28th March 2005

Pathfinder Tours
The Avonmouth Branch Explorers

Locos Used at least 67012 & steam: 5029
Stock Used 5365+5341+4902+1863+5040+4927+5322+6310

Route:
2Z27 : Bristol Temple Meads to Bristol Temple Meads
2Z28 : Bristol Temple Meads to Portbury Automotive Terminal
2Z29 : Portbury Automotive Terminal to Bristol Temple Meads
2Z30 : Bristol Temple Meads to Bristol Temple Meads
2Z31 : Bristol Temple Meads to Portbury Automotive Terminal
2Z32 : Portbury Automotive Terminal to Bristol Temple Meads
1Z33 : Bristol Temple Meads to Taunton
1Z34 : Taunton to Bristol Temple Meads

Loco(s) Route
5029 (1) Bristol Temple Meads - Dr Days Jn - Filton West Jn - Hallen Marsh Jn - Avonmouth NTL Silo 1
5029 Avonmouth NTL Slio 1 - Hallen Marsh Jn - Dr Days Jn - Bristol Temple Meads
5029 Bristol Temple Meads - Parson Street - Ashton Jn - Portbury Automotive Terminal
5029 Portbury Automotive Terminal - Ashton Jn - Parson Street - Bristol Temple Meads
5029 Bristol Temple Meads - Dr Days Jn - Filton West Jn - Hallen Marsh Jn - Avonmouth NTL Silo 1
5029 Avonmouth NTL Slio 1 - Hallen Marsh Jn - Dr Days Jn - Bristol Temple Meads
5029 Bristol Temple Meads - Parson Street - Ashton Jn - Portbury Automotive Terminal
5029 Portbury Automotive Terminal - Ashton Jn - Parson Street - Bristol West Jn - North Somerset Jn - Bristol West Jn - Bristol Temple Meads
5029 Bristol Temple Meads - Uphill Jn - Bridgewater - Taunton
?67012? Taunton - Bridgewater - Uphill Jn - Bristol Temple Meads

Notes :
(1) 67012 was shown on tops as part of the first train. Is this correct and if so, was it on rear of the train? Was this also the 67 reported by 'Lycra' as working the last train (heard but not seen!) - other gen sources suggest it should have been.

Source : Richard Rooker

Tour Review
(from Alex Cunningham)

It seemed like a good idea when I booked it at Christmas - a planned Easter Monday four hours of steam covering the Portbury and Avonmouth branches from Bristol Temple Meads, and cheap flights with Easyjet so that I could get there and back home to Scotland the same day, and have plenty of time off to watch/photograph trains.

Why is it though that the morning you get away from the house slightly later than planned is the morning there will be mist; road works; the ticket barrier at the airport car park will refuse to give you a ticket; then you get jammed when the revolving doors into the terminal stick; with the result that I missed the 06:30 check in deadline. Easyjet staff couldn't have been more helpful - would have got me on the next flight at no extra charge but that wasn't till mid afternoon, so I re-booked on the Air Wales flight to Cardiff and settled down to breakfast at Newcastle Airport as I watched the Bristol flight depart. The Air Wales turned out to be a small ATR42 twin turboprop; there were just twelve passengers three of us alighting at Cardiff and the remainder going on to Plymouth.

I arrived at Cardiff Airport at a quiet time on a Monday holiday - no onward transport in sight - I asked an airport official who pointed out an arriving BMIBaby 'bus which he said might take me into town. On approaching the 'bus the driver announced he would not be leaving for forty minutes.  After forty minutes had elapsed he duly returned to his vehicle and drove off empty despite my outstretched hand at the express coach stop. Well he did say he'd be waiting forty minutes; he said nothing about taking passengers into town.

A receptionist found me a taxi which then got gummed up in the Cardiff traffic gridlock and eventually cost 23 and I finally reached Cardiff railway station just inside two hours of my arrival at Cardiff Airport.  37425 was drawing in on a rake of ex Virgin MkII's, but my train today would be the 12:30 Wessex 158 to Portsmouth Harbour. Happy now, I'm on a train at last but then it ground to a halt near Bishton Flyover, and it was announced that we would be delayed by a broken down train ahead. So lunch was sandwiches off the Wessex trains trolley instead of the intended Pathfinder Rolling Riot. 

I had tickets to travel on train 2, 12 noon to Portbury and train 3, 14:08 to Avonmouth, and then photograph train 4 the 16:00 to Portbury. Having lost the 12 noon to Portbury I could still do this track by getting a ticket for train 4, so it was with some relief that the 158 eventually trundled into Temple Meads shortly before 14:00. I got some photos of Nunney Castle then settled into my seat in TSO W5040. Riviera trains had managed to find a few chocolate and cream Mark I's to match the loco although some of the coaches in mid-rake were blue and white Mark II's.

