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Crossover's "Young Person" Last Hurrah!

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Crossover

Established Member
Joined
4 Jun 2009
Messages
9,272
Location
Yorkshire
Note: Due to other commitments, the completion of this has been a little time in the making, but I still wanted to finish for my own memories if nothing else, but still hope someone enjoys the read :)

So, here we are at the time I hoped would never arrive, but my final 16-25 railcard has recently expired :sad:
I decided some time ago that I wanted to do a final "big" trip before it ended and this was to take me to the mostly unexplored areas of Devon and Cornwall (Scotland having been done to death over the past year or so!).

The Prequel – (Saturday 19th March 2016 and Sunday 20th March 2016)

The adventure begun late on the afternoon of Saturday 19th March as I travelled over to Manchester to meet a few other forum members for the journey to London. Ordinarily I would have just travelled to Piccadilly but for a change I took the delayed 17:45 Northern stopper to Ashton-under-Lyne travelling in the 150 part of 150228 and 156461 since most of the hoards had piled onto the back unit (the joys of the Ale Trail!) primarily for a shack scratch and to make an interchange I have been intending to do for a while. Arriving at Ashton, I was surprised to find it still on semaphores (not that I'm complaining!) but also wishing I had looked up the interchange route first, as the Metrolink wasn't as obvious as I thought it would be at first glance out of the station. Nonetheless, I eventually found it across the junction and boarded 3064 through to Victoria hoping to travel the line to Exchange Square, only to find it had already stopped running for the day and instead heading back to Piccadilly on 3088.

At Piccadilly I met up with Mojo, Starmill, Kite159, Yorkie and PermitToTravel "fresh" from the GM Wayfarer meet, at Waitrose on the station approach before most of us headed for the final Euston train of the night, the 20:35 formed of 390016 - most of us travelling all the way to London, but with Yorkie leaving us just before departure and PermitToTravel joining us to Stockport. The journey was fairly uneventful, but quieter onboard than I was expecting. What was nice, though, was getting the Fasts all the way from Milton Keynes in spite of being booked/timed on the Slows - with Watford Junction a pick-up only and thus an early departure, we arrived into Euston a rather nice 15 minutes early! From here, it was across to Victoria for me and Starmill and onto the 23:30 GatEx service formed of 442013 and 442018 - nothing very express about this "Express" service and we appeared to take the Quarry Lines rather than going via Redhill as booked but arrived RT, after a brief wait for a platform, at Gatwick to the slightly confusing (to me at least, only being half awake) announcement from the crew of 'Good Morning, we are now approaching Gatwick Airport' - yes, it had just gone past midnight!

The wander to the hotel was a little eventful - we headed onto the airport shuttle, which was fine but then we weren't quite sure how to get to our Premier Inn, which wasn't the one directly outside the terminal. A phone call to the hotel (kudos to PI for having an ability to quickly get through the reception of the hotel rather than speaking to someone in a call centre) and brief visit to the nearby Premier Inn to get directions and we found it, via a number of narrow paths that skirted the airport security fences - during the walk we also came across quite a few wild rabbits that were hopping around the grass verges, which was a bit of a bonus.

The next morning was an easier walk back to the terminal, given we knew the way (but minus the rabbits and addition of more road traffic) and onto a Zones 1-9 travelcard (well, from East Croydon at least). In brief it was a day of refurbished units, a walk through an industrial wasteland and a brief visit to Kent - for now I will leave it at that and fastforward to the evening and my arrival at Paddington for the Night Riviera - at around 22:30 and on my own, it was a slightly odd feeling! The first job was a quick trip to the ticket office to obtain my ticket for the coming days, a Freedom of Devon and Cornwall 3 in 7 which, at a cost of £30.65, wasn't entirely unreasonable. Ticket obtained I headed over to platform 1 where 57603 was sat idling but uncoupled on the buffers and had a walk along the platform to the front, passing an assortment of FGW and new green GWR liveried coaches on the way - the green ones looking especially smart in my opinion. 57604 "Pendennis Castle" was to be our lead for the evening and was sat idling on the front of the rake. With a good hour or so until departure, I took the opportunity to visit the First Class Lounge and settled in among the passengers for the last southbound HST with a few snacks before joining the Sleeper. This was my first time on the Night Riviera but my third on a sleeper having travelled on the Scottish Caledonian Sleeper a couple of times so expected the set up to be similar - but with no-one on the platform, I wasn't sure what to do… I saw a member of staff who said to board and I'd be seen shortly, so I duly did and found my berth and with no-one around, went for another wander down the platform before returning through the Lounge Car, somewhat to the confusion of the member of staff on the buffet!

