40106 at the Valley, Jan 2022

40106 at the Seven Valley, Monday January 3rd 2022

After a largely trapped Christmas due Covid in the house, it was good to be out for the day and with younger son for company too. Leighton station at 7am on a dark, dank bank holiday morning was deserted; although the booking office was open.

Our 0704 service was 10 down, as usual , 350106 and 350125 were quickly joined on arrival, the lead coach, as expected,  totally empty. Despite being clear by Northampton it wasn’t light till Coventry an hour after leaving Leighton. 57304 was stabled at Rugby but no freight services were seen. Arrival at New St was 90 minutes after leaving Leighton, i’m sure it was quicker in class 310 unit days!

57304 is the Rugby thunderbird on January 3rd 2022

A quick stroll through a largely deserted Birmingham to Moor St saw us soon boarding an empty 172340 on a Worcester service. At Kidderminster it was raining, a rainbow shone to the North. A quick scurry down Comberton Hill saw Tesco Express and the excellent model shop done.

An alarmingly long queue of normals at Kidderminster SVR booking office was a shock, good to see GK in the queue though.  A Mk 1 TSO was joined with Pannier 7714 powering the busy 1015 to Bridgnorth.  40106 sat silent in the opposite platform with a long rake of GW stock. The Pannier was driven very gently but the slack timings saw us right time off Bewdley. At the Safari Park you can no longer bellow at the elephants  as they have been swapped for camels,  global warming is everywhere!

We bailed at Arley in weak winter sun. A short wait here then Standard 75069 (once of 70D) steamed in and we were lucky to bag a front coach Mk I compo. GK in particular enjoyed the deep “bark” of the Standard.

The pride of Selhurst as 09012, now D4100 is stabled outside Kidderminster CS on January 3rd 2022

On arrival at Kidderminster the safe, plus 10 onto with 40106 now whistling and steaming nicely. Rapid walking meant the last free table in the front coach was bagged. Once on the move conversation largely stopped and the three of us and 80 other bashers sat back to enjoy the noise and atmosphere. To be fair 40106 was driven very gently but the thrash from Hampton Loade to Eardley Bank was superb…..memories

2 views of 40106 awaiting an up service at Hampton Loade with the 1130 ex Kidderminster on January 3rd 2022

At Bridgnorth we watched 40106 topping up her boiler then the Railwayman’s Arms provided the beers! 40106 then worked the 1335 to Highley where in the soft winter sun and calm conditions a few phots were raked in.    

With her boiler blowing off nicely, 40106 runs round at Highley on January 3rd 2022

We returned to Bridgnorth on the 1447 ex Highley where again, at Bridgnorth the Railwayman’s Arms produced. Unfortunately our enjoyment of this fine hostelry saw us board the 1540 Kidderminster service a bit close to departure time and the only seats were in the rear open coach which GK insisted was “nb”.

At Hampton Loade we unexpectedly crossed the now blue liveried Clayton 8568 and Pannier 1501 heading light to Bridgnorth, 8568 would then work a full ECS rake back to Kidderminster.

40106 back at Kidderminster on January 3rd 2022

Back at a now dark Kidderminster 40106 sounded and superb whistling away and this whistle still hung in the air as we climbed Comberton Hill, day over…

Note: The Severn Valley is now closed until April 2nd 2022, see ye there!

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