E769 Heritage Trip Reports 2018/2019

Discussion in 'Trip Planning & Reports' started by E759, 23 Aug 2018.

  1. Kite159

    Kite159 Veteran Member

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    Sounded like a good day trip :)
     
  2. E759

    E759 Member

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    Thank you Kite, definitely in my Top Ten of Day Trips :)
     
  3. Iskra

    Iskra Established Member

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    An enjoyable report. That ticket came to my attention too and is a possible trip for me in the autumn, so it was good to read your informative report.
     
  4. Belperpete

    Belperpete Member

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    The station layout at New Street is a poor compromise. The A-end gateline is split into two sections by the third station entrance. You should be allowed through the gateline if changing trains, but I agree that how to get to the other half of the gateline is not particularly obvious. Most of the signs unhelpfully seem to refer to various coloured lounges rather than platform numbers!

    The trick if you are changing trains at New Street is NOT to use the A-end gatelines. The B-end gateline gives through access to all platforms. There are some posters up advising passengers changing trains to use the stairs/escalators at the B-end of the platforms, but they are easily missed. The old Hill Street-end footbridge at the far end of the platforms also gives access to all platforms except 12, and is usually much less crowded - probably because it isn't signposted on the platforms (I seem to recall the original intention was to close it after the station had been redeveloped, but it was kept open by public demand).
     
  5. E759

    E759 Member

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    Thank you Iskra. It's certainly an interesting ticket and I feel sure the validity has been stretched by a few to the maximum extent! Fantastic scenery around much of the loop. Good luck with your trip if you take it.
     
  6. E759

    E759 Member

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    Thank you Belperpete; yes the gateline staff let me out. I only used the A-end as (1) the train arrived at the escalators there and (2) I thought it was about time I saw that end of the station! Last time I was there, on my way to Kiddy, I used the footbridge you mention at the far west end to escape to Snow Hill very quickly. I'll aim for the B-End escalators/stairs as you suggest next time so thank you again for the advise.
     
  7. E759

    E759 Member

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  8. E759

    E759 Member

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    West Somerset Railway (WSR) Saturday 7th September 2019

    In July 2019 it was announced that GWR would run a trial Summer Saturday shuttle service from Taunton to Bishops Lydeard WSR. Selected Saturdays from July 27th until October 5th. Great news for the WSR and passengers. I thought it would be good to use this service then promptly forgot about it. All the Stations posted a video on YouTube after using the service at which point I looked to see if I could fit it in. 7th September looked possible as Horsham FC weren’t playing. (Subsequently Horsham were scheduled to play Met Police at Imber Court in the FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round).

    I looked in vain on the GWR website for the shuttle service. In the end Google came to my rescue pointing me to the WSR website. Looking at NR & WSR timetables it seemed possible to catch the first GWR shuttle leaving Taunton at 0939 and the last shuttle leaving Bishops Lydeard at 1711. I used TrainSplit to purchase tickets, none of which were Advances; a rare instance for me but most welcome. Route proposed by Trainsplit and NRE was via Redhill and Reading in both directions. Nearer the event I purchased a WSR DigiTicket Combined GWR Taunton to Bishops Lydeard shuttle and WSR Bishops Lydeard to Minehead return.

    Saturday 7th September and my alarm awoke me at 0425. Had a quick cup of coffee and checked the Horsham departure board; everything looked good. Arrived at Horsham station in plenty of time. My 0525 to London Bridge was a 12-car (FLU) Thameslink 700. There weren’t many people on board. I sat near the rear for the subway at Redhill. We departed on-time. WiFi was working and there was no ticket check or sign of the OBS. When we stopped at Gatwick Airport I wondered why Trainsplit had the service change at Redhill not Gatwick. I resisted the temptation to alight at Gatwick and stuck with the script.

    Arrival Redhill Platform 2 on-time 0559. I walked via the subway to Platform 0. This was the first time I’d used Platform 0. My Reading train, a 3-car GWR 165 DMU, arrived at 0605 from Gatwick. There were quite a few people on board, most with luggage and as usual treating the train as a bedroom. At least three cycles boarded. I boarded and found a good seat.