Back in my berth and the host was on his way along the carriage checking people in and taking breakfast orders which, to my surprise consisted of more than the tea/coffee/orange option offered on their Scottish counterparts. Checked in and a bacon roll/tea ordered for morning, I was also advised I could go and get a complimentary drink from the buffet now so as the host continued along the carriage, I headed back along to the buffet which was, usefully, just along in the next carriage (formation was loco, seated sleeper, lounge/buffet, beds, of which I was in the frontmost berth coach) to collect tea and biscuits and headed back to my berth. Unlike on the Cally Sleeper where I had travelled with friends from the forum, I was on my own on this one and had a single occupancy berth meaning the second bunk was folded away, making it much less cramped. Decor is very similar to the Cally Sleeper sets though probably a little less tired in parts but one exception I was noticing was a complete lack of any noise whatsoever - on both Scottish sleeper trips I have made, there has been constant squeaks and creaks from the electrics (which only disappeared when the loco was taken off at Edinburgh for the swap on the Highland service) but on here, they were thankfully missing. It wasn't now long until platform staff were starting to lock up the train for departure and at 23:50 we departed on time - for which I took occupancy of a droplight for the short haul out of the Paddington station and station throat. The journey to Reading was observed from my berth with the window blind open so I can see what was going on while looking at some timings for the coming days - passing plenty of p-way gangs busy preparing the electrification at various points along the journey. We arrived a little early into Reading, with this being one of my first times anywhere near since the remodelling a while back and after a short wait, we departed Reading on schedule and I took that as my cue to get my head down for the night.....

Images:
  1. 150228 heads the service from Ashton-Under-Lyne with a semaphore distant in the background
  2. A “skipped” part of the report, but the day in London took me and Mojo to the new Crossrail station – the “roof garden” was too pretty not to take a photo :)
  3. 57603 sits idle on the buffers of platform 1 at Paddington
  4. A view along one of the re-liveried sleeper stock coaches
  5. 57604 “Pendennis Castle” heads up the 2750bhp hotel
  6. An opposite view of a re-liveried sleeper stock coach
 

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Crossover

Established Member
Joined
4 Jun 2009
Messages
9,272
Location
Yorkshire
Day 1 (Monday 21st March 2016)

I was surprised that the next thing I heard was the host knocking to deliver breakfast which was duly done and I eventually came round - unlike on the Scottish Sleeper, it seems like I had actually slept fairly well, although I was freezing (maybe setting the air con to the minimum while seeming a good idea last night when it was like an oven, maybe wasn't actually such a good one!). I was acutely aware we were at a stop as I dragged myself out of bed and on peeking through the blind, we were, if I remember correctly, at St Austell (I know the wake-up was around an hour before arrival, so this sounds about right as I write this). As we departed it was very apparent it was a glorious spring morning in Cornwall and felt an absolute mile away from the hustle and bustle of yesterday’s wanderings in London. Breakfast consisted of a bacon roll (which was actually quite nice, IMO), cup of tea and pack of shortbread biscuits (I think this may be a breakfast staple on the sleepers!) - all of which was very welcome. Having got ready for the day and gathered up my bits and pieces, I had time for a bit of "external observation" as we pulled out of the last few stations before I was to bail at St Erth. This, however, very nearly caught me out - we left Hayle on time and I knew the timetable allowed nearly 5 minutes for this, so I got a bit of a surprise when we were approaching St Erth only a couple of minutes later, so a bit of a hurried walk back to the berth and back with luggage in hand ensued!

