The Welsh Central Liner, Sat. March 3rd 1984
Gloucester on a grey drizzly March morning after a particularly rancid Crewe overnight saw me and the "Buzzard" aka "Smudger Smith" not in the best of moods. The fine spectacle of 40035 "Apapa" rounding the curve with 10 Mk i's lifted spirits. The train was now full and a good atmosphere was instantly picked up on. The train was "nb" we were told though there was still residual heat from 50001 which had worked the tour in from Plymouth.
At Severn Tunnel Jn there was a special stop as 45064 was attached as a steaming pilot. Also at Severn Tunnel was 40009. With the weather improving as we headed deeper into South Wales the heat and atmosphere picked up even more. At Port Talbot 45064 was detached leaving "Apapa" for the main event as shown in the tour itinerary below..
40009 at Severn Tunnel Jn. the sole vi 40 had been requested and positioned for the tour but BR management refused her due no heat. 40035's boiler was demic anyway!
About 30 down "Apapa" curved left off the main line at Court Sart Jn, rare power for the Swansea District Line. The rare Hendy curve, a crew change at Pontarddulais then the long slog up the scenic Central Wales Jn line followed. Few loco hauled tours had done the line of late as the ban on loco hauled trains had recently been lifted.
A photo stop at Llanwrtyd Wells saw us cross the Swansea bound Met Cam DMU. At Craven Arms more phots in now sunny weather followed during the run round. 40035 then stormed South through the Marches it was wonderfull stuff. There was still snow on the Black Mountains West of Abergaveny, whilst more rare track in the Maindee Loop before rejoining the South Wales main line.
What helped keep the tour upbeat into the late afternoon was what nb Syphons we would get for the Sudbrook branch.
37300 was well received, less so boilered 37266 for the short run literally over the top of the Severn Tunnel. With dusk descending a now cold train benefitted from 40035 and steaming 37266 for the run back to Gloucester. A great tour for us was over....
Pre/Post tour moves
87022 0630 Euston-Liverpool L.Buzzard-New St (via Nor)
1F00 was booked loco hauled, an 87 off Leighton was always welcome
50002 0820 Liverpool-Padd (50L) New St - Bir Int'l
47575 0805 Portsmouth-Manchester Bir Int'l - New St
50031 1133 Manchester-Plymouth New St - T.Meads
33009 1610 Bristol-Portsmouth T.Meads - Bath
33030 1510 Portsmouth-Cardiff Bath - Oldfield Park
First ever leap at Oldfield Pk as needed to get back for 33007, TTI welcome on DMU!
DMU 1700 W.S.Mare-Westbury Oldfield Park - Bath
33007 1610 Portsmouth-Cardiff Bath - T.Meads
33021 1915 Bristol-Portsmouth T.Meads - Bath
253030 1915 Padd-W.S.Mare Bath - T.Meads
45106 2124 Bristol-Glas/Edin T.Meads - New St
37306} banking Bromsgrove - Barnt Green
the Lickey bankers that night were loud, very loud!
86241 2124 Bristol-Glas/Edin New St - Crewe
86248 2314 Edin/Glas-Bristol Crewe - New St (via BS)
not the best of night for "roarers"
43035} 0516 Leeds-Bristol New St - Cheltenham
45116 0845 Cheltenham-Cardiff Cheltenham - Gloucester
then the tour....
45116 1747 Cardiff-Derby Gloucester - New St
Stormed up the Lickey!
86206 1620 Holyhead-Euston New St - Coventry
092 2021 Birmingham-Euston Coventry - L.Buzzard
A local postscript is that Compass on Friday October 15th are running a tour to Cardiff via The Central Wales line. This tour calls at Leighton and other local shacks. Sadly "Apapa" wont be up front!....