7th February 2004

Pathfinder Tours
The Valley Vostock

Locos Used 47197, 56038, 57007, 60021 & 66614
Stock Used 6310+3068+3069+3148+17056+1842+5350+5275+5307+5364+5378+5365

Route:
1Z70 : Crewe to Margam TC
1Z42 : Margam TC to Crewe

Loco(s) Route
47197 Crewe - Norton Bridge - Stafford - Bushbury Jn - Portobello Jn - Bescot Stadium - Perry Barr North Jn - Soho South Jn - Birmingham New Street - Proof House Jn - Bordesley Jn - Kings Norton - Bromsgrove DGL - Stoke Works Jn - Abbotswood Jn - Cheltenham Spa - Gloucester - Lydney - Severn Tunnel Junction Down Relief - East Usk Yard
66614 East Usk Yard - Newport - Cardiff Central - Penarth Curve North Jn - Pontyclun - Bridgend - Margam TC
56038 (2) Margam TC - Bridgend - Aberthaw - Barry - Cogan - Penarth Curve North Jn - Ninian Park - Radyr
60021 (3) Radyr - Ninian Park - Penarth Curve North Jn - Cardiff Central - Ebbw Jn - Park Jn - Machen
56038 (2) Machen - Park Jn - Gaer Jn - Newport - Maindee East Jn - East Usk Yard
57007 (4) East Usk Yard - Severn Tunnel Junction - (reverse of outward route) - Abbotswood Jn - Worcester Shrub Hill - Droitwich Spa - Stoke Works Jn - Bromsgrove - Selly Oak - Birmingham New Street - Aston - Perry Barr North Jn - (reverse of outward route) - Norton Bridge - Stoke-on-Trent - Kidsgrove - Alsager - Crewe

Notes :
(1) Tour originally advertised to feature 2x DRS 20's to Gloucester for a 66/5 to Bridgend. A trip to Aberdare using an EWS class 56 & 60 was also advertised, the 56 taking the train back to Gloucester for the 20's home.
(2) 60021 on rear.
(3) 56038 on rear.
(4) Plus 47197 (not powering).
(5) The tour brochure gave the return working as 1Z42 however some advance timing information gave it as 1Z71.


47197 at Birmingham New Street (photo: Kevin Law)

Sources : Mark Honey & Alan Sheppard

Tour Review
(by Mark Honey)

The highlight of this tour was to be the use of 2 x 20's that would handle the outbound and return leg from Crewe to South Wales, thus giving the tour participants a 'Spin & Win' style loco-fest with a few bits of red track thrown in around South Wales for the track scratchers. The locos in between the 20's were a 56, a 60 and a Freightliner 66 which would add the variety. However the 20's were the main pull for many. It was with a degree of trepidation then, that I decided to stick with it after it was announced the 20's would not be making an appearance (TPWS was mentioned, but I never did find out the real reason). Freightliner moved in and offered a 47/0 for the outbound leg and the return was to be powered by a 57/0.

The tour kicked off from Crewe and I joined at Birmingham New Street, having travelled in from Narborough. Having met one of our tour group, we sauntered down to platform 1 at a most acceptable 08.10 to find the tour in at 08.00 with a scruffy 47197 on the front. All remaining Freightliner 47's are dud for me, so I wasn't too perturbed. What did lighten my spirits was finding that we were booked on the front bays of coach A, so we would sample the thrash at various stages during the day. Not right now though as we were right at the back as we set off on time and took the southbound exit through the tunnels out of New Street and took the Camp Hill line to join the Bristol route. After picking up at Barnt Green (the rest of our shower joined here) we rattled southwards at a sedate 75 mph and picked up again at Cheltenham. We then turned right for Gloucester and picked up again there. It was sad to see the remains of the depot and just realise what a desert Gloucester now is in railway terms. The next few miles were spent sampling a few beers in the buffet and taking an interest in the route to Newport via Chepstow. We passed the Dean Forest railway connection and spotted 73002 lurking in the sidings.

Pulling into East Usk Yard we pulled up alongside 66614 - a winner all round, I believe. We swapped locos and carried on at a brisk pace, negotiating the Ninian Park route round the back of Canton depot. It was sad to note the derelict Syphons - especially 37413. Was that really the same loco I had had on the West Highland line all those years ago? We sped on to Bridgend where we arrived around 30 minutes early. The option was to break here for an hour and a half or stay on board to Margam Yard and witness the switch to the 56 and the 60. We chose the former and headed to the Wetherspoon's pub for some lunch.