    Departure from Redhill at 0613. The WiFi took a few attempts to get going and it wasn’t a particularly good service. I did notice for the first time the Unit number is displayed on the connection page! There was no ticket check and we arrived 3L into Reading 0721 Platform 5.

    Platform 7 is fortunately adjacent to Platform 5 however because of the late arrival there was no time to pick up a coffee in Pumpkin. The departure board give the platform zone for boarding so I walked down to the far Western end of the platform for Coach A (Quite coach). My 0730 Penzance train arrived, a 10-car 802. Found my reserved seat and settled in. Departure 0731. There were a lot of exotic sounding Cornish stations on the display and I was reminded of my Newquay trip in 2018 when I travelled on the Bodmin & Wenford Railway. Taunton was the first stop. The WiFi was working but again wasn’t particularly good.

    The trolley arrived so I was able to purchase fresh brew filter coffee. The journey was uneventful with some half-decent views. Arrived Taunton 0850 3L and alighted onto Platform 2. Had a quick look at what was once Platform 1 then headed for the cafe where a cup of tea was purchased.

    By the cafe there was an exit to the Bus Stop for the 28 to Bishops Lydeard. A number of WSR staff on the platform also a fair number waiting for the Bishops Lydeard train. Tickets were being sold on the platform by the WSR staff.

    A GWR 3-car 150 arrived Platform 2 at 0925 ECS from Exeter St. Davids. I boarded and found a good seat. Departure on-time 0939. A WSR ticket collector scanned my Digi-Ticket and gave me a small roll ticket marked “Combi Rtn Tn/BL/MD Ad £0.00”.

    As we trundled down the line there was a very smart looking snowplough near the A3605 bridge. Then onto the Minehead branch! In 2018 I’d arrived on the WSR on a rail tour from Paddington hauled by Clan Line. We passed the platform at Norton Fitzwarren. A chap came through the train handing out a leaflet for the Minehead Rail Link Group and Rail Future. The WSR staff handed out a Transport Survey to complete.

    Some coaches on the right alerted me that we were nearing Bishops Lydeard. We stopped at a signal just outside the station before proceeding into Platform 2 at 0956. I missed the loco shed. A steam train was waiting at west end of Platform 2. I alighted the train and asked the guard which coach for Dunster and was informed any would do.

    At the head of the 7 coach train, all Mk I I think, was 2-6-0 9351. I later learnt that this was a conversion from 2-6-2T 5193 performed 2000-2004. I thought it looked rather good. 9351 had a Dunster Castle Express headboard fitted. WSR offer a combined train, bus and castle ticket. I took a few photos then boarded the train in the 1st carriage.

    The Token was walked down to the driver, the Foot Crossing closed and we set off at 1015. It sounded like quite an effort pulling out of the station. We passed a field with crop pickers toiling away who stopped and waved to us. The weather had been overcast but the sun had now come out.

    The first station was Crowcombe Heathfield. This is a very pretty station with a Broad Gauge exhibit on the platform. The Token was exchanged with the Signal Box and we set off at 1030. Very nice countryside outside the window.

    Next up was Stogumber. This has a rustic single platform and a very nice station building on the other side. I stopped here in 2018 on the Clan Line railtour for refreshments. Departure at 1039.

    As we approached Williton, sheep were seen running in the field, scared by the steam and smoke. There was another Token exchange. A Teddy Bear and Hymek sat beside Platform 1. We awaited the arrival of the 1005 from Minehead into Platform 2. Tea was delivered to the footplate crew. A second Hymek could just be seen sitting inside the shed along with some coaches undergoing restoration in the yard. Departed at 1050.

    There followed another four stations; Doniford Halt 1054, Watchet 1100, Washford 1109 and Blue Anchor 1119. Doniford Halt is a request stop. A number of people joined the train. The train steamed into Dunster at 1127 and I alighted.

    A lady on the platform held up a Dunster Castle Express sign and in the station yard a coach awaited for those taking the easy way to the castle. I set off on foot following the signs. There is a useful subway under the A39. Dunster village could be picturesque but is spoilt by cars parked on both sides of the road. I took a few photos but the end result is you’re viewing a carpark.

