26th May 1997
The Central Wales Navigator
|Locos Used||59202 & 59204|
Route : 1Z45 throughout
|59202||Sheffield - Chesterfield - Derby - Tamworth - Water Orton - Park Lane Jn - Ryecroft Jn - Walsall (station avoiding line) - Bescot - Perry Barr North Jn - Soho South Jn - Birmingham New Street - Camp Hill - Bromsgrove - Cheltenham Spa - Gloucester - Chepstow - Newport - Cardiff Central|
|59204||Cardiff Central - Court Sart Jn - Hendy Jn - Pantyffynnon - Llandovery - Llandrindod Wells - Knighton - Craven Arms - Abbey Foregate Jn - Wolverhampton - Portobello Jn - Bescot Up & Down Goods Loop (1)|
|59202 + 59204||Bescot Up & Down Goods Loop (1) - Perry Barr North Jn - Soho South Jn - Birmingham New Street - Tamworth - Derby - Chesterfield - Sheffield|
(1) Booked loco-change point was Bescot Up Goods.
Sources : Richard Hughes (on the train throughout) &
(by Mike Broom)
I have to say, before anything else, that I thought that this tour was a rather good idea. All electrics,
I arrived at Chesterfield at around 0530, in plenty of time to see the ECS on it's way to Sheffield with 47741 on the front. A few others started to arrive in their cars (How else do you get to tours at these silly hours??). Eventually our train came up on the display as "0709 Llandrindod". Eh? Our letter said 0654. Hmm... A good start to the day me-thinks.. It turns out that Failtrack had decided to retime the tour, and to add to our problems they hadn't finished doing it on the day of the tour. Our timing sheet (which was wrong from the start) stopped at Shrewsbury on the way back.
Anyway, our train arrived just after 0709 with 59202 on the front. My genmaster let me down until 2230 the day before the tour. I got a call telling me it would be 202 and 204. Until then I had been told 204 + 205. Anyway it was too late to tell anyone so I waited till the morning to let everyone know.
'202 performed perfectly (what do you expect with GM stuff?) unlike the farcical entry into Birmingham New Street. Because of engineering work in New Street the line to Five Ways was closed, so we had to enter New Street from the opposite side. This meant we traversed the Sutton Park route (required by me..)
The run to Cardiff via Gloucester was pretty uneventful, other than me scoring the track past Gloucester. Newport middle road was also scratched (not that I'm as desperate to be bothered about it..) At one point Cardiff station area was host to 3 Class 59's.. 59202+204 from NP, and 59001 on an Iron Ore working. Here at Cardiff is were 204 took over for the run up to Llandrindod and beyond..
The drivers of the 143's shuttling in and out of the station had their work set out avoiding all the photographers stood on the platform ends (and overthem..) Luckily no-one got in the way, and the Pathfinders stewards had their work cut out...
We set off from Cardiff at 1158 27 late. The run up to Port Talbot was the fastest we were going to go for several hours, as once we bore left after Briton Ferry, we were into the railway timewarp.. stations with 3-4 trains a day, open crossings with no gates, barriers that the driver had to operate.. you get the picture..
After a stop-start sort of run we reached Lann.. Lllan Llantwryd Wells (i think..) Don't ask me how to pronounce it.. I had enough difficulty typing it!! Here was a crossing point. Problem was as we were late our run straight through became a wait for the train we should have passed at Llandrindod.. It hit the single line section same time as us, and it won..
Speedy (for it is he) had a brainwave (a strange one at that..) in that he wanted a small bit of track near Swansea that you can only do by doing the Central Wales line. He decided to bail off at Llantwryd and use his all-liner to scratch in this bit of line... So when the 153 came off the single line section, Speedy joined the 5 other passengers for the run to Swansea. Meanwhile we all boarded our train for the run back north.
Llandrindod Wells was reached at 1545 for our break. We were met by the Mayor(?) and other top nobs! I think whilst we were there the population was double it's normal size!! Walking round the town only took 10 minutes.. The staff in the local Spar were working double quick in re-pricing the ice-creams etc.. The prices will have gone down again when we left! :-)
Our run back from there was delayed (waiting yet another unit..) so we didn't depart until 1707. After Llandrindod a lot of people decided to have a bit of doss, which was a sensible idea.. However as I'm not as sensible as most I decided to stay awake.. (Why I don't know..) Knighton was another booked pathing stop, although we managed to pass after exchanging tokens. Craven Arms was only supposed to be a one minute stop but turned out to be a twelve minute stop. Our stop on Shrewsbury avoider was a minimal stop, just to drop off a couple of members of the train crew..
We had an additional set-down at Wolverhampton due to late running for connectional purposes. Passengers leaving were told to close the doors (I believe this was because Failtrack didn't get paid for the stop?). Our next move was around the corner to Bescot where we were routed into the Up+Down Goods Line instead of the Up Goods Line which we were booked for. This blew out a lot of photographers on the station platforms as we were routed behind the platforms instead of through them!!
