7th September 2002

Hertfordshire Rail Tours
Bristol & The Avon Gorge Line

Locos Used 66015 & 66133
Stock Used 3150+1679+3123+3124+1696+3114+3119+17023+4986+1832+4925+5037+5007

Route:
1Z66 : Finsbury Park to Bristol Temple Meads
1Z67 : Bristol Temple Meads (via Portbury AT) to Finsbury Park

Loco(s) Route
66133 08.22d Finsbury Park - Freight Terminal Jn - Camden Road East Jn - Ealing Broadway - (via GWML) - Chippenham - Bristol Temple Meads
66133 (2) 14.40d Bristol Temple Meads - Portbury AT
66015 (3) Portbury AT - Bristol Temple Meads
66015 Bristol Temple Meads - Bath Spa - Hawkeridge Jn - Heywood Road Jn - Bedwyn - Reading - (4) Acton Main Line - West London Jn - Kensington Olympia - Clapham Junction (P17) - Streatham Hill - Tulse Hill - Herne Hill - Brixton - London Victoria (4)

Notes:
(1) Route confirmation required.
(2) 66015 on rear.
(3) 66133 on rear.
(4) A block on the Kings Cross Incline resulted in the tour having to run into Victoria rather than back to Finsbury Park. A further block at Stewarts Lane forced a diversion over the rush-hour only Leigham spur.

Sources : PRAR, Daniel Bound, Mike Tetlow & Guy Vincent

Tour Review
(by PRAR)

After being postponed this tour was an easy day out: two sheds and the Portbury branch.

I reset the alarm from stupidly early in the morning to plain old early and staggered by way of Thameslink, breakfast and WAGN to Finsbury Park. Once again WAGN treated me to a view of my required units, working trains which it was impossible to cover them on.  Next time I think I'll go to Welwyn first and approach from the North instead.

66133 (required) brought the familiar green coaches into the station and we were away a few minutes late. Routing to Bristol was by way of the North London Line to Ealing Broadway and then Chippenham.

Arriving in Bristol basically on time then left a few hours to kill. There were the usual beer options but I selected the Bristol Harbour Railway. A casual stroll along the dockside and a crowd of us arrived at the museum.  They were having a running day and the crowd attempted to board the two wagons and brake van than that passed for their service stock.  IW&D 34 "Portbury" was at the front of the set, and "Henbury" brought up the rear.

I was expecting a simple shunt down to SS Great Britain and back, but in fact the we ran down the former mainline connection to the CREATE platform adjacent to the Ashton Swing bridge. As it was raining I opted for the ride back in the open wagons. HRT stewards were seen disappearing into the under growth in search of the former line to Ashton.

Option three seemed to be a spin on an 153 to Severn Beach. This move was fine if you did it on the first train. If you tried the second departure you were withered as it was -20 back onto the tour, "mmm".

The run down the branch to Portbury was largely without incident. It seemed we used a different siding at the Automotive terminal than the Festive Freighter, but as my Baker doesn't show any of this I didn't take much notice. Running back we took the opportunity to reverse and take in the coal terminal before getting back to Temple Meads about an hour early.

We spent an hour in Temple Meads listening to platform change announcements, and at the appointed moment 66015 (which had joined us earlier) was called into action. Taking the Avon Valley line to Westbury and then the Desert back to Reading allowed time for the diners to dine. From Reading things got slightly more interesting. A block on the Kings Cross Incline resulted in the tour having to run into Victoria rather than back to Finsbury Park. A further block at Stewarts Lane forced a diversion over the rush-hour only Leigham spur.

The final treat was seeing Mainline blue 73133+73136 waiting to work the empties in readiness for the Dungeness Pebbledasher the next day.

It made a change for a tour to run on time and cover the booked track and all in all it wasn't a bad day out. Highlight of the day was discovering that Isambard Kingdom Brunel is an anagram of 'man making rubber dildos'.

PRAR

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