Out on the platform, I watched 57604 haul the set for the short journey to Penzance under completely blue skies before heading over the bridge, passing a sign saying that St Ives trains would not be held for late running services due to the tight timings on the branch, to see what was at the other side. The answer - not a huge amount! Given the early time (around 08:30) the ticket office was open, as was a little café next to the bay platform - other than that it was a car park and the main road (the A30, no less!) and road to St Erth, as the station is actually quite a way from the town. I had around 30 minutes here, with the train I was waiting for due to depart Penzance just after the arrival of the sleeper, a connection I decided wasn't worth the risk. I should probably also explain here, in this 30 minute wait, that in my current typical fashion , I was pretty much "winging it" having done no real planning other than having obtained an itinerary from ainsworth74 from a few years ago which I was using as a basis - much more fun this way I think :P. The little wait was up and 150129 rolled in on the 09:05 to St Ives which I duly boarded and we headed across the crossover to join the branch, picking up the token from the signalbox on the way. This service was one of the last until later in the day to call at each station, Lelant included, with us calling at each one. I have to say I was somewhat taken aback with this line - the views are fantastic along pretty much the whole of the short line (for those who don't know, the end-to-end journey takes no more than 15 minutes) as we hugged the coast to St Ives. I worked out that I could spend a little time here so I alighted at St Ives and as the train headed almost straight back out, the sign at St Erth suddenly made a lot more sense! I didn't venture too far, but headed across the car park and towards/up the steps I could see in the distance, ending up at a little gardens of sort that I have now found to be The Malakoff, next to the bus station - this afforded some great views across the bay made even better by the great weather so nearly all of my short visit to the town was spent here taking photos and generally admiring the views and sun before heading back to join the same unit again on what was this time a non-stop run on the 09:53 back to St Ives, where RailMiles tells me we reached the lofty heights of a 25mph average speed for the 10 minute run!

The next wait at St Erth was much shorter before I was to join the 10:10 Paddington service formed of 43134 and 43146 which was fairly lightly loaded as expected, though with plenty reservations out for later in the journey. This was to take me the short distance up to Truro with me taking the opportunity for further journey planning before swapping platform via the bridge to take the 10:51 service to Falmouth Docks for which 150102 rolled in. There was someone onboard this giving out questionnaires (a 'Friends Of' group) and I got so engrossed in questions about delay repay and wondering how much my origin, destination and ticket type would confuse the reviewers, I missed quite a bit of the journey! There wasn't much time on arrival at the Docks station before the 11:20 return working so I had a very quick platform wander before re-joining and this time watching the scenery roll by. It was now that I realised that on my outbound journey, I had missed the intriguing setup at Penryn, but with a short wait for the next Docks service to pass, I was able to poke my head out for a quick nosey. Back at Truro and I had a little while to kill before heading further north, so I had a wander out of the station and across the level crossing towards the station sidings where a track machine (tamper I believe) was sat idling before heading back to grab some lunch from the station Pumpkin outlet. A quick look on RTT for the next service and I realised it was a "local stopper" which meant it was going to be a 150....great.......

Right on cue, the 12:19 service turned up in the form of 150101 with its’ oh so wonderful 3+2 seating! Thankfully it wasn't too busy and I got a row to myself and enjoyed lunch whilst winding our way up to Liskeard. It was whilst on here I realised a connection that had worked a few years ago (arrive back from Looe with a quick connection onto a southbound service and long loiter at Par) no longer worked, and the return from Looe was a very tight and unbooked connection to a southbound service, but I found something which seemed much better, to me at least. On arrival at Liskeard, there was a very nice 12 minute connection (if there is one thing they do rather well in these parts, it is connections to and from branch lines in the most part) to the 13:21 to Looe with 153369 in charge. It is billed as one of the more scenic lines in Cornwall, but I have to say I didn't think it matched St Ives earlier, though that is probably personal preference. However, having expected a fairly lacklustre performance from the 153 given the low line speed of the branch, it turned out to be quite a bit livelier than expected given all the crossings and speed restrictions - this gave plenty of, what I have heard referred to by a few as, DBT..."DogBox Thrash". An early arrival at Looe gave a quick photo opportunity and leg stretch before re-joining to wind our way back to Liskeard where I remained with the unit again as it formed the 14:25 service - one of the very few to be booked to call at Coombe Junction Halt! Having heard the stories of the station being missed, I mentioned to the guard my intention and within a few minutes, we had pulled well past the ground frame and into the Coombe platform.

