It’s Saturday evening, and the departure platform at Penzance is packed with 60 people.
Most are homeward bound, although some may be Cornish folk, off on an expedition. All are travelling courtesy of the GWR’s “remarkably cheap excursion train”. The train leaves the station, and away they go – rattling across the timber viaduct then back onto solid ground, heading towards Marazion, St Erth, Hayle, Gwinear Road….
Where are they heading? Some to Bristol, some to Bath – some even to London.
Further along the line, more and more join them until – as the engine puffs across Brunel’s Tamar Bridge (still a sight worth seeing, even after 23 years of use have rendered it so familiar a sight) the carriages have a full 400 on board.
We can only hope that they have a happier journey than the lady taking the other direction of travel on the same day, and arriving from London, bound for Tresco. This hapless passenger made the error of placing her trust in the details printed in a “London guide” as to the time of departure of the Lady of the Isles. Yes, the unfortunate traveller was left behind! But every cloud has a silver lining, and her mishap will be turned to commercial advantage in next week’s newspaper: if only she had consulted “the steamer’s advertisements, always to be found in the Cornishman”!
Cornish Telegraph, 26th October 1882 page 4 (railway story)
Cornishman 26th October 1882 page 7 (Lady of the Isles story)