6029 King Edward VIII pilot 6977 arrived on 10.30am Cornish Riviera Exp (12)
3.05pm: 4992 Crosby Hall was the new loco for the Cornish Riviera, leaving 15 late (10)
3.08pm: 6407 left with the 3.00pm Plymouth- Saltash (2)
3.11pm: 6023 King Edward II arrived on 10.35am Paddington-Penzance relief (8).
3.20pm: 6860 Aberporth Grange left on 10.35am Paddington-Penzance (8)
3.33pm: 5071 Spitfire arrived on the down Cornishman (6+van)
3.40pm: 7925 Westol Hall left on the down Cornishman (6+van)
3.47pm: 6407 left with the 3.45pm Plymouth-Liskeard (2)
3.47pm: 5552 arrived on Launceston-Plymouth service (2+2 vans)
4.03pm: 34037 Clovelly left on 3.50pm Plymouth Friary-Waterloo (5)
UP LINE (Down Southern):
3.20pm: 34028 Eddystone passed on down Southern freight (17+b) 
3.35pm: 5947 Saint Benet's Hall + 4947 Nanhoran Hall left on the 3.35pm to Cardiff
3.32pm: 6837 Forthampton Grange arrived on 12.00pm Penzance-Manchester (5+5v)
3.40pm: 34036 Westward Ho arrived on Portsmouth-Plymouth extra (9)
3.45pm: 1018 County of Leicester arrived on up Penzance mail (7v)
3.57pm: 6301 passed on up freight (17+b)
4.00pm: 6008 King James II arrived from Laira shed to work 4.10pm to Paddington
We returned to Exeter on the 3.50pm Plymouth Friary-Waterloo, with 34037 Clovelly and load 5. We were 3 minutes late away, which had been recovered by Tavistock. Here 4 vans were added making the load up to 249/260 tons. We climbed to the summit beyond Bridestowe in some style, from an initial 51 mph, we fell to 39 mph at Brentnor, then from 48 mph to 43 mph beyond Lydford, and from 54 mph to 52 mph, just short of the summit, where we eased for Meldon Junction. Later in the journey, after Okehampton, we reached no less than 81 mph at North Tawton, and achieved "even time" in 12 miles. We were in to Exeter St Davids slightly early after a check at Cowley Bridge. Impressive, but there was something else on that journey that left an even greater impression on me. The sheer beauty of the route. I nominate the Southern route from Plymouth to Exeter as my "favourite" main line.[view log of 34037] 
So having reached Exeter, it was the end of a splendid 4 days, and so we headed back up the A38 to the Midlands in our trusted Morris Minor.