2 days on Dartmoor

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TheSlash

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Alright gang

Just thought i better put a meet report in.

On Friday Paul1609 and I drove to Okehampton to assist EMU Preservation Society in preparing 3 CEP unit 1198 for its traffic debut the following day
Arriving at about midday, we found 1198 and 3 TC 417 coupled together and sat in Okehampton up through platform. This was top and tailed by a Res 47 and BR blue 37 {numbers to be supplied by Jim}
The first item of business was food. We had a brilliant fry up and cup of tea from Okehampton station buffet.
Time for work. We eventually decided to do something, and cleaned the floor on 2 of 1198's 3 coaches, this was quite good fun, able seaman Paul1609 said it was similar to swabbing the decks on his fishing boat.
Next job, Slash painting the last bit of cant rail on the DMSB coach, this was completed just in time for the test run departure to Coleford junction.
A whistle and a green flag was the cue for the 47 to clag into life and we were off. A spirited run down was enjoyed inbetween running repairs and last minute touches to 1198. TheSlash stated that it was just like Fratton all over again - fixing something Bournemouth couldn't be bothered / didn't know how to fix.
Along the way we nearly created a free lunch when several sheep decided to race down the 4 foot in front of the train.
At the end of the line, TheSlash assisted The EMUPS fitter in a walk round inspection of 1198, as it was the first time the unit had moved above shunting speed since arriving at the railway 2 years ago.
The return leg saw a very loud 37 giving an impressive audio/visual display, although the braking technique left something to be desired. During the trip, a stop was made for the loco crew to pose for photos.
Arriving back at Okehampton, we left the EMUPS crew to seek accomodation in the town, as a **** up was planned.
After booking into the hotel, we started without the Meldon massive as they were making a last minute alteration to the unit.
We moved onto the Plymouth inn, in search of extra company, but on entering it was made clear it was a local pub for local people. This noted, we sat down and sank several more pints, much to the discomfort of the regulars.
Paul1609, aidded by a bar stall, led proceedings in returning the hostile atmosphere, however this failed to break the deadlock, it sadly increased it, much to our delight :D
After winding up the locals, we called it anight and made our way back to the hotel.

Day 2

After breakfast, I texted Jim to see what time he'd be arriving and he texted back with an ETA of 10:30, so we watched tv in the room until then.
We met Jim and Dennis at the bus stop and drove to Okehampton station, much to the delight of Jim.
After some more food, a intercity liveried 73 led the thumper and Dutch 08 into the bay platform at Okehampton, where Jim, ever the perfectionist, took his time to take a photo.
The next move was an EWS 66 led the Res 47, 3 TC, 3 CEP and Dutch 37 into the up through platform. We quickly jumped on 1198 and found 3 seats. Paul1609 sat on the arm chair of a vacant seat that was being used for a spotters luggage, personnaly i'd of been tempted to pick the bag up, put it in the rack and sit down.
After a short delay, the consist rumbled off to Coleford junction. We chatted amongst ourselves and to a guy sat next to Jim.
The guard was very dedicated to checking tickets, checking ours at least 3 times during the trip to Coleford junction and back, despite nobody being able to join or disembark the train.
Despite a very sick 37, we stayed with the train all the way to Meldon quarry, where it was withdrawn for the timetabled set swap. Paul1609 and I went to look at Meldon viaduct while Jim took pictures of the shunt move.
We made our way back to the platform intime to get seats with Jim and Dennis in an ex Virgin MK2 first class buffet coach. We were hauled to Coleford junction by a class 50, before a very loud return leg hauled by doubled headed BR blue 37's, we were sat half way down the train and we could hear the roar and see the **** they were kicking out.
During the trip, we had an interesting conversation about Trowbridge and other places that we don't like, mainly anywhere west of Fareham. Dennis found this quite amusing.
After abit of banter aimed at Jim, we talked about fast cars such as the Holden Commodore and the Vauxhall Monaro, 5 litre and 6 litre V8 engines respectively.
Before we knew it, we were at Okehampton and it was time to go our seperate ways. Paul1609 and I made our way home, while Jim and Dennis went on to Meldon for abit more haulage.
A good weekend and as usual brilliant to see everyone.
Cheers to Able Seaman Paul1609 for doing the driving
 
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Dennis

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The day was simply awesome and I think the Dartmoor Railway are not going to be able to better it for a few years as several of the loco's in attendance were either just visiting for the gala or going to be moved elsewhere (two of the FMR locos off to Coalville and the NS shunter to destination unknown).

The coaching stock was fantastic as well; in addition to the CEP and TC set, the set of Virgin Mk II's was in 'as withdrawn' condition, still with old Virgin mags in the racks! Sampling this really brought home what an inferior passenger enironment the Voyagers offer. Fortunately, the stock of Pedigree ale in the buffet was fresh.

Adding to TheSlashes report, myself and Jim headed out on the 6.36 departure from Trowbridge as far as BTM; ex TPX unit. First Class full, so we had to make do with standard class, trimmed out with wood panels from MFI.

Arriving at Bristol, the onwards journey to Exeter was somewhat delayed as the Pacer would not detach from the 150, a total of twelve staff memebers looking on / assisting with the uncoupling! Finally away ten late sans Pacer. Made it to Exeter on time despite the engine in the 150 rear car cutting out intermittently (according to my milepost timings we could only manage 60 on the level; shows how much slack there is in the timetable). Coffee at Exeter then X9 bus to Okehampton where after decanting from the bus in the town centre, Paul1609 kindly assisted us up the hill to Okehampton station.

Full English at Okehampton (up to the usual high standard) then on to the trains as ably described by TheSlash. After departure of Paul1609 and TheSlash, there was time for one more trip up to Meldon Quarry Here, 31465 was heading the stock into the platform ready for the last run of the day to Coleford; no pics as the light was almost gone but what a monster....

After returning back to Okehampton, it was onto the free bus back to Exeter (23 year old DAF SB2??, complete with magic wand to change the gears and Duple coachwork). Then Exeter to Taunton where chips were obtained from a nearby vendor.

From Taunton to Westbury, we had the joys of an unpowered Adelante coach to ourselves; what a nice feeling, all the comforts of a modern aircond interior but no underfloor vibration. At Westbury, time for a few observations before returning to Trowbridge by 158, knackered but happy.

Few photo's at http://dennis-lance.fotopic.net/c1110468.html
 

Jim

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Full English at Okehampton (up to the usual high standard) then on to the trains as ably described by TheSlash. After departure of Paul1609 and TheSlash, there was time for one more trip up to Meldon Quarry Here, 31465 was heading the stock into the platform ready for the last run of the day to Coleford; no pics as the light was almost gone but what a monster....
The 31 disgraced itself with load 6 + 2 locos D.I.T slipping to a stand (ECS) with sparks flying, but was a great day still!
 
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