    Google maps estimates the walk to the castle should take 20 minutes. I managed that and arrived just after the Dunster Express coach from the station. At the castle entrance I was given a map of the castle grounds. The castle is a combination of medieval gatehouse and lavish country home. I spent around an hour going round the various rooms then went out onto the terrace overlooking the Bristol Channel with some refreshments. Studying the map, I decided to head to the watermill.

    According to the guide outside, the watermill is one of only two tandem watermills in England. The other being in the Lake District. Tandem meaning there are two wheels. There is a sufficient head of water to power both wheels simultaneously. Inside it was a fairly typical watermill arrangement. In the mill shop I purchased a 1kg bag of wholemeal spelt flour stoneground in the mill.

    I followed the route back round to the castle entrance via a very pleasant garden then back through the town. At the carpark I purchased a pasty for later. The walk back to the station was downhill so easier than the march up! At the station I purchased coffee and waited for the 1352 to Minehead. 7828 Odney Manor was at the front of another set of Mk Is. We pulled into Minehead at 1400.

    Somerset & Dorset 7F 53808 was sitting outside the shed and looked very fine indeed. I exited the station briefly to check the fish and chip takeaway was still there, it was. Back to the station and awaited departure at 1430, in the hands of Odney Manor.

    It was a toss-up between Washford and Watchet for my next stop. Watchet won as I’ve a trip booked to Midsomer Norton in October. Arrival at Watchet 1508. I walked along West Pier to the lighthouse, just a small light really, then back to Watchet Museum. This is a small but very interesting museum with details of the West Somerset Mineral Railway. There is a great model of the 1 in 4 rope-worked inclined plane. It was very hard not to buy one the books about the line. On The Esplanade there is a Samuel Taylor Colridge Rime of the Ancient Mariner inspired sculpture. The inscription says part of the book was written in Watchet.

    I returned to Watchet Station and purchased ice cream whilst I waited for the train. A little after 1606 a beautifully restored 3-car DMU appeared. It was a slow plodding journey back to Bishops Lydeard where we arrived earlier at 1645. Well that was fortunate so I dashed up the drive to the Quantock Brewery. The Small Batch (craft keg) in the Tap Room was an 8% DIPA so I purchased a pint in plastic to take back to the Taunton shuttle. Gorgeous stuff indeed!

    The GWR shuttle left on time 1711 and was soon arriving a little early at Taunton 1725. Plenty of time to swap over to Platform 5 via the subway for the 1732 to Paddington, another 802.

    Onboard Coach A was quite full. The seat reservations didn’t seem to match my ticket so I sat somewhere else. A while later I remembered my reservation was for the 1831. The weather really picked up in the afternoon and the sun was filling the carriage. There was no ticket check that I recall. Another smooth journey to Reading with arrival at 18:50.

    Made my way up over the bridge from Platform 11 to Platform 5. There were a huge number of people get off an ex WAT service. Police were patrolling the platform. Guess just normal Saturday stuff. My Redhill train departed 1904 and was busy. Didn’t thin out until Guildford. There was a stunning pink sunset. Redhill 2023 then onto my last train of the day 2033, a Thameslink 700 arriving Horsham 2108.

    A very good day. All the stations on the WSR are great. There were plenty of staff. The whole situation there seems at odds with what has been written elsewhere. I’ll return next year to visit more of the stations and sights.
     
  9. AnthonyRail

    AnthonyRail Member

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    Brilliant trip review. Nice to see a review of this part of the country, never knew quantock brewery did takeaway will have to call on way home after work. Did you notice the old Mineral line station at Watchet.
     
  10. E759

    E759 Member

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    Thank you very much! No I didn’t, I was largely ignorant of the mineral lines so the museum was a real eye opener. I can imagine that some good exploration can be done. I was looking at some websites today which give a lot of background information and details of what there is to see.

    Quantock have quart containers behind the bar for a proper takeaway experience. I was tempted!
     
  11. Kite159

    Kite159 Veteran Member

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    Sounded like a good trip to Minehead :)
     
  12. paul1609

    paul1609 Established Member

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    How many people were on the shuttle to/from Taunton?
     