As the service departed again in the direction of the junction, I walked along the path and watched the working of the ground frame (and someone cross the level crossing in a hybrid 4x4 after a call from the signaller giving the OK) before walking back to the platform for a few pictures as I headed out onto the "main" road. I had looked up the route on the phone earlier, but what I hadn't taken into account was the terrain as the road is steep to say the least (plus I had backpack and small wheeled holdall in tow, too) and it was turning out to be a warm day as well! Knowing I had plenty time, I took it fairly steady and kept to the side of the road to allow vehicles to pass. One took me rather by surprise however, as a 40ft artic with trailer came down the road towards me...giving a wide berth, the driver thanked me as he passed, but I couldn't help hoping he knew where he was going with such a large vehicle on such a narrow road! Liskeard station was reached with plenty time to spare and I made use of it mainly at the TVM where I purchased a ticket for the journey I had made, partly to boost numbers for Coombe (this was before the large contingent visiting soon after) and because it is unusual (not only in destination but also for having an Anytime and Off-Peak fare!) before grabbing a drink from the café which resides within the rather nice station building at Liskeard.

Next up was the 15:37 service back southbound which turned up in the form of 43155 and 43087, but not before being joined on the platform by the guard I had left at Coombe who must have been wondering what the heck I was doing! It was only a short hop to Par where the 10 minute connection to the 16:10 proved to be fine and I was transported on 153325 to Birmingham....twinned with Newquay. This may sound a little odd, but 153325 is one of the ex-London Midland units, but on boarding, one could be forgiven for thinking it still is with LM as it retains most of the LM features, including safety notices! The run to Newquay is pleasant, though quite lengthy but with the train fairly empty it was a nice jaunt. As we called at Luxulyan I was reminded of the stories I have read about the derailed IC125 and the part the station had to play in the 'rescue'. With the occasional passengers joining and alighting at various station en-route, arrival at Newquay was prompt and in the lengthy waitover, it became clear that the people who had joined at one of the last stations knew the driver, as he came to sit with them in the saloon as we awaited departure back to Par, where we arrived on time. The sun was beginning to set by now and there was a definite chill in the air with a good 40 minute wait until the 18:49 Paddington service (the last London bound, and HST worked service of the evening...the next London service would be the Sleeper). I had a wander round the general area before retreating to the station where I was able to get some pictures of the signalbox and associated semaphores with the sun setting in the background....lovely. Getting rather nippy by now, 43087 and 43155 appeared - duds but glad to be in the warmth and a quiet trip north was had to Plymouth where I would be spending the night. A quick nosey round the station and 220028 rolled in on what is the infamous Aberdeen to Penzance working before I headed for a taxi to the Premier Inn I was to be staying in.

Images:
  1. Not a bad way to start the day!
  2. 57604 prepares for departure from St Erth
  3. A view over St Ives at around 09:00 in the morning – simply beautiful!
  4. 150102 stands briefly at Falmouth Docks
  5. Track machine at Truro
  6. 153369 stands briefly at Looe
  7. 153369 again, this time at Coombe Junction Halt awaiting departure to the ground frame and on to Looe
  8. A view back over Coombe Junction Halt – the points in the foreground protecting the branch to Moorswater
  9. The interior of 153325…now convince me I wasn’t actually in the West Midlands :lol:
  10. The signal box at Par and an assorted array of semaphores (this photo currently takes pride of place on my phone lock screen :D)
 

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Crossover

Established Member
Joined
4 Jun 2009
Messages
9,272
Location
Yorkshire
Day 2 (Tuesday 22nd March 2016)

I had debated starting the next morning with a trip to Gunnislake, but decided to flag it in favour of a lie in so the day started a little later with the 10:25 from Plymouth. This gave a reasonable amount of time to walk up to the station which has some interesting features along the way, such as Charles Church, which has a busy roundabout built around its perimeter. Not being sure quite how far the station I was, I decided not to risk a trip to the local Tesco Express on the way but called in at the Spar in the station where it soon transpired that "reduced" items were the same price as regular items elsewhere...ah well! 221136 was to provide my first service of the day as far as Newton Abbot, with the Voyager doing its best to kill any mobile signal that may be available in the area! I had a little time here before the next service, which gave me a chance to have a look outside of the station only to return to find the PIS having gone up the wall and saying to refer to timetables! I was to be heading to Paignton next on the 11:32 service and was happy to see it was 150216 and not a Pacer, since I knew I was going to become somewhat acquainted with this unit. A nice run along the line and we were soon at Paignton via the crossover into the departing platform. Given the return wasn't until 12:13, I paid a quick visit to the Dartmouth Steam Railway and watched as one of the steam locos ran round in preparation of the next working to Kingswear before venturing back to the 150 via a visit to Hallett's The Bakers near the level crossing to pick up a pasty for lunch. I returned back to Newton Abbot once more where the 150 got held for a rather late running HST, to much annoyance of the staff who were left awaiting the route towards Dawlish.