Back at Bridgend and we encountered the only real upset of an otherwise good natured day. One of the station staff was extremely rude to many of the tour participants waiting to board, threatening them with transport police intervention, removal from the station etc etc if they didn't stand behind yellow lines or obey his very personal rules. First Great Western take note - this is unacceptable and genuinely upset people who had done nothing wrong. Yet another case of treating enthusiasts like second class citizens. (Stuart Smith comments : I suggest this was actually someone from "Wales & Borders" or "Arriva" as Bridgend is not a Great Western operated station).

The tour arrived back with 56038 leading (again, dud) but a certain 60021 was tailing (surprise, surprise). After it's no-show on the Joint Line Jester a few weeks previously, I thought it might play a hand in the day's proceedings...

We were now at the sharp end and the 'grid' sounded superb as it took the right hand spur off round the coast past Aberthaw Power Station and Barry towards Cardiff. We were heading for Radyr where we duly reversed and allowed the 60 to lead as it then took us up the Machen Quary branch. This was an excellent example of Buffer Stop Kissing as we managed to pass the loop at the end of the line (passing a smart looking 03 shunter D2199 parked under the bridge) and made it to within half an engine length of the end of the line.

Back down towards Newport and we crawled through Newport station to East Usk Yard where we arrived early. We had a 40 minute loco change here and 57007 was waiting with 47197 in tow to take us back north. We were let out 30 minutes early and the 57 showed us what it could do with a dozen coaches and a ticking-over 47 in tow.  Eyebrows were raised as we passed non-stop through Gloucester and straight on to the main line. We has expected to wait time, but it was not to be. We carried on northwards, set down at Cheltenham and diverted through Worcester as before where we were checked a few times, but still running 10 minutes in front of time.

The highlight for many now was the climb of the Lickey Incline. We got a fair run at it, but the pace slackened off alarmingly and there were sounds of slipping coming from the loco. It appeared the fans were actually slipping, which made the engine spew out a heavy burst of exhaust and slow up. Bizarre. We were down to about 20 mph, but managed to make it over the top.  From here it was straight through to Birmingham via a set down at Barnt Green where we said goodbye to most of our party. Arrival in New Street was a few minutes ahead of schedule.

Verdict? Good day out - good company and one or two locos made it interesting for me. Always nice to be at the sharp end and listening to the 57 climbing the Lickey was entertaining to say the least.

Can't help wondering what a pair of 20's would have sounded like though....

Mark Honey

Timings (Booked & Actual)
(from various including Alan Sheppard & Simon Cross)