  13. E759

    E759 Member

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    Thank you Kite, it's a great line to visit.
     
  14. E759

    E759 Member

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    15-20 I think outbound. Didn't count on the way back as I was late joining the service and rushed off to P 5 without looking back; perhaps 10 maybe more.
     
  15. AnthonyRail

    AnthonyRail Member

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    Walking the old mineral line is on the too list but I don’t like walking unless it’s to the pub.
     

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  16. E759

    E759 Member

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    thanks for the photos, I stopped and read that information panel but somehow failed se see the rails. Dooh!
     
  17. E759

    E759 Member

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    Welsh Highland & Ffestiniog Railways 3 September 2019

    The ticket price, a compromise of fast and cheap, flashed up and I gulped. I threw caution to the wind and hit buy. You only live twice.

    My alarm woke me at 0415. I silenced it and jumped out of bed. Well almost! Five weeks ago I journeyed up to North Wales and today I was doing it again. There is an invisible red line between pleasure and pain. Just make sure it’s not crossed.

    Left home at 0500; it was dark and the street lights were off. I remembered a torch this time. Warmer than I expected but I packed for cooler weather later. The streets are deserted.

    I took no chances and caught an earlier train than required. I boarded the 0515 Horsham to Victoria, the first departure of the day. WiFi was good onboard but the electric socket wasn’t working. One maybe two other people on board. We set off! I had a sense of anticipation and foolishly predicted a successful trip. One day my luck will run out. The OBS did a ticket check after Littlehaven so I held out my three tickets to get to London. Thank you TrainSplit. I checked Seatfrog, still no bids for my next train. It was pitch black outside. We arrived at Gatwick but I thought it was East Croydon; obviously not fully awake yet. I checked my Arriva mTicket for the 5C purchased on Sunday. Photographed the eight tickets for the journey; forgot to do that the previous day. At Merstham a thin orange glow was seen on the horizon, dawn. The sky turned a gloomy dark grey as we arrived in Victoria on time. It was strangely quite, not that many people.

    Headed down to the Underground which was also quite. The display indicated a 3 min interval on the Victoria Line.

    Arrived in Euston just before 0630 so a one hour wait. Again, it’s relatively quite. Still 30 minutes left on the Seatfrog auction. First decision of the day, buy a coffee or wait until the auction has ended and go to the First Class lounge? Decided to go and wait outside Signal Box and pondered that question. I saw the Glasgow train was on time. A four minute warning popup from Seatfrog, still £20. At T-1 minute still no bids so I placed the £21 minimum bid. Auction closed at 0700 and I’d “won” seat J29 for £20. Headed straight to the First Class lounge and grabed a capuchino & pastry. BBC News was on the TV live from Westminster. There was only one subject: Johnson and Brexit. Time for a quick orange juice then down to Platform 14.

    Class 86 86101 Sir William A Stanier FRS was sitting at the buffer stops of Platform 16. I located J29 and rejected it in favour of another seat. On time departure 0730; there is a Class 92 on the front of Sleeper. Coach J was lightly loaded, I appeared to be the only leisure traveller, everyone else suited and booted. Breakfast was announced immediately after departure. Wembley freight yard had some interesting locos of numerous classes as we glided by. As we passed Berkhampsted Castle the breakfast order was taken. A Great British today and an orange PostIt slip was attached to my seat. Coffee arrived followed by juice. We zipped through Rugby and after a while breakfast arrived. Shortly after the toast basket arrived and I choose croissant. Breakfast was very good!

    The Train Manager arrived to do a ticket check. We were motoring along and the sun had come out. Grey skies gave way to blue with white steaks of cloud. The farmed landscape and canal made a great view out of the window. The Pendolino tilt was in operation as we continued North. All of a sudden the countryside was shattered by a power station but it was soon behind us. The toilet decided it didn’t want to talk at me today. Coffee top-up arrived then we fork left avoiding somewhere I guess? The canal was on our right and there is some activity; the time now was 0840. We passed through Stafford at a slow 40mph. I Activated my bus ticket in anticipation. There was a lovely Victorian pumping station? And another! Are they pumping stations for the canal or mills or something else?

