The Alresford Clipper, July 3rd 1993
This was an unusual tour in that it offered 33 and TC haulage on the Bedford-Bletchley and actually called at Leighton.
The tour consist was very uncranky, not helped being wedged in a 4TC, my notes from the time claiming a “highly yuppie Bedford boating crowd!”. At Kensington Olympia we were initially alarmed at 33109 shutting down. This was for a naming Ceremony here with “Captain Bill Smith RNR” plates being revealed. Captain Bill had played a major role in steam loco preservation. After Kenny O we thrashed on including the unusual Southfields route.
At the Mid Hants 73003 tailed the tour for the run to Alresford, hauling it back to Alton though many wished the 73/33 combo could have remained on the front to Bedford. Southern classic units 4SUB 4732 and 4EPB 5001 were also in service on shuttles from Alton.
The return saw us rake in the Acton Canal Wharf-Willesden chord near the Freightliner depot the 33 propelling all the way!
At Bedford the service train bubble W55023 was held for a few tour participants including us to leap off the tour and return
back to Bletchley. 33109 followed the bubble back to Bletchley and WN, with a few enjoining the emcars all the way back to Bournemouth!
1Z51 Tour Route outward:Bedford – Bletchley – L.Buzzard – Watford Jn – Mitre Bridge Jn – North Pole – Kensington O – Clapham Jn – East Putney – Southfields – Wimbledon – Woking – Alton
Alton – Woking – Byfleet Jn – Staines – Feltham – Hounslow – Kew Jn – South Acton – Acton Canal Wharf Jn – Willesden yard – Harrow – L.Buzzard – Bletchley – Bedford
Tour phot spot:
“TC” was on hand to capture the rare sight of 33109, with new nameplates covered at Bedford prior to departing at 0835 for Alresford
“TC” catches 33109 passing Kempston Hardwick on the Bedford-Bletchley with the tour, the solitary chimney is from the local brickworks which has since been demolished although the brick work’s ground work’s remain much as before 20 year’s later
A rare sight approaching Leighton where a booked stop was made
The loco was shut down for the naming ceremony at Kensington Olympia, fortunately newly named “Captain Bill” restarted ok!,
Classic third rail power in 4 SUB 4732 was on shuttle services to Farnham
4-EPB green machine, 5001 which I think was still in regular service out of Charing X at the time
“JA” 73003 worked the tour on the Alton-Alresford leg, a big scratch for a few!
With 33109 (now preserved at Bury and TC stock still available, a rerun would be welcome!