8th May 2004
Hertfordshire Rail Tours
West Somerset Diesel Gala
|Loco(s) Used||59103, 59204 & 66716|
1Z27 : Paddington to Bishops Lydeard
1Z28 : Bishops Lydeard to Paddington
|59204||London Paddington - Slough - Reading - Southcote Jn - Westbury - (via Frome avoiding line) - Cogload Jn - Taunton - Bishops Lydeard|
|59103 (1)||Bishops Lydeard - Minehead|
|66716 (1)||Minehead - Bishops Lydeard|
|59204||Bishops Lydeard - (reverse of outward route) - London Paddington|
(1) plus 59204 dead-in-tow.
Sources : various including PRAR & Mark Herriott
(from Mike Searle)
I booked this tour early in the New Year and with relatively little to do in the first third I was glad I did. Although I'd covered the route on a Hertfordshire tour a dozen or so years ago, I'd yet to sample any of their 'home fleet' of diesels so a few days before the tour everything was looking very promising. Then the Western dropped out; then the Hymek. Nevertheless on Thursday evening it looked as though I might scoop eight locos: my last 59/2 was quoted for the tour, a required Mendip Rail 59 was allocated to the gala, a required 66/7 was heading for Bishops Lydeard and five home locos were due to figure. By Friday a dud Mendip 59 had materialised and I was greeted at Slough on the Saturday morning with the news that 59202 had been passed by the tour at Acton Yard.
En route mobile technology advised me that the 25 would not feature but the Hymek was heading for Bishops Lydeard. The journey was uneventful and generally on time and at Bishops Lydeard 59103 backed on to the tour to take it through to Minehead. I leapt at Crowcombe Heathfield to connect with a dud 33048 back to Bishops Lydeard. Here Hymek D7017 took the stock northwards, but again I leapt at Crowcombe to get 66716 in, before anything could go wrong with it !!! Weather-wise the miserable rain of the south-east had been exchanged for a cold, but dry, Somerset.
At this point, like most other bashers, I made my move for the gronks. However mutterings were detected on the return arrival of the first shuttle that all was not well with 03 119. Sure enough it was removed with a 'gala promise' that it would materialise on the following (14:15) shuttle. So 'Manor' 7820 and 08377 (D3462) topped and tailed to Norton Fitzwarren and back.
On our return, and after a 50 minute fester, the 08 and 03 did the round trip in 30 minutes flat, saving participants another hour with nothing to do and getting many of us up to Williton behind 33202 and 33103 (both dud). At Williton I gained my last scratch of the day with a run behind Class 14 D9526 to Crowcombe for 59103 and 37419 up to Blue Anchor to connect with the returning railtour. Here West Somerset staff sensibly allowed London bound passengers across the crossing before allowing 66716 to lead the tour in to the station and block the crossing.
The 66 came off at Bishops Lydeard and 59204 made a punctual return journey to Slough.
All in all it turned out to be an enjoyable day, although I heard that the final gronk shuttle was cancelled due to an air leak on the 03. With four of the 'home fleet' still required a return visit to the West Somerset will be necessary ..... maybe next year !!!!!
Timings (Booked & Actual)
|Slough||07.50a ~ 07.52d||07.54 ~ 07.56||20.37a ~ 20.40d||20.30 ~ 20.35|
|Reading||08.11a ~ 08.13d||08.13 ~ 08.15||20.14a ~ 20.18d||20.10 ~ 20.12|
|Heywood Road Jn||09/09||09/05||19/19||19/19|
|Westbury||09.12a ~ 09.14d||09.08 ~ 09.12||19.13a ~ 19.16d||19.13 ~ 19.16|
|Clink Road Jn||09/22||09/19||19/05||19/07|
|Castle Cary||09/35||09.31a ~ ??.??d||18/52||18/54|
|Taunton||10.00a ~ 10.02d||09.54 ~ 10.02||18.27a ~ 18.29d||18.27 ~ 18.30|
|Norton Fitzwarren||10.08a ~ 10.11d||?||18.20a ~ 18.22d||?|
|Bishops Lydeard||10.26a ~ ??.??d||10.26 ~ ??.??||??.??a ~ 18.05d||??.?? ~ 18.05|
|Crowcombe Heathfield||11.03a ~ 11.06d||?||?||?|
|Williton||11.21a ~ 11.31d||?||17.33a ~ 17.34d||?|
|Blue Anchor||11/51||?||17.11a ~ 17.15d||?|
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