M.C Location Booked Actual   Booked Actual M.C
0.00 Crewe 06.26d 06.27   22.30a 22.11 159.02
- North Stafford Jn   22/27 ? ?
- Barthomley Jn   22/24 ? ?
- Alsager   22/21 22/01 152.69
- Kidsgrove   22/16 21/58 150.30
- Stoke-on-Trent   22.05a ~ 22.07d 21.49 ~ 21.49 143.79
- Stoke-on-Trent Jn   22/03 21/48 ?
- Stone   21/56 21/39 136.71
? Basford Hall Jn 06/32 06/30  
8.06 Madeley 06/39 06/37  
19.08 Norton Bridge 06/50 06/46   21/50 21/33 133.15
24.37 Stafford 06.57a ~ 06.59d 06.56 ~ 07.01   21.33a ~ 21.43d 21.19 ~ 21.25 127.66
? Stafford No.4 07/00 ?   21/31 ? ?
38.14 Bushbury Jn 07/14 07/20   21/16 21/05 114.09
40.62 Portobello Jn 07/21 07/24   21/03 21/01 111.41
? Darlaston Jn 07/25 07/26   21/01 20/58 ?
44.79 Bescot Stadium 07/26 07/29   21/00 20/57 107.24
49.36 Perry Barr North Jn 07/36 07/34   20/53 20/51 102.67
- Aston   20/47 20/49 100.45
- Proof House Jn   20/44 20/45 98.45
? Perry Barr West Jn 07/37 ?  
? Soho East Jn 07/41 07/38  
52.27 Soho South Jn 07/54 07.40a ~ 07.49d  
54.28 Birmingham New Street 08.00a ~ 08.15d 07.53 ~ 08.15   20.39a ~ 20.42d 20.41 ~ 20.44 97.69
- Selly Oak   20/32 20/30 94.38
55.02 Proof House Jn 08/18 08/19  
55.79 St Andrews Jn 08/21 08/22  
56.25 Bordesley Jn 08/22 08/23  
61.40 Kings Norton 08/28 08/31   20/29 20/25 92.24
? Longbridge 08/31 08/36   20/26 20/23 ?
66.48 Barnt Green 08.35a ~ 08.37d 08.42 ~ 08.43   20.20a ~ 20.22d 20.18 ~ 20.19 87.16
70.11 Bromsgrove 08/44 08/50   20/14 20/08 83.53
72.24 Stoke Works Jn 08*49a ~ 09*04d 08.54 ~ 09.05   20/11 20/05 81.40
- Droitwich Spa   20/06 19/56 77.25
- Tunnel Jn   20/00 19.42a ~ 19.47d 72.13
- Worcester Shrub Hill   19/58 19.39 ~ 19.40 71.46
- Norton Jn   19/53 19/22 68.41
83.41 Abbotswood Jn 09/16 09/17   19/52 19/19 67.59
94.28 Ashchurch 09/25 09/25   19/42 19/09 56.72
101.39 Cheltenham Spa 09.38a ~ 09.40d 09.33 ~ 09.40   19.29a ~ 19.32d 18.58 ~ 19.02 49.61
107.02 Barnwood Jn 09/48 09/48   19/21 18/50 44.18
? Horton Road Jn 09/50 09.50a ~ 09.52d   19/20 18/49 ?
107.79 Gloucester 09.53a ~ 09.55d 09.55 ~ 09.58   19/19 18/48 (UM) 43.21
122.17 Awre Jn 10/11 10/12   19/04 18/34 29.03
127.32 Lydney 10/16 10/18   18/59 18/29 23.68
135.28 Chepstow 10/26 10/27   18/49 18/20 15.72
142.56 Severn Tunnel Junction 10/36 10/38   18/40 18/10 8.44
145.07 Magor 10/40 10/44   ? 18/08 6.13
151.20
0.00
East Usk Jn NY 10L55a ~ 11L25d 11.00 ~ 11.19   17L38a ~ 18L28d 17.26 ~ 17.55 0.00
8.47
? Maindee East Jn ? 11/21   17/35 17.21a ~ 17.22d 7.78
1.25 Newport 11/30 11/23   17/33 17/18 7.22
- Gaer Jn   17/27 17/16 6.39
- Park Jn   17*18a ~ 17*20d 17.12 ~ 17.13 5.48
- Machen   16.48a ~ 16.58 16.32 ~ 16.41 0.00
22.39
- Park Jn   16*26a ~ 16*28d 16.01 ~ 16.02 16.71
- Ebbw Jn   16/23 15.54a ~ 15.56d 16.09
6.35 Marshfield 11/38 11/32   16/19 15/47 11.36
13.05 Cardiff Central 11/52 11.43a ~ 11.44d   16.01a ~ 16.09d 15/35 4.66
? Radyr Branch Jn 11/54 11/47   15/56 15/33 ?
13.68 Penarth Curve North Jn 11/57 11/49   15/55 15/31 4.03
14.04 Ninian Park 11/58 11/49   15/54 15/30 3.67
14.36 Leckwith Loop North Jn 12*00a ~ 12*11d 11/51  
- Radyr   15.39a ~ 15.44d
(platform 2)
15.16 ~ 15.21
platform 3
0.00
39.73
- Ninian Park   15/21 15/05 36.06
- Penarth Curve North Jn   15/20 15/04 ?
- Penarth Curve South Jn   15/18 15/03 35.45
- Cogan Jn   15/13 14.57a ~ 14.58d 33.63
- Barry   14/53 14/44 28.05
- Aberthaw   14/41 14/36 22.40
24.21 Pontyclun 12/23 12/01  
33.26 Bridgend 12.34a ~ 12.37d 12.12 ~ 12.15   14.10a ~ 14.12d 14.10 ~ 14.15 8.59
41.45 Margam Moors Jn 12/50 12/30   13/56 13.52a ~ 13.55d 0.40
42.05 Margam TC 12.55a 12.39   13.50d 13.50 0.00


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