    0853 so I checked my next train; it departed on-time 0852. Also checked the weather at my “destination” and it was still forecast as overcast all day unfortunately. We crossed into and the train slowed just outside Crewe then pickup speed. I worked with a chap in London who lived near Crewe; what a commute. 14 min away from our first stop. The journey had gone so quickly.

    Arrived Warrington Bank Quay a little early 0911 and I left the train. The sun was out in full force so sunglasses on. The Unilever site next to the station reminded me we are in petrochem land. A long time ago I constructed control panels for sites like these. Over to Platform 1 via an underpass. The departure board advised it will be a four coach train dividing en route, I needed the front two apparently. Couldn’t see any Stop Boards on the platform, apart from S, so not sure where to wait. I suddenly remembered we’d be heading south so move down to the other end of the platform! There is a last minute platform change from 1 to 2 announced so move across.

    A 2x2 TfW DMU pulled in and I boarded the first carriage. Connected to WiFi and electricity (no power coming out either socket on the Pendo). Departed on-time 0927. We soon leave the OHLE, cross the Bridgewater Canal and arrive at Runcorn East. There is a magnificent Victorian water tower on the hill to the North. After a tunnel and cutting more petrochem plants can be seen. We crossed the River Weaver and arrived at Frodsham. The Guard walks up and down the train but doesn’t check tickets. We’ve picked up a couple of minutes delay, that’s ok, as I guess there is recovery time where we divide.

    Some semaphore signals appeared and we arrived at Helsby. This is a lovely junction station with well tended gardens and signal box. We took the left branch. Right branch is to Ellesmere Port. We arrived at Chester - which must have been a massive station originally - where the rear unit was detached. The bins on the train were emptied and I think a crew change too. A Merseyrail 507 departed for Hooton and beyond from another platform. 1002 departure 3L. Sunglasses went back into their case and I was sure they would stay there for the rest of the day. Past the racecourse, over the River Dee and into Wales.

    The Guard performed a ticket check. We passed Hawarden Airport, home of the Broughton Airbus plant, and I spotted a couple of Su-17. A well stocked trolley comes through but I had to let it go. The Dee entered the Irish sea, we were running along the coast now. We zipped through the smaller stations non-stop and I spotted the remains of long departed stations. A quick check for later to establish if the Conwy Valley line is open; it was. There was more petrochem stuff and abandoned sidings and stations. Then the caravans started in earnest. Looking south, mountains. As we approached Flint, I saw the castle near the sea which we were now running alongside. Non-stop through Rhyl, which has a large closed signal box. Crossed the River Clywd and the landscape got more rugged ahead of us. A sea wall protects the railway from the sandy beach. An offshore wind farm could be seen through the haze.

    Llandudno Junction is reached 3L; it was now raining and likely to stay that way. We passed the magnificent Conwy Castle and walls. Bangor was reached at 1056 (3L) and I left the train. Walk all the way across the large footbridge then turn left outside the station. There was a bus due as we arrived so I assume I’ve missed it. A chap at the bus stop spoke Welsh so I had to admit I was English. He was catching the Llanberis but was fascinated by my journey from England.

    There was a long wait for the 5C. Saw three 5C going into town. I was beginning to think I was in the wrong location. At 1126 a 5C finally arrived. We were overtaken at the second stop by another 5C and continued to “race” each other taking in turns who was in the lead. Logged into the WiFi but no power sockets. There were some swanky boats at Dinorwic Marina Nant-y-Garth. Arrived in Caenarfon at 1155. I took the short walk from the bus stop across Castle Square, down the steps and along to the new station.

    The new Welsh Highland Railway Caenarfon Station is very impressive! The train from Porthmadog was just about to arrive. I purchased a Snowdonia Single and was quizzed about how I intended to get back to Caenarfon. I explained that I was travelling onwards and mentioned my origin and destination for the day (i.e. home). First class was at the rear of the train so I wasn’t interested in a Supplement. I asked about the lack of the Super Power event this year but they didn’t know anything about it. Took a few pictures of the arriving train, the Fireman operating a lever to rake out the firebox(?) then went back to purchase refreshments. The “Grab-and-Go” sandwiches were sold out already so had a freshly made sandwich with salad to go. It was really good.