Rather than stay with the 150, it was next to "Platform 1 for The Cornishman, the 12:42 Great Western Railway service to London Paddington" - as weird as the announcements sound, it is nice that they still have named services - which I was to take just up to Exeter St Davids. 43145 was to lead this with 43175 on the back and the guard turned out to be the same as I'd had to Newquay the day before - the main difference that this service was much busier than the Newquay and was packed with luggage. Despite being busy I took no issue with remaining in the vestibule for the journey as we passed along the scenic route along the Dawlish sea wall and overtook the 150 that was in the platform loop at Dawlish Warren before arriving into Exeter where there was but a short wait before 150216 rolled back into view. I re-joined it as the 13:16 departure to Exmouth and for a trip on the Avocet Line, calling at the rather short platforms of St James' Park and Topsham, an area I have previously visited with family by car. We were also booked to call at Lympstone Commando but with no requests to join or alight, we passed straight through on the way to Exmouth overlooking the River Exe. It was only a matter of minutes at Exmouth before the 13:53 return but not much more was needed to have a quick wander from the station and back to the train before returning along the Avocet Line to Exeter and joining the Tarka Line to Barnstaple - I had travelled on this line once before in part on an unexpected run from Okehampton a few years ago, but most of the line from Crediton was new territory and whilst lengthy was enjoyable. The arrangement for the level crossing at Eggesford was a source of interest on the run as the driver has to lean out and operate a chain to activate the crossing sequence - something which used to be the case on the line to Colne, but which was fairly recently abolished due to vandalism - evidently not an issue which is suffered so much in Devon.

On arrival at Barnstaple, the turnaround was again tight (just under 10 minutes) but having arrived a little ahead of schedule I got a chance to have a walk around the vicinity, something I had wanted to do after watching James May's Top Toys which was filmed here a while back when the line from Barnstaple to Bideford was reopened temporarily, albeit in OO gauge. With photos taken it was back to re-join the 150 once again on the 15:43 departure and it was now time for a little shack scratching as the next part of the plan was formulated on the go once again! I continued beyond Exeter once again and headed to the new station at Newcourt and finally said bye to 150216...not before time! Newcourt is a small single platform station in an area of housing and there were quite a few other passengers who left the train with me and soon disappeared, leaving me on my own. It reminded me quite a bit of James Cook on the Whitby line in terms of construction, but given they were built at a similar time, it isn't all that surprising. The wait for the 17:10 service to come from Topsham wasn't a particularly long one and I took residence on the Pacer part (the first one of the trip) of 153373 and 144617 for the hop to Exeter Central where I joined the 17:30 London Waterloo service to another new station at Cranbrook - a station which immediately confused me for having signs stating which direction was which located in the cess part way along the platform no-where near the station entrance!

