2nd October 1971

B.R. (L.M.R.)
(Merrymaker Excursion)

Loco Used class 47 no. xxxx
Stock Used Mark 1 & early Mark 2

Route :

Loco Route
xxxx Wembley Central - Willesden WL Jn - Mitre Bridge Jn - North Pole Jn - Kensington Olympia
xxxx Kensington Olympia - North Pole Jn - Old Oak Common East Jn - Reading - Swindon - Cardiff Central - Port Talbot - Felin Fran - Morlais Jn - Carmarthen Jn - Carmarthen Bridge Jn - Tenby
xxxx Tenby - (reverse of outward route) - Kensington Olympia
xxxx Kensington Olympia - North Pole Jn - Mitre Bridge Jn - (via low level goods lines) - Wembley Central

(1) Loco identity required.

Source : Gregory Beecroft

Tour Review
Gregory Beecroft)

This seemed like a good way of visiting West Wales and the advertised timings would allow a return trip from Tenby to Pembroke Dock by service train. Arrived at Wembley Central soon after day break to find a class 47 energetically filling the entire station with steam. Three friends and I found that we had a compartment to ourselves and that some of the steam was finding its way into the heating pipes. Off we go and round the corner to Kensington, remembering that at the time this was "rare track". The only scheduled passenger trains north of Kensington were Motorail. The 47 ran round and then we were back to North Pole Junction and branching right onto the curve down to Old Oak Common - now the departure line for the Eurostar depot. The signal controlling admission to the Western Region was red and remained so. The driver phoned to wake up bobby and, the message came back down the train, we were not expected! There was a lengthy delay before we could proceed, now running completely out of path. Despite that, reasonable progress was made.

I had been expecting to go via Landore Loop, so got a bit lost when the train took the Swansea District Line (this was six years before the first edition of the Baker Atlas was published). There was no way that the extensive lateness could be made up and when we got to Whitland found that the branch train had been allowed to leave. This, of course, was the train that should have followed us and that we had planned to go on to Pembroke Dock. There was then a further delay while we waited for the train to clear the section to Tenby. Exact timings no longer recorded, but we must have been getting on for two hours late into Tenby, to find that there was a reception party led by the Mayor, waiting to greet us!

Due to the late arrival it was announced that the return would be put back a bit, but there was still no way of getting to Pembroke Dock. We spent what remained of the afternoon on the beach. Running out of path, the initial lateness became a bit extended, but the return trip was unremarkable until departure from Kensington. We had been scheduled back quite late in the evening and by the time we reached West London Junction, even later, an engineer's possession had been taken of the main lines. The only way back to Wembley, which we duly took, was via the low level goods lines. This was quite exceptional and fully made up for missing out on Pembroke Dock. At the time the notorious London Midland goods lines ban was in full force and there is no way any railtour or excursion would have been scheduled to use this route. It was many years later that the line was upgraded to a passenger route - and is now used by most Southern trains to and from Watford. Despite all the delays, it was a brilliant day.

Gregory Beecroft

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