    Headed to the front of the train and there is a four wheel coach. Think it’s modern but it is the only option! On the front was 1958 Beyer Peacock Beyer-Garratt NG/G16 NG143 in Brunswick Green.

    On time departure at 1300 soon arrived at Dinas 1311 where there was the first of many token exchanges. Departed 1314; No. 2 in the Dinas shed and Bill outside. Blasts of steam and smoke in the face as we went through tunnels/bridges. Non stop through Tryfan Junction.

    At Waunfawr we picked up another token. There was a diesel on the other platform but I didn’t see what it was. The smell of steam wafted into the carriage because of course I had the windows down!

    There was an overturned and crushed caravan in a field by Plas-y-Nant. Non Stop through Snowden Ranger; Snowdon shrouded in cloud. The track bent sharply to the right with a significant gradient. As we went round the whole train behind was visible.

    At Rhyd Ddu the driver leaped off again to exchange the token. It was chilly now so had to add another layer of clothing. The 1255 ex Porthmadog arrived on the other platform hauled by Crimson Lake NG/G16 138. Shortly our signal changed to amber. Our driver walked back from the signalling room with the next section token. Departed 1403.

    As we went over the summit (650 feet) the drizzle continued. We crossed a large number of User Worked Crossing. There was short section of dense trees before arrival in Beddgelert. A few people waiting on the platform but no crossing trains on this timetable. The driver did his thing again with the token. Some people alighted and some people joined the train. Departing there were great views as we followed the river downstream. Then the landscape started to open out. Through Nantmor Halt without stopping.

    We crossed Afon Glaslyn then the 90 degree level crossing and stopped at Pont Croesor for another token exchange. A crossing was being repaired south of the station. Through Cyffordd Pen-y-Mount Welsh Highland Heritage Railway, the flat crossing with the Pwllheli to Dovey Junction Cambrian line, thread through the town past the car park then held just short of the Britannia Bridge. After a while we crossed the bridge/road and arrived in Porthmadog Harbour Platform 2 at about 1308. NG143 was quickly uncoupled and ran around at which point I headed to Spooner’s and liquid refreshment.

    NG143 departed for Caenarfon. Over on Platform 1, Double Fairlie No. 12 David Lloyd George returned from the coaling stage to run around to the front of the train to Blaenau Ffestiniog. I located a semi-open coach at the front and watched proceedings in the drizzle. Diesel Vale of Ffestiniog arrived in Platform 2 from Boston Lodge with a few coaches.

    We departed at 1551. Vale of Festiniog appeared to race us as we trundled out onto Britannia Terrace. Wooden sidings had been installed on the new Boston Lodge carriage shed. At Minffordd we crossed a train coming down from Blaenau Ffestiniog but I miss the loco. It was sheeting with rain so not much sticking heads out of windows.
    It sounded like a hard slog up the gradient. Once we started picking up some speed the coach rocked about a lot on the curves. There were rain clouds in the valley below us so nothing could be seen.

    We arrived at Tan-y-Bwlch 1630 and had a quick top-up of water. The rain was still coming down. Whilst there I noticed the iPhone has automatically joined a WiFi network called FFWHR-Guest; interesting! Departure was 1633.

    As we passed Campbell’s Platform I noticed it was still for sale [£795,000]. Onto the deviation spiral at Dduallt; no mess coach parked up today. Soon we were at Tanygrisiau and arrived at Blaenau Ffestioniog 1700 in pouring rain.

    I took a few photos and videos in the rain watching the departure at 1721 then walked over the barrow crossing - the line to Trawsfyndd is closed - to the mainline platform. With a few others we hurled in the open bus shelter on the platform as best we could.

    At looked at the departure board which stated the 1736 was ontime. I tried check status online but the last update was way up the line before Betws-y-Coed. The next train after the 1736 was 2023! I mulled over the impact of the 1736 not running on my schedule.