We set off a few minutes late with Nunney Castle setting off past the depot where there were three dead 37's, a Railtrack 31 and a Virgin liveried 47 with Freightliner logos. Nunney Castle worked hard up Filton Bank on load 9, then it was left turn down to Avonmouth coal terminal, passing Concorde at Filton, a six and a half miles each way trundle, with a long fester while Nunney Castle ran round to return tender first. A short leg stretch at Temple Meads and back aboard for the run to Portbury Terminal, about seven miles of branch line, much more interesting, passing under the Clifton suspension bridge and through Clifton Gorge. After running round among the cartics at the end of the branch we set off loco right direction, and noticed an EWS 66 peeping out from a diverging track at the terminal. Nearer the junction at Parsons Street there is a section of double track and here a Freightliner 66 was noted waiting to head light engine down the branch. We then ran through St. Philips Marsh and North Somerset Junction to arrive back in Temple Meads with the loco facing south for its next section, train 5, which would be one way steam and return diesel.

I had to leave the train here to catch the 18:30 airport 'bus. Reached Bristol Airport in time for a meal and then the Easyjet Boeing 737-700 G-EZKF back to Newcastle and the long drive home. 43 miles of steam; some new track; a great day out although it had turned out a bit more costly than planned.

Alex Cunningham

Timings (Booked & Actual)
(from various including Alex Cunningham & Pete Drury)

M.C Location 2Z27   2Z30 M.C
Booked Actual   Booked Actual -
0.00 Bristol Temple Meads 09.32d 09.33   14.08d 14.20 0.00
? Bristol East Jn 09/34 ?   14/10 ? ?
0.46 Dr Days Jn 09/35 09/36   14/11 14/22 0.46
? Stapleton Road 09/38 09/37   14/14 14/23 ?
4.23 Filton Abbey Wood 09/45 09/44   14/21 14/29 4.23
5.34 Filton West Jn 09/49 ?   14/25 14/33 5.34
10.78 Hallen Marsh Jn 09/58 10/00   14/38 14/44 10.78
11.77
0.00
Avonmout NTL PWR Silo 1 10*04 ~ 10*40 ?   14*44 ~ 15*08 14.49 ~ 15.11 11.77
0.00
0.79 Hallen Marsh Jn 10/46 10/35   15/14 15/15 0.79
6.43 Filton West Jn 10/59 ?   15/27 15/31 6.43
7.54 Filton Abbey Wood 11/14 11/14   15/32 15/36 7.54
? Stapleton Road 11/24 11/18   15/39 15/40 ?
11.31 Dr Days Jn 11/27 11/21   15/41 15/42 11.31
? Bristol East Jn 11/34 ?   15/46 ? ?
11.77 Bristol Temple Meads 11.36a 11.30   15.48a 15.45 11.77

 

M.C Location 2Z28 & 2Z29   2Z31 & 2Z32 M.C
Booked Actual   Booked Actual -
0.00 Bristol Temple Meads 12.00d 12.05   16.00d 16.02 0.00
1.69 Parson Street 12/07 12.09   16/07 16/07 1.69
2.73 Ashton Jn 12*11 ~ 12*16 ?   16*11 ~ 16*16 16.10 ~ 16.12 2.73
8.52 Portbury Dock Stop Board 12*30 ~ 12*35 ?   16*30 ~ 16*35 16.32 ~ 16.33 8.52
9.02
0.00
Portbury Automotive Terminal 12*45 ~ 13*05 12*47 ~ 13*10   16*45 ~ 17*05 16*38 ~ 17*05 9.02
0.00
0.30 Portbury Dock Stop Board 13*15 ~ 13*20 ?   17*15 ~ 17*20 ? 0.30
6.09 Ashton Jn 13*34 ~ 13*39 ?   17*34 ~ 17*39 17.35 ~ 17.38 6.09
7.13 Parson Street 13/43 13/50   17/43 17/42 7.13
- Bristol West Jn   17/48 17/49 8.50
- St Philips Marsh HST Depot   17/53 17/52 9.24
- North Somerset Jn   17/58 17/58 9.58
- Bristol East Jn   18/03 ? ?
9.02 Bristol Temple Meads 13.48a 13.54   18.05a 18.07 10.38

 

M.C

Location

Booked Actual   Booked Actual M.C
0.00 Bristol Temple Meads 18.55d 18.56   21.22 21.32 44.66
1.69 Parson Street ? ?   21/18 21/28 42.77
16.65 Worle Jn 19/16 19/16   20/58 21/12 28.01
19.58 Uphill Jn 19/19 19/18   20/56 21/11 25.08
26.79 Highbridge & Burnham 19/26 19/25   20/50 21/06 17.67
33.21 Bridgwater 19/32 19/31   20/45 21/02 11.45
39.63 Cogload Jn 19/39 19/37   20/41 20/57 5.03
44.66 Taunton 19.46a 19.45   20.35d 20.52 0.00


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