For my 20 minutes here, aside from a dog walker in the distance and once those who had alighted the same train as me had disappeared, I was the only person in the vicinity of the station and the newly laid car park was fairly empty, but the with the weather being nice I was able to explore what had been done here and again get a few photos. The 18:00 "additional" Axminister service was the next on the list and 158887 took me the short distance to Feniton, chosen as it was the last station before the crossing point at Honiton and therefore the last place to change to await the next Exeter service. Unfortunately the 'welcome' here was from a couple surrounded by large plastic bottles of cider and generally being quite noisy so I retreated for a little while through the small entrance past the ticket office and across the level crossing before walking slowly back, trying not to attract the attention of the two of them on the platform. A few more passengers joined to await the 18:23, not surprising as this was the last Exeter bound train to call here for 2 hours, and it duly turned up in the form of 159's 022 and 019 and I took residence in the peace of the back unit for the journey back to Exeter, calling once again at Cranbrook. The final move of the day was to be back to Plymouth once again and after watching the 159's depart to the sidings, a Voyager rolled in on none other than the Aberdeen to Penzance working, this evening formed of 221127. I decided to allow this to go and spent half an hour or so wandering Exeter in favour of awaiting the HST at 19:22 for the run along the sea wall, this time by night. It turned up on cue led by 43172 "Harry Patch" with its decoration of poppies and with 43176 on the back. The run over Dawlish by night offered a different view to the day but still allowing for photographs thanks to the droplights meaning there was no glass to cause a reflection - on this particular evening, the moon was right over the sea with the reflection coming off the sea which looked amazing, but sadly my camera wasn't quite up to capturing the moment entirely. Arrival at Plymouth was prompt and after assisting a fellow passenger lift his bike out of the luggage van I went to get some photos of the liveried powercar prior to its departure before I headed back to the hotel for the evening.

Images:
  1. 150216 departs Newton Abbot a few minutes late
  2. I win the race to Exeter! 150216 arrives at Exeter St Davids
  3. Looking across the car park at Barnstaple. This was the start of the reconstructed line to Bideford, with every kerbstone causing an issue
  4. Newcourt station
  5. Looking off the end of Cranbrook station – did someone forget to install the third rail?
  6. The unserved bus stop that stands in front of Cranbrook station
  7. Feniton – the narrow walkway seems to be the only entrance/exit from the platform – the ticket office window is on the right walking through
  8. 43172 “Harry Patch” looking back along the train
  9. 43172 “Harry Patch” looking forward along the powercar
 

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Crossover

Established Member
Joined
4 Jun 2009
Messages
9,272
Location
Yorkshire
Day 3 (Wednesday 23rd March 2016)

With the majority of the area now covered, the main thing to do this morning was to get to Gunnislake, the departure for which was a fairly leisurely 10:54. Now knowing the route to the station from the hotel and lesson learned from yesterday, I did call at the Tesco Express on the way to the station before joining the front coach of 150128 for the trip to Gunnislake. I initially thought I may regret sitting in this carriage as a class of school kids were out on a field trip, but as we got underway, one of the members of staff was narrating the entire journey for the kids, pointing out things of interest from the Dockyards and a specific vessel that was in, to the token exchange at St Budeaux Victoria Road which was naturally great for a first time visitor to the area (I believe they had an "I-Spy" type sheet to note them down on too). As we passed under the Royal Albert Bridge, a view of the River Tamar opens up as we run alongside before passing over Tamerton Lake and the River Tavy and up to the reversal at Bere Alston. As we run up the valley, the magnificent Calstock Viaduct comes into view before we pass slowly over it and come to a stop at the station at the other side where the group of fieldtrippers leave to do their studies. From here it was a climb up to Gunnislake station and across some ungated crossings. As with all of these branches, the turnaround was short enough to only afford time for a quick photo before getting back on for the 11:45 return, seeing all the wonderful scenery once more. On arrival at Plymouth, it was onto the 13:11 HST to Penzance and back onto the 43175/43145 pairing from yesterday for the long journey to Penzance (I forget how long things take here!)

This was my first foray across the Royal Albert Bridge in daylight and the first time I had really seen it properly with a view afforded from the HST windows and a good photo opportunity before settling in for the journey south, with the final piece of the jigsaw (of new track) coming after departure from St Erth for the jaunt via Long Rock (with the sleeper stock on depot) and finally into Penzance for the first time. I was to be taking the same set back out again at 15:59 but there was a more lengthy time period between these turns and I was able to get further out of the station and had a walk along the road above and perpendicular to the railway line for some photos out across the sea and some fairly unusual shots looking down onto the HST that I had come from. I was also quite surprised to find the nearby bus station surrounded by palm trees which I wasn't particularly expecting. I may have used this bus station had I gone by my original thought to head to Land’s End, but with buses scarce at this time of year and a visit time to Land’s End of either minutes or hours, I left it on this occasion. Heading back up and on arrival at St Erth, things were a lot more closed than when I visited previously and with the train not yet in, I took the opportunity for some photos of the semaphores before 150101 rolled in, last seen on a mainline service but today "relegated" to the branch. I took this 16:18 service to St Ives and back (as the 16:33) to Carbis Bay, with the outbound service not calling here. Having looked at a map Carbis Bay didn't appear to be too far from St Ives and with an hour between services to avoid a 150 back to Plymouth, I thought it would be OK. Once again though, I hadn't researched the terrain and after walking down a very steep path to sea level and then trekking through the gardens of a hotel (a marked diversion due to reconstruction of the coastal path) I decided to abandon the idea and instead waited for a while on a bridge over the line to get a photo of the unit passing once again on the way to St Ives before heading back down to sea level and up a very steep road back to the station. On arrival at the station car park, a police dog unit appeared and parked in the car park, out hopped an officer and the dog and off they went disappearing seemingly down the cliff path - still not entirely sure if they were after someone (they weren't in any great rush) or if the officer was taking the dog for some exercise!

