South Wales Weekend Explorer, Dec 77


After the tedium of a late afternoon lecture Swansea High Street station seemed much more real. Armed with my £3.90 South Wales Weekend Explorer, weighty bible and little else I boarded the 1843HST or toy as we called them then, bound for Padd. On the adjacent platform ex Stratford 37247 was steaming away on the 3 MK1’s forming the 1810 Carmarthen.  Shortly after 37247 departed, 37179 arrived with a 9 coach MK1 rake on the 1705 commuter from Newport. Our HST took me to Cardiff where I boarded a real train with 47286 steaming away on the 2005 Cardiff-Crewe. By now most of the regular South Wales bashers had appeared and we filled the front compo for 47286’s thrash to Newport. Here we made a minus 20 onto 46047 on the late running 1403 Newcastle-Swansea. We had Cardiff drivers throughout on this trip… if it was a Swansea man our 46 would be replaced by a kick-out off Canton as Swansea men weren’t passed on ‘peaks’ then…

2/12/77 Fr

47286  2005 Cardiff-Crewe                      Cardiff – Newport

46047  1403 Newcastle-Swansea            Newport – Neath

47031  2125 Swansea-Bristol                   Neath – Cardiff

37191  2125 Swansea-Bristol              Cardiff – T. Meads                                                

Leaping at Neath we awaited the 2125 Swansea-Bristol. This was a classic night train of 3 or 4 MK 1’s and an assortment of vans. As expected, an average LA product in 47031 strummed in right-time. At Cardiff the booked engine change sawLandore’s 37191 ( headlight fitted for C. Wales) attached. With a 2300 departure from Cardiff this train had its usual crowd of merry folk with sociable B.T. police escort. The thrash from 37191 was extremely noisy and we all got the ritualistic soaking as we passed through the Severn Tunnel.

Arrival at T. Meads was around mid-night, some dossed on the stock, whilst I wandered off to view the usual peak on the 0110 Bristol-Sheffield and the usual profusion of van trains. 37191 returned us to Newport with an equally noisy performance on a train mainly ‘filled’ by 6 or so bashers. We leapt at Newport for an hours fester in the closed buffet. The constant passage of overnight coal/steel/iron-ore traffic was broken by a 47 hauled 2205 Milford Haven-Padd arriving middle road with its usual crowd of smashed locals shouting how can they get out. Perhaps it was a points failure or were the local power box concentrating on the rumoured strip-show, apparently viewable most Friday nights in one of the nearby houses? After much shunting around the up Padd was duly platformed, and we were all pleased with Immingham’s 31232 passing on a van train from Padd, as this should be our next big power. 47032 complete with sleepers arrived with the 0050 Padd-Milford H overnight. Our mood, tired enough at 4 o’clock in the morning at a cold Cardiff Central, was improved with 31232 coming up from Canton. 37247 then arrived with the 0110 Fishguard H-Padd and was removed as booked. This loco since viewing it the previous evening must have also worked the 2020 Carmarthen-Milford H and the 2205 Milford H-Padd to Swansea. This was a typical steam-heat syphon diagram at the time… We were then totally finished as 31232 backed onto a single van for Bristol whilst a very average local 31213 appeared from nowhere to work the Fishguard. Some of our crew even rang control in a desperate attempt to do the logical pairing to Bristol. No pair produced and the sleep of a few Fishguard ferry passengers was disturbed by our disgust en-route to Newport.

The 0147 Crewe-Cardiff was our next overnight. This was booked for an engine off a van train from Bristol and could produce almost any type 4. 46050 steamed in but most of us were pleased with 25061 on the 0532 Crewe which we did to Hereford the Northern limit of our explorer. The guard requested wake-up call produced just south of Hereford and we staggered onto 50034 with the 0712 to Padd. An ETH fault saw the guard moving all the passengers into the front coach which had limited heat but disturbed our slumbers. We leapt at Worcester FS for a DMU back to Great Malvern where 47468 arrived in the misty dawn light with the 0808 Hereford-Padd. At Worcester former train heating unit 24142 was viewed, dumped… shame it could not have been attached to 50034 earlier!  Most of Saturday was spent on the intensive loco-hauled trafficed Cheltenham-Gloucester-Bristol circuit. Inter-Regional traffic that called at Gloucester usually changed locos so we always did trains such as the 0920 Liverpool-Penzance which got 47122 to Gloucester for 45006 forward. Other IR power bashed that day was 45002/015/019/058; 46003; 47166; 50009 along with 47505 and 50036 on Padd-Cheltenhams. Ending up at Bristol 45135 was done in high-mileage fashion on S19-Edinburgh/Glasgow to Parkway for an HST to Newport for 47028 forward on the last IR of the day the 1628 Newcastle-Cardiff.

