5th May 2003
The North Wales & Snowdonia Excursion
|Locos Used||37047, 37114 & D1015|
1Z31 : Castle Cary to Llandudno Junction
1Z61 : Llandudno Junction to Castle Cary
The annual outing for Hanson, Mendip Rail and Foster Yeoman employees and families, organised by Pathfinder Tours. A limited number of seats were released to non-employees/family members.
|D1015||Castle Cary - Frome - Westbury - Trowbridge - Bradford-upon-Avon - Bath Spa - North Somerset Jn - Dr Days Jn - (1) Filton Abbey Wood - Patchway - Severn Tunnel Junction - Maindee East Jn - Maindee North Jn - Abergavenny - Hereford - Craven Arms - Shrewsbury - Whitchurch - (1) Crewe - Chester - (via NWC) - Llandudno Junction|
|D1015||Llandudno Junction - (reverse of outward route) - Westbury|
|37047 + 37114||Westbury - Frome - Castle Cary|
(1) Train was originally routed via Bristol Parkway, Cheltenham Spa & Birmingham but was changed a couple of weeks prior to the tour because of pathing difficulties through the Birmingham area (in part related to D1015's lower speed limit on mark 1 coaching stock until TPWS equipment is fitted).
Source : Gary Thornton (joined/left the train at Frome)
(by Gary Thornton)
D1015 passes Llanvihangel, between Abergavenny and Hereford on the
outward journey. (photo : Bruce Garbutt)
Gary Thornton's tour ticket.
Here are some more photos taken on the day.
For the last few years the staff and families of Foster Yeoman, Mendip Rail & Hanson have had their own railtour once a year. In previous years the train had been hauled by their own locomotives (class 59/0 or 59/1) but this year it was to be a bit different with the use of D1015 "Western Champion". With the destination of this trip being Llandudno (Junction) this was a trip well worth being on. Pathfinder Tours (who organised the tour) and were able to offer a handful of spare tickets for sale a couple of weeks before the day. Needless to say demand for the tickets was strong! I was lucky and managed to get a bay of four and was even luckier to find myself and my colleagues seated in coach A.
Pre-tour gen confirmed that D1015 was due to haul the train all day except at night from Westbury where the locos (booked pair of 37's) from the Saturday Pathfinder would take over. As these were 37047 & 37114 and I needed 37047 a starting point of Frome (7.23am) was chosen.
4am - Steve arrived at my place then off we drove to Frome, arriving with time to spare despite doing an unscheduled lap of the back-roads in the Westbury area! With only minimal car parking at Frome we bagged one of them then sat back and watched the cars arrive, drive round and out again...off in search for some on-street parking elsewhere no doubt.
D1015 rolled into Frome a minute or so behind time. Getting on with the short platform took a couple of minutes and by the time we located our seats in coach A (at the back of the train) we were on our way. A quiet run northwards ensued. A third colleague boarded at Trowbridge and our number was complete when colleague number four got on at Bath Spa.
Routed via Severn Tunnel Junction and the Welsh Marches made for a nice journey. By Abergavenny I'd migrated to the front of the train (I wonder why...) and spent my time split between helping to deplete the on-train beer stock and chatting to a few other acquaintances who had also been drawn mysteriously to the front couple of carriages. Strange (and mildly amusing, particularly after a couple of beers) discussion in the bar as we passed a quite impressive old building near Craven Arms - "I went there once" said Steve, "can't remember what it's called but I think it begins with S"...."Castle?" said the other Steve in our group.
It was of course Stokesay Castle, so split points for that one I think.
All too soon and we had arrived into Llandudno Junction - but not before a discussion had taken place as to whether this might be the first ever visit of a "thousand" to Llandudno Junction....we did wonder if any of the Crewe built examples were tested along the North Wales Coast but the learned amongst us thought not - but do you know any different?
Buses were organised to get us into Llandudno but with three of them the bus-bashers were spinning as to how to scoop all three in an out-and-back move! Myself and Steve chose to bash the Great Orme tramway and we succeeded in clearing all four working trams (4, 5, 6 & 7) and had a few minutes at the top where the views were quite spectacular.
Back to the station (on the same bus, good job I don't bash buses!) and for us in coach A the entertainment really began. Being sat in the third bay back the sound effects were spectacular and the whole six hours or so back to Westbury again went by way too quickly! A break at Chester was extended to allow D1015 to take on some additional fuel but the delay was caught-back before Shrewsbury.
Severn Tunnel Junction - what an experience! We entered at a fair speed with D1015 cruising but part way through the power handle was thrown back and it was time to shut up talking (difficult in the best of circumstances with all the windows open wide) and listen to the Maybach music!
Arrival back at Westbury and D1015 was dropped off for 37047 & 37114 to take over. The 5¾ miles to Westbury were too short a distance to enjoy the tractors but they put on a good show nonetheless!
Verdict : Best tour this year? Hmm, difficult to say but certainly one of the best. A big thank you must once again go to the DTG and everyone else involved in getting D1015 "Western Champion" out on the mainline....and keeping it going in such fine fettle. Another worthy performance that was well worth the early start and late finish.
Timings (Booked & Actual)
(from Gary Thornton)
|14.02||Frome||07.20a ~ 07.23d||07.21 ~ 07.25||22.43a ~ 22.46d||22.43 ~ 22.47||5.60|
|19.62||Westbury||07.32a ~ 07.36d||07.34 ~ 07.36||22L14a ~ 22L34d||22.16 ~ 22.34||0.00
|23.65||Trowbridge||07.42a ~ 07.45d||07.41 ~ 07.43||22.04a ~ 22.06d||22.06 ~ 22.10||241.18|
|36.43||Bath Spa||08.02a ~ 08.10d||07.59 ~ 08.15||21.44a ~ 21.47d||21.47 ~ 21.49||228.40|
|47.45||Dr Days Jn||08/29||08/29||21/31||21/32||217.38|
|51.29||Filton Abbey Wood||08.35a ~ 08.42d||08.37 ~ 08.40||21.20a ~ 21.24d||21/21 ~ 21/23||213.54|
|63.38||Severn Tunnel Junction||08/54||08/54||21/06||21/07||201.45|
|72.51||Maindee East Jn||09/03||09/05||20/57||20/58||192.32|
|73.03||Maindee North Jn||09/08||09/07||20/55||20/56||192.00|
|83.64||LIttle Mill Jn||09/26||09.22a ~ 09.25d||20/44||20/42||181.19|
|115.52||Hereford||10c03a ~ 10c05d||10.04 ~ 10.06||20c10a ~ 10c12d||20.09 ~ 20.11||149.31|
|165.67||Sutton Bridge Jn||10/52||10/59||19/16||19/17||99.16|
|199.28||Crewe||11c35a ~ 11c37d||11.40 ~ 11.42||18c11a ~ 18c18d||18.34 ~ 18.37||65.55|
|210.08||Beeston Castle & Tarperley SB||11/50||??/??||17/58||18/20||54.75|
|220.38||Chester||12.03a ~ 12.06d||12.12 ~ 12.15||17.11a ~ 17.40d||17.06 ~ 18.08||44.45|
|250.36||Rhyl||12.37a ~ 12.40d||12.44 ~ 12.45||16.34a ~ 16.37d||16.33 ~ 16.36||14.47|
All distances, in miles and chains (M & C), are taken
from the timing sheet given out on the train. No attempt has been made to verify
the mileages given.
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