From this point we had both 59202 + 59204 in multiple!! The driver drove these like a man possessed! 6,600 hp at his hands and he used it!! We absolutely stormed away from all the station stops on the way back, although between Tamworth and Derby we must have followed a stopper.. We were following single and double yellows all the way. We arrived at Chesterfield at 2158 where we left the train. I moved to the front to watch the beasts depart, and it was a sight to be seen!! I reckon that the back coach passed us at the same speed it would have done if the train had not stopped! Amazing! The run to Hull was in a fast car and Hull was reached in 1hr 10...
Timings (Booked & Actual)
(from Alan Sheppard)
|3.70||Dore Station Jn||06/43||07/04||(i)||?||83.09|
|12.20||Chesterfield||06.52a ~ 06.54d||07.07 ~ 07.09||(i)||21.59a ~ 22.00d||74.59|
|16.30||Clay Cross South Jn||06/59||?||(i)||?||70.49|
|36.31||Derby||07.18a ~ 07.20d||07.38 ~ 07.46||(i)||21.30a ~ 21.32d||50.48|
|47.32||Burton-on-Trent||07.34a ~ 07.36d||07.58 ~ 08.00||(i)||19.13a ~ 19.15d||39.47|
|60.23||Tamworth High Level||07.51a ~ 07.53d||08.12 ~ 08.14||(i)||20.55a ~ 20.58d||26.56|
|71.29||Park Lane Jn||08/12||08/28|
|83.40||Walsall (station avoiding line)||08/37||09/02|
|91.01||Perry Barr North Jn||08/48||09/11|
|91.40||Perry Barr West Jn||08/49||09/12|
|93.39||Soho East Jn||08/53||09/16|
|93.72||Soho South Jn||08/55||09/17|
|95.73||Birmingham New Street [P3]||09.00a ~ 09.03d||09.24 ~ 09.30|
|97.44||St. Andrews Jn||09/09||?|
|113.69||Stoke Works Jn||09/39||?|
|143.04||Cheltenham Spa||10.05a ~ 10.08d||10.24 ~ 10.26|
|149.21||Horton Road Jn||10/15||?|
|184.21||Severn Tunnel Junction||10/48||?|
|194.10||Newport (Down Through)||10/58||11/21|
|Cardiff Central [P3]||11L14a ~ 11L31d||11L35 ~ 11L56|
|32.29||Port Talbot Parkway||12/02||12/26|
|36.27||Court Sart Jn||12/12||?|
|47.62||Grovesend Colliery Loop Jn||12/35||12/49|
|54.33||Pantyffynnon||12.47 t 12.48||?|
|62.34||Llandeilo||13.04 t 13.07||13.29 ~ 13.39|
|73.49||Llandovery||13.38 t 13.41||14.07 ~ 14.11|
|84.76||Llanwrtyd||14.03 t 14.06||14.33 ~ 15.13|
|101.06||Llandrindod Wells (Up plat)||14.40a ~||15.44a ~ ECS to URS|
|Llandrindod Wells (Dn plat)||~ 16.25d||ECS ~ 17.05d|
|101.43||Llandrindod Crossing||16.27 t 16.28||17.07 ~ 17.07|
|120.56||Knighton||17.06 t 17.09||17.43 ~ 17.44|
|133.14||Craven Arms||17.31 t 17.32||18.08 ~ 18.09|
|152.23||Sutton Bridge Jn||17/52||18/31|
|152.63||English Bridge Jn||(i)||18.32 ~ 18.34|
|153.08||Abbey Foregate Jn||(i)||18.36 cc 18.37|
|163.02||Wellington Telford West||(i)||18/50|
|181.74||Wolverhampton North Jn||(i)||?|
|182.37||Wolverhampton [P3]||(i)||19.16 ~ 19.17|
|Bescot||Up Goods Loop
?L? ~ ?L?
|Up & Down Goods
19L32 ~ 19L48
|4.37||Perry Barr North Jn||(i)||19/59|
|4.76||Perry Barr West Jn||(i)||20/00|
|6.75||Soho East Jn||(i)||20/04|
|7.28||Soho South Jn||(i)||20/05|
|9.09||New Street North Tunnel Jn||(i)||20.08 ~ 20.21|
|9.29||Birmingham New Street [P4]||(i)||20.22a ~ 20.26d|
|10.17||Proof House Jn||(i)||?|
|10.74||Landor Street Jn||(i)||?|
Timings continue in first table.
(i): From English Bridge Jn onwards, there was a comment on
the timing sheet -
"Unfortunately, due to the inability of Railtrack and E.W.S to time the train until the
actual day of running, we regret that no further timings are available"
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