A C600 (Class 120) 2-car DMU on the 2305 Cardiff-Swansea was rejected for 47040 on a return York-Swansea ADEX. This provided plenty of sleep as it was diverted via Tondu. We were woken at Swansea by a guard non too pleased we were still on ‘his train’, it had arrived 20 mins earlier.

3/12/77 Sa

37191  0114 Bristol-Milford H     T.Meads – Newport                                                               

47032  0050 Padd-Milford H           Newport – Cardiff                                                       

31213  0110 Fishguard H-Padd          Cardiff – Newport                                                      

46050  0147 Crewe-Cardiff            Newport – Cardiff

25061  0532 Cardiff-Crewe                 Cardiff – Hereford

50034  0712 Hereford-Padd               Hereford – Worcester SH

47468  0808 Hereford-Padd               Malvern Link – Worcester SH

46003  0639 Leeds-Paignton             Worcester SH – Cheltenham

47166  0830 Manchester-Swansea      Cheltenham – Gloucester

50036  0923 Padd-Worcester SH          Gloucester – Cheltenham

47122  0920 Liverpool-Penzance         Cheltenham – Gloucester

45006  0920 Liverpool-Penzance         Gloucester – T. Meads

50009  1110 Plymouth-Manchester      T. Meads – Gloucester

45019  1012 Newcastle-Cardiff             Gloucester – Cardiff

45058  1745 Cardiff-Sheffield                Cardiff – Cheltenham

45015  1338 Newcastle-Swansea          Cheltenham – Gloucester

47505  1723 Padd-Cheltenham              Gloucester -Cheltenham

45002  1640 Leeds-Bristol TM               Cheltenham – T. Meads

45135  2110 Bristol-Glas/Edin                T. Meads – Parkway

47028  1628 Newcastle-Cardiff             Newport – Cardiff                                               

47040  xxxx York-Swansea Adex    (via Tondu)  Cardiff – Swansea

Explorer phot spot- A few years later but still could pass as a 70’s scene, 46027 comes off 82A passing the loco box at T.Meads, 020384

We then had to endure a 2 hour wait for a rather appalling National Express coach to Port Talbot as the Landore Viaduct was being rebuilt. We joined the Fishguard-Padd overnight at Port Talbot. After enjoying 47166 take our 6 coach rake through Margam Yard and over the flyover to Tondu, we arranged a Bristol alarm call with a typically sociable guard and this duly saw us back at T. Meads at 6 o’clock on a Sunday morning.

We escaped from a dead Bristol with 46054 on the 0743 Leeds service which was diverted via the Severn Tunnel. At Cheltenham we leapt for 45008 on the 0815 Birmingham-Bristol. We awoke after arrival at T. Meads and desperate running made 31419 on the 1210 Portsmouth H service. The EH 31’s were replacing the steam-heat versions at the time and this was a new ped for me.  A gripping guard reduced funds by 80p and a 90 minute fester at Bath was rewarded with 33029 on the 1111 Portsmouth H-Cardiff. At the time this was one of only a few crompton pax diags into Bristol… how this was to change!! The Sunday afternoon loco -hauled rush-hour saw 45006 and 47128/131/252 taken between Cardiff and Newport before  a rateable (to us) 47444 took me back to Swansea on the 1638 from Manchester. The week-end had been a typical one with 31 loco’s (23 steam-heat) and over 1,000 miles, hugely enjoyable and hugely tiring.

4/12/77 Su

47166  0250 Swansea-Padd   (via Tondu)  Port Talbot – T. Meads

46054  0743 Bristol-Leeds   (via ST)         T. Meads – Cheltenham

45008  0815 Birmingham-Bristol   (via ST) Cheltenham – T.Meads

31419  1210 Bristol-Portsmouth                 T. Meads – Bath

33029  1111 Portsmouth-Cardiff             Bath – T.Meads                                                       

47131  1111 Portsmouth-Cardiff                 T. Meads – Cardiff

45006  1555 Cardiff-Newcastle                   Cardiff – Newport

47128  1750 Cardiff-Portsmouth                 Newport – T. Meads

47252  1833 Swansea-Padd                        Cardiff – Newport

47444  1638 Manchester-Swansea              Newport – Swansea

Note HST/DMU moves not logged at the time…

The following morning, back in my Swansea flat I overdosed, missing my 0930 Pedology lecture… still, never did like peds much anyway!!

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