The Snowdonian II Railtour remembered, August 24th 1986.
088 2255 Euston-Northampton (230886) LB-MK
86204 2325 Euston-Wolverhampton MK-WO
87024} 1G00 0342 Crewe-Birmingham WO-NS
47501 1Z37 0345 Padd-Pwllheli Railtour (via BS) NS-WO
25201} 1Z37 0345 Padd-Pwllheli Railtour WO-PW
25037} 1Z37 1350 Pwllheli-Padd Railtour PW-WO
47622 1Z37 1350 Pwllheli-Padd Railtour
86411 2156 Wolverhampton-Euston WO-NS
47651 1S23 2139 Bristol-Glas/Edin
85026 1S23 2139 Bristol-Glas/Edin (250886) NS-CA
47603 1S23 2139 Bristol-Glas/Edin (250886) CA-WA
The "Snowdonian II" Railtour was a milestone for " F & W" in being their 100th tour. The"Snowdonian II" replicated much of the route of their first "Snowdonian" tour on 10th June 1973 from the long closed Gloucester Eastgate to Pwllheli with class 47 1644 and 24's 5079/5087.
The "Snowdonian II" was to start back at Padd at a rather vile 0345 on a Sunday Morning and was to operate via T.Meads and Gloucester Central with unspecified type 4 eh traction. Being in the middle of a week's all line it was easier for me to return home briefly on the preceding Saturday night and get refreshed for the tour and 4 more successive overnights!
310088 was joined at Leighton close to midnight on a Euston - Northampton local well filled with smashed regulars! I bailed at the Keynes meeting up with my Wolverton colleague and watched a farce develop. The last up 310 unit had been caped and hordes of youngsters bound for Leighton and beyond were shouting they were "stranded!". A good few dad's taxis had been arranged, before a fleet of taxis removed the hordes and Milton Keynes Central returned to silence, only to be broken by a very boring 86204 whining in on our Wolves service which we would do to Rugby.
Unfortunately i woke at Coventry!, We knew the diverted "splitter" behind us, which we intended to do "should" stop at Coventry for Trent Valley passengers but an unsoche station Bert told us this was "the last train of the day .".
So an unplanned 86204 bonus move to Wolves. At least the waiting room was open here and after getting comfy, the sociable station staff here turned out the lights for us, once we them advised them we were doing G00 back to Brum.
Around half four the station staff kindly woke us by putting the lights back on and we joined 1G00 to New St with 87024/87004 reportedly multied up on load 6! for the run via BS. A long fester at New St followed and "Smudger Smith" (aka "The Buzzard") joined us in the buffet giving us the tour's gen that "25037/25201 were allocated" in his soft Cornish accent. We were all happy with 25201 for haulage, a "rare un". Around 8am 47501 arrived with the tour and we settled into our front coach seats. Despite the rancid overnight for most, there was a good atmosphere already, especially when the "rats" coupled up burbling away.
We took the Abbey Foregate curve and then a photo stop at Welshpool. This was an excellent choice for a photostop as many of us had leapt here many times on Summer Saturday Cambrian leaps up to 1984 when "rats" were then booked on the London service trains.
In warm sun we continued West turning right at Dovey Jn to cross the estuary and to twist and turn along the coast to Pwllheli. About an hours stop here where we had to talk "The Buzzard" out of a desperate 2 different RE bus move out of town, relying on a plus 4 connection at some remote Welsh village on a Sunday afternoon!!!!. For once he listened, doing just the one RE out of town and walking back. We all raked in fodder here and photted the rats at the very end of the Cambrian line.
A short run to Porthmadog followed, where we had a welcome 3 hour break in a tourist town where there was plenty to do in the good weather with narrow guage leaps for many!
A good run back, with charecteristic noisy "small Sulzer" climbs of Taleridig and out of Wellington. The "rats" came off at Wolves for 47622, so we did a service train to New St to be sure of making and getting a seat on 85026 on S23 North for a day in Scotland to follow...
Looking back, an excellent tour, F & W tours rarely let you down....