    At 1732 the train from Llandudno Junction arrived. With some relief we departed on time 1736. As we negotiated the really long Ffestiniog Tunnel I started a Plan B for late arrival further along the journey. Quite a few options. The Guard performed a ticket check.

    At Betsw-y-Coed I noticed one of the coaches is a Pullman. On time at Llanrwst. The sun came out and it was no longer raining! At Tal-y-Cafn there was a crossing with a manually operated gate! Alongside the River Conwy and Mild Panic as Live trains says expected arrival 1841 - huh?!

    We arrived on time Llandudno Junction 1834. Up over the footbridge to Platform 3 for the 1839 to Chester which departed on time 1839. At Colwyn Bay there was a loco hauled train with DVT; no idea what service was.

    As we motored along the coast I saw a beached run-down but once elegant ship. Later research revealed:
    On August 10th, 1979, a former Sealink passenger ferry called “The Duke of Lancaster" was beached at Llanerch-y-Mor in North Wales with the intention of turning it into a floating leisure and retail complex called The Fun Ship. The project never achieved it’s full potential due to many long running legal disputes with the local council.

    We continued to motor along with views now of the Wirral Peninsula. Flint with its castle where we arrived 2E. On-time arrival Chester 1930.

    Another footbridge dash to Platform 3 for the 1935 departure to Euston. This was a 4-car Voyager. My seat had a bag on it and as there were few unreserved seat I didn’t want to play musical chairs later. The bag was removed, phone unplugged from the socket and off to another pair of reserved seats they went. On time departure followed by phone charging. There had been no chargers on the bus or the last two TfW trains and I’d been using the phone a lot. I noticed it was the Quite coach and I wondered if that would be observed. The WiFi was very on/off. A ticket check was performed then we were passing the Crewe Heritage centre where I spotted an 03. Crewe departure was 2L. Some nice new TPE units were parked up. It was now 2030 and dark outside; nothing much to see onwards unfortunately. I was hungry but decided not to get anything to eat. The shop staff came through the train trying to drum up business.

    Milton Keynes Central on time at 2103. Down the subway from Platform 4 to Platform 2. My Southern train arrived from the south so I boarded. Two people asked me if this was the East Croydon train, the type and colour being an insufficient clue. I’d never caught this train ever but it would be hard to get wrong. About right time departure 2112.

    I was impressed with the acceleration and speed, the 377 really shift on AC! Not a lot to see in dark but we appeared to be threading through a labyrinth of tracks at Willesden. The DC switch-over just after crossing the GWML I think?

    A large crowd joined the train at Westfield. Onto Imperial Wharf then over the River Thames. Clapham Junction Platform 17 on time at 2231. As I walked over the footbridge to Platform 13 I’m asked which platform the train to Stawberry Hill departs from. Was a bit bemused at all these people asking me advice.

    At 2243 the Chichester train, my last train of the day, departed on-time. As we rolled into Gatwick I relaxed and reflected on another successful day trip. One minute early into Horsham 23:26. Phew!
     
  18. Cletus

    Cletus Established Member

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    Location:
    Dover
    Phew indeed :D
     
  19. Kite159

    Kite159 Veteran Member

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    13,087
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    27 Jan 2014
    Location:
    West of Andover
    Sounded like a busy day :)
     
  20. E759

    E759 Member

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    453
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    7 Dec 2017
    Location:
    Sussex
    Was almost harder writing the report than doing the trip. Reading the report must be a really hard slog!
    The kind of day where it pays to keep a close watch on the time and progress of the train. In between trying to take in the scenery whilst simultaneously writing notes 8-)
     
  21. youngiecj

    youngiecj Member

    Messages:
    100
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    26 Feb 2012
    Really enjoyed your report there. Sounds like a brilliant day out. Last time I went to Blaenau there was a superb cafe above the mainline station.
     
  22. E759

    E759 Member

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    453
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    7 Dec 2017
    Location:
    Sussex
    Glad you enjoyed the report! Certainly one of my top trips this year so far.

    I visited that cafe last year. Really good as you say. But I had only a short window in which to get a freshly made sandwich before hopping back on the train to Harbour. This time there just wasn’t enough time to do it justice after waiting to film the FR departure unfortunately. Next time perhaps....
     

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