13th September 2003

Pathfinder Tours
The Mendip Branch Explorers

Run in association with the Western Daily Press & Bristol Evening Post.

Locos Used 59002 & steam : 76079
Stock Used 35517+5275+5309+4902+4963+5040+5009+1863+21271

Route:
1Z31 : Bristol Temple Meads to Merehead
1Z32 : Merehead to Bristol Temple Meads
1Z33 : Bristol Temple Meads to Portbury
1Z34 : Portbury to Bristol Temple Meads

Loco Route
76079 Bristol Temple Meads - North Somerset Jn - Bath Spa - Bathampton Jn - Bradford Jn - Westbury - Clink Road Jn - Frome North Jn - Whately Quarry
76079 Whately Quarry - (reverse of outward route) - Westbury
76079 Westbury - (via Frome avoider) - East Somerset Jn - MP1 (1)
59002 + 76079 MP1 - Merehead
76079 Merehead - (reverse of outward route) - Westbury
76079 Westbury - Clink Road Jn - Frome North Jn - Whately Quarry
76079 Whately Quarry - (reverse of outward route) - Westbury - (reverse of outward route) - Bristol Temple Meads
76079 Bristol Temple Meads - Parson Stret - Portbury AT
76079 Portbury AT - Parson Street - Bristol Temple Meads

Notes :
(1) 76079 stalled on the rising gradient at MP1 resulting in the trains rescue by 59002.

Tickets sold separately as follows (adult fares given);
Bristol or Bath to Westbury (single) : 10
Westbury to Whately Quarry (return) : 18
Westbury to Merehead Quarry (return) : 18
Westbury to Bath or Bristol (single) : 10
Bristol to Portbury docks (return) : 15

Sources : various including Richard Savage & Kevin Stroud

Brief Review
(by Terry Jackson)

On the first trip up the Whatley branch we also stalled with 76079. The PA on the train said that they had a slight problem on the footplate but it seemed a simple case of running out of steam and having to resort to a good old fashioned blow-up. As we had stopped just short of the "summit", this seemed to do the trick and we made a slow restart before making the quarry. Once in the quarry, we crept right through the quarry until we reached the loading area which was as far as we could literally go. According to the PA, previous tours had all stopped short of this point and we were the first tour to reach this point, always a dubious claim to make as someone will no doubt claim otherwise. The second tour later made it through to the same point.

Having stalled en route to Whatley, we were wondering if we would make it to Merehead and, as you already know, we didn't. We stopped some distance short of the summit and help was called for in the shape of 59002 as there was no chance that we would be able to restart.

All of this together with an extended stop for water at Westbury because of problems with the water supply meant that we were at one point about two hours late. There was some speculation on the train as to whether the second trip to Whatley would be cancelled but a change of crew on the loco seemed to produce much more life in the proceedings and we set off again to Whatley where we stormed the climb with a superb piece of running. Water was taken at the quarry where there was a much more healthy water main and we set off back to Westbury and Bristol, arriving just over an hour late. I got off the train at Bristol where the loco watered and eventually set off for the evening run to Portbury which would have been completed in darkness (not much fun).

Terry Jackson

Timings (Booked & Actual)

Location Booked Actual
Bristol Temple Meads 09.26d 09.28
Bristol East Jn 09/27 ?
North Somerset Jn 09/29 ?
Bath Spa 09.43a ~ 09.46d 09.45 ~ 09.47
Bathampton Jn 09/51 09/52
Bradford Jn 10/04 10/04
Westbury 10.13a ~ 10.18d 10.17 ~ 10.25
Fairwood Jn 10/21 10/28
Clink Road Jn 10/26 10/34
Frome North Jn 10/29 ?
Whateley Quarry 10.48a ~ 11.10d ? ~ ?
Frome North Jn 11/28 ?
Clink Road Jn 11/30 12/02
Fairwood Jn 11/35 12/05
Westbury 11.39a ~ 12.28d 12.10 ~ 13.21
Fairwood Jn 12/31 13/25
Clink Road Jn 12/36 13/29
Blatchbridge Jn 12/40 13/32
East Somerset Jn 12/45 13/40
Merehead Quarry Jn 12/53 ?
Merehead 13.00a ~ 13.30d 14.50 ~ 15.30
Merehead Quarry Jn 13/33 ?
East Somerset Jn 13/42 15/52
Blatchbridge Jn 13/47 15/54
Clink Road Jn 13/50 15/58
Fairwood Jn 13/55 16/01
Westbury 13.58a ~ 15.25d 16.04 ~ 16.35
Fairwood Jn 15/28 16/39
Clink Road Jn 15/33 16/45
Frome North Jn 15/36 ?
Whateley Quarry 15.56a ~ 16.18d 17.00 ~ 18.09
Frome North Jn 16/38 ?
Clink Road Jn 16/41 18/27
Fairwood Jn 16/46 18/31
Westbury 16.49a ~ 17.36d 18.35 ~ 18.41
Bradford Jn 17/48 18/50
Bathampton Jn 18/01 19/07
Bath Spa 18.04a ~ 18.07d 19.12 ~ 19.15
North Somerset Jn 18/21 ?
Bristol East Jn 18/22 ?
Bristol Temple Meads 18.25a ~ 19.05d 19.34 ~ 19.45d
Parson Street 19/12 ?
Ashton Jn 19*16a ~ 19*18d ?
Portbury LP 19*32a ~ 19*34d ?
Portbury AT 19.44a ~ 20.05d 20.24a ~ 21.20
Portbury LP 20*15a ~ 20*17d ?
Ashton Jn 20*31a ~ 20*33d ?
Parson Street 20/36 ?
Bristol Temple Meads 20.40a 21.59


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