I had a bit of a wait at the station and the St Ives service passed whilst I was waiting before I joined the 17:34 service back to St Erth which appeared to now have a new crew. The last journey of the day and of the rover, was the 17:49 from St Erth to Plymouth, the same working as I took from Par on the Monday and with the pairing of 43's 176 and 172 (Harry Patch) from last night with the sun setting as we meandered back into Devon. On arrival at Plymouth, I decided to make the "triple" and waited a little while to see 221136 (the same unit as I had to Newton Abbot yesterday morning) roll in on 'that' working from Aberdeen once again!

Images:
  1. Charles Church as mentioned yesterday
  2. Admiring the bridges – alas, the photo doesn’t do them justice thanks to the windows of the 150
  3. 153325 was to stalk me each day I was in the area. Here it was sitting spare at Plymouth next to 150128 which, fresh from Gunnislake, was about to work to Penzance
  4. Royal Albert Bridge
  5. Looking back at the Royal Albert Bridge
  6. Overlooking Penzance station
  7. Unusual top-down view of 43145
  8. Palm trees at the entrance to Penzance bus station
  9. A view over Carbis Bay - the reconstruction of the coastal path can be seen
  10. 150101 passes under the coastal path near Carbis Bay en-route to St Ives
 

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Crossover

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The Sequel (Thursday 24th March 2016)

This final day was mainly about heading back home and didn't begin until lunchtime where I was taking the 12:01 service to Paddington, travelling First Class and intending on utilising the Pullman Dining onboard. Having walked up to the station in the first rain I had seen in days, I arrived at the platform to mutterings from some of the train crew, though I couldn't tell what about specifically. 43135 and 43171 rolled in and I boarded and sat in the rear carriage whilst awaiting the call that the Pullman Dining was ready, though this didn't happen for some time. As the service was advertised and I headed through to take a seat, the reason for the muttering became apparent - the service had been diagrammed with a micro-kitchen and thus the full menu wasn't been offered as a result due to lack of space. Sitting in the First Class coach as we passed along through Dawlish once again was great once again (although I did end up on the land side, it made for an interesting picture across the table opposite) and the food when served was delicious (I opted for the risotto for mains and a tarte tatin for dessert) and all very nicely presented too (no mean feat when rocking around on a Mk 3!). The journey on the approach to Paddington gave a further opportunity, this time in daylight, to see the progress with the new OHLE.

On arrival at Paddington I had left myself a buffer for a visit to the First Class Lounge where I was able to spend around an hour - it was also my first weekday visit and thus the first time the "other" half of the lounge had been open. During the time I was there, a "gin man" was setting up a stand, presumably in preparation of the evening services, though I didn't stay long enough to find out. The final leg of the journey was across to Edgeware Road and onto Kings Cross St Pancras to take the train north to Wakefield Westgate. I had booked on the 17:33 VTEC departure, again in First Class as it was an evening meal service. This is where things started going a little pear-shaped though! 43274 and 43310 were at the helm and I boarded my booked coach to find my booked seat didn't exist! The service was pretty much wedged and well reserved and I ended up waiting for departure to find a free seat, which thankfully I did. The kitchen problems from the GWR service were also to follow me and the kitchen on this service was, by all accounts, simply broken, so what we ended up with was broadly a weekend service (sandwiches, crisps and packaged cake) though with the addition of the weekday drinks trolley - sadly not what I was expecting. The service ran to time nonetheless and the final hop was 144007 to reach home once again.

Looking back at RailMiles, some stats for the trip for Monday to Thursday (Night Riviera not included) are 1065 miles and 51 chains covered spending 24 hours and 39 minutes on a train. Total delay minutes, somewhat amazingly totalled only 9 minutes over all 4 days (not subbed either by early running)!

Images:
  1. Pullman Dining
  2. A view from the window…this was somewhere around Teignmouth
  3. Pullman Dining again (sorry, I got a bit carried away :lol:)
  4. The “gin man” setup at Paddington Lounge
  5. 43274 “Spirit of Sunderland” stands in the adverse weather at Kings Cross
 

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Kristofferson

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Excellent stuff! What a beautiful part of the country in which to spend your final 16-25 Railcard days!

Damn shame about the GWR Pullmans not working out, but I'm sure the scenic branch lines made up for it :)

I visited Exeter and Dawlish this year - with the exception of stopping Paddington HST services, the line seems really under-served in terms of capacity!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Blindtraveler

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Nowhere near enough to a Pacer :(
This has reawakened my desire to do the branches etc down that way. Shame on you riding that voyager, compensated for slightly by your appreciation of DBT!
I personally find Spar good value and Im glad its not just me who enjoys sampling local bakeries on my travels.

Are all Long rocks 150s /2s or is it whatever works down from PLY etc?


Thanks for sharing, you could always get an immitatiom hearingaid and a disabled railcard? :lol.:
 

FQ

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Sounds like a great time! Just a few notes. I noticed that you put Watford as pick-up only on the journey from Mancc to Euston - shouldn't it be drop-off only? With the 442s to Gatwick Airport, I think they should be 442413 and 442418.

153325 looks very familiar to me (although I've never had it)! Shame about the kitchen issue though.
 

Dom395

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Sounds like a great time! Just a few notes. I noticed that you put Watford as pick-up only on the journey from Mancc to Euston - shouldn't it be drop-off only? With the 442s to Gatwick Airport, I think they should be 442413 and 442418.

153325 looks very familiar to me (although I've never had it)! Shame about the kitchen issue though.

Heading towards Euston Watford Junction is drop-off only.
 

Crossover

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Yes, I have put it the wrong way and it was set down at WFJ. I actually wrote down the 442's as 4420xx on my phone but it was 23:30 at night so I've mistyped it. Thanks for pointing them out. If there are only 2 errors in all of that, I'll live :lol:
 

Kite159

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Yes, I have put it the wrong way and it was set down at WFJ. I actually wrote down the 442's as 4420xx on my phone but it was 23:30 at night so I've mistyped it. Thanks for pointing them out. If there are only 2 errors in all of that, I'll live :lol:

Your punishment is to have a pacer related issue at a random North Yorkshire station ;)
 

55013

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Speaking as someone who's much closer to being eligible for a Senior Citizen's railcard than a Young Person's I can well remember the shock to the system when I started paying full fare.
I don't think I've got over it yet :)

Good to see you getting plenty of use from it before the end, though.
Looks like an excellent few days were had.
 

Techniquest

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He was punished enough by not having the full Pullman dining experience! Same for the lack of advertised First Class service on the way home!

An excellent read throughout, it must be said. I really want to go back to Cornwall though, I haven't been there for 4 and a bit years. I think January's week off may well see me venture down there...
 

PHILIPE

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This has reawakened my desire to do the branches etc down that way. Shame on you riding that voyager, compensated for slightly by your appreciation of DBT!
I personally find Spar good value and Im glad its not just me who enjoys sampling local bakeries on my travels.

Are all Long rocks 150s /2s or is it whatever works down from PLY etc?


Thanks for sharing, you could always get an immitatiom hearingaid and a disabled railcard? :lol.:

Don't quite understand about Long Rocks 150/2s especially as the OP quotes mostly 150/1s in Cornwall. Contrary to many people's opinions GWR 150/1s and 150/2s have separate diagrams but, when it comes down to what happens in practice, it's little wonder that some people think they are all 1 fleet. You can go to Long Rock, or anywhere in Cornwall or the whole GWR Network, and see a train being worked by a 150/1 one day and a 150